Gophers: Athan Kaliakmanis, Tyler Nubin held back during last open practice

Athan Kaliakmanis #8 of the Minnesota Golden Gophers throws a pass during the first half of the game against the Wisconsin Badgers at Camp Randall Stadium on November 26, 2022 in Madison, Wisconsin.  ((Photo by John Fisher/Getty Images))

The University of Minnesota football team held its final fall camp practice open to fans and media on Tuesday at Athletes Village, and those hoping to see quarterback Athan Kaliakmanis and safety Tyler Nubin left slightly disappointed.

Kaliakmanis, a redshirt sophomore and the Gophers’ presumed starting quarterback, had a helmet and pads, but didn’t make a single throw in the workout. He did reps without a football off to the side in individual and team situations, leaving Cole Kramer a majority of the plays with the first-team offense.

Nubin was on the field, but had his plays severely limited. The Gophers kick off the 2023 season in 16 days against Nebraska at Huntington Bank Stadium. P.J. Fleck said after Tuesday’s practice neither are injured, but both were held back at the advice of team trainers.

"Nothing big. We do a lot of things based on science and the data. The trainers held back him and Tyler today based on numbers, data, throws, reps, stuff like that," Fleck said. "They make all those decisions in who practices and who doesn’t. I don’t, but they’re both full-go tomorrow. Just managing reps."

The Gophers will scrimmage on Thursday before taking some time off to get into "game week" mode against the Cornhuskers.


Fleck has leaned heavily in the past on Mo Ibrahim to lead the Gophers’ run game. He left the school as one of the best rushers in program history, and is now battling for a roster spot with the Detroit Lions. Look for a different approach in the run game this year.

During fall camp, Western Michigan transfer Sean Tyler and freshman Darius Taylor have largely split the first-team snaps at running back. Bryce Williams, Zach Evans and Jordan Nubin have also gotten carries in offseason workouts. Tyler and Taylor appear to be the current front-runners for playing time.

"I don’t think you’re going to see what we had last year with Mohamed having 30-40 carries a game, you’re not going to see that. We have too much depth and guys do a lot of things differently," Fleck said.


The Gophers have plenty of holes to fill defensively. One is at linebacker alongside Cody Lindenberg. Devon Williams has been competing with Ryan Selig and Maverick Baranowski for snaps with the first-team defense.

Anthony Smith, at 6-6 and 285 pounds, is getting first-team snaps on the defensive line and pushing teammates like Jalen Logan-Redding, Jah Joyner and Danny Striggow.

"NFL scouts come up to me and say, ‘Who’s that guy?!’ You can’t touch him just yet. This year he’s going to play an awful lot, he’s been earning it every day," Fleck said. "Both of those guys are going to be really hard to leave off the field."


It’s no secret that the Gophers feature one of the toughest schedules in the country this year. The Associated Press Top 25 preseason poll was released Monday, and Minnesota will play five ranked teams.

That list includes Michigan (2), Ohio State (3), Wisconsin (19), North Carolina (21) and Iowa (25). The Gophers themselves received six votes after finishing 9-4 last season.

"The biggest thing is we’re ready to take on what might be the hardest schedule in the country. There’s a major opportunity for us to embrace that," Fleck said. "We talked in our team meeting about hard doesn’t just mean the name of the school. It means week in and week out, the level of physicality, the level of mental strain that’s going to put on you. I don’t see any games on there where everybody is out in the fourth quarter."