2010 is a season of unknowns for the University of Minnesota Golden Gopher football team.
The defense will have nine new starters and the offense will have to adjust to another offensive coordinator.
The Gophers have five players, in particular, that we will see a lot of this fall.
Kim Royston, Safety
Royston, if healthy, which appears to be the case, is one of the best safeties in the Big Ten. He and Iowa's Tyler Sash are my favorites to be first-team All-Big Ten at the end of the season. He told the Minneapolis Star Tribune that he expects to be on the field when two-a-days begin on Aug. 6. Gophers head coach Tim Brewster also believes Royston will be ready by the opener against Middle Tennessee State. Click here for more information on Royston.
Keanon Cooper, Linebacker
Cooper is a tremendously talented player. He just did not have the opportunity to prove it last season behind Simoni Lawrence (whom he is expected to replace in the starting lineup) and Nathan Triplett. With the opportunity to play in all situations, he can showcase his talent and could be an All-Big Ten performer. Click here for more information on Cooper.
Adam Weber, Quarterback
The pressure is on Weber to succeed this season. He will be pushed this season by not only sophomore MarQueis Gray, but redshirt freshman Moses Alipate as well. Weber is a smart quarterback that knows what he needs to do. His shoulder, which he admitted to Minneapolis Star Tribune writer Phil Miller has bothered him all last season, is now healthy. A similar and simpler offensive scheme will greatly help whoever is playing quarterback. Weber played well in the spring and should return to the form that earned him third-team Freshman All-America and All-Big Ten freshman honors and second-team All-Big Ten as a sophomore. Last season's struggles are correctable issues. That brings hope for 2010. Click here for more information on Weber.
Duane Bennett, Running Back
Bennett had surgery in 2008, which slowed his progress. Last season, he got back into action and had to deal with the injured knee, inconsistent line play, and an overly complex offense. This season, he is poised to have a break out year. The offensive line returns with more continuity, the offense has been simplified and head coach Tim Brewster has placed an emphasis on improving the running game. With no go-to receiver, running the ball effectively is a must for the Gophers. Bennett will have competition from DeLeon Eskridge and the three incoming freshmen (Lamonte Edwards, Devon Wright, and Donnell Kirkwood). Click here for more information on Bennett.
Mike Rallis, Linebacker
Rallis was very impressive during spring practice, despite playing linebacker for the first time. He can fly around the defense and make plays. He should be the starting strong-side linebacker this fall. Click here for more information on Rallis.