Mitch Browning Talks Gopher RBs without Barber
Mitch Browning talks about loss of Barber
Mitch Browning talks about loss of Barber

Posted Jan 15, 2005

Mitch Browning was recently elevated to offensive coordinator after being co-coordinator, along with quarterback coach Tony Peterson. Browning completed his eighth season at Minnesota and his 19th season serving under head coach Glen Mason. GoldenSports.Net caught up with Browning after the Marion Barber III press conference to find out the impact of the loss of a 1,000-yard rusher to the Gopher offense.

How do you deal with the loss of Marion Barber III, a 1,000-yard rusher?
"Not much you can do about it. You've got to move on. You have to get the next guys ready to play. (Laurence) Maroney. Gary Russell, get him in the mix a little bit. We've got a young guy named (Justin) Valentine who plays fullback who might have to step up and be more a ball-carrying type guy."
You have had a tandem back system with two players handling the carries. Is Laurence Maroney the type of back who can handle full-time duty?
"I think so with maturity. Obviously, he is a two-year guy. He needs another off-season program. He has gotten bigger and stronger since he has been here. Let's face it, in our offense you need more than one good running back, because those guys take a pounding. Russell is going to have to step up and Valentine is going to be more of a role player, I would think, and we will go from there."
Amir Pinnix moved to defensive back for the Music City Bowl. Would you move him back to the offensive side?
"I'm not sure. Probably not immediately. I think that is something that we still have to experiment with and see how he does on defense."  
Coach Mason talked about the impact of Marion on and off the field
"He has been a tremendous kid for the program, being a local guy. You obviously don't replace a player like him overnight with his leadership and what he did on the field. He wasn't a guy who did much talking, but he sure did play on Saturdays."

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RB Marion Barber III (profile)
RB Laurence Maroney (profile)
RB Amir Pinnix (profile)
RB Gary Russell (profile)
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