Are the Gophers switching to a no-huddle offense? No. But they're definitely working on it during spring practice. So it should be on display again today for the general public, when the team practices at 4:15 at the Gibson/Nagurski Football Complex.
Offensive coordinator Matt Limegrover said after Saturday's practice that that they are still in the developmental stage. The goal is to learn as much as they can during spring camp and then continue working on it during player-led workouts this summer. When August arrives, they'll see where they're at and how much they can use it. Limegrover spoke of adding an element to the offense that they can use when things are getting bogged down.
On Sunday, coach Jerry Kill explained to Sid Hartman and Mike Max on 830-AM that there are benefits to practicing this way, too. They get more reps, so you can get more done in a shorter amount of time. Players have to focus more and think on the fly.
The two players who met with the media Saturday -- tight end Duke Anyanwu and wide receiver KJ Maye -- both seemed to be embracing the no-huddle approach.
"A lot of guys like it," Anyanwu said. "A lot of guys are up to the challenge because some guys like myself who ran a true spread [offense] in high school, it’s kind of like going back to high school ball. And it’s not something that we’re doing for sure; it’s just something that coaches are experimenting with, so it’s a pretty cool experience."
The Gophers aren't using a stop watch, trying to reel off a play every 20 seconds like Oregon.
"We’re worried about lining up and actually running the right play before we can get a time limit on the play," Maye said. "It’s gotten better [in each of the first three practices], but we’re still learning. It’ll take some time."
Freshman running back Jeff Jones might have had his welcome-to-college-football moment Saturday, when he took a handoff and got absolutely de-cleated by linebacker Jonathan Celestin.
But Jones has had some impressive moments, too. He clearly has some burst in those legs and shiftiness. He catches the ball well out of the backfield, and he hasn't looked lost despite being unable to practice last fall when he was ineligible.
"Jeff Jones has done a great job," Limegrover said. "I give that kid a ton of credit. And I give our kids credit. Our guys got together with him and [offensive lineman] Tyler Moore -- some of the new guys -- and those guys did a lot of stuff before we ever hit last Tuesday. So Jeff was further along than I thought. [Fellow freshman RB] Rodney Smith having that year [to practice with the team] has been huge for him. He’s walking around like he’s a veteran now."