Day 1 of fall camp for the University of Minnesota football team is in the books. It was the first-ever fall practice for head coach Jerry Kill, who is preparing his first Gopher team for its season-opener Sept. 3 at USC.
Kill said Monday's practice session went well. But he also made sure to mention that the pace still wasn't what he wants it to eventually be.
Despite that, the Gophers felt it was a productive practice with two and three huddles working at a time.
"You get a lot of rep(etition)s," junior linebacker Mike Rallis said of the way Kill and his staff run practice. "That's really the key to football. You've got to get the repetitions down. Overall, I think it was an extremely productive practice."
While Coach Kill saw some good things also, he cautioned that it was just the first day.
"I thought it went pretty good," Kill said following the practice session. "We had a lot of people out there working. We had a bunch of kids that I've never had a chance to see and another group that we've only seen for 15 days. So there's a lot of learning processes to be made.
"I thought some guys looked quicker and faster," Kill continued. "But you always do on the first day. This is one day. Anybody can do something in one day. You've got to do it over a period of time."
Kill said he was just happy to have an opportunity to actually do some coaching.
"I got to be out there and be a ball coach, which I enjoy doing," Kill said. "I don't get a chance to do it very often. Going out there and working with kids, I enjoy doing that. Seeing kids get better and see how they respond ... that's a good thing. I enjoy that process."
Kill spent much of his time as a "ball coach" Monday working with the Gophers' youngsters. That meant a good number of hours after practice reviewing film of all of the more than 100 Gophers who were on the practice field.
"I spent my time - Coach Claeys and I spent time - with the younger players to develop their skills so they can understand what to do," Kill said. "We had our other coaches with the older players. We'll review it from film and teach from film. We've got a long night tonight and the players have got a long night tonight."
One Gopher was just thrilled to be back on the practice field and in the film room, no matter how many hours it takes is senior defensive back Kim Royston. The local product thought his career was over in the Spring of 2010 when he suffered a severe broken leg. But after numerous surgeries and setbacks and an NCAA waiver to compete for a sixth year, he is 100 percent healthy and happy to be in camp.
"Nothing's hard at this point," Royston said. "After all that I've been through, it's just a blessing and a great opportunity to be back out here, because ... I thought my collegiate career was over. I'm just not going to have any regrets.
"Guys sometimes don't look forward to the grueling days of camp," Royston added. "But after sitting out and watching last year, I'm just taking it all in."
Royston and his team will move on to Day 2 of preseason camp Tuesday at 3:55 p.m. The public will once again be invited to the Gibson-Nagurski Complex for that workout.
> Senior offensive lineman Ryan Wynn missed practice due to a death in the family.
> Kill announced that sophomore offensive lineman Brooks Michel will not play this season due to a medical issue. Michel has missed time with concussions in the past.
> Sophomore wide receiver Vic Keise made what may have been the play of the day. Keise laid out and used just one hand to haul in a pass from freshman quarterback Max Shortell in the back corner of the end zone.
> Tuesday's workout will be the second in helmets, shorts and jerseys. Wednesday and Thursday will see the team in shells (helmets and shoulder pads). Full pads will come out for the first time Friday.
-By Andy Seeley, Associate Director of Athletic Communications