Minnesota’s running game could be in a bit of a bind when the Gophers kick off the 2016 season.
At an appearance Wednesday, head coach Tracy Claeys confirmed that Shannon Brooks sustained an unspecified foot injury earlier this week at practice. As a result, the running back is expected to miss 3-5 weeks.
Minnesota opens the upcoming season exactly three weeks from today against Oregon State. If Brooks is out for the full five weeks, he would miss the opener as well as a game against FCS Indiana State. The good news is, after that game, the Gophers have a bye before facing Colorado State Sept. 24.
Last season, Brooks led the Gophers with 709 yards rushing and seven touchdowns. He added 17 receptions for 167 yards.
If Brooks is sidelined the first month of the season, Rodney Smith, second on the team with 670 yards last year, would likely be called upon to shoulder a sizable portion of the running-game load.