New boss of offense to analyze, organize

  • Article by: PHIL MILLER , Star Tribune
  • Updated: January 28, 2011 - 7:14 AM

Matt Limegrover took a unique path to coaching football, but the results speak.

Gophers offensive coordinator Matt Limegrover

Photo: Jerry E. Lee, Jerry E. Lee

CameraStar Tribune photo galleries

Cameraview larger

To be successful, "you have to be brutally honest about a player's weaknesses," Matt Limegrover explained, "really kind of cutthroat about what he can't do -- and yet you have to be careful not to cause too much friction. You stay supportive, because you want him to have a great year for you."

Not a bad philosophy for a football coach, right? Except that the Gophers new offensive coordinator wasn't talking about his experience coaching college kids. He was reminiscing about his internship assignment: Helping prepare salary-arbitration cases for the Chicago White Sox.

"I used to think my career in sports," Limegrover said, "would be as general manager of a baseball team."

It might have happened that way, too; his college classmate and White Sox co-worker, Kim Ng, is now assistant general manager of the Dodgers. "I sit here thinking, 'That could have been me,'" he said.

But after graduating from the prestigious University of Chicago, where he played offensive line on the NCAA Division III football team, Limegrover wasn't sure where his career would take him.

"Just before graduation, all my buddies were doing interviews for Harvard Business School or some big financial companies, and I was building in-ground swimming pools," Limegrover said. "Then my football coach from college said, 'Hey, I've got a job that pays $250 for the entire fall.' I took it. I rode the bus to work, and I lived on a buddy's porch, and I learned to coach football. And I've never looked back."

That's because Limegrover, a Pittsburgh native who also interned for the Pirates, eventually became an assistant coach at Ferris State in Michigan, where he met a bright young head coach at nearby Saginaw Valley State, a guy named Jerry Kill.

"I remember how I met him -- his offensive line whipped our butts one weekend," Kill said. "As I got to know more about him, I had a great deal of respect for how he did things."

When Kill was hired at Emporia (Kansas) State in 1999, he offered Limegrover a job on his staff, and they've been together ever since.

Kill calls Limegrover one of the smartest men he's ever met -- "Perfect on the ACT [test], University of Chicago, master's degree from Northwestern," Kill said. "He's got a tremendous mind" -- but the Gophers' new offensive coordinator said he doesn't consider himself an X's-and-O's wizard as so many coaches try to style themselves.

"I'll be honest, I'm no revolutionary offensive mind," Limegrover said. "That's not how we operate. Coach Kill does a good job of making sure his staff fits together well, and I happened to be a very organized guy. I can bring it all together on Saturday."

The game-planning is done by the entire staff, using a system it has developed over several seasons. On Sunday, the coaches watch film of their next opponent, then brainstorm ideas for attacking the defense, encouraging each other to be as creative as possible.

"Every game plan is like a snowflake; it's unique. Even if we're running similar packages, like power rush, we won't run it the same way," Limegrover said. "And we'll throw some crazy stuff on the board, then see how everyone feels about it."

They narrow the possibilities during the week, after seeing what works and what doesn't during practice, then go through an exercise called "defending your thesis" in slotting particular plays into various situations for Limegrover to order up during a game.

"If someone really believes in a play, I'll say, 'Defend your thesis: What do you like about it? When do you feel good about it?'" Limegrover said. "The important thing is we're honest. If we think something is too risky or the protection isn't right, we leave it out. And at the end, we have something we're confident in, and the kids can have confidence in."

