When: Noon (CST) on Saturday, April 15
Where: TCF Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, MN
How To Watch
Streaming: Stream the game online at noon (CST) on BTN2Go
TV: The game will air at 6:30 p.m. (CST) on the Big Ten Network
With 22 players sidelined due to offseason surgeries — a situation that has left the Gophers with just five available offensive lineman this spring — P.J. Fleck’s first spring game at Minnesota will not follow the traditional game format. The team will instead be performing a variety of different drills throughout four 15-minute quarters with a running clock. It’ll give fans a glimpse of how Fleck and staff run their practices.
Here is the full schedule of events for Saturday:
#Gophers spring game. April 15 @TCFBankStadium. Be there! #SkiUMah #RTB pic.twitter.com/ZG7dwZXkYO— Minnesota Football (@GopherFootball) April 8, 2017
What To Watch
- Conor Rhoda vs. Demry Croft. Reports from spring practice have indicated that the quarterback competition has developed into a two-horse race between redshirt senior Conor Rhoda and redshirt sophomore Demry Croft. Redshirt freshman Seth Green and freshman Tanner Morgan are a cut behind the two frontrunners, and JUCO quarterback Neil McLaurin is set to transfer after only a few months on campus. Since the spring game will be a different format than fans might be accustomed to, it could be difficult to get a read on which of the two leading quarterback contenders has the edge, but it will be interesting see how both fare in the early goings of a new offensive system.
- Improvement at wide receiver. It’s stating the obvious to say that the Gophers have had woes at the wide receiver position. But the arrival of Fleck and wide receivers coach Matt Simon should change that. It’s early, but Saturday will offer our first glimpse at how the wide receiver corps is developing under Simon and how they’ll be utilized in the new offensive system. Sophomore Tyler Johnson has received the lion’s share of praise this spring, but Fleck has also singled out the raw talent of junior Rashad Still. Keep an eye on senior Eric Carter, junior Melvin Holland, Jr., and sophomore walk-on Claey Geary.
- Depth at defensive back and on the defensive line. The Gophers are short on warm bodies at every defensive position group other than linebacker. It’s fairly easy to guess what the starting defense will look like come fall, but good luck trying to fill out a two-deep. The spring game will give fans an opportunity to see who the breakout candidates are at defensive line and defensive back, although answers at the defensive line might not come until fall camp. This will also be the first glimpse at redshirt freshman Kiondre Thomas, who is a near lock to start at cornerback opposite Antonio Shenault. Safety Jacob Huff is also one to watch after receiving raves from Fleck this spring for his playmaking ability.
Spring Position Previews
A Special Request from Coach Fleck
P.J. Fleck issued a special request earlier this week for those who are planning to attend the spring game on Saturday:
#Gophers! We need you at the spring game at 12 pm on Saturday and we need you to bring an (old, new, used, etc) oar! https://t.co/TUIInkBPQY— Minnesota Football (@GopherFootball) April 11, 2017