Head coach Jerry Kill says the bye helped the Gophers solve some, but not all, of their injury problems.
Read the complete transcript of Tuesday's press conference
Gophers head coach Jerry Kill addressed the media Tuesday afternoon at his weekly press conference; here's a quick run-down on what went down:
DEALING WITH HEALTH ISSUES
There was both good and bad news at Gopher football head coach Jerry Kill's weekly press conference Tuesday afternoon. The good news: The bye week gave the team's most dynamic offensive player, quarterback MarQueis Gray, a chance to rest and recuperate from the turf toe injury he's struggled with the past few weeks.
Tuesday, Coach Kill said the rest of this season will be critical for the junior QB.
"I think we'll know [more about Gray's progress at quarterback] over the next five or six games because with the injury status that he had... When you don't play, it's hard to get better," Kill said. "I think he was making huge progress, and then the injury."
The bad news, however, is the Gophers' ongoing health issues at tailback. Kill said both Devon Wright and David Cobb are "real questionable" for Saturday's game due to hamstring injuries, meaning the Gophers will have just two running backs with game experience on the active roster: Duane Bennett and Donnell Kirkwood (who's also had hamstring problems thos year). Kill said walk-on Chris Gatling could step in and play, and running back-turned-linebacker Lamonte Edwards could see reps this week and play in an emergency situation as well.
WELCOMING THE HUSKERS
Saturday is both Homecoming and the first meeting between Minnesota and new Big Ten foe Nebraska since 1990 (the Cornhuskers last came to Minneapolis in 1989); the Huskers have played the Gophers more than any other Big Ten Team.
"Everyone has to focus on their job and if everyone can take care of their individual responsibility that will give us the best chance to win," said cornerback Brock Vereen on the keys to taking down the No. 11/13 Huskers. "Its homecoming and the stadium is going to be rocking."
Tight end Collin McGarry said the bye week came at a good time for the young Gophers.
"It was a good opportunity for us to group up and work on getting this thing turned around," McGarry said.
Saturday's game marks the culmination of Homecoming Week at the U of M. A full list of all homecoming events, including Fridays Pep Fest and concert at TCF Bank Stadium, can be found at http://homecoming.umn.edu.