Thursday, August 27, 2009

Gophers Decide on Two Starters- Except They Don't

This morning the Strib noted that Coach Brewster has named his last two starters on the offensive line. There's good news and bad news with this story, so being the happy-go-lucky always chipper-cheerful Gopher supporters that we are, let's give the good news first: the fact that Coach Brew has finally named the starters at center and guard. Senior Jeff Tow-Arnett will start at center over sophomore Trey Davis while sophomore Chris Bunders (someone might want to tell the big guy to tone down the smile in his roster photo. You're a big, tough lineman Chris!) will start at left guard ahead of junior D.J. Burris. The bad news? Brew states that both Davis and Burris "probably would see significant action" in the opener against Syracuse.

Why that's bad news is because it says to me that none of the four really asserted themselves as the definite starter. Competition is healthy and good if it produces a clear-cut starter, but if you've got a situation like this where you have two guys competing and neither really stands out, that usually means you're naming a starter because you have to, not because you REALLY believe one's better than the other. This is especially troubling on the line , as not only is the center the leader and most important guy, but cohesiveness as a unit is so important to the success of the blocking. Instead of five guys taking all the first team snaps as a group and getting to know and trust one another, we instead get a mixture of seven at five spots trying to figure things out on the fly. For the love of Pete two of these four big ol' Minnesotans better assert themselves as THE guy at their position in the game against the Orange, otherwise it could really effect our blocking and the effectiveness of the offense. Remember how much fun that wasn't last year? Yeah, I don't want to have to go through that again either.

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