Minnesota’s offense might be ranked 113th nationally but there is one thing that nobody can take away from the Gophers. That’s the fact that their offensive line is enormous.
“A huge offensive line. I mean huge,” Iowa State defensive coordinator Wally Burnham told CycloneFanatic.com. “That’s the biggest offensive line we have played. By far. They have one guy who is 360-some pounds.”
Burnham was actually off on that estimate. Minnesota’s junior offensive tackle, Jeff Willis is listed at 6-foot-7, 375-pounds. He’s the biggest of Gophers on the offensive front. Then, you have 6-foot-3, 332-pound junior Dominic Alford on the other end of the line. Two 300-plus guards in Christ Bunders (6-3, 316) and Matt Carufel (6-5, 303) are in the mix as well. Then there’s center, D.J. Burris, who stands tall at 6-foot-2, 290-pounds.
Behind this line, expect Minnesota to run the popular Wildcat formation t Iowa State. The good news is that Iowa State has plenty of experience in preparing for this type of attack.
“It seemed like weekly that we were working on the Wildcat,” said Iowa State senior linebacker Jesse Smith. “A lot of teams are going to it now. It gets that extra blocker in there. The quarterback doesn’t just hand it off. The quarterback is the guy running the ball so they have an extra blocker. It makes things more difficult.”
If Minnesota does go that route, freshman MarQueis Gray will likely be their weapon of choice.
“He is a good player. We are going to have to do everything right in order to stop him,” Smith said. “They can run up the middle. They can run out wide. They can do play action.”
Adam Weber will be Minnesota’s starting quarterback against Iowa State. Weber threw for 2,321 yards, 12 touchdowns and 14 interceptions this season.
Rhoads’ Take on the Situation “I think that Coach Brewster has been very open about his comments with that. I don’t know how much MarQueis (Gray) will play quarterback. He’ll line up back there and he’ll run the ball but I’m not sure if it is going to be a 50-50 type of split or anything like that. We know that we will see him out at receiver also. That’s not anything different than they have done for a good part of the season.”