Tuesday afternoon's weather was the hottest, most humid day the Gophers have encountered during preseason camp. The Gophers have been working day in and day out for more than two weeks. They're in "the grind," according to head coach Jerry Kill.
With all of those factors working against them, tempers are getting short, minds and bodies are fatigued. So, why on earth would Coach Kill change Wednesday's schedule from one afternoon practice to a two-a-day, with one session in the morning and one in the afternoon? Surely the coach saw something he didn't like on Tuesday or feels the need to discipline them for something, right? Wrong.
He told the team afterward that they will be two shorter workouts than one longer one, so he can start working toward getting their legs fresh. He also believes it will allow them to get a few more looks at some of the players they need to make decisions about in regard to their ability to play in the season-opener Sept. 3 at USC.
"That's not punishment for the kids," Kill said of Wednesday's schedule change. "It's more repetition for some people that we need to see."
Following Wednesday, the Gophers will practice Thursday and then spend Friday morning at TCF Bank Stadium for a game preparation-type of walk through. The plan will then be to give them Saturday and Sunday to get off their feet and get fresh leading into game week.
"We've got to get their legs back and get some guys healthy," Kill said. "Then we'll go full-fledged into game plan on Monday. This time of year, when you're coming out of camp, you've got some kids that are banged and you want to try to get everybody healed up by Monday."
While Kill said the Gophers will be fully focused on the game plan for USC on Monday, the Gophers have already turned a bit of a corner in camp over the last two days. They started working on some of what they will see out of the Trojans Monday and Tuesday.
"We took the last 25 or 30 minutes and we strictly worked on what USC does on both sides of the ball," Kill said. "We did a little bit of that in the kicking game on Monday. So, we're starting to turn our way (toward USC)."
>Wednesday is Coach Kill's 50th birthday. Or is it? "There's a lot of rumors about that," Kill told the media member who asked about his birthday. "I'm kind of like Sid (Hartman), I might be 60. I may be 40. Who knows? There are rumors I might have a birthday tomorrow, but they may be wrong. I try to forget those things."
>Kill spoke to a group of boosters who were being hosted by the Golden Gopher Fund after practice Tuesday evening.
>The exact kickoff time for next Saturday's game at USC has been set for 12:36 p.m. Pacific Time.