You forgot to list the offensive line. A good offensive line can help mediocre running backs. No such luck. This position has perhaps the poorest coaching.. even when comparing to the QB coach.I saw an 8-4 season coming on this past summer. Maybe even 9-3 or 10-2 if things went well.
Instead it has been the most disappointing season in years, maybe decades. “Instead” will be the word of choice through 7 sad developments to follow.,
So what were the things I didn’t see coming?
1. Kaliakmanis. I thought we were going to see a continuation of what we saw in the 2022 Wisconsin game and he’d continue to improve as a passer. Instead, I’ll call it: he is a bust.
2. Spann-Ford. I came into 2023 thinking Spann-Ford would play himself into the first round of the NFL. Instead he played himself into the short list of biggest regressions I have ever seen in a football helmet. It is a cruel joke to think he would be an anchor to a vastly improved receiver room that also featured…
3. CrAB. I assumed he’d be 100% after sitting a year. Unfortunately instead he is among the sad collection of guys that would never be the same after an ACL.
4. Fleck. I assumed we had the perfect brash young coach for the rapidly changing world of NIL and the transfer portal. Instead we have a guy that seems to be afraid of his own shadow, painfully conservative. Ironically as the losses mounted, the excuses did too and they centered on NIL - while losing a string of unthinkable games to teams that have the exact same limitations that the Gophers have.
5. Lindenberg. I figured we were going to see some NFL draft worthy linebacker play this season. Instead we saw walk ons, freshmen, and a glass jaw hamstring.
6. Rossi. Previous years led me to assume he could take 11 guys off the street and turn them into a top 20 defense. Instead, I learned the defensive depth, after a host of transfers and injuries, has left a roster worse than 11 guys off the street.
7. Running Back. After 2021 I figured lightening in the form of injury couldn’t hit the same place twice. It did. Perhaps some of that is on coaching for running a guy 40 times the minute he shows promise. But either way, we are into walk on territory here too, just like at linebacker and it shows.
What am I missing? I could have gone for 10 but this is at least 7 things I didn’t see coming that has resulted in a big turd of a season.