Posted by Chip Patterson
Golden Gopher fans new that they were going to see some fresh faces on the field when Minnesota kicks off their season Thursday night against Middle Tennessee State. After Tuesday it's very possible they will be starting an entirely new defense.
The Golden Gophers entered the season needing to replace nine starters on the defensive side of the ball, with only safeties Tim Royston and Kyle Theret returning from 2009. Royston is still rehabbing from a broken leg suffered in spring practice, and his status for Thursday night is unknown. To make matters worse, on Tuesday Minnesota head coach Tim Brewster announced that Theret would sit out season opener as part of his continued suspension for drunken driving charges in March.
Theret led the team in interceptions and recorded tackles in 2009, and the Gophers could use his experience on the field. But Brewster says that Thursday's game is an extension of Theret's "indefinite" suspension, and has yet to put a timetable on his return. Starting offensive tackle Dom Alford was also suspended for Thursdays game for violating unspecified team rules.
If there is any upside to this story for Minnesota fans, it's that their brand new defense will not have to face Middle Tennessee State's star dual-threat quarterback Dwight Dasher. Dasher was suspended for the first three games for failing to pay back a gambling debt.