Can Freshman Tyler Nubin Snag Starting Safety Spot Next to Winfield?

Photo: @T_Nubin27 - Twitter
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Today, PJ Fleck talked with KFAN before the Gophers last open practice of training camp, and one of the topics included in the discussion was who will start at safety this season next to Antoine Winfield Jr. His answer was a bit surprising… (22:00 mark in player below)

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Jordan Howden started most of last season as a freshman, in place of Winfield after his injury, and it was rocky to start; but he got better (just like the rest of the defense) when Joe Rossi took over. Coming into training camp, he was the clear guy to beat but according to Fleck, true freshman Tyler Nubin is giving him a run for his money.

Andy Greder of the Pioneer Press asked PJ about Tyler, after practice tonight, and he reiterated how much he loves this kid. (07:18 mark of video):

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So, it’s clear how highly PJ thinks of Tyler Nubin, especially as a freshman.

I chatted a bit with Ryan Burns from, while at practice, about the safety battle and he reminded me of who’s been getting all of the reps with the one’s… and that is Jordan Howden, NOT Tyler Nubin. I haven’t watched as much practice as Burns nor have I studied the roster NEARLY as much as he has but I think he’s definitely right (per usual). If Nubin was within grasp of that starting position, you sure think you’d see more of him repping with the starters…

Tyler Nubin was a great get for PJ Fleck and it looks like we will see plenty of him on the field, as a Freshman, but I’d be shocked to see him line up opposite of Antoine Winfield Jr., the Maroon and Gold take the field on August 29 vs South Dakota State University. I can’t wait to see what happens once the real games start playing out, though. That’s when we’ll really find out who belongs where.

Be excited about the young kids, like Tyler Nubin, that litter this team, though. There is a lot of young talent on this roster and it has size that we haven’t seen here… well… ever. A lot of that young talent will be on display come Saturdays too, because this is still one of the youngest rosters in college football.

Now that I think about it, I haven’t really heard PJ mention that very much of late. That guy is always changing his best.

Eric Strack | Minnesota Sports Fan

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