On a beautiful morning in the Twin Cities, more than 1,000 fans filed into TCF Bank Stadium to watch their Golden Gophers scrimmage Saturday. The crowd was particularly impressive, considering this is one of the last couple weekends of the summer for people to take a vacation, head up to the cabin, etc. before school starts.
Head coach Jerry Kill was very appreciative of the fans who were there to support the team.
"I appreciate it," Kill said. "It's the people's team ... it's their team. I appreciate them coming out."
Kill said he is often so focused even during a practice session or scrimmage that he doesn't notice much with regard to the crowd, etc. But he said he did notice one particular loud ovation from the Gopher faithful today.
"I gotta be honest, I get locked in to what I'm doing and I don't hear anything," Kill said. "I don't know if that's good or bad. The only thing I did hear ... there was a roar when we punted the football. I don't know if that's good or bad either. I don't really want to punt if we didn't have to.
"The people of Minnesota have been really good to Coach Kill," the head coach added. "They've been great to the football program for a lot of years. We've got to get a football program that represents them. We're still trying to do that. We haven't gotten that done yet. But we're working on it and I think they appreciate us working on it."
As for the work on the field Saturday, Kill said he wouldn't be able to comment too much on it until he has seen the video. But he was pleased with a handful of areas that were immediately recognizable.
"We didn't have the ball on the ground as much (as Tuesday's scrimmage,)" Kill said. "We didn't have as many penalties. I thought we got in and out of the huddle. The operation was much better. I think we were better than we were the last time we did this."
This was the final full scrimmage of preseason camp. The Gophers will hold their final two-a-day session Monday. With single practices for the rest of next week, Kill's squad and coaching staff will start really honing in on the game plan for the Sept. 3 season-opener at USC.
"I'd like to have about three or four more preseason scrimmages," Kill said. "Unfortunately, we don't get a chance to do that. We've just got to keep pushing along. We'll go in and evaluate what we felt we can do with who we can do it with and try to get better."