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Better Know The Enemy: A Q&A With Minnesota

The Gophers are up!

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

We continue our preseason Q&As... and unfortunately for Nebraska, it’s still kinda the preseason.

Minnesota played New Mexico State Thursday night and looked pretty decent in a 48-10 win. You can read more the highs and lows of that game here. The Gophers took care of business in commanding fashion.

This time we’re joined by our friends from our SBNation Minnesota site, The Daily Gopher.

Last year’s Nebraska game aside, why is it that Minnesota has had such a difficult time finding a decent quarterback over the last decade? (By saying “last decade”, I feel that I’m being kind.)

It has been far longer than a decade, appreciate the kindness. Really, its just remarkable that they have not once “lucked” into a good quarterback. Adam Weber was a 4-year starter, the school’s all-time leader in passing yards and is actually top 10 on the Big Ten all-time list. But he wasn’t drafted, he never got more than a couple years of practice squad experience before hanging up the cleats. But I cannot answer the question as to why they haven’t had a good quarterback in decades. Poor recruiting, poor development, lack of staff continuity are all contributing actors.

Seriously, what are you guys going to do for a quarterback?

We have a true freshman who actually might be pretty good. Time will tell. But I do believe this staff will recruiting one sooner or later.

Rodney Smith seems to be a pretty good running back, but who is behind him and can we expect the running game to carry the offense this season?

Like most of the roster, behind the starter are freshmen. Bryce Williams is a true freshman who looks to be the primary backup. Shannon Brooks is a junior, recovering from an ACL tear. He’s quite good as well, when healthy, and will likely take advantage of the new redshirt rule later in the season. You may see him in the final 4 games of the season.

The Gopher defense seems to be solid year after year despite who is coaching. What can we expect this season and who will be the playmakers on that side of the ball?

You are right and we can thank Jerry Kill / Tracy Claeys for getting the defense piece figured out. The Gopher defense should be solid this year led by Antoine Winfield Jr in the backfield, Thomas Barber (youngest brother to Marion and Dominique who both played on Sundays) at linebacker and Carter Coughlin at defensive end. Those three game in together and are the heart of the defense.

Are you getting tired of seeing, hearing, smelling, and tasting “Row The Boat” everywhere you go yet?

Not yet. I personally am not a fan of it’s overuse, but it is part of Fleck’s plan to instill what he wants to instill in his team. And if it results in a winning program, count me in.

Walleye Fries or Runza?

Walley fries.

Do the Gophers make a bowl game this season?

I think they do. They’ll be right around 6-6 or 7-5. Year two of a new coaching staff usually allows teams to play faster now that they are comfortable with the staff and understand expectations. They are very young at a number of positions, but after seeing game 1 it is clear that the talent level is improving. With a really bad offense and a decent defense they managed to get to 5 wins last year. I think they get to 6 or 7 this year, assuming the wheels don’t fall off somewhere.

What do you expect to happen in this season’s game?

I’d be foolish to predict a win at Lincoln even if I’m bullish on the Gophers and bearish on Nebraska this year. But as we sit here in early September it is really hard to predict what these two teams will look like two months out.