DB banished for unspecified team violation

Updated: December 29, 2003, 2:16 PM ET
Associated Press

MINNEAPOLIS -- Minnesota coach Glen Mason will be forced to shuffle his secondary for Wednesday's Sun Bowl in El Paso, Texas, after sending starting cornerback Trumaine Banks home for "conduct detrimental to the team" on Sunday.

Mason did not elaborate on what Banks did to warrant the punishment, saying only that he sent the redshirt freshman by bus to his home in Columbus, Ohio.

A team spokesman said Banks still is a member of the team but will not play Wednesday against Oregon.

Banks started all 12 games and finished fifth in tackles (56) and second in pass breakups (seven).

Gophers defensive coordinator Greg Hudson said the coaching staff hasn't decided who will replace Banks.

The team might start Banks' backup, junior Mike Wojciechowski. Or safety Justin Isom, who has played cornerback, could move over and Justin Fraley could start at strong safety.

Either way, Hudson said Banks' absence won't affect their schemes or coverages.

"We don't change what we do because of any one guy on defense," Hudson said.

Still, Banks' suspension will put even more stress on a secondary that figures to have its hands full with Oregon's two speedy receivers, Samie Parker and Demetrius Williams, who have combined for 108 catches for 1,774 yards and 13 touchdowns.

"Our guys are a little bit more of slice-and-dice receivers," Oregon quarterback Kellen Clemens said. "Both have great speed. It's going to be something different for them to adjust to, how quick our guys are."


Copyright 2003 by The Associated Press