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Minnesota's Cosgrove respects Paulus' skills

Posted by ESPN.com's Adam Rittenberg

Minnesota defensive coordinator Kevin Cosgrove doesn't need a refresher course on Greg Paulus.

Cosgrove held the same position at Nebraska five years ago when the Cornhuskers, like most major BCS football programs, tried to recruit Paulus out of Christian Brothers Academy in Syracuse, N.Y. Video of Paulus throwing to wide receiver Lavar Lobdell remains fresh in Cosgrove's mind.

That's a good thing, since Cosgrove will get a live look at both Paulus and Lobdell on Sept. 5 when Minnesota opens the season at Syracuse. After a four-year run with the Duke basketball team, Paulus returned to football and this week was named Syracuse's starting quarterback for the opener.

"He was a heck of a player back then," Cosgrove said. "I expected him to definitely come in and compete. It doesn't surprise me that he's been named the starter. He's a very good athlete. To be a point guard at Duke, you have to be athletic, you have to be a leader.

"I know he must have those abilities, and he could throw the ball very well in high school."

Paulus' long absence from football creates a unique preparation situation for his first opponent. Few quarterbacks have such long gaps between meaningful competition, and it's hard to know which player will show up in the Carrier Dome

The Gophers defense hasn't started to scout Syracuse just yet, but Cosgrove knows his players need to be ready for just about anything.

"He has the abilities to run different types of offenses," Cosgrove said. "He can be a drop-back passer, he can be the zone-read quarterback. So you have to prepare for those things so you're ready."