Gophers offensive coordinator Mike Sanford Jr. not expected to return after two seasons

After two seasons with the program, Minnesota is expected to move on from offensive coordinator Mike Sanford Jr.

Gophers head coach P.J. Fleck walks back to the sidelines after checking on an injured player mid-game at Huntington Bank Stadium on Saturday, Oct. 21, 2017. The Gophers defeated Illinois 24-17 during the homecoming game.

Ellen Schmidt

Gophers head coach P.J. Fleck walks back to the sidelines after checking on an injured player mid-game at Huntington Bank Stadium on Saturday, Oct. 21, 2017. The Gophers defeated Illinois 24-17 during the homecoming game.

by Tony Liebert, Sports Reporter

According to a report from Football Scoop’s Zach Barnett, Minnesota is going in a different direction at offensive coordinator and Mike Sanford Jr. is not expected to return after two seasons with the team.

Before joining P.J. Fleck’s staff in 2020, Sanford Jr. served as the offensive coordinator at Boise State and Notre Dame, until being named head coach of Western Kentucky and made his final stop as offensive coordinator at Utah State.

Since taking over at the position from Kirk Ciarrocca in 2020, the Gophers offense averaged 27.3 points per game in 2020 and 26.1 points this season with Mike Sanford Jr. as offensive coordinator and quarterback’s coach.

Quarterback Tanner Morgan told the Pioneer Press on Sunday that he plans to return to the Gophers for a sixth season. Under Sanford Jr. Morgan’s 250.2 passing yards per game and 30 touchdowns in 2019 dropped to 196.3 yards per game and seven touchdowns in 2020 and 161.3 yards per game and 10 touchdowns this season.

With current wide receivers coach Matt Simon, who is also listed as co-offensive coordinator, still on the Gophers’ staff, there is no indication on who the team plans to hire as Sanford Jr. ‘s replacement.