Jeff Horton is the Gophers' third offensive coordinator in three years so it's easy to see why continuity has been a problem.
Coach Tim Brewster wanted Horton and the offensive players to learn about each other in spring ball and it looks like that goal was accomplished.
"There's not a lot changed," Brewster said. "Jeff has done a really nice job this spring. We're doing a lot of the same things. We're doing less of some things, more of some others, but I thought their execution this spring was really pretty good."
Horton's job is two-fold. He needs to get the most out of quarterback Adam Weber, whose performance slipped last season, and also improve the Gophers' running back, one of the weakest in the country in 2009.
The real test won't come until the season begins, but Brewster is happy with the results he saw in the spring.
"I was really pleased with how clean the scrimmage went and how we executed offensively," he said. "Overall I thought offensively we've made a step forward this spring."
Horton has coached high-powered offenses while he was the head coach UNLV and Nevada.
The defense defeated the offense, 49-26 in the game. The coaching staff came up with a scoring system that rewarded the defense for plays such as turnovers, sacks, tackles for a loss and forcing a punt or field goal.NOTES, QUOTES
--Linebacker Sam Maresh has impressed the coaches. Coach Tim Brewster noted Maresh's nose for the ball. The redshirt freshman is truly a feel-good story. Maresh had heart surgery two years ago after a congenital defect was found during a routine physical.
--The secondary was missing Kim Royston (broken leg) and Kyle Theret (suspension following drunken driving arrest). Brewster was pleased with the way youngsters Kenny Watkins, Chris Lewis, Kyle Henderson and Michael Carter filled in.
--Brewster is hesitant to name a starter at running back so it looks like the Gophers will go with a combination of players in the backfield. DeLeon Eskridge, Duane Bennett and R.J. Buckner could end up sharing the workload.
QB Moses Alipate -- Although it's unclear whether he will be the backup or third-stringer, his arm strength has impressed new offensive coordinator Jeff Horton.
LB Mike Rallis -- Rallis will be the starting strong side linebacker, and coach Tim Brewster thinks he'll be one of the team's leaders. He led the team with six tackles in the spring game.
WR Da'Jon McKnight -- Expected to be the Gophers' No. 1 target, he caught three passes for 53 yards in the spring game.
TE Eric Lair -- He caught the eye of the coaches with both his pass-catching abilities and run blocking.
QUOTE TO NOTE: "It's a weird feeling, for sure. I can feel the fire under my butt a little bit, knowing that this is my last go-around. I think all the guys kind of feel it. That's the job of the older guys on the team, to get the younger guys feeling how important the season is and how precious time is. This summer, before we know it, we're going to be playing at Middle Tennessee and it's going to go by quick and that's why we're going to make the most out of it." -- Quarterback Adam Weber, describing his feelings as he heads into his senior season.STRATEGY AND PERSONNEL
2010 OUTLOOK: An inexperienced team and a tough schedule will leave the Gophers very little margin for error in the upcoming season.
While the key players, particularly quarterback Adam Weber, will have to produce, Minnesota must stay away from injuries and get some breaks.
The highlight of the non-conference is a visit from USC on Sept. 18. The middle portion of the Big Ten schedule is especially grueling. The Gophers visit Wisconsin and Purdue before hosting Ohio State and Penn State.
SCOUTING THE OFFENSE: Quarterback Adam Weber must have a better season. His numbers last season weren't awful, but there was a dropoff from his 2008 production. Weber threw for only 13 touchdowns and had 15 interceptions in 2009 while his completion percentage dropped from 62 percent to 52 percent.
The Gophers also need to come up with a better running games. Minnesota ranked 111th in the country in rushing offense last season.
SCOUTING THE DEFENSE: This unit was one of the major areas of concern going into the spring and not much has changed. Safeties Kim Royston and Kyle Theret, the only returning starters, both ran into bad news this spring.
Royston broke both bones in his left leg during a seven-on-seven drill. The senior needed two procedures on the leg, one of which was to insert a titanium rod. It's hoped he will return when the season begins. Royston started every game in 2009, made 86 tackles, good for third on the team, and had one interception.
Meanwhile, Theret, a two-year starter, was charged with fourth degree drunken driving in March and was suspended for spring ball. He's expected to return for the fall, he's not showing the kind of leadership the coaches want to see from a senior.
SCOUTING THE SPECIAL TEAMS: Dan Orseske, who didn't play last season because of mono, returns as the punter. He has the leg strength to be a weapon when it comes to field position but must develop more consistency. Eric Ellestad made all four of his field goals in the spring game, including a 50 yarder. He also made kicks of 20, 32 and 35 yards. Wide receiver Troy Stoudermire will be relied on when it comes to returning and covering kicks.
--Linebacker Gary Tinsley was arrested and could face a DWI charge. He didn't play in the spring game and his status with the team is unclear.
--Left guard Matt Carufel had his spring cut short because of surgery on his left shoulder. He's expected to be ready when the season begins.
--Bryant Allen broke his right ankle in a scrimmage a week before the spring game. He had surgery and is expected to begin working out in the summer.
--The Oct. 30 home game against Ohio State will be aired nationally on either ABC, ESPN or ESPN2
Previous Report: 04/28/2010