Bowling Green quarterback Tyler Sheehan threw 40 passes for 163 yards last week . Nine different players had catches as the Falcons beat No. 25 Pittsburgh 27-17 .
That's 27 points against a Panthers defense that was fifth in the nation last season. Minnesota ranked No. 119 last season.
Tim Brewster can do the math.
“If we don’t get around their quarterback and get him out of his rhythm, we probably won’t be very successful,” the Gophers head coach said.
It was Sheehan who, last season, spoiled Brewster’s debut with the Gophers, throwing for 388 yards and two touchdowns in Bowling Green’s season-opening upset .
One game into the 2008 season, the defense hasn’t shown many signs of improvement against the pass.
Last week it gave up almost 400 yards to a 2-12 Northern Illinois team led by a true freshman quarterback starting his first game.
“Defensively, we know we have to improve,” Brewster said.
Brewster might start by replacing sophomore cornerback Ryan Collado in the secondary. Collado was burned on a pair of touchdowns against Northern Illinois — one for 91 yards and another for 52 .
Freshman Troy Stoudermire is “coming fast” behind Collado on the depth chart, Brewster said, and could get the start Saturday, although Collado is still listed higher on the depth chart as of Tuesday .
“Troy has a chance to be an outstanding player,” Brewster added. “He’s a fearless kid.”
Stoudermire, one of the “Skyline Four” that came to the Gophers this season out of Skyline High School in Dallas, played quarterback and wide receiver in high school and returned kicks against Northern Illinois. He returned two kicks for 74 yards , and could also get a chance as a punt returner, Brewster said.
“I guess the coaches have seen my progress,” Stoudermire said.
Young receivers will play
Receiver David Pittman , a junior college transfer, should make his debut this weekend. He was held out of the Northern Illinois game with a hamstring injury , which Brewster said has completely healed.
Along with Pittman, freshmen receivers Brandon Randolph , Brandon Green and Brodrick Smith will also likely make their debuts.
“You’re going to have to be thrown in the fire eventually,” quarterback Adam Weber said. “They’ll learn quick. We’ll find out if they can adjust.”