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September 12, 2018

A day after announcing that running back Rodney Smith, the Gophers’ leading rusher and all-purpose threat, would miss the remainder of the season, coach P.J. Fleck on Tuesday addressed what’s ahead for his team’s backfield.

Getting the first crack at replacing Smith, the two-time team MVP who tore his left anterior cruciate knee ligament on the third offensive play Saturday night against Fresno State, likely will be true freshman Bryce Williams, who rushed 25 times for 87 yards against Fresno State in relief of Smith.

Smith is listed in an “or” situation with redshirt freshman Mohamed Ibrahim as the starter against Miami (Ohio) on Saturday. Ibrahim, however, dressed but didn’t play against Fresno State because of a left knee injury suffered in the opener against New Mexico State. Fleck said Ibrahim looked good in individual drills Tuesday.

“I expect him to play; it just depends how much,” the coach said.

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