Next [Fresh]Men Up for Gophers With Trey Potts Out

Photo: Derek Regensburger – CSM

The Minnesota Gophers grabbed a huge win in West Lafayette vs the Purdue Boilermakers nine days ago (last Saturday). Two days later, after rumors had surfaced across many public and private forums online, the U of M released a statement on running back Trey Potts, who was rushed out of Ross-Ade Stadium as the game was being completed and remained at an Indiana hospital.

Later last week, on Friday, the Gophers released an update on Potts confirming what had been reported by Andy Greder and others earlier that day. Six days after arriving at the hospital, Trey had been discharged and was recovering back in Minnesota.

All indications I’ve received on Trey Potts’ injury points to a collapsed lung but nothing has been confirmed by team officials. Fleck started his press conference today by addressing Potts’ injury and officially ruling him out for the rest of the 2021 season. PJ made it very clear that he wouldn’t get into any specifics on the nature of the ailment.

Fleck praised the fast action of all medical personnel involved from beginning to end. Watch his entire Monday appearance HERE.

Next [Fresh]men up?

The Minnesota Gophers came into the 2021 season with six running backs on roster, five of which we expected to see sparingly as Mohamed Ibrahim tried to run his way into the top of the Golden Gopher record books. Five games in, they have just four backs left.

Two of the four, Bryce Williams and Cam Wiley, can be considered upper-classmen, with 3+ years of experience. We’ve seen Williams and Wiley used VERY sparingly throughout the year and the small sample size of results tells us why. Their 11 combined carries have totaled just 6 yards.

Instead, I expect PJ Fleck and Co to lean on their two 4-star freshmen running backs, Mar’Keise “Bucko” Irving and Ky Thomas. He mentioned Irving and Thomas first, when asked during Monday’s press conference about where they turn next.

Youth Movement Incoming

Mar’Keise “Bucko” Irving is a smaller-sized true freshman who’s already seen the field quite a bit. He blew up the scene vs Colorado, running for 6.0 yards per carry, but has struggled to bust through the trenches since. Still he’s been the clear RB2 for a few weeks, racking up 125 yards on 25 carries.

Redshirt freshman, Ky Thomas, could see the biggest jump in activity. The former Kansas Gatorade Player of the Year is much bigger than Irving and runs with more of a bulldozer mentality. Thomas has carried the ball just seven times on the season and they were all in the blowout win vs Colorado. Still, his 9.4 yards per carry that day is enough to earn intrigue.

The “lightning and thunder” dynamic will be a glimpse into the future for fans and coaches hope the two youngsters can carry the load while Tanner Morgan continues to search for the way he played in 2019. I did a deep dive into both freshmen running backs back when Mohamed Ibrahim went down with an injury vs Ohio State.

Eric Strack | Minnesota Sports Fan