With sophomore Max Shortell coming off a three-interception performance against Iowa, Minnesota Golden Gophers head coach Jerry Kill said during a Big Ten teleconference on Tuesday that the team's inexperienced receivers are to blame for the quarterback's struggles, as Marcus R. Fuller of the Pioneer Press writes.
Making just his fourth career start in place of the injured MarQueis Gray, Shortell completed 20-of-33 passes for 197 yards and two touchdowns against the Hawkeyes, but he also threw three picks as the Gophers lost their first game, 31-13.
Kill doesn't necessarily think that Shortell is to blame for those costly mistakes, though:
We've got to make some plays, but I don't think we tell him anything differently. I think we've got to do a better job of route running and catching the football... I think Max has been put in a tough situation.
Shortell was also praised by the team's head coach for generally playing well in place of Gray, leading the Gophers to victories over Syracuse and Western Michigan before the loss to Iowa. Minnesota's top receiver, junior A.J. Barker, has caught 19 passes for 357 yards and four touchdowns this season, but no other player has more than nine catches.