Trey Potts is That Dude But He Can’t Be The Only Dude

Photo: Matt Blewett – USA Today

Minnesota Gophers head coach, PJ Fleck, needed someone to step up last weekend, after his team lost Mohamed Ibrahim to a season-ending leg injury the week before. Most of us, myself included, thought he’d turn to more of a platoon-style backfield during Saturday’s matchup vs the Miami (OH) Redhawks. But then, Tanner Morgan started handing the ball off to RS Sophomore Trey Potts… and just never stopped.

By the time it was over, the game score was closer than the Gophers had hoped and there was only one back who PJ Fleck trusted with the football. Still, they got the win, which is all that matters in football. And Treyson Potts, from Williamsport (PA), looked like the next big time Gopher running back.

How HEAVILY did PJ Fleck lean on Trey Potts? Whether it was planned or not entering the weekend, Potts carried the football 34 times and produced big numbers, running for 178 yards and 2 touchdowns, averaging 5.2 yards per carry. When asked about his workload after the game, Potts responded, “if that’s what it took, that’s what it took”.

Too much Potts?

Treyson Potts delivered vs the Redhawks in a way that I’m not even sure the Gopher coaching staff expected. But once he started taking carries, it quickly became clear that Trey was going to be that dude, going forward. Offensive Coordinator, Mike Sanford, likes having a bell-cow type running backs and once Potts got in a groove, neither Sanford or Fleck wanted to take the rock out of his hands.

That’s understandable but probably not the best route going forward. In retrospect, the Minnesota Gophers shouldn’t have to run their #1 back 34 times to squeak out a win over a MAC opponent like Miami (OH). In fact, they should have multiple running backs on roster who can rack up yards on non-power-five opponents. So, if PJ Fleck doesn’t have confidence in his current #2 and #3 backs, then it’s time to look toward the next crop of young studs.

In other words, if Cam Wiley or Bryce Williams can’t help move the sticks when called upon (about 10 times per game total), then it’s time to push them down the depth chart. We know the two freshmen, Ky Thomas and Mar’Keise “Bucky” Irving will eventually be a one-two punch that nobody in the Big Ten will want to deal with.

It might be time to preview the future, even if just to spell the new RB1, Trey Potts.

Fleck agrees

PJ spoke with media on Monday morning and agreed that other backs need to see more of the field, going forward. We’ll see if that’s how he feels when he’s in the heat of the moment this Saturday in Colorado and going forward.

“Trey did a really good job in the game. I thought he had a really good game. But again, we need some more guys to step in and play well, to take some of those carries off of him and rotate some guys, which we will as we go forward.”

PJ Fleck

Eric Strack | Minnesota Sports Fan