Some Thursday night practice takes




Schnauzer

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I mentioned this elsewhere but the Twitter takes from the open practice last night were universally giddy about the practice. Of course it was only one practice and it is hard to gauge things when players are up against their own teammates.

But, I follow a lot of Gopher football sources on Twitter and it did impress me how excited and positive the reactions were, related to a variety of individual players as well as the team as a whole.

It’s hard not to be excited right now, and it continues to be notable how far off the radar the team is nationally and even regionally with many B1G commentators.

Something has got to give. Someone’s wrong. We shall see.
 
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WriterGoph

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I mentioned this elsewhere but the Twitter takes from the open practice last night were universally giddy about the practice. Of course it was only one practice and it is hard to gauge things when players are up against their own teammates.

But, I follow a lot of Gopher football sources on Twitter and it did impress me how exited and positive the reactions were, related to a variety of individual players as well as the team as a whole.

It’s hard not to be excited right now, and it continues to be notable how far off the radar the team is nationally and even regionally with many B1G commentators.

Something has got to give. Someone’s wrong. We shall see.

People not close to the team are looking at the turnover on the OL and DL and assuming we can't possibly have guys who are ready to play well. They're looking at last year's offense and not giving enough weight to the Sanford/Kirk C change. And they're maybe thinking our two top RBs are coming back from major injuries.

If you're not following those details closely, it's enough to make you think we could be average. And we have to go on the road to play traditional powers MSU, PSU and Wiscy (but there has been a LOT of turnover at those programs too).

I personally can't wait til we unleash it all on the rest of the nation!!
 



Oregon Gopher

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People not close to the team are looking at the turnover on the OL and DL and assuming we can't possibly have guys who are ready to play well. They're looking at last year's offense and not giving enough weight to the Sanford/Kirk C change. And they're maybe thinking our two top RBs are coming back from major injuries.

If you're not following those details closely, it's enough to make you think we could be average. And we have to go on the road to play traditional powers MSU, PSU and Wiscy (but there has been a LOT of turnover at those programs too).

I personally can't wait til we unleash it all on the rest of the nation!!

MSU is a traditional power?
 

WriterGoph

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MSU is a traditional power?

They have won the East and gone to the CFP. They were always very good under Dantonio. They were a Top 10 team for most of last year.

Take out "traditional" if it suits you but they have been better than Penn State if you look at the last decade. They've beaten Michigan and Ohio State more often too.
 

Face The Facts

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People not close to the team are looking at the turnover on the OL and DL and assuming we can't possibly have guys who are ready to play well. They're looking at last year's offense and not giving enough weight to the Sanford/Kirk C change. And they're maybe thinking our two top RBs are coming back from major injuries.

If you're not following those details closely, it's enough to make you think we could be average. And we have to go on the road to play traditional powers MSU, PSU and Wiscy (but there has been a LOT of turnover at those programs too).

I personally can't wait til we unleash it all on the rest of the nation!!

Teams who finish top of division generally get the benefit of the doubt that they can re-load. Teams who don't win divisions don't get that benefit of the doubt that they can re-load.

Other teams who get the benefit of the doubt are teams who recruit top 25 classes most years (Nebraska).

In reality, none of it matters because each re-load is independent of each other from a talent standpoint. The piece that is a constant is the head coaches ability to bring in the right type of bodies for their system, their systems which build consistency in their program, and their ability to develop players and manage a roster.
 





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Well that explains why our best receiving tight end couldn’t get on the field then. He is so good at both blocking and receiving that we couldn’t play him

He played in all 13 games and started 3 of them last year. It was by far his best season so far. And that's while playing behind Kieft, that guy who was the best blocking TE in college and is now in the NFL.
 

Some guy

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He played in all 13 games and started 3 of them last year. It was by far his best season so far. And that's while playing behind Kieft, that guy who was the best blocking TE in college and is now in the NFL.
Correct. He played a bunch but wasn’t an every down player
 



Costa Rican Gopher

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Correct. He played a bunch but wasn’t an every down player

I don't have the snap count in front of me, but BSF played a ton last season. He wasn't some lightly used reserve. We were the most run oriented team outside the service academies. Ko Kieft was/is a freak blocking TE, so that obviously made Kieft TE #1. Spann is not as good a blocker as Kieft (few are), but he's still an above average blocker. Hopefully this is his breakout year. It's reasonable to say he has the tools to play on Sundays. Fingers crossed.
 

Some guy

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I don't have the snap count in front of me, but BSF played a ton last season. He wasn't some lightly used reserve. We were the most run oriented team outside the service academies. Ko Kieft was/is a freak blocking TE, so that limited snaps for TE #2. Spann is not as good a blocker as Kieft (few are), but he's still an above average blocker. Hopefully this is his breakout year. It's reasonable to say he has the tools to play on Sundays next year. Fingers crossed.
Yeah. And the situations he wasn’t used was because he wasn’t a good enough blocker. And we ran the ball like 80% of the time

I don’t think we are disagreeing here.
You are taking my original statement a little too personally.

If he can be an every down player this year, it will be really good for us because he is a great receiver. So far in his career he hasn’t been a good enough blocker to be an every down TE.
 

