Andy Greder / St. Paul Pioneer Press
MINNEAPOLIS -- To say Minnesota’s offense was plodding in the last two games of the 2017 season would be putting it politely. In losses to Northwestern and Wisconsin, the Gophers were scoreless while averaging 157 yards of total offense. This year, Minnesota’s offense is surging into those same matchups, starting against West Division champion Northwestern at 11 a.m. Saturday at TCF Bank Stadium.
MINNEAPOLIS — During the Gophers basketball team’s season-opening win over Nebraska Omaha on Tuesday, coach Richard Pitino drew insights from a new stat on the box score. The NCAA’s latest stats software now offers what has been common in the NBA: plus-minus, which tracks how players affect the game’s score.
MINNEAPOLIS — The poor performances attributed to Robb Smith’s defenses at Minnesota were often exacerbated by the play of the position group he oversaw. When Gophers head coach P.J. Fleck dismissed Smith as his defensive coordinator a week ago, breakdowns from linebackers were a factor.
MINNEAPOLIS — The Gophers were reeling, and the outlook was murky. Minnesota’s defense was lost; its coordinator had been fired; and a foe with top-flight offense was up next. But so much for the overwhelming evidence sealing the fate in another blowout loss.
MINNEAPOLIS -- Since the first week of January, the Gophers men’s basketball team has been looking to start fresh after its season gone sideways. Ten months ago, Minnesota’s promising 13-3 start unraveled when center Reggie Lynch was suspended over sexual assault investigations and guard Amir Coffey hurt his shoulder. Lynch was later expelled and Coffey was shutdown for the season.
MINNEAPOLIS — When asked of his decision to go for it on a fourth-down play last week, P.J. Fleck said he needed to set an aggressive example for his Gophers program. That went steps further Sunday night, Nov. 4, when Minnesota's head football coach fired his defensive coordinator Robb Smith after 21 games together. Before his first season in 2017, Fleck hired Smith after the pair had worked as assistants under Greg Schiano at Rutgers and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. After respectable stats a year ago, Fleck ended their partnership after the Gophers (4-5) allowed Big Ten opponents to average 43 points per game during a 1-5 start in the conference.
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. — Gophers senior running back Shannon Brooks’ abbreviated season officially ended Saturday, Nov. 3. After injuring his right knee during his season debut in a 38-31 win over Indiana a week ago, Minnesota coach P.J. Fleck confirmed the game-breaking rusher’s 2018 season is done.
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. — Gophers head coach P.J. Fleck returned to his home state Saturday, Nov. 3, as a nine-point favorite, looking to produce his first Big Ten road win in front of friends and family at Memorial Stadium. Instead, Fleck and defensive coordinator Robb Smith will return to Minnesota, seeking the shelter of their own homes after the Gophers defense continues an alarming trend of giving up enormous scoring plays.
MINNEAPOLIS -- The revolving door at running back continues for the Gophers. Senior Shannon Brooks is not expected to play against Illinois on Saturday, Nov. 3, but redshirt freshman Mohamed Ibrahim should return and be backed up by true freshman Bryce Williams, head coach P.J. Fleck said Tuesday on the Big Ten coaches teleconference.
MINNEAPOLIS -- While Minnesota Gophers basketball teammates wore either maroon or gold practice jerseys last week, senior forward Jordan Murphy had on a gray one with a message on the back. It read: “I practice harder than you.” Murphy was awarded the jersey by head coach Richard Pitino. “I’m really, really big on shaming the rest of the players,” Pitino joked Sunday.