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Logo   Monday, March 26

The second week of spring practice for the University of Minnesota football team is under way. Tuesday will mark the first practice of week two and the squad is expected to be in full pads once again. After three straight days of practice last week, the Gophers were off Sunday and Monday. Tuesday's practice is scheduled for 3:15 p.m. at the Gibson-Nagurski Football Complex.

Practice will continue on Thursday at the Gibson-Nagurski Complex, with a 3:15 p.m. start time. Saturday will see the Gopher squad hit the field at TCF Bank Stadium at Noon. All practices are open to the public. Fans may enter the stadium at the Lake of the Woods County entrance on Saturday.

Golden Gopher Football on the Web:
Arrow Gopher defense specialized in mobile run-stoppers (Star Tribune)
Arrow Brandon Green glad for Kill's staff continuity (Pioneer Press)
Arrow Spring Practice Thoughts (KFAN.com)
Arrow Post-Practice Videos (KFAN.com)

Logo   Saturday, March 24



Photo Gallery | Watch Today's Video on YouTube |
Tracy Claeys (3/24)

The University of Minnesota football team wrapped up its third consecutive day of practice Saturday morning at the Gibson-Nagurski Complex. Going back-to-back-to-back and putting pads on for the first time since the Illinois game last season made Saturday morning’s practice interesting.

A rather large group of fans joined the Gophers on the practice field Saturday morning, enjoying unseasonably warm weather on a mid-March Minnesota Saturday. Head coach Jerry Kill was pleased with how his team responded to three consecutive days of work.

“I thought it went well,” Kill said of Saturday’s session. “You’ve got to understand, we went back-to-back-to-back and at a really good pace.”

The session was highlighted by some 7-on-7 drills, 9-on-9 work and a bit of offense vs. defense. Defensive highlights included a diving interception off a tipped pass by defensive back Michael Carter and a nice play downfield by safety-turned-linebacker James Manuel. Offensively, running back David Cobb ripped off a couple long runs, while wide receivers Devin Crawford-Tufts and CJ Cesario pulled in a couple aerials for long-gainers.

One item of note that came to light Saturday was the semi-permanent move of Mike Rallis to the middle linebacker position. According to defensive coordinator Tracy Claeys, Rallis and his bulked-up frame will stay in the middle for at least the remainder of spring camp.

“We’re just trying to get as much speed on the field as we can,” Claeys said of the move. “For spring, it’s permanent and then we’ll go from there. We’re trying to … you’ve got to be a little different. We’re going to try to get where we’re a little more athletic and put a little more pressure on some people.”







Golden Gopher Football on the Web:
Arrow Gophers have plenty of young talent at tailback (Fox Sports North)


Logo   Friday, March 23



Jerry Kill Audio (mp3) | Bill Miller Audio (mp3) |
Watch Today's Video on YouTube

Throughout spring practice, we’re going to take you inside each of the Gophers’ position groups. The first group up is the linebackers.

The Gophers lose starting middle linebacker Gary Tinsley, who ranked second on the team in total tackles last season. But there is a good deal of experience returning to the linebacking corps. Seniors Mike Rallis and Keanon Cooper were each regulars in the starting lineup last season. Senior Ryan Grant has seen action in numerous games throughout his Gopher career, as has fellow senior Spencer Reeves. Junior Aaron Hill started in spot duty last season. Even converted running back Lamonte Edwards got a good number of reps last fall.

As spring practices get under way, head coach Jerry Kill said he feels good about the group.

“I think we’ve got a chance to run a little bit better (at linebacker),” Kill said. “We certainly have a little bit of depth in that area. I feel pretty good. There is certainly some potential.”

After starting 12 games last season, Rallis has added about 15 pounds of good weight to his 6-foot 2-inch frame. The 245-pounder hasn’t lost a step either. He is the leading tackler among returners from last season for Minnesota, racking up 83 stops (53 solo) in 2011. Cooper was right behind Rallis with 77 total tackles last season. He was also number-two on the team with 6.0 tackles for loss. Cooper will be limited in spring ball after off-season wrist surgery. But he and Rallis should be the leaders of one of the deeper, more experienced units on the squad.

According to linebackers coach Bill Miller, the Gophers will be using some very basic building blocks to continue to improve – both at the linebacker position and as an entire defensive unit.

“We’re trying to build this thing on fundamentals and build it with consistency,” Miller said. “From Day One, that’s what we’ve tried to do. We’re feeling pretty good right now about where they are and where they’re going.”



Golden Gopher Football on the Web:
Arrow Audio: Matt Limegrover interview (1130 KFAN)
Arrow Kill optimistic at first Gophers spring practice (Star Tribune)
Arrow QB Shortell shows progress in first drills (Star Tribune)
Arrow Warm and effecive start to Kill's second spring (Star Tribune)
Arrow New mix at QB this spring (Pioneer Press)
Arrow Newcomers make impressions on first day (Pioneer Press)
Arrow Gophers open spring practice season with quiet efficiency (1500 ESPN)
Arrow Gray hopes to take next step at QB (Fox Sports North)


Logo   Thursday, March 22



Photo Gallery | Watch Today's Video on YouTube

The University of Minnesota football team hit the practice field at the Gibson-Nagurski Complex for the first time this spring on Thursday afternoon. Head coach Jerry Kill said there was plenty to be happy with on the first day of spring ball.

