After a week plus off for spring break, the Minnesota Golden Gophers are back in the swing of Spring practice. Additionally, media were allowed into practice on Tuesday which means more to talk about. While I love a good #fleckflex after a ball drill as much as anyone, having real football things to discuss is nice.
Here are some of the key details from Minnesota’s 3rd practice, the story you should read if you haven’t, and more videos courtesy of Gopher Sports.
Early QB thoughts
This probably won’t come as a shock, but so far it looks like Coach Fleck is looking to his upperclassman to #RhodaBoat. (via Joe C’s STrib blog)
"I think the guys that are really kind of showing a lot: You look at Conor [Rhoda's] doing a tremendous job of picking everything up. Is he where he’s going to be? No way. We are so far away from being an elite football team right now. But he’s picking up the offense. He has command of the offense. He’s learning how to be a leader on the offense, how to be an elite quarterback, in terms of running the offense the way he needs to run it.
"And Demry Croft is doing a nice job. Tanner Morgan’s doing a nice job. But you see them all progressing more and more throughout the course of each day. Now, we’ve had two installs over the course of three practices. Now, four, five and six are one-install-per-practice. Now we’re going to start going. But the nuts and the bolts and the base, 25 percent of the offense, is in. But now it’s going to start picking up situational football, and that’s where I really want to see how they handle themselves.
Like I said, this is not shocking at all. You’d expect Conor Rhoda to lead the way as an upperclassman and it’s exactly what Coach Fleck was hoping for when he got Rhoda to stay on the team. My bet is still that one of the younger QB’s takes over later in the season, but the job should be Conor’s to win and own for as long as he proves himself top dog.
If any of this bothers you, don’t freak out. This quote came after literally the 3rd practice under Fleck. We’ve got a ways to go if you want someone different at starter. In the meantime, look to the minions.
Beware the power of the shoelace
Did you know that having only 5 offensive lineman for spring practice is less than ideal? Because it’s less than ideal. (via Joe C.)
Jonah Pirsig has graduated and Tyler Moore and Connor Mayes have transferred. Three other starters are recovering from surgeries: Jared Weyler, Garrison Wright and Vincent Calhoun.
That left five offensive linemen to take every rep Tuesday: Donnell Greene (left tackle), Bronson Dovich (left guard), Conner Olson (center), Quinn Oseland (right guard) and Nick Connelly (right tackle). The Gophers hope to have Sam Schlueter back at Thursday’s practice.
“We had a kid break a shoelace, and I mean it was like the world stopped turning for a minute,” Fleck said. “I’m sitting there going, ‘What are waiting for? Let’s go, get another guy in. Wait, you can’t get the guy in. There’s nobody else.’ I was literally ready to play left tackle.”
No one else get hurt please.
ALL OF THE SURGERIES
Fleck said 22 Gophers had offseason surgery. Others who are out for spring practice include linebacker Blake Cashman (shoulder), defensive lineman Gaelin Elmore (unspecified), cornerback Coney Durr (knee), and tight ends Brandon Lingen (foot) and Colton Beebe (knee).
/insert facepalm GIF here
High energy Fleck
P.J. Fleck’s practice style has been remarked on before, but Tuesday was the TC media’s first chance to see it in person. I recommend Joe C’s story and observations from Tuesday for a recap. And if you have the chance to go to a practice or the spring game in the coming weeks, something tells me you’ll enjoy yourself.
Practices for general public
A reminder that there are 3 chances for regular fans to watch the Gophers practice:
- Tuesday, March 28th - 4:45 pm (Gibson-Nagurski Football Complex)
- Tuesday, April 4th - 4:45 pm (Gibson-Nagurski Football Complex)
- SPRING GAME: Saturday, April 15th - 12pm (TCF Bank Stadium)
Check out how new wide receivers coach Matt Simon works with his guys:
Nothing says “welcome back from Spring Break” like OKLAHOMA DRILLS FOR EVERYONE!
Some interesting matchups here, including:
- Jonathan Celestin vs. Nate Wozniak
- Rodney Smith vs. Duke Anyanwu
- Jaylen Waters vs. Ko Kieft
- Julian Huff vs. Rashad Still
Coach Fleck’s full remarks to the press following Tuesday’s practice.