Many questions for Gophers after a disappointing season


After Saturday, November 25, 31-0 loss to No. 5 Badgers, Minnesota (5-7, 2-7 Big Ten) was lost in a bowl game for the first time since 2012.

"That's not … the ultimate goal," first-year coach Gophers, PJ Fleck, said of a post-season job. "We played in a team in the top five, and we showed that we were not able to beat a team in the top 5. That's what it showed, but that does not mean it will not happen in the future. Be. Better. "

To improve, the first item on the Gopher's to-do list is to improve his pbading offense. Minnesota finished 122nd of 130 FBS programs with 126 yards per game. Quarterback Demry Croft, who relieved Conor Rhoda midway through the season, had no more than nine completions or 139 pbading yards in any of his six starts to finish the year.

At this time, the Gophers have at least 20 players leaving, including nine starters against the Badgers at TCF Bank Stadium.

After the game, Fleck knew it would be repeated, but he said it anyway: The Gophers will be younger next season. "We have a long way to go," he warned.

Here are five questions that are heading towards 2018:

Who is the future field marshal?

After being suspended for three weeks earlier this season, Croft showed flashes, with three touchdown final pbades against Michigan State and set a QB record in a single game against QB against Nebraska. Overall, he completed 41 percent of his pbades, with four touchdowns and seven interceptions in nine games.

As a junior in a red shirt, Croft will have the most experience in the position heading into next fall, but another quarterback competition is anticipated. Redshirt freshman Tanner Morgan is the main competition at this time. The battle could include second-year student Redshirt Seth Green, if he remains on the team.

Fleck wants to bring one or two quarterbacks into the 2018 recruiting clbad after the Gophers and the previous engagement Brennan Armstrong, of Shelby, Ohio, officially broke up the forms last week. That opened a space in the clbad.

Riverside (California) City College quarterback Vic Viramontes was visiting Dinkytown on Sunday. The old Cal transfer would have three years of remaining eligibility. The Gophers have also extended scholarship offers to at least four other high school field marshals by 2018.

With the day of the national signing moved to December 20 starting this year, the gap in the marshal's Field is the most important place that remains to be covered. [19659007] How will the receiving body look?

When the leading receiver, Tyler Johnson, missed out on the season with a broken hand before the Northwestern game, no one showed up as a viable alternative. Even with Johnson, the team lacked the second and third options for most of the season and was plagued with failed pbades, especially in the stretch.

Johnson will be a major starter next season, with other candidates already at home or on the road. The real freshman, Demetrius Douglas, was the No. 2 receiver of the Gophers before he was lost to a lower-body injury that ended the season on a play without a conference. He is expected to return. Chris Autman-Bell, who broke his hand in training camp, was robbed this fall and could be a key contributor next fall.

New students Rashod Bateman, Jornell Manns and Eric Gibson are also seen as capable players to play next fall.

"Clbad 2018 is the first real big recruitment clbad to bring," Fleck said Saturday. "We're excited about them, we have to finish them here in the coming weeks, and they should see it as an opportunity to come here and play, they really should."

What young players need to step up?

Beyond the receiver, defensive end Ezezi Otomewo of Indianapolis will emerge from his red shirt year. Based on his practices this fall, Fleck called him a "monster" with a huge advantage at 6 feet 6 and 240 pounds.

With Otomewo and four incoming freshman Alex Reigelsperger of Dayton, Ohio, the Gophers could move Carter Coughlin from the defensive end to his more natural linebacker position.

This could make the defense – which led the Gophers in 2017 – better next season. The Coughlin move would also reunite all Minnesota natives, the body of Thomas Barber, Kamal Martin and Coughlin.

Barber emerged as a defensive leader and boarding machine this fall. He will be a leader along with Antoine Winfield Jr., the best player in high school, coming back from a persistent hamstring injury. The Gophers will look for a red medical shirt for Winfield, the son of the former Viking cornerman of the same name.

With the veteran guards Vincent Calhoun and Garrison Wright missing, the freshmen of the red jersey face Blaise Andries, the best Minnesota native in the clbad of 2017, will probably be called up for his first action and will also demonstrate his great respect

How is the defensive tackle formed?

Among the 16 last-year players, three are on the defensive line inside: the most affected position group on the list.

Fleck was baffled when he was hired in January that there is a lack of underclbadman depth behind outgoing players Steven Richardson, Merrick Jackson and Andrew Stelter.

The Gophers scored Alabama transfer OJ Smith to help fill the void, and Elijah Teague of Chicago, freshman entrant, is the second best ranked player in the clbad behind Reigelsperger, according to

How many additional players will go?

The number of other players leaving may increase as the off season continues.

"There were players who were bought immediately," Fleck said. "They had people who were bought six months later, and maybe some people have not bought yet."

Receiver Rashad Still, who was suspended earlier this season, was away from the team against the Badgers. . Fleck did not give details and said he would "reevaluate" Still's status with the team this week.

"There are boys who stay, go, leave, graduate, transfer, suspend, leave," Fleck said. "That is a difficult transition for these young people, so every day the team was evolving."

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