By Mike Max

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — The Gopher football season kicks off tomorrow. Eastern Illinois is the opponent, but the bigger question is: Are they built to improve on a bowl Season?

The catalyst for this season started last season, when Syracuse upset the Gophers in their bowl game.

Quarterback Mitch Leidner said what they want out of this offense is the ability to strike quickly — unlike last year — and make big plays.

“That’s one of our big things,” Leidner said. “(We have to) make big explosive plays during practice. I think we’ve done a really good job working on that during camp.”

What the Gophers are backing on this season is that they’ve got a position group that’s better than it’s ever been. That said, this year’s strength could be in the secondary.

The Gophers are deep in the back of the defense. They can run, and they can cover. They have a definite idea of what they want to be.

They have prepared for an Eastern Illinois team that has a new coaching staff, and a whole lot of success a year ago. But that’s hardly the point. This game is about the Gophers.

“We need to focus on what we can control, and that’s us,” head coach Jerry Kill said. “We need to make sure our kids are ready to play.”

RELATED: 5 Reasons The Gophers Won’t Overlook Eastern Illinois


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