Don’t Blame Gopher Football’s Offense for Struggles

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Adam Weber

It seems like it’s something new every year for the Gophers.

In 2009, Minnesota struggled mightily on offense, ranking 106th in the FBS on the ground, with QB Adam Weber ranking 104th of 115 eligible quarterbacks in QB rating, and the offense as a whole coming in 100th in scoring.

The script flips when you enter the current 2010 campaign, with the Gophers offense ranking in the top 50 in passing yards/gm, and actually holding their own on the ground, ranking 76th in the FBS in that category.

But the problem has continually been the defense for this team in 2010, and the offense is simply not talented enough or have enough in it’s arsenal to keep up with the opposing team, a task that would be nearly impossible for any offense considering the struggles for the D.

The Gophers dropped to 100th out of 120 FBS teams in scoring defense, allowing almost 32 points a game as opposed to less than 21 in 2009, and the offense has been negatively affected in a big way by the defense’s inability to stop the opponent.

Giving up points is one thing, but the manner in which the Gophers give them up is crushing the offense’s effectiveness.

Of the 40 opponent drives the Gophers have gotten scored on this year, their opponents have taken over five minutes to do so only four times, with the average time of the scoring drive taking under three minutes.

Brock Lesnar defeated

Even more outrageous is the distance the opponent is covering in such a short period of time.

32 of the 40 drives the Gophers have been scored on have covered at least 60 yards.

With such quick strikes, that leads the Gophers offense to have play totals in the 70s and 80s, as it did in the Northern Illinois and Penn State games, and since it does not have the big play ability of it’s opponent’s offenses and is not facing defenses as porous as the Gophers, it struggles to advance the ball and create big plays.

There is something to be said for having the ball too long and the offense getting tired, just as there is the same argument on the other side of the ball.

The defense’s tendency to give up big plays is hurting the Gophers mightily, and from Brewster to Horton, that has not changed.

In order for the Gophers to save face on national television this Saturday night against #11 Ohio State, the defense has to help the offense out and instead of rolling over and not making the opponent work for their points, step up and give the offense a chance to breathe.

Ohio state-Minnesota

It was clear that losing Treye Simmons, Nate Triplett, and Lee Campbell among others after the 2009 season would be a tough hurdle to clear for the Gophers defense, but no one would’ve figured it would hurt almost as much on the offensive side of the ball.

-Mike Gallagher

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