Strack: Gophers Have a New Three-Headed Monster at Running Back

BleedGopher

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per Strack:

3-Headed Monster?​

Potts finished with 26 carries, 121 yards and 3 touchdowns. But PJ Fleck and the offensive coaching staff talked earlier in the week about getting other running backs involved on Saturday vs Colorado, to take some of the load off of Potts. So after redshirt Junior, Bryce Williams, fumbled his first carry early in the game, Fleck turned to true Freshman, Mar’Keise “Bucky” Irving, who immediately electrified the CU football field.

The two of them, along with some well timed Tanner Morgan completions, had Colorado questioning their existence as a football program. Redshirt Freshman running back, Ky Thomas, got in on the action late and looked great too.


Go Gophers!!
 


MNVCGUY

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Would like to see Ky get some carries against a non beaten down team, but Potts and Irving look like they could be a really fun 1-2 punch.
 

#2Gopher

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Looking forward to seeing how Potts and Irving do this Saturday, but especially looking forward to seeing how they do against Purdue to give me an idea as to what they really can do. Regardless, I do feel better about the situation.
 



50PoundHead

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Would like to see Ky get some carries against a non beaten down team, but Potts and Irving look like they could be a really fun 1-2 punch.
Potts and Irving could develop into a nice thunder-and-lightning combination. Agree it would be nice to get Thomas into the rotation as well. I've always liked Bryce Williams, but it appears Fleck has the same allergic reaction to fumbles as Kill did.
 


MNVCGUY

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Potts and Irving could develop into a nice thunder-and-lightning combination. Agree it would be nice to get Thomas into the rotation as well. I've always liked Bryce Williams, but it appears Fleck has the same allergic reaction to fumbles as Kill did.
Hard to really know what to make of Williams. He looked ok in the action he got in 2018, not great but serviceable. However since then he has done next to nothing and had really limited production on the opportunities he has been given.

Wiley is the other one that is tough to figure out. I am not a fan of his running style as he seems far too easy to bring down, but he is clearly a great athlete. Wouldn't shock me to see him transfer if he is dead set on being a running back or maybe a position change if he wants to stick it out here.

Assuming Irving has a good grasp on the playbook and can handle all the blitz pickups and what not, I would love to see like a 60/40 split between him and Potts (Potts getting the 60). Think that could be a really explosive combo. Thomas is the x-factor as he looked impressive against Colorado but that was also late and against a team that had been beaten into submission.

The awesome part is that it is easy to look at the guys we have and see the potential for really strong production. Losing Ibrahim was a big blow but through 2 games at least it appears the cupboard is not bare at RB and might even be stocked with some really good options moving forward.
 




PoockItInfor6

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Amazing it takes 2 games to go from “Ibrahim is out, our season is over” to “Gophers have found a 3 headed RB monster”… 🤯🤯
For the record I feel for Mo - this was supposed to be a Heisman type season for him, but Potts, Irving, and company have really stepped in and stepped it up in his absence!
 


boofbonser

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Sigh. Last year didn't count, so this is still his "true" freshman year. C'mon man.
He is listed as a redshirt freshman and there is no guarantee he or any other player use that extra year. It will be interesting to see what percentage of players use that extra year.
 




tmvander

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Do we think that Irving and Thomas both will play more than 4 games this year and burn the red shirt? This is assuming nobody else goes down with injury.
 

A_Slab_of_Bacon

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Do we think that Irving and Thomas both will play more than 4 games this year and burn the red shirt? This is assuming nobody else goes down with injury.
Think generally PJ will play guys if he feels like playing them gets the team something.

I wouldn't be surprised to see them play more.

Having said that I think PJ does ask the players and even their family (he noted doing that once) if they're ok with playing earlier than anticipated sometimes. I don't think it will be a spur of the moment decision, but wouldn't be surprised to see them play.
 

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Do we think that Irving and Thomas both will play more than 4 games this year and burn the red shirt? This is assuming nobody else goes down with injury.
I sure hope so! After seeing these guys, no way do I wanna see Bryce Williams or Wiley back out there. One more schollie just opened up for next year, maybe 2. Do we have a RB commit in this class?
 

MNVCGUY

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For the record I feel for Mo - this was supposed to be a Heisman type season for him, but Potts, Irving, and company have really stepped in and stepped it up in his absence!
Yep. The doom and gloom went away quickly as the other guys showed they can be effective too. Definitely sucks for Mo but he is embracing his role as coach and enjoying the success of the others which is awesome to see.

Having a really deep experienced O-Line is a huge advantage for breaking in the new guys.
 

tmvander

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I sure hope so! After seeing these guys, no way do I wanna see Bryce Williams or Wiley back out there. One more schollie just opened up for next year, maybe 2. Do we have a RB commit in this class?
We do. Zach Evans who is a high 3* out of Texas.
 

