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Saturday, September 19, 2009
Minnesota counters speed with speed



Posted by ESPN.com's Adam Rittenberg


MINNEAPOLIS -- Minnesota head coach Tim Brewster is willing to sacrifice size for speed in recruiting, and it's starting to pay off on defense.

After struggling early, the Golden Gophers have countered Cal's speed with some of their own. Undersized players like linebackers Keanon Cooper (6-foot-0, 220) and Simoni Lawrence (6-foot-1, 221) and cornerback Ryan Collado (5-foot-9, 175) have looked impressive so far. Collado totally blew up a screen pass to Cal's Shane Vereen on second-and-10 inside Gophers territory.

Minnesota's bigger linebackers, Lee Campbell and Nate Triplett, led the defense in the first two games, but I could see the Gophers going with speed over size today.