For Gophers, replacing receiver Chris Autman-Bell will take a village – InForum

MINNEAPOLIS – In 2017, Gopher’s offensive coordinator Kirk Ciaroca described Tyler Johnson as a “man,” a rare player who dominates no matter the circumstances.

Ciarrocca-trained recipients Cory Davis and Kenny Brett were previously at this club, and Rashid Bateman would later reach that status.

Chris Outman Bell was up to that level. Ciaroca said it was his game, drive and work ethic that made it so difficult to swallow the 6-year-old’s leg injury at the end of the season in the 49-7 win over Colorado.

“I definitely think Chris was approaching that kind of category,” Ciaroca said on Wednesday. “He was really coming. That’s why your heart was torn for the young man.”

With the Autman-Bell finished, the Gophers will turn to a suite of passersby to fill the void, primarily Dylan Wright, Michael Brown-Stephens and Daniel Jackson receivers, and Brevyn Spann-Ford tight end.

“We told the players that all the things he brought to the team…no one person can take his place,” Ciaroca said. “But if everyone gets a little better, that’s how we have to replace him.”

During the Spring Ball, Ciaroca said he “felt like our two players were close to being good players, about to have that breakout moment as they became more consistent with it. I’ve seen each of them individually make amazing plays.”

Autman-Bell accounted for 23 percent of the Gophers’ goals in three weeks, a number that would have been higher had it not been for his injury in the first half of Saturday and the Novices knocking out in the second half of every quick win.

Spann-Ford is second with 17%, Brown-Stephens at 14% and Wright at 12. Jackson has 3% of goals after not playing in the first two games with an ankle injury, but that share is expected to jump.

Each of the Gophers’ highest receivers had an initial alignment by playing without conference, which could be boiled either into the aperture or wide. Here’s a breakdown of where they lined up most often, according to data from Pro Football Focus College:

Broad future:

  • Chris Ottman Bell: 86% of 132 shots
  • Dylan Wright: 98% of 112 shots
  • Daniel Jackson: 100% from 19 shots
  • Le’Meke Brockington: 89% of 82 shots
  • Ike White: 91% of 33 shots

Aperture receiver:

  • Michael Brown-Stephens: 69% from 140 shots
  • Jerry Clay: 91% of 75 shots

Of all the top receivers, Ciarrocca Autman-Bell moved the most, even 14 percent in aperture was still the minority of the time. I was also impressed with the ingenuity of Autman-Bell.
Brown Stevens said earlier this season that he feels more comfortable in the hole, and the team’s high shots show that the feeling is reciprocated by Yu’s coaches.

Ciarrocca showed that he was trying to prepare players for bigger moments, including ordering a shot on the field to Brockington during the 62-10 win over Western Illinois. Jerry scored the first touchdown of his career against Colorado, and Wright had an amazing TD hit by himself against the Buffalo.

Quarterback Tanner Morgan echoed the upcoming approach by the committee the Gophers would take to make up for the Autman-Bell loss. He said he worked to solidify the chemistry by throwing all the receivers during winter, spring, and summer workouts.

“The goal is to build that trust with everyone in that unit and they have confidence in us to be able to distribute the ball to them,” Morgan said. “Over time, keep doing the same ways. Getting every way in the road tree, feeling confident in this guy’s ability and this guy feeling confident handing the ball to them. They’ve got the reps in it. They’ve done it over and over again. That’s what builds confidence.” “.


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