Preview Minnesota Gopher Football, upgrade or go back to top flight in the quarterback

Back in his eleventh year as Gopher’s starting quarterback is Tanner Morgan. Well, 11 seasons is just a slight exaggeration, but Morgan has been under the Gophers position since October 2018 and has been the most successful Gopher QB in decades.

His professional year was in 2019, and the 2020 and 2021 seasons were good, but not great. What does this mean for 2022?


Year two was under offensive coordinator Mike Sanford and the Gophers boasted one of the best offensive lines in the Big Ten. This translated into having one of the best hasty attacks in the country. (Maybe I should copy and paste this into a playback/downgrade upgrade).

The end result was that the gophers didn’t go through much. They were 14th in pass attempts in the Big Ten, and died in the end with nearly 50 total attempts. The good news is that they were relatively effective at passing the ball. Recent attempts but 8 in 1% completion and 11% in total yards through the air.

But it wasn’t a balanced offense and at the end of the season, Sanford was abandoned.

For Morgan, it wasn’t a bad year. Unfortunately for him, his prime year will always be 2019, which was one of the best solo seasons by a gopher quarterback in the program’s history.

Behind Morgan in 2021 was Cole Kramer. The sophomore was used primarily as a wild option but was allowed to throw three passes, two of which were to land.

Spring preview – Link

The focus here is really more on Kirk Ciaroca’s return than on the specific improvements we think we’ll see from Tanner Morgan.

But while Ciarrocca said he’s spending spring practice reconnecting with Morgan and making sure the two are on the same page in terms of his strengths and weaknesses, he believes improving Minnesota’s passing game is more than just a quarterback.

“I’m talking about music, right? It’s like an orchestra,” Ciaroca explained during a media availability this spring. “Everyone has to play on time and when they’re in tune, it’s nice to listen to. When someone is out of tune, they sound ugly. So we have to reset everything there.”

Make the entire attack synchronized and work together, summoning plays that work with each other to maintain a balance of defense; Which will be important in 2022.


beginning: Tanner Morgan
DepthCole Kramer (Jr), Athan Kallikmanes (rFR) and Jacob Knuth (tFR)

So we have to bring her back with Morgan for one final season. The kid who was committed to PJ Fleck in Western Michigan but came with him to Minnesota gets another round. Morgan has been basically Flick’s quarterback for his entire tenure (I know you have to count Demery Croft’s year, but that was technically year zero and doesn’t really count).

As discussed, it probably has more to do with Ciarrocca’s return than Morgan. These two had great chemistry and were very successful when they worked together. Can they revive magic? This is the million dollar question.

Morgan has always been a good decision maker and a great offense leader and makes a number of great throws. Of course, he makes mistakes, they all do, but there is no doubt that this is the man we want to turn the attack on in 2022.

And behind him there may be a slight disagreement over who will be the next man, if necessary. My money is on Cole Kramer. The younger player has more experience, seems to have the confidence of the coaching staff and will give the attack a more impulsive dynamic. I understand he wasn’t held in high esteem and recruited as Kaliakmanis, but Morgan should be out anytime I think you’ll see Kramer get his first shots.

What about Kalikmanes? Well, he’s highly recruited and has been getting praise from the show since he arrived. He looks the part, he has a very strong arm and there is real hope that the position will remain in good hands after Morgan’s departure. He’s 6 feet 4 inches tall and 210 pounds and looks like the job will lose him in 2023. My hope in 2023 is that he will get some chances to take some shots during a few games this season.

And finally, we get to Jacob Knuth, the real new player behind the quarterback. It’s incredibly unlikely we’ll see Knuth on the field any time this season. Expect that he will qualify for the jersey, with two seasons put between him and Kaliakmanis. Knuth is the man who occupies a high position on the staff and will have a future with the programme.

Upgrade or downgrade?

Well, all things being equal, I would say this is probably neutral. Morgan is who he is. But she’s getting a confident “upgrade” on me because of Ciarrocca’s return. I fully expect the offense to have more balance. I’m confident receiver paths and path trees will put the player in a better position to succeed. Not only will summon play be more balanced, it will be more deliberate in keeping the defense balanced.

Expect Morgan to have completed more than 60% this year and you’ll see his drop to interception ratio look much better in 2022.

This will be an upgrade.


Would you like to upgrade or downgrade to the mid-quarter 2022 position?

  • 72%
    Promotion: the band is back together

    (123 votes)

  • 22%
    Neutral: This team is still a rush

    (39 votes)

  • 4%
    DOWNGRADE: Do you remember when we had an offensive line?

    (8 votes)

Total votes 170

vote now

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