Gophers coach Tracy Claeys told KFAN (100.3-FM) on Tuesday that he hopes to work out a contract extension after the season.
Claeys signed a three-year, $4.5 million contract last Nov. 11 under then-interim athletics director Beth Goetz. The deal includes a relatively small buyout of $250,000 per remaining season.
New AD Mark Coyle was expected to use this season to evaluate Claeys before deciding his future. The Gophers (7-2, 4-2) are riding a four-game winning streak heading into their final stretch against Nebraska, Northwestern and Wisconsin.
“I think we’ve proven that we can get things done here at the University of Minnesota,” Claeys told KFAN. “Recruiting went well, and [the contract is] something that right now, nobody has time to mess with it. I don’t even have time to mess with it.
“But hopefully it’s something that will be addressed at the end of the season. And mainly from a recruiting standpoint — if you’ve got three years left on a deal, recruiting’s gone very good. But you get down to two, and it can be a little tough.”
Poock out for season
Junior middle linebacker Cody Poock will have season-ending right shoulder surgery after reinjuring himself last week against Purdue, Claeys said.
“It’s not doing anybody any good,” Claeys said of Poock trying to keep playing. “And so the sooner you do that, the better he’ll be back and ready to go.”
Poock ranked second on the team last season with 99 tackles and had 24 in seven games this season. Nick Rallis is Poock’s primary replacement, but Rallis must sit the first half of the Nebraska game after being ejected for targeting Saturday. This could mean more playing time for freshman Thomas Barber.
“Thomas has played great on special teams,” defensive coordinator Jay Sawvel said. “Thomas is a physical guy. He’s going to be a really good player here. Will he be a really good player Saturday night? We’ll see.”
No Friday games — yet
The Big Ten announced all six Friday games for 2017, and none include the Gophers. Claeys had said he’s “not a fan” of the conference’s decision to add Friday games because of the impact on high school football. Some local prep coaches voiced their disappointment with the Big Ten’s decision.
But this won’t be a local concern in 2017. The Friday games are:
Sept. 1: Washington at Rutgers, and Utah State at Wisconsin; Sept. 8: Ohio at Purdue; Sept. 29: Nebraska at Illinois; Oct. 13: Northwestern at Maryland, and Oct. 27: Michigan State at Northwestern.
• The Gophers did not include offensive lineman Garrison Wright (shoulder) in this week’s injury report, leaving open the possibility of him playing against Nebraska.
• Claeys told KFAN that tight end Brandon Lingen (foot) won’t be able to get a medical redshirt because he played in the second half of the season. Claeys said he’ll have a better idea next week when Lingen will be ready to return, adding that it will be for the bowl game, if not sooner.