The 2018 prespring college football rankings, taking the first look at the Minnesota Golden Gophers.
No. 63: Minnesota Golden Gophers
Spring Practice Starts: March 6
Spring Game: April 14
Minnesota Golden Gophers Prespring Status
Yeah, the Gophers were just one win away from going bowling in a rebuilding season under a new coaching staff. But with an offense that scored ten points or fewer in four of the last five games, and with two straight shutouts to close out the year, there’s a whole lot of work to do.
Fleck is recruiting well, all the signs are pointing towards the program starting to improve, but it’s still going to take a little bit.
The offensive line should be fine, but the quarterback situation is a concern, a few receiving playmakers have to emerge, and five starters have to be replaced on defense.
Fleck will never allow for any excuses and will want to win big now. but to turn Minnesota from an occasionally okay program into a true Big Ten player, He’s not starting from scratch like he did last year, but he’s not all that far off.
Minnesota Biggest Depth Chart Battle
Quarterback. It’s not exactly Vic Viramontes or bust, but it might not be far off. With last year’s late-year starter Demry Croft gone, the Gophers need Viramontes – a JUCO transfer – to be the type of athletic, attitude guy that who can take the offense over right away.
If he’s not it, then it’ll be Seth Green – a fantastic athlete who might see time in other spots – or Tanner Morgan, who might be the best pure pass of the bunch. This ties hand-in-hand with …
Minnesota Biggest Issue
The passing game. The running game will always be solid, but the team won’t go anywhere unless the quarterbacks can complete a pass or two. Last year, the Gopher quarterbacks combined to hit just 47% of their passes with nine touchdown passes and 11 picks.
The Gophers don’t have to bomb away, but they need to be able to hit the third down throws and just do what’s needed to get by. The passing game has to be merely competent.
Minnesota Biggest Positive
The secondary should be terrific. Corner Antonio Shenault and safety Jacob Huff are good all-around playmakers who can hit, but for the 11th-best pass defense in the country, the biggest plus is getting back all-star caliber safety Antonio Winfield Jr. after missing most of last year. The hamstring is healthy and he’s ready to go.
Really, Why Are The Minnesota Golden Gophers Ranked Here?
Can the offense go from doing next to nothing to at least being good enough to score 24 points every time out? The quarterback play can’t be any worse, and there’s experience at receiver to expect to start doing a whole lot more.
The defense will be sound, the ground game solid, and the coaching is good. Going from 5-7 to 7-5 isn’t asking for the world, but that only happens with an offense that scores.