With Michigan's season opener against Minnesota rapidly approaching, it is a good time to survey the condition of each team. So far, U-M head coach Jim Harbaugh has not confirmed news that any major pieces to the Wolverines program will be sidelined on Saturday due to injury.
In fact, Harbaugh did state that there are zero Michigan players who will be listed as unavailable in Week 1 due to COVID-19 concerns, so that actually points in the opposite direction and reaffirms U-M's overall health.
As for the Gophers, not as much can be said for the home squad. Earlier this week, rumors materialized that starting right guard Carlos Dunlap and starting right tackle Daniel Faalale would not be playing this weekend due to undisclosed injuries. Now if that is to be the case, this development would make the assignments for both Kwity Paye and Aidan Hutchinson that much easier. However, these absences on Minnesota's part have not been confirmed.
Q: What is the injury / health status of Minnesota heading into the game? Is there anyone who will be out that the Gophers will miss?
A: Linebacker Braelen Oliver would be starting alongside Mariano Sori-Marin if not for a lower body injury suffered in spring practice. Beyond that, P.J. Fleck is notoriously tight-lipped about player injuries, to the point that pre-game warm-ups are more reliable than the weekly depth charts.
Q: How has the Minnesota program handled the COVID-19 situation as a whole? Any big changes that have been implemented?
A: From an outsider perspective Minnesota seems to be handling the COVID situation as well as could be expected, with Fleck repeatedly emphasizing that the biggest challenge has been supporting the players' mental health. With the exception of senior Demetrius Douglas who would have seen time as the Gophers #3 wide out, no other Gophers have officially opted out of the season as of now, but again with Fleck being so tight lipped, we can't guarantee anyone else hasn't before Saturday night.
What are your expectations on the health of the Minnesota squad on Saturday? Will Michigan have any undisclosed injuries that become evident around kickoff? Let us know!