What Minnesota Gophers fans watched on offense Friday night, and what they’ve been subjected to all season, is criminal. This was supposed to be the strength of this team, entering 2020. Tanner Morgan and Rashod Bateman were going to lead Minnesota to the top of the Big Ten, on that side of the football.
Instead, we’ve gotten the exact opposite. If Mo Ibrahim isn’t rushing for record-breaking numbers of yards and touchdowns, then this passing game cannot function. The most important parts of the Gopher offense returned after last season, except Tyler Johnson and Kirk Ciarrocca.
There are areas of the passing games, when you look on paper, that seem similar to 2019. This team is considerably worse, however, in the statistical categories that matter most (yards and touchdowns).
|Pass/Gm||2019||’19 B1G Rk||’20 B1G Rk||2020|
***These numbers are PRIOR to the game vs Iowa Friday. The rest of the Big Ten hasn’t played yet this week and season stats won’t update for Minnesota until tomorrow. After being updated, they won’t look any better
Something Needs to Change
I don’t know what is going on with Tanner Morgan but something has fucked up his confidence. He looks like a completely different quarterback from what we saw in 2019. That Tanner Morgan was throwing bombs down sidelines and always hitting receivers when they were open. He was constantly making defenses pay for making mistakes and he became known as one of the best RPO quarterbacks in college football.
This Minnesota Gophers offense doesn’t look like an RPO offense at all. The RPO’s look like run plays and I’m not sure Morgan even has the option to pull the ball out of Mo’s breadbasket. Mike Sanford has neutered Tanner Morgan.
It’s a completely different Tanner Morgan. Like he’s been neutered… https://t.co/nBq0YLR8eF— Minnesota Sports Fan (@realmnsportsfan) November 14, 2020
Morgan or Sanford or Both
At 1-3, there’s no reason why PJ Fleck should fear making major changes for the rest of this season. There’s nothing to lose anymore. If he’s confident Sanford isn’t the problem, then he needs to give Zack Annexstad a shot at starting QB. If he’s confident Morgan isn’t the problem, then it’s time to give Matt Simon an opportunity to call plays.
And if he’s confident in neither, then switch out both. This is a “free season” so now that our Big Ten West hopes are dead, it’s time to give playing (and playcalling) opportunities to others.
Honestly, we can hope and dream about these things all we want to but PJ Fleck hates making changes to his staff or his team. He had to be forced into it with DC Robb Smith, back in 2018, and I just don’t see him making a change at OC this week.
It’s more likely we see Annexstad get a start but I would have thought we’d see him in garbage time tonight, when the Gophers were down by 35 points. But we didn’t… so wtf do I know?
Eric Strack | Minnesota Sports Fan