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

Philadelphia 12/20/14 3:30 PM
Washington
San Diego 12/20/14 7:25 PM
San Francisco
Minnesota 12/21/14 12:00 PM
Miami
Baltimore 12/21/14 12:00 PM
Houston
Detroit 12/21/14 12:00 PM
Chicago
Cleveland 12/21/14 12:00 PM
Carolina
Atlanta 12/21/14 12:00 PM
New Orleans
Green Bay 12/21/14 12:00 PM
Tampa Bay
Kansas City 12/21/14 12:00 PM
Pittsburgh
New England 12/21/14 12:00 PM
NY Jets
NY Giants 12/21/14 3:05 PM
St. Louis
Buffalo 12/21/14 3:25 PM
Oakland
Indianapolis 12/21/14 3:25 PM
Dallas
Seattle 12/21/14 7:30 PM
Arizona
Denver 12/22/14 7:30 PM
Cincinnati
Utah 101 FINAL
Orlando 94
Charlotte 109 FINAL
Philadelphia 91
Brooklyn 91 FINAL
Cleveland 95
Washington 105 FINAL
Miami 103
Minnesota 98 FINAL
Boston 114
Toronto 110 FINAL
Detroit 100
Chicago 103 FINAL
Memphis 97
Portland 104 2nd OT 2:23
San Antonio 108
LA Clippers 74 4th Qtr 12:00
Denver 71
Oklahoma City 7 1st Qtr 5:46
LA Lakers 17
Tampa Bay 2 FINAL(SO)
New Jersey 3
Anaheim 2 FINAL
Ottawa 6
NY Islanders 2 FINAL
Detroit 1
Boston 1 FINAL
Winnipeg 2
Dallas 2 3rd Prd
Calgary 1
Wilberforce 71 FINAL
Youngstown St 92
Jackson State 49 FINAL
Tulane 56
Siena 66 FINAL
Radford 76
Stillman 49 FINAL
Alabama 69
Case Western Reserve 65 FINAL
Bucknell 88
Niagara 62 FINAL
Buffalo 88
SD Christian 46 FINAL
UC Santa Barbara 69
Concordia (MI) 60 FINAL
Central Mich 97
Northern Ill 55 FINAL
Dartmouth 58
North Florida 83 FINAL
Florida A&M 65
Hiwassee 71 FINAL
Gardner-Webb 91
Tennessee St 54 FINAL
Hampton 66
NC A&T 57 FINAL
Kent State 71
Central Penn College 65 FINAL
Liberty 94
Eastern Ky 72 FINAL
Miami-Florida 44
Northern Ky 83 FINAL
Morehead State 60
Northern Ariz 62 FINAL
Norfolk State 81
MD-Eastern Shore 43 FINAL
Old Dominion 60
St Marys-CA 47 FINAL
St Johns 53
Clemson 45 FINAL
South Carolina 68
Tenn Tech 58 FINAL
Tennessee 61
Washington-MD 46 FINAL
William & Mary 86
Bethune-Cookman 46 FINAL
Mercer 67
Furman 78 FINAL
Fla Gulf Coast 83
South Dakota St 53 FINAL
CS-Bakersfield 49
Milligan 53 FINAL
Lamar 80
LSU-Alexandria 71 FINAL
ULM 76
Southern Utah 57 FINAL
Loyola-Chicago 73
Chattanooga 58 FINAL
Middle Tennessee 68
Seattle 57 FINAL
Minnesota 92
Lipscomb 55 FINAL
Princeton 77
Winthrop 71 FINAL
SE Louisiana 81
Dickinson State 48 FINAL
North Dakota 78
New Orleans 56 FINAL
Southern Ill 52
TX-Pan American 60 FINAL
Creighton 75
Colorado State 84 2nd Half 0:15
Denver 77
Alabama A&M 49 FINAL
Marquette 83
Ark-Pine Bluff 49 2nd Half 2:25
Texas Tech 70
Eastern Wash 26 2nd Half
California 37
Idaho State 24 2nd Half
Utah State 30
Arizona 10:00 PM
Texas-El Paso
Hawaii 10:59 PM
Chaminade
Nevada 12/20/14 10:00 AM
Louisiana
Utah State 12/20/14 1:20 PM
Texas-El Paso
(23) Utah 12/20/14 2:30 PM
Colorado State
Western Mich 12/20/14 4:45 PM
Air Force
South Alabama 12/20/14 8:15 PM
Bowling Green
BYU 12/22/14 1:00 PM
Memphis
Marshall 12/23/14 5:00 PM
