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A.J. Barker injury further hampers Gophers WR depth

Minnesota has been looking for answers from its receiving corps after an injury to its top pass catcher.

Jesse Johnson-US PRESSWIRE

Junior A.J. Barker has been the steadying force of the Minnesota Golden Gophers' passing game this season, and the team has had trouble replacing him as he's sat out two games with an ankle injury. With Barker expected to miss this Saturday's game vs. the Illinois Fighting Illini, offensive coordinator Brian Limegrover is still searching to make up for the missed production.

"In some ways, you're starting from scratch," Limegrover said Tuesday.

(via Minnesota Star Tribune)

Barker has 30 catches this season -- 15 more than any other receiver -- and his 577 yards are more than triple the next highest total on the team. He's also accounted for 7 of the team's 17 passing touchdowns. In last Saturday's loss to the Michigan Wolverines, nine different players caught passes for the Gophers, but none caught more than three passes and no one gained more than 45 yards.

Senior MarQueis Gray was moved from quarterback to receiver this season, but he's been dealing with nagging injuries while also learning the position on the fly. Against Michigan, Gray caught three passes for 27 yards.

Photographs by Micah Taylor, clairity, and Fibonacci Blue used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.