July 19, 2007

What will happen on the field?

While the results of the charges against four former Golden Gophers yet to be determined, one thing is for sure they will not wear the Maroon and Gold ever again. Head coach Tim Brewster dismissed all four players from the team effective immediately. The results of a trial may not be know for months, but one thing is sure, the Gophers have plenty of holes to fill on the field and very little time to find ways to fill them.

The biggest impact on the field will come in the defensive secondary. Dominic Jones was the leader of the secondary and one of the better defensive players on a team that still lacks talent on that side of the ball. Fellow cornerback Keith Massey was likely to be on the two deep and was a contender to start opposite of Jones.

Defensive coordinator Everett Withers and defensive backs coach Ronnie Lee do have two players returning with starting experience at corner back, but neither has established themselves as a consistent performer. Desi Steib split starting time last season with Jamal Harris and appeared to be on top of the depth chart opposite Jones leaving spring practice. He finished last year with 19 tackles and a pass break up. Harris was moved to safety during the spring, but is likely to be moved back to corner with the sudden shortage at that position. Harris has started on and off during his entire career. He finished 2006 with 50 tackles and three interceptions. Three true freshmen will likely have a chance to make a big impact in 2007. Two Texans, Curtis Thomas and Justin Chatman would appear to have the best chances to play early. Thomas is more of a big physical corner who could play either safety or cornerback. Chatman is a smaller player who has great speed. Ryan Collado from Cincinnati, Ohio will also have a chance to earn early playing time if he can impress the staff.

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