The Golden Gophers might have a secret weapon that can dissect and pick apart the Nebraska football defense better than anyone this year.
There’s all sorts of reasons why it’s a bit of a bummer that the Nebraska football team is kicking off its season against the Minnesota Golden Gophers. Right at the top of the list is that it would have been nice to let new head coach Matt Rhule get his feet wet against a cupcake like Louisiana Tech.
Outside of opening against a conference rival that is expected to compete for the Big Ten West title, it appears Minnesota might be the worst team for the Huskers to open against. That’s because the Gophers might have a secret weapon that could prove difficult for Tony White’s defense to stop.
The secret weapon this time around isn’t an offensive player that is better than anyone on the field. This time around the secret weapon could be none other than Nick Monroe.
Never heard of him? It’s not surprising that he’s not a household name considering that he’s new to Minnesota. This is his first year with the Big Ten school as the cornerbacks coach and co-defensive coordinator.
The reason Monroe could be a secret weapon is that he knows Tony White’s defense inside and out. In fact, he helped coach it when both men were at Syracuse.
Monroe spent the past seven years with the Orange and was White’s top assistant coach in 2022. He coached safeties and was the defensive pass game coordinator. He even took over the Syracuse defense when White left the ACC school to take the job with Nebraska football.
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In a way, Monroe even helped Minnesota prepare for the Huskers before he was ever on staff. He was the man who filled in once White left and faced off against Minny in Syracuse’s Pinstripe Bowl game.
While PJ Fleck and company won that game 28-20, Monroe’s defense held a vaunted rushing attack to 104 rushing yards on 27 carries. That was technically Tony White’s defense that PJ Fleck got to play against and get a look at.
Obviously, what White does on Thursday night is going to have some wrinkles Syracuse didn’t. Talents and strengths are different for Nebraska football compared to the Orange. But the Huskers need to be careful.
They need to recognize if Monroe has something figured out fast. Here’s hoping the secret weapon turns out to be a dud.