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Randy chimes in:

Here are some highlights of Thursday practice:

* Running backs Mohamed Ibrahim and Trey Potts continued to look sharp in their return from season-ending injuries. They ran hard and got the tough yards inside while taking the bulk of the carries with the first team.

* Notre Dame transfer Quinn Carroll got a longer look at right tackle, but Fleck indicated that position might be a job share among Carroll, Martes Lewis and JJ Guedet during the season.

* There's an intriguing competition at quarterback behind starter Tanner Morgan. Redshirt junior Cole Kramer is showing he's more than just a Wildcat formation QB, while redshirt freshman Athan Kaliakmanis is progressing well.

"Cole Kramer is getting a lot better. He looks so much more natural, so much more fluid,'' Fleck said. "… Athan's taking huge strides, and everybody has seen that. He's got incredible intangibles, but it's the small things – the snap count, the volume, the leadership, the attention to detail, the play clock – other than arm talent that go into winning football games.''

* Defensive back Terell Smith continued his productive training camp with a handful of pass breakups. "He has poured it on in training camp, and he's been so impressive,'' Fleck said. "His confidence is through the roof. And he's making huge plays.''

* Michael Dixon's size and versatility has stood out. "He is a good-looking football player,'' Fleck said of the 6-2, 210-pound junior. "Every time I look at him, I think he'd be a great 'Will' linebacker, but he plays safety, and he moves like a safety. He's a guy that has impressed us so much that we're gonna think about him at nickel.''

* The Gophers will scrimmage on Saturday, and Fleck expects to get a lot of work done.

"We're gonna hit every situation,'' he said. "It's going to be very different than the other times we've been in scrimmage. You can do a lot with this team, you can push this team differently, push a lot of different buttons.''


Go Gophers!!
 

Some guy

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Sounds pretty reasonable to speculate the Athan is a a minimum QB3
 

Costa Rican Gopher

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Yeah. And the situations he wasn’t used was because he wasn’t a good enough blocker. And we ran the ball like 80% of the time

I don’t think we are disagreeing here.
You are taking my original statement a little too personally.

If he can be an every down player this year, it will be really good for us because he is a great receiver. So far in his career he hasn’t been a good enough blocker to be an every down TE.

 

Urbandale

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Sounds pretty reasonable to speculate the Athan is a a minimum QB3
I don't think that's speculation at all. If Athan wasn't at least QB3, that would mean true freshman Jacob Knuth had already passed him up.

I think this is Athan's team starting next season.
 


Some guy

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With how players are rotated in and out, very few would be considered an "every down player".
Even if you are not in on every play it is pretty easy to see the difference between WR1 vs rotational player
TE1 vs rotational player
RB1 vs rotational player
LT1 vs rotational player


“Every down player” doesn’t mean every snap. It means a vast majority of the snaps and not situationally subbed out for a different player at the same position
 

PMWinSTP

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Even if you are not in on every play it is pretty easy to see the difference between WR1 vs rotational player
TE1 vs rotational player
RB1 vs rotational player
LT1 vs rotational player


“Every down player” doesn’t mean every snap. It means a vast majority of the snaps and not situationally subbed out for a different player at the same position
So a starter.
 

Some guy

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So a starter.
Generally yes with a few exceptions

Some starters play less than other backups


But yeah. Starting 3 games last year while playing in 13 tells me he was more a rotational guy than an every down guy. A better breakdown would be snaps played at a position.

But we don’t have to break it down that far:
There were moments he wasn’t on the field because he wasn’t good enough at something and another guy at his position played instead. In my watching, I feel it was blocking more than Receiving
 



MaxyJR1

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Yeah. And the situations he wasn’t used was because he wasn’t a good enough blocker. And we ran the ball like 80% of the time

I don’t think we are disagreeing here.
You are taking my original statement a little too personally.

If he can be an every down player this year, it will be really good for us because he is a great receiver. So far in his career he hasn’t been a good enough blocker to be an every down TE.
I don't see us using 7 OL formations this year.
 


btowngopher

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Generally yes with a few exceptions

Some starters play less than other backups


But yeah. Starting 3 games last year while playing in 13 tells me he was more a rotational guy than an every down guy. A better breakdown would be snaps played at a position.

But we don’t have to break it down that far:
There were moments he wasn’t on the field because he wasn’t good enough at something and another guy at his position played instead. In my watching, I feel it was blocking more than Receiving
BSF wasn’t good enough at blocking to take Kieft’s snaps. That doesn’t necessarily mean BSF isn’t a good blocker, but he probably wasn’t as good as Kieft at blocking last year, few if any were.
 

Dakota2

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Generally yes with a few exceptions

Some starters play less than other backups


But yeah. Starting 3 games last year while playing in 13 tells me he was more a rotational guy than an every down guy. A better breakdown would be snaps played at a position.

But we don’t have to break it down that far:
There were moments he wasn’t on the field because he wasn’t good enough at something and another guy at his position played instead. In my watching, I feel it was blocking more than Receiving
Are you looking for some kind of prize for figuring out Kieft was a better blocker than Spann-Ford and every other TE on the planet and that he would get more time on a team that challenged Navy on run reliance?
 





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