Gophers focus on safety as training camp begins

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The Gophers football team opened training camp on Friday and none of the players have tested positive for Covid-19, according to head coach P.J. Fleck.

Fleck is taking a safety-first approach heading into the season that will feature only ten regular season games – all against Big Ten opponents.

"We had our team meeting at TCF Bank Stadium to make sure we could spread everybody out. When they’re standing around in individual drills, they have to be six feet apart," Fleck said after Friday’s practice. "Everybody has masks. There’s not even a plan to put pads on until even next week. We’re going to do things at a snail’s pace to make sure that our student athletes are safe."

The Gophers will take the field in 2020 without their top two wide receivers. Tyler Johnson was drafted by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and earlier this week junior Rashod Bateman announced he will not play this season due to concerns over the coronavirus.

"We lost basically 78% of our catches from last year," Fleck said. "We’ve got big shoes to fill in there, but you got Chris Autman-Bell coming back, Demetrius Douglas, Seth Green, Clay Geary and guys like that."

The Gophers open the season at Michigan State on Saturday, September 5.