Gophers coach Tim Brewster was not entirely happy with Tuesday’s practice, saying his team did not meet his expectations. “It was the second practice this spring where I felt we didn’t have as much energy,” he said. “We didn’t have quite the focus. I made sure they understood exactly where we’re at.”
Here are highlights from Brewster’s post-practice chat:
– Brewster clearly has big plans for junior college transfer Simoni Lawrence, who will join program this summer. I asked Brewster if Lawrence will be a hybrid between a safety and linebacker, and he said that’s exactly the way he envisions him depending on the offensive formation. Brewster oftens refers to Lawrence as a “space player.”
“If you’re looking at two backs and a tight end, we’re a 4-3 defense,” Brewster said. ”If you’re looking at three receivers, a tight end and a single back, then it looks like a 4-2 defense with … is it a nickel or a linebacker? For us, that guy is going to be Simoni Lawrence.”
– Regarding other linebackers, Brewster said Andre Tate is improving but he wants Tate to excel on special teams. Both Brewster and DC Ted Roof said Nate Triplett has had a very good spring. “He’s really taken some positive steps in being a better player,” Brewster said.
– Brewster has mentioned redshirt freshmen offensive lineman Ryan Wynn several times this spring and he spoke at length about him Tuesday. Wynn started at center but is working at right guard now and has made a strong impression. It sounds like he is pushing Otis Hudson hard for that starting job. “Ryan Wynn has stepped up this spring and really identified himself as one of our better offensive linemen,” Brewster said. “He has really played well.”
Brewster said Wynn is up to 282 pounds. Brewster thinks he could be at 290 by fall camp.
“He’s a very athletic kid,” Brewster said.
Brewster said the development of the redshirt freshmen — Wynn, Chris Bunders, Trey Davis — has forced the older players to elevate their play. He mentioned guard Ned Tavale in particular.
“(Tavale) understands the sense of urgency about where he’s at,” Brewster said. “Those redshirt kids are good players.”
– I hear the coaching staff continues to be impressed with Marcus Sherels at cornerback.
– Brewster said he expects Justin Kucek to be one of the top punters nationally this season, especially with his ability to pin the ball deep with the flop punt.
– By now, everyone knows that the new uniforms will be unveiled tomorrow at a 1 p.m. press conference. I’ve had a chance to see them and thought they looked sharp. They’re certainly not Oregon-like by any measure. They look modern but not over the top, if that makes any sense. There are six different versions, which I assume will be shown tomorrow. The list of “models” will include Adam Weber, Jack Simmons and Steve Davis.
– I was told today that it looks like former Wisconsin safety Kim Royston could commit to the Gophers either later this week or early next week. That certainly would not be surprising considering Royston and his family have made it clear Minnesota is his No. 1 choice.