The Minnesota Gophers will have a new offensive coordinator next season as Mike Sanford Jr.'s contract will not be renewed, according to multiple reports.
The news was first reported by Zach Barnett of Football Scoop, who cited a source claiming head coach P.J. Fleck "desired a different direction for the position."
Sanford has been behind Minnesota's offensive play calls the past two seasons, both of which were disappointing after Kirk Ciarrocca had the offense humming during the Gophers' record-setting 2019 season. Ciarrocca left for the offensive coordinator job at Penn State, where he was let go after just one season.
Under Sanford, the Gophers finished 71st in scoring in 2020 and 84th this season, largely due to an inconsistent passing game that ranked 115th in the nation at just 166 yards per game.
Just as Minnesota's passing attack has diminished, so has the production from quarterback Tanner Morgan, who will return for a sixth season in 2022.
Morgan completed 66% of his attempts while throwing for 30 touchdowns and only seven interceptions in 2019. But that was with now-NFL receivers Tyler Johnson and Rashod Bateman catching his passes.
In 2020, Morgan's completion percentage dipped to 57.9% and he threw for just seven touchdowns in seven games. This season, Morgan is hitting on 59.5% of his attempts and has just 10 touchdowns and eight interceptions in 12 games.