There’s a lot to be excited about in Minneapolis following Minnesota’s spring game on Saturday. There are also a few reasons to be concerned.

The Golden Gophers closed out the spring season with the annual spring game on Saturday. Because of weather conditions, the team moved the game to the indoor facility for a more controlled climate.

As Minnesota took the field for the final time this spring, we were able to see what PJ Fleck and his staff have done over the last 15 practices. Here are a few takeaways from Saturday’s spring game:

Slant and out routes have returned

Kirk Ciarrocca, the genius behind Minnesota’s prolific attack in 2019, has returned to the sidelines. He brought the lethal slant and out routes back with him and wasn’t afraid to put them to use in Saturday’s spring game.

No, Minnesota doesn’t have a wide receiver combination quite as elite as Rashod Bateman and Tyler Johnson but the Gophers aren’t exactly lacking in options, either. Chris Autman-Bell and Dylan Wright will serve as the primary targets in the passing attack while Michael Brown-Stephens and Daniel Jackson should fit into other roles.

Tight end Brevyn Spann-Ford was also a big target in the spring game. Is that an indication that Ciarrocca might incorporate his skills into the offense more this year?

Minnesota was able to beat a lot of teams (11, to be exact) in 2019 because of the slant and out routes. It was a focal point of the offense throughout the spring game.

The secondary could be a little more consistent

Minnesota’s secondary wasn’t necessarily a huge problem on Saturday but it does need to be a little more consistent. Receivers got behind defensive backs a little too frequently and those out routes (mentioned above) were open pretty frequently.

It’s not something to push the panic button about in spring but it’s certainly something that could be cleaned up in fall camp. If not, the Gophers might be subject to some big plays throughout the season.

The Gophers have some good returning pieces in the secondary with Justin Walley and Tyler Nubin both back. PJ Fleck was also able to add Ryan Stapp from Abilene Christian and Beanie Bishop out of Western Kentucky. Both made plays in their first spring game in the Twin Cities.

Pieces are in place for the secondary to be really strong. It just needs to work on not letting receivers get behind the safeties.

Freshman running back Zach Evans will carve out a role

Even with the offseason departures at running back, Minnesota might be four deep in the backfield again. Even as an early-enrollee freshman seeing his first college action, Evans looked capable of carrying a sizable work load in the spring game.

And that was behind a … suspect offensive line. We’ll get to that later.

Mohamed Ibrahim is going to be the No. 1 back and Trey Potts will likely lock down the No. 2 spot. The question is whether or not Evans or Bryce Williams be the No. 3 on the depth chart heading into the season. It could be a game-by-game situation.

Regardless of where Evans lands on the depth chart, he’s going to find a way to contribute offensively as a true freshman. He’s a hard runner who showed good vision and great patience with the ball in his hands. Evans isn’t going to be a 1,000-yard rusher but he’ll be a weapon in 2022.

The offensive line is still a work-in-progress

Offensive line was a concern as soon as the 2021 season. It’s been talked about all spring. That will continue to be a question mark heading into fall camp.

There was nothing overly impressive about the offensive line in the spring game, making it the biggest concern for the Gophers entering the 2022 season. This is a unit that lost four starters — Daniel Faalele, Blaise Andries, Sam Schleuter and Conner Olson — so why wouldn’t it be a work-in-progress?

The good news for Minnesota’s offense? Ciarrocca likes getting the ball out of the quarterback’s hands quickly. And, when the O-line struggled during the 2020 season, Ibrahim was still able to churn out over 1,000 yards on his way to B1G Running Back of the Year.

Minnesota’s goal in 2022 is to win the B1G West. It has the skill position players to pose a threat. In the division, though, offensive line play is key. The Gophers have a long way to go in this department.