Northern Ill
Navy 12/23/14 8:30 PM
San Diego St
Central Mich 12/24/14 11:00 AM
Western Ky
Fresno State 12/24/14 7:00 PM
Rice
Illinois 12/26/14 12:00 PM
Louisiana Tech
Rutgers 12/26/14 3:30 PM
North Carolina
NC State 12/26/14 7:00 PM
UCF
Ohio Valley 33 FINAL
Youngstown St 84
East Tenn St 48 FINAL
UNC-Wilmington 61
Cal-Irvine 44 FINAL
Purdue 69
Campbell 63 FINAL
Stetson 76
Jacksonville St 70 FINAL
Charleston Southern 43
Louisiana 64 FINAL
Alcorn State 57
Denver 63 FINAL
Wright State 72
Blue Mountain 30 FINAL
Central Arkansas 71
Texas State 51 FINAL
Bethune-Cookman 40
Albany 62 FINAL
Pepperdine 36
TX-San Antonio 53 FINAL
Houston 56
Yale 66 FINAL
Bucknell 73
Northern Colorado 56 FINAL
Fla Gulf Coast 69
Belmont 86 FINAL
Mercer 83
Massachusetts 66 FINAL
Georgia State 71
George Mason 69 FINAL
Winthrop 57
Portland State 33 FINAL
Princeton 104
UCLA 71 FINAL
Samford 52
Mobile 30 FINAL
Alabama State 66
Nicholls 49 FINAL
Texas Tech 76
Toledo 65 FINAL
Nevada 56
UMass Lowell 48 FINAL
(13) Duke 95
St Marys-CA 49 FINAL
Virginia 62
McNeese State 55 FINAL
Rice 57
McMurry 49 FINAL
Houston Baptist 69
NJIT 62 FINAL
Seton Hall 74
(6) North Carolina 65 FINAL
Maine 36
Lafayette 58 FINAL
Stony Brook 60
Siena 62 FINAL
Binghamton 53
Longwood 56 FINAL
Clemson 72
Savannah State 51 FINAL
Florida State 97
(19) Syracuse 72 FINAL
(9) Baylor 74
Buffalo 68 FINAL
Manhattan 58
Canisius 43 FINAL
Michigan 79
Davidson 66 FINAL
NC State 82
Northern Ky 63 FINAL
Delaware 58
Saint Louis 81 FINAL
Austin Peay 86
(25) DePaul 64 FINAL
(2) Connecticut 98
Ohio U 74 FINAL
La Salle 63
Florida Atlantic 60 FINAL
Long Beach St 85
Miami-Florida 65 FINAL
Tulane 70
Miss Valley St 39 FINAL
Memphis 62
Ark-Pine Bluff 56 FINAL
UAB 65
Bowling Green 58 FINAL
Illinois State 54
Arkansas State 78 FINAL
Missouri State 62
ULM 42 FINAL
Wichita State 57
(16) Oregon State 71 FINAL
Southern Ill 55
Pacific 33 1st Half 2:40
New Mexico St 20
No Dakota State 35 2nd Half
Cal State Fullerton 45
Utah State 39 2nd Half
Sacramento St 44
Bethesda (CA) 28 2nd Half
Fresno State 29
Utah Valley U 21 2nd Half
Montana 34
LSU 13 1st Half 12:15
UC Santa Barbara 4
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

<
Gophers Football Time W L Score
2014 season     
Aug 28 - vs. E. Illinois 6 pmX42-20
Sep 6 - vs. M. Tennessee St. 2:30 pmX35-24
Sep 13 - at TCU 3 pmX30-7
Sep 20 - vs. San Jose St. 3 p.m.X24-7
Sep 27 - at Michigan 2:30 pmX30-14
Oct 11 - vs. Northwestern 11 amX24-17
Oct 18 - vs. Purdue 11 amX39-38
Oct 25 - at Illinois 11 amX28-24
Nov 8 - vs. Iowa 11 amX51-14
Nov 15 - vs. Ohio State 11 amX31-24
Nov 22 - at Nebraska 11 amX28-24
Nov 29 - at Wisconsin 2:30 pmX34-24
Jan 1 - vs. Missouri noon

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: How much do you like the Gophers going to the Citrus Bowl?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close