After holding two spring football practices behind closed doors, the Gophers invited the public Saturday and revealed a no-huddle offense that is currently in the experimental phase.
Offensive coordinator Matt Limegrover described this as the “infant stages” of a project designed to give the team another strategic option it can switch to on the fly. He said the goal is to familiarize the players with the no-huddle approach, so they can work on it through the summer in player-led practice sessions led by quarterbacks Mitch Leidner and Chris Streveler.
“If we can get the foundation in, then, when we head into the season, it’s up to us how much we can use or not use,” Limegrover said.
After each play Saturday, players hustled back to the line and looked to the sideline for signals, each wearing a wrist band that listed the signals and corresponding plays. When they used the pistol formation, the quarterbacks clapped before the ball was hiked, a technique used across the country.
“Don’t think of the no-huddle as [the spread offense],” Limegrover said, noting that the quarterbacks still got under center at times, with two running backs behind them in a power scheme.
So it doesn’t appear the Gophers are revamping their offense, but simply adding an up-tempo approach they can use from time to time.
“One of the things we talked a lot about was having different ways to change the game,” Limegrover said. “We feel like maybe this is something that you have — maybe not in your back pocket, but you have part of the plan. And then if things get bogged down, hey, here’s our change of pace and getting the kids believing in it.”
Limegrover said there’s not one specific team’s template for how the Gophers want to run the no-huddle.
“We’ve done so much research,” he said. “We basically have a whole notebook full. Here’s what Auburn did. Here’s what Ole Miss did. Here’s what Texas State did. Here’s what Toledo did. We’re all over the place, and then let’s take all that and boil it down to what Minnesota needs to be.
“We’re not copy-catting anybody. There’s something we may like from one [team]. Can we use it or not? Well, we eventually can, but not right now because as with everything, we’re building a foundation.”
Big recruiting weekend
The Gophers had four coveted recruits on campus for unofficial visits this weekend, including Carter Coughlin, a four-star linebacker from Eden Prairie who plans to pick between the Gophers, Ohio State and Oregon within the week. Joining him were two top offensive line prospects — Sam Schlueter from Mayer Lutheran and Matt Kegel from Chaska — and Armstrong linebacker Thomas Barber, whose brothers Marion III and Dom both played for the Gophers.