Sunday, September 7, 2008

Bennett having MRI

From the Gopher Sports Blog over at the Pioneer Press:

Gophers sophomore tailback Duane Bennett had a magnetic resonance imaging exam done Sunday morning on his left knee, which was injured after being hit by linebacker John Haneline on a 1-yard loss on a screen pass with 7:33 left in the third quarter of Saturday's 42-17 win at Bowling Green.

This would be a tough loss for the Gophers for many reasons, but primarily, in my opinion, the loss of Bennett as a receiver out of the backfield, a threat that really emerged during Saturday's win over Bowling Green, would be significant.

As an offense, Dunbar seems to be testing several options for moving the ball, and the more options that Weber has to throw to, pitch to, hand-off to, the better. I still have some trouble buying into the idea of Bennett as an every down back, mostly due to his size, but as part of a spread offense that does (hopefully, in the interest of ball control) a lot of short passing, I think that Bennett is an important option for Weber. In addition, Dunbar is clearly starting to work in Shady Salamon as a weapon, freeing up Bennett's athleticism as a threat in ways other than just rushing.

A couple of times last night the Gophers seemed to run what almost seemed to be screen options (as pointed out while watching the game with Gopher Nation from The Daily Gopher), where it looked as if Weber had the option to throw the screen to one of two possible options, one on either side of the field. Having Bennett available will be paramount if running this type of play is part of the strategy to spread the field.

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