“The best thing is when I don’t have to scream and yell about effort, hustling and getting where you need to be,” Kill said. “Then, I can coach and teach more. I thought there was a lot of coaching and teaching going on and I thought the kids responded pretty well.”

From a player’s standpoint, the Gophers were just happy to be back out on the practice field.

“I was really excited to get back out here and get back to work,” sophomore wide receiver Devin Crawford-Tufts said. “We’ve been working really hard in the offseason … running, lifting and stuff. I’m just excited to get going again.”

The Gophers were in shorts and helmets and will be again Friday. The full pads will come out for Saturday morning’s practice. The team will work out for three straight days this week – Thursday, Friday and Saturday. The Gophers will then settle into a Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday routine for much of the remainder of spring ball.





Golden Gopher Football on the Web:
Arrow Gophers Hope Stability Leads to Wins (Fox Sports North)
Arrow Gophers Hope Familiarity Leads to Success (AP/WCCO-TV)
Arrow Kill Feeling 'Much More Comfortable' (1500ESPN.com)
Arrow Marcus Jones' swift recovery turns heads at U (Star Tribune)
Arrow Little is Certain for Gophers as Spring Football Kicks Off (Star Tribune)
Arrow Kill 'Cautiously Optimistic' As Spring Practice Kicks Off (KFAN)


Logo   Wednesday, March 21



Head football coach Jerry Kill met with members of the Twin Cities media on the eve of the Gophers’ first 2012 spring practice Wednesday.

Kill updated the media on position changes, injuries that will affect the team throughout spring ball and gave an update on some of the newcomers to the program who will be taking part in spring practice before fielding questions. Below are some of the highlights of Kill’s address to the media:

Injury Update
OL Jimmy Gjere is still recovering from concussion symptoms from last season. DE Quinn Bauducco is still recovering from back surgery. LB Brendan Beal is recovering well from a knee injury. Kill said Beal may be able to take part in non-contact drills by the end of spring ball. FB/TE Mike Henry suffered a concussion in a car accident over spring break and will be limited at the beginning of spring ball. LB Keanon Cooper (wrist) and WR Marcus Jones (knee) will take part in non-contact drills. DB Steven Montgomery will be out of action indefinitely after tearing a pectoral muscle. S Brock Vereen and OL Foster Bush had minor knee procedures and should be available at some point during the spring.

Position Changes
Former QB Moses Alipate and former DE Kendall Gregory-McGhee have both moved to TE. Former TE Ernie Heifort is moving to OT. Former DB James Manuel is moving to LB. Former CBs Derrick Wells and Brock Vereen will be moving to S.

Newcomer Updates
Kill said he is frequently asked about the two Minnesota prep QBs – Philip Nelson and Mitch Leidner– who joined the team in January. Kill said both are doing outstanding jobs so far. Kill had high praise for Caledonia product WR Isaac Fruechte, talking about his outstanding athleticism. He said 17-year-old DT Scott Ekpe has already put nearly 30 pounds on his frame since arriving from Lewisville, Texas. Kill also singled out junior-college transfer DBs Jeremy Baltazar, Briean Boddy and Martez Shabazz, praising them as well.

During the question-answer session, Kill was asked about how he feels about things heading into his second spring with the Gophers. He is obviously more settled in now than he was last year, having been on the job just 3 ½ months before spring ball started in 2011.

“I certainly know more how things operate here at our university,” Kill said. “I certainly know more about our players. I certainly know more about the Big Ten. I certainly know more about where we need to go and what we need to do. Can we fix it all today? No. But I feel much more comfortable.”

Click here for a full transcript of Coach Kill’s press conference from earlier today.

Golden Gopher Football Audio:








Golden Gopher Football Multimedia:
Jerry Kill Spring Football Press Conference Replay

Golden Gopher Football on the Web:
Arrow Gophers Spring Questions (Fox Sports North)
Arrow Vereen Moving to Safety As Spring Football Opens (Star Tribune)
Arrow Kill Planning a "Real" Spring Game (Pioneer Press)
Arrow GI Notebook: Spring Practice (Gopher Illustrated)
Arrow Gophers' Offense Spring Practice Preview (KSTP TV)
Arrow Dienhart: Q&A with Gophers QB Gray (BTN.com)
Arrow Gophers study RG3 in quest to help Gray (ESPN Big Ten Blog)

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2012 Schedule | Tickets
Aug. 30 at UNLV
Sept. 8 New Hampshire
Sept. 15 Western Michigan
Sept. 22 Syracuse
Sept. 29 at Iowa
Oct. 13 Northwestern (HC)
Oct. 20 at Wisconsin
Oct. 27 Purdue
Nov. 3 Michigan
Nov. 10 at Illinois
Nov. 17 at Nebraska
Nov. 24 Michigan State