Gophers interim football coach Tracy Claeys has said he doesn’t want to pressure the university administration to rush its decision about his staff’s future. But Claeys also has an eye on the recruiting calendar.
Claeys told KFAN (100.3-FM) that he met Thursday morning with interim athletic director Beth Goetz and that she said the university was still sorting through its decision. Claeys said it would be best if he and his staff knew their fate by mid-November.
“Everything is going good [with recruiting],” Claeys said. “We really haven’t lost anybody. The issue will probably come in another week or so. You get to the middle of November, and the kids have to start looking because the visits start in December and off-campus recruiting.
“Hopefully there’ll be an end of this one way or another sometime in mid-November. That’s fair to everybody.”
The university is trying to decide how to proceed long-term after fifth-year coach Jerry Kill retired for health reasons on Oct. 28. According to a school spokesman, the school’s hiring policy allows university leaders to name a new coach without conducting a search.
Speaking on behalf of the department, Gophers senior associate athletic director Chris Werle said: “We are having conversations about our head football coaching position. And we will share any news at the appropriate time.”
Claeys told KFAN that Goetz assured him the university’s decision process “is moving forward. It’s not like it’s standing still. They’re going through what they need to do to make that decision, and that process is going well. If it’s something they put off and said, ‘We’ll address it as we get closer to the end of November,’ then I think it’s going to be tough on everybody.”
NCAA rules state that this is a “quiet period” for football recruiting, from Aug. 1 through Nov. 28. The “contact period” begins Nov. 29, with Gophers coaches tentatively scheduled to be on the road visiting recruits from then until Dec. 14. At that point, a one-month “dead period” begins, and national signing day is Feb. 3.
The Gophers currently have 17 commitments in this class, with about 25 spots to fill. Their class ranks 37th nationally by Rivals.com and 31st nationally by 247Sports.com. According to one team source, some other recruits have indicated they are ready to commit as soon as they know this staff is staying put.
“I think if [the coaching decision] gets past the middle of November, then you’re going to start to see some problems,” Claeys told KFAN. “… I’m not trying to put pressure on anybody. But I think that’s the real-world situation we would be in if it would go much past that.”
Santoso a semifinalist
Gophers sophomore Ryan Santoso was named one of 20 semifinalists for the Lou Groza Award, given annually to the nation’s top kicker.
Santoso is the only semifinalist from the Big Ten. He has connected on 14 of 17 field-goal attempts this year, including a 50-yarder. He has made all 17 of his extra-point attempts. Santoso has made six field goals in a row.
Several still out
The Gophers don’t expect any injured players back for the Ohio State game. Thursday’s injury report listed the following players as out: Isaiah Gentry, Ace Rogers, Damarius Travis, Eric Carter, Jeff Jones, Craig James, Josh Campion, Brian Bobek, Lincoln Plsek and Scott Ekpe.