By Kent Youngblood
Tuesday marked practice 7 for the Gophers. Not counting the spring game, that gives them seven more workouts.
So what have we learned so far? Not surprisingly that the defense is ahead of the offense. That was the one message that came out of Saturday’s scrimmage.
This isn’t surprising, for a number of reasons:
-The offensive line is a big-time work in progress, with new starters at at least three positions since the bowl game.
-New coordinator Jedd Fisch is putting in a new offense.
-And don’t forget, much of the skill the Gophers will be relying on this fall isn’t around. Wide receiver Eric Decker is playing baseball and Hayo Carpenter — the highly-rated junior college wideout — won’t be here until fall. Last year’s No. 3 receiver, Ben Kuznia, is watching with a pulled hamstring. Now, there are a lot of sophomore receivers using this time to vie for playing time. But I would expect Decker and Carpenter to enter fall practice as the starting wideouts. And don’t forget running back. Duane Bennett, coming back from knee surgery, is taking part in some drills. But he isn’t scrimmaging and won’t play in the spring game. And while Ra’Shede Hageman was watching practice Tuesday, he won’t be in uniform till fall.
All that said, it appears clear the offensive line has to improve dramatically between today and the Gophers’ first game next fall.
OK, on to Tuesday.
–Noticed during the early-practice drills: A formation that had Adam Weber at a wide receiver and MarQueis Gray at quarterback.
–Running backs Shady Salamon and DeLeon Eskridge, both a little dinged up, did not don pads Tuesday.
–Ryan Wynn was taking snaps with the first team at center. He and Trey Davis appear to have quite a competition going.
That’s about it, for now.