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Minnesota Football: Spring Position Preview - Linebacker

Thomas Barber and Kamal Martin will lead a talented but inexperienced group of linebackers

New Mexico State v Minnesota Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images

I say, “SPRING,” you say, “POSITION PREVIEWS!”

I say, “SPRING,” you say, “POSITION PREVIEWS!”

That’s right. The hiatus is over. Football is back! Well, the spring version of football, at least. And in the weeks leading up to the Minnesota Golden Gophers’ spring game at 11 a.m. on Saturday, April 13, at TCF Bank Stadium, we’ll be breaking down each position group.

Key Departure(s): Blake Cashman and Julian Huff
Key Returner(s): Thomas Barber, Kamal Martin, Carter Coughlin, Thomas Rush, Mariano Sori-Marin, Braelen Oliver, and Trenton Guthrie
Early Enrollee(s): None

Replacing Blake Cashman will be no small task. While he is playing on Sundays in the fall, I believe the Gophers will use some combination of sophomore Thomas Rush and former linebacker turned rush end Carter Coughlin to fill the void at outside linebacker.

Fortunately, Minnesota has senior linebackers Thomas Barber and Kamal Martin to lead what will be a talented but inexperienced position group. Behind the three seniors are Rush, sophomore Mariano Sori-Marin, and redshirt freshman Braelen Oliver. Those three could very likely be your starting linebackers next year, so this fall will be the last run with Barber, Martin, and Coughlin before a changing of the guard. Rush, Sori-Marin, and Oliver are all very athletic, but I think where they’ll need to continue to develop is in diagnosing plays and adding strength in the weight room.

Redshirt freshman Josh Aune has taken snaps at linebacker this spring, but according to the roster his official position is at defensive back. We’ll see what happens there.

Next: Defensive Back