With a roster full of newcomers, the Minnesota Gophers thought at least one position group, the offensive line, would be able to provide continuity and stability in this abbreviated season.

On paper, they were set to return all five starters from a year ago. But like many things in 2020, that didn’t go to plan.

The Gophers were without their starting right tackle Daniel Faalele and starting right guard Curtis Dunlap Jr. in Saturday’s 49-24 loss to the Michigan Wolverines.

Dunlap was seen prior to the game with a hard cast on his right foot, signaling he’ll miss considerable time this season. Meanwhile, Faalele’s absence is less clear. He was not seen at any point on Saturday and head coach P.J. Fleck gave no indication of whether that was due to injury, COVID-19 or something else.

“Those two guys who started last year aren’t there,” Fleck said. “That’s hard, but the other guys got to step in and step up.”

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