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The Gophers football team began its third week of training camp on Monday, and the outdoor session at Athletes Village was the final chance for the public and media to get a glimpse of the team in person before its Sept. 1 season opener against New Mexico State.

The Big Ten Network, on its annual tour of the conference's 14 training camps, stopped by Dinkytown to check out the Gophers, who went through the paces of a brisk, 100-minute practice. It was the fourth time this month that media members were allowed to attend training camp, and some themes have developed during that small sample size so far for coach P.J. Fleck's team.

1. The defense is ahead of the offense

This is not overly surprising because offensive timing tends to take longer to build during training camp, whereas the defense often has the upper hand early in camp. That continued Monday, especially when the first-team offense went up against the first-team defense near the end of practice. The defense kept the offense out of the end zone and forced field-goal attempts on a couple of occasions on a short field.

"We got a bunch of different skill sets, and I've been pleased with how they're working,'' defensive coordinator Joe Rossi said. "It's been a tough, physical camp, and that's something that's important to us and important on both sides of the ball to see these guys really grow. We still got a couple of weeks here before game one.''

Rossi, whose 2021 defense allowed the third-fewest yards per game in FBS (278.8), knows that he'll need a solid defensive line rotation to approach that success again.

"We're excited about our depth up front; that's gotta be your strength. We're not one of these operations that will roll and play four guys. We'll play eight, nine, 10 guys. … We've got to be fresh in the fourth quarter because of who we're playing against.''

2. The offense didn't have a banner day

Monday probably wasn't Tanner Morgan's favorite day during training camp. The sixth-year senior was off a bit on some passes, a slight step back from a stronger performance during Thursday night's practice at Huntington Bank Stadium. Still, he also found tight end Brevyn Spann-Ford and wide receiver Chris Autman-Bell with accurate throws against tight coverage.

"It's fun to grind together and work at the process of getting better,'' Morgan said. "We've still got a long way to go before we kick off Sept. 1."

Offensive coordinator Kirk Ciarrocca sees a team rounding into shape.

"We're getting a feel for who our playmakers are,'' Ciarrocca said. "They've done a really good job of taking care of the ball. We're working on that execution piece, which is par for the course at this point.''

3. Ibrahim, Potts on track

Monday offered another day of Mohamed Ibrahim and Trey Potts showing that they appear to be well on the mend from injuries that cut short their 2021 seasons. That's welcome news for a team that went through five starting running backs last season, including two who transferred out of the program.

"We're in good shape with this,'' Ciarrocca said, specifically addressing Ibrahim's return from a ruptured Achilles' tendon. "… You've just gotta make sure that he knows he can trust it. I've seen him cut it loose a little more every day. I've got no concerns with Mo.''

4. Tyler Nubin is having a camp

Safety Tyler Nubin, a fourth-year junior who earned honorable mention All-Big Ten last year, might be having the best training camp of any Gopher. He's developed into a confident and poised leader in a secondary that's brimming with athletic players. His highlight Monday came during a passing drill when he jumped the route on a pass that Morgan intended for Dylan Wright, intercepted it and took it back for a touchdown.

"We always knew he was going to become a really, really good player,'' Rossi said. "… No one outworks him, so if you're a young guy, and you're looking at Tyler Nubin, it's like, 'This guy's really good at it and he works really, really hard. Maybe that's what I need to do.' ''

5. Kickers having their moments

Much of the place-kicking during training camp has been without pressure from coverage teams. Both Matthew Trickett and Dragan Kesich have been solid during camp, with each hitting from 52 yards on Monday. However, Kesich also had a kick blocked, and Trickett missed a shorter kick during practice.