KU will face the Minnesota Golden Gophers in the 2008 Insight Bowl at Sun Devil Stadium in Tempe, Ariz.
Tempe, Ariz. So, fans wondered, just how much would the Gophers offense really change?
Yes, that was Adam Weber lining up under center — on 15 of 17 plays to start the game as the Gophers took a 14-7 lead.
Yes, that was the Gophers running hard, downhill, effectively; the Gophers had 41 rushing yards on their first two scoring drives alone as the Gophers kept the Kansas University offense off the field.
Yes, that was Weber effectively using the play fake to set up passes over the middle.
And yes, that was Jon Hoese — who never had run the ball in his two-year Gophers career — running for two first-quarter touchdowns.
After the regular season ended with the Gophers running game gone aground — Minnesota managed only seven rushing yards in a 55-0 loss to Iowa in the season finale — coach Tim Brewster hired Tim Davis to help add a power-running facet to the Gophers’ spread offense.
He wasn’t reinventing the wheel, he claimed, just adding a new look.
It worked OK early. But, after taking a 14-7 lead on two one-yard Hoese TD runs, the Gophers’ running game bogged down again, and the rest of the offense followed.
The Gophers still used several multiple-wide-receiver sets. But there were also some two-tight-end sets and often a lead blocker for the tailback. On short-yardage situations, Hoese became the tailback in a jumbo package.
Unfortunately, the Gophers couldn’t sustain the momentum. After taking a 14-7 first-quarter lead the Gophers were outscored, 28-7, the rest of the way.
And while that’s mainly because of Minnesota’s inability to stop Kansas, the offense also played a part by not sustaining drives.
“I am pleased with what we added to our offense,” Brewster said. “I think we will get better as we move forward.”
Weber said he liked being under center, particularly the play-action that came as a result. But he, too, said it would take more time to polish the look.
“It will take awhile to get used to the style and tempo of play we want to get to,” Weber said.
For Hoese, who didn’t get a carry all year, it was a heck of a coming-out party.