Matt Limegrover is in his fourth season as the University of Minnesota's offensive coordinator.
Despite starting only a few seniors on offense in 2013, Limegrover helped lead the Gophers to an average of 25.7 points per game, after averaging 21.3 points in 2012 and 18.4 points in 2011. Limegrover's charges scored 35 touchdowns on offense and racked up 4,463 total yards after scoring 31 touchdowns and recording 3,810 yards in 2012.
Minnesota finished 2013 with the No. 37 rushing offense in the nation (fifth in the Big Ten), having run the ball 586 times for 2,538 yards. The 2,538 yards is the most for Minnesota since it rushed for 3,277 in 2005 and is the first time it has produced more than 2,000 rushing yards in a season since 2006. Minnesota's 586 rushing attempts is its most since 2005 when it rushed 610 times. The Gophers ended 2013 with 23 rushing touchdowns, which was their most since 2006 when they had 25.
In addition to helping restore Minnesota's rushing attach, the offensive line, under the watchful eye of Limegrover, was disciplined all year as it took only 13 penalities (10 false starts, one hold, one illegal man downfield and one personal foul).
Limegrover has been on head coach Jerry Kill's staff since 1999. He began his coaching career in at the University of Chicago, where he coached the tight ends in 1991, the offensive line in 1992, became offensive coordinator in 1993 and interim head coach in 1994. Limegrover then moved on to a graduate assistant position at Northwestern for two seasons. He was the offensive line coach and run game coordinator at Ferris State in 1997 and 1998.
Limegrover then caught on with Kill as offensive line coach at Emporia State in 1999. He coached the offensive line and ran the offense when Kill took over the Southern Illinois program and maintained both of those responsibilities with NIU.
Limegrover was in charge of an offensive unit that ranked among the nation's best in 2010. The Huskies finished the season No. 7 in the nation and No. 1 in the MAC in rushing offense (260.4 ypg). NIU also led the MAC in scoring offense (38.0 ppg, No. 12 in the nation) and total offense (450.0 ypg, No. 19 in the nation).
In addition to the team rankings, Limegrover's NIU offense produced the No. 1 rusher in the MAC for two conseuctive seasons. Chad Spann averaged just less than 100 yards per game and ranked No. 19 in the nation in rushing as a senior in 2010. Spann was a two-time first-team All-MAC selection and was chosen as the league's most valuable player in 2010.
During his three seasons at Northern Illinois, Limegrover's offensive linemen earned All Mid-American Conference recognition seven times, including 2010 first-team selections Scott Wedige and Trevor Olson.
The Huskie line gave up only 15 sacks in 2009. NIU also led the MAC and ranked 19th nationally in rushing with 202.42 yards per game that year. Limegrover spent seven seasons with Kill at Southern Illinois. With the Salukis, he coordinated a prolific offense that ranked in the top 10 in scoring for six straight years (2002-07).
During his tenure, SIU averaged 207.8 yards per game on the ground, and totaled more than 3,000 rushing yards in four different seasons. Four of the top five rushing seasons in school history came under the guidance of Limegrover. Limegrover's rushing offense gained more than 18,000 yards on the ground at SIU, and his passing attack produced better than a 2-1 touchdown-to-interception ratio.
Limegrover coached five FCS All-Americans at SIU, including two offensive linemen. Under Limegrover's direction, the Salukis' 2004 offense set school records for yards (502.7) and points (42.6) per game and touchdowns (67). In 2007, the Salukis produced 3,293 yards and scored 28 touchdowns through the air, also school records.
Both defensive coordinator Tracy Claeys and Limegrover deserve credit for Northern Illinois' turnover margin of +0.79 per game in 2010, which ranked No. 2 in the MAC and No. 17 in the nation. The Huskie offense turned the ball over just 14 times in 13 games this season to rank No. 5 in the nation.
Limegrover is a 1991 graduate of the University of Chicago. The Pittsburgh, Pa. native holds a master's degree from Northwestern, where he served as a graduate assistant coach and was a part of two Big Ten championship teams. He and his wife Ann have two children - Emma and T.J.
THE LIMEGROVER FILE