Minnesota Golden Gophers Replacing Plenty Of Players On Defense

Joseph GuntherContributor IAugust 9, 2010

MINNEAPOLIS, MN - SEPTEMBER 29:  Brian Hartline #9 of the Ohio State Buckeyes catches a pass for a touchdown while being defended by Ryan Collado #2 of the Minnesota Golden Gophers in the fourth quarter at the Metrodome on September 29, 2007 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Ohio State defeated Minnesota 30-7.  (Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images)
Jeff Gross/Getty Images

The Minnesota Golden Gopher defense led the football team last season.

Nine senior starters may have been a big reason for that.

This season, the belief is that the defense will be better with more speed and athleticism.

The Gophers are replacing Cedric McKinley and Barrett Moen at defensive end. They gave the Gophers stout defensive ends that held their own against the run, but gave little help as pass rushers.

It is needs to replace Eric Small and Garrett Brown at defensive tackle. They were one of the best defensive tackle tandems in the conference last season.

The three starting linebackers, Lee Campbell, Nathan Triplett and Simoni Lawrence, are also gone. They were the team leaders in tackles last season and were the leaders of the defense.

The final set of players that need to be replaced are Traye Simmons and Marcus Sherels at cornerback. They were good cover corners with a lot of speed.

Click here to view the favorites to replace those nine graduated starters and the other candidates in the mix.