... and it appears that the Gopher beat writers at the Strib AND the Pioneer Press have actually taken notice. Looks like both Kent Youngblood and Marcus Fuller were at Gopher practice yesterday, as both blogged about what they saw.
Both writers made notice of the changes on defense, which is going to be much scrutinized after losing 8 starters from a unit that kept the Gophers in most games last season. Without Kyle Theret on the field, who I guess has gotten into a little bit of trouble with the law which subsequently has caused him to be suspended from the team, Kenny Watkins has stepped in and is taking reps with the first team. I'll be honest, I don't know much about Kenny Watkins, but it appears that he runs a 4.4-40 yard dash, and some extra speed in the secondary can't hurt.
Youngblood also has a nice piece today on sophomore safety-turned-linebacker Mike Rallis. The Gophers had GREAT SUCCESS!!!! (Sorry, I just channeled my inner-Borat there) with moving Simoni Lawrence from S to LB the last two years, and it appears that Rallis may be cut from the same mold. Youngblood notes that Rallis isn't quite as fast as Lawrence, but LB coach John Butler thinks Rallis is smart enough to pick up the position and make a difference.
This brings up a question... Are you like me? Despite the fact that our defense lost 8 starters and is basically starting from scratch, are you more confident in their ability to make a difference week-to-week than you are the offense? I sure am, and I think the reason why is because we actually have some young kids with some talent there, AND will be building off of a defensive scheme that has had some very good success the past two years.
On the other side of the ball, I still think that our WR group is incredibly talented, but just what are we going to be able to do with them unless we can get some consistent production out of the QB position? And how are we going to get production out of the QB position if the O-line can't protect? And speaking of the O-line, are they going to be able to actually run-block this year? And speaking of run-blocking, who is our QB going to be handing the ball off to? The RB-by-committee approach has NOT worked for this team, but we've got some young, talented RB's coming in this year... can any of them make an immediate impact?
So yeah... there's some questions on the offensive side of the ball.