Minnesota Golden Gophers spring game takeaways

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Joe Broback

Contributor at Champion Insiders
Joe is a writer covering the NFL, NBA, NHL and college football. He also currently writes for SB Nation’s Underdog Dynasty, covering the American Athletic Conference since 2016. Joe enjoys collecting shoes, playing sports, and anything fitness related.
Joe Broback
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A little weather couldn’t stop the Minnesota Golden Gophers from playing their spring game. With a new indoor facility, they simply headed indoors. Normally, the spring games feature more concerns than excitements. This year was the opposite. In an entertaining 38-20 win for the maroon team, the Gophers gave fans something too look forward to in the fall. What can we take away from this game? Let’s dive right in to some things we learned.

The quarterback competition remains tight.

No one should have expected this to be settled in the spring, and the spring game didn’t do much to separate either candidate. Zack Annexstad and Tanner Morgan both looked solid, leaving the winner to be decided in the fall. Both threw the ball well Saturday afternoon, but both also threw an interception each. Overall, both showed they can be solid options should they win the job.

No Rodney Smith or Shannon Brooks.

Minnesota found themselves in familiar territory: missing their top running backs. Smith and Brooks were held out of the spring game, an expected move. Mohamed Ibrahim was also limited, but Bryce Williams fully participated. Both teams found creative ways to run the ball during the game, including a big man touchdown.

Daniel Faalele scored the most entertaining touchdown.

With limited options at quarterback, both teams found creative ways to move the ball on the ground. The maroon team not only won the game, but won in the creative category as well. With the ball in the redzone, the 400 pound Faalele lined up next to Annexstad in the offensive backfield. What happened next was awesome.

Will Minnesota try this in a real game? Probably not, but I certainly wouldn’t want to tackle this man. Faalele actually showed some athleticism on his way to the endzone, and his teammates went crazy.

Some big names making big defensive plays.

Minnesota moves on from players like Blake Cashman, but retains great players as well. Not only does Carter Coughlin return, but so does Antoine Winfield. Winfield was limited in the spring game while he continues to recover from his injury last season, but Coughlin made an impact. Same with Boye Mafe and Thomas Rush. Mafe showed off his pass rushing abilities early, while Rush won co-MVP thanks largely to his interception return for a touchdown. The Gophers have potential on this side of the ball, and they showed that towards the end of the year in 2018.

The Gophers have potential on this side of the ball, and they showed that towards the end of the year in 2018.

There’s still plenty to work on going forward. Mistakes by both quarterbacks will be addressed, but there also will be praise. Minnesota showcased a team that appeared to be solid, something we haven’t seen in a long time. Talent is spread everywhere on both sides of the ball, and you can see the potential for both the offense and defense. Minnesota should receive some recognition as a dark horse team, and we saw why today. Could we be entering a new era in Golden Gopher football? It definitely seems that way.

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