Gophers work to regain normalcy

  • Article by: PHIL MILLER , Star Tribune
  • Updated: September 27, 2011 - 11:42 PM

With coach Jerry Kill still at the Mayo Clinic, the team planned no major changes.

hide

Jerry Kill

Photo: Carlos Gonzalez, Star Tribune

CameraStar Tribune photo galleries

Cameraview larger

By changing virtually nothing this week, the Gophers hope to change almost everything on Saturday.

Jerry Kill remained hospitalized at Mayo Clinic, and his wife Rebecca "is very pleased" with the Gophers coach's progress in overcoming his seizure disorder, defensive coordinator Tracy Claeys said Tuesday. "Hopefully that means we're getting close to a resolution."

Until then, however, Claeys and offensive coordinator Matt Limegrover said they will handle the team exactly as they did during Kill's absence two weeks ago. Practice went on as usual. Video was watched, corrections were pointed out, game plans were introduced. The quarterback situation remains the same -- MarQueis Gray will start, Max Shortell will play, too -- and the defense is redoubling its efforts to penetrate the offensive backfield.

Even Claeys' expectations for Kill's return hasn't changed. Though he emphasized that there is no timeline yet for the coach to resume running the team, "I expect him to be there" in Ann Arbor, Mich., on Saturday for the Gophers' Big Ten opener, Claeys said. "I'll be shocked if he's not there."

At the same time, Claeys said the coaches are preparing themselves and the players to face the 19th-ranked Wolverines without Kill -- just in case. The coach never has missed a game, but he did once cede control to his coordinators, after a 2005 seizure at Southern Illinois.

"He actually sat between us. So we had communication with him," Claeys joked. Still, "if he's there, he's coaching, all right."

The players were as matter-of-fact about their coach's absence as his assistants, pointing out that they dealt with this situation two weeks ago, and won the following Saturday anyway.

"The only thing different than when Coach Kill's in there is that you don't have that fiery personality. Practice is a little bit quieter, because Coach Kill brings that much energy," center Ryan Wynn said. "We're going to be just as prepared with or without him. We'd love to have him there, but it won't change us."

Actually, the Gophers could use a few changes, given their 1-3 start. The problems are in execution, not personnel, cornerback Brock Vereen said after watching Saturday's 37-24 loss to North Dakota State on tape.

"If there's anything good to take from all the mistakes we made, it's that they were all self-inflicted. Which means they're easier to change," Vereen said. "Pretty much every game, we come out in the second half and play really well. But it's impossible to win when you beat yourself."

The most devastating errors were made by Gray and Shortell, who each threw an interception that was returned for a touchdown. The quarterbacks were rotating in and out virtually every down by the fourth quarter, and while Limegrover said he doesn't necessarily intend to resort to that again this week -- "You don't necessarily want to go in the middle of a series and change somebody," he said -- he does intend to play both of them at Michigan.

That's because each is showing different strengths, and the Gophers would like to capitalize on the difference between the two. Shortell has appeared the more confident passer, while Gray is the more elusive runner. Gray will remain the starter, Limegrover said, unless it becomes clear "that Max does a significant number of things better than MarQueis," Limegrover said. "But MarQueis is a special kid. There are things we love about him."

Makes no difference to the other offensive players, said tailback Donnell Kirkwood.

"The only thing you have to adjust to is hearing Max's country voice," Kirkwood joked of the freshman from Kansas. "But we have confidence in both of them."

The rest of the two-deep lineup is virtually unchanged, with one exception: Michael Amaefula has moved ahead of junior D.L. Wilhite at defensive end, giving the Gophers bookend freshmen on the pass rush, with Ben Perry at the other end.

Claeys said he expected to speak to Kill before Wednesday's practice, and the coaching staff is preparing in case he doesn't come to Michigan. In that case, Claeys would make strategic calls from the press box, with assistant head coach Bill Miller relaying the instructions and dealing with referees on the sideline.

"The difference is really very minimal," Claeys said. "We're not changing much."

  • GOPHERS FOOTBALL

    Up next: 11 a.m. Saturday at

    No. 19 Michigan • TV: BTN (100.3-FM)

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

Oakland - LP: D. Otero 8 FINAL
Kansas City - WP: J. Frasor 9
Minnesota 10/2/14 7:25 PM
Green Bay
Buffalo 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Detroit
Chicago 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Carolina
Cleveland 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Tennessee
St. Louis 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Philadelphia
Atlanta 10/5/14 12:00 PM
NY Giants
Tampa Bay 10/5/14 12:00 PM
New Orleans
Houston 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Dallas
Baltimore 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Indianapolis
Pittsburgh 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Jacksonville
Arizona 10/5/14 3:05 PM
Denver
Kansas City 10/5/14 3:25 PM
San Francisco
NY Jets 10/5/14 3:25 PM
San Diego
Cincinnati 10/5/14 7:30 PM
New England
Seattle 10/6/14 7:30 PM
Washington
NY Islanders 5 FINAL
Boston 3
NY Rangers 2 FINAL
Philadelphia 4
Ottawa 1 FINAL
Winnipeg 2
Carolina 1 FINAL
St. Louis 3