MNVCGUY

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Do we think that Irving and Thomas both will play more than 4 games this year and burn the red shirt? This is assuming nobody else goes down with injury.
Irving will 100% go beyond 4 games since he is apparently the primary kick returner as well. Probably remains to be seen with Thomas but if Williams/Wiley keep struggling I don't see them keeping Thomas back if they feel he can be the #3 option.
 


kg21

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Do we think that Irving and Thomas both will play more than 4 games this year and burn the red shirt? This is assuming nobody else goes down with injury.
This is another reason Ibrahim's injury sucks. Who knows if they would stay, but we probably don't burn a year with them this year.
 

A_Slab_of_Bacon

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This is another reason Ibrahim's injury sucks. Who knows if they would stay, but we probably don't burn a year with them this year.
I think in CFB land you play who you can when they can contribute and just expect that the next man up will be good too. Can't sweat it too much / try to predict the future.
 
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MNVCGUY

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I think in CFB land you play who you can when they can contribute and just expect that the next man us will be good too. Can't sweat it too much / try to predict the future.
Yep, when a coach first gets to a school preserving redshirts might mean something as you are looking to the future. But once you are in win now mode (where the Gophers currently are) you play the guys who can help you win and you don't worry about what that might mean 4-5 years down the line.

That isn't to say you don't try and redshirt guys when you can but if a player can help now you don't hold them back in order to preserve it.
 


Bob_Loblaw

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Do we think that Irving and Thomas both will play more than 4 games this year and burn the red shirt? This is assuming nobody else goes down with injury.
I definitely think they will both play more than 4 games barring an injury. We run the ball a lot and if they continue to develop, it probably wouldn't be the worst thing in the world for Potts to be right around 20 carries per game.

It'll be interesting to see what happens at the end of the year though. I believe Irving is already at 4 games and he is clearly our #2 back right now. So, he'll play. With Thomas, it kind of depends. I think he helps us win football games this year, so I hope he plays. However, I can envision a scenario where Bucky and Potts take up almost all of the carries and you're really talking about 2-3 plays per game - - then maybe PJ saves those for Williams and Wiley?

At the end of the day, if Thomas RS's, he will be a 3rd year FR and playing behind a 2nd year SO next year. Which could be fine but I'm not sure if Thomas necessarily wants to be here in 2025, he'll be almost 25 years old (the average NFL RB is 26).
 

stemar

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Potts and Irving could develop into a nice thunder-and-lightning combination. Agree it would be nice to get Thomas into the rotation as well. I've always liked Bryce Williams, but it appears Fleck has the same allergic reaction to fumbles as Kill did.
I am allergic to his career 3.8 ypc average.
 

Johnnyboy18

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Do we think that Irving and Thomas both will play more than 4 games this year and burn the red shirt? This is assuming nobody else goes down with injury.
I hope so. It Mo comes back next year there's a chance one of them will redshirt next year anyways.
 

FireDaveLee

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I wouldn't be worried about them redshirting; it seems like finding RB's recently to fill in hasn't really been an issue. David Cobb emerged, then when he left, Smith & Brooks picked up the slack. When they got injured, Mo stepped in. Now Mo going down, it seems as if all three in Potts/Bucky/Ky are somewhat beginning to emerge. In 2 years, there will most likely be some more. Replacing RB's hasn't seemed to be Minnesota's biggest problem over the years, compared to other positions.

As for the emergence of the backs, as much as Mo going down hurts, I do think we may be able to see some new things with these 3. In the coming weeks, I'm guessing it will expand even more. Seemed to get a glimpse of it on Saturday with Potts coming in motion from the slot.
 

MNVCGUY

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I definitely think they will both play more than 4 games barring an injury. We run the ball a lot and if they continue to develop, it probably wouldn't be the worst thing in the world for Potts to be right around 20 carries per game.

It'll be interesting to see what happens at the end of the year though. I believe Irving is already at 4 games and he is clearly our #2 back right now. So, he'll play. With Thomas, it kind of depends. I think he helps us win football games this year, so I hope he plays. However, I can envision a scenario where Bucky and Potts take up almost all of the carries and you're really talking about 2-3 plays per game - - then maybe PJ saves those for Williams and Wiley?

At the end of the day, if Thomas RS's, he will be a 3rd year FR and playing behind a 2nd year SO next year. Which could be fine but I'm not sure if Thomas necessarily wants to be here in 2025, he'll be almost 25 years old (the average NFL RB is 26).
Curious how Irving is already at 4 games when we have only played 3 games this season :)

I agree he is going to play but technically he could still play one more then sit the rest of the year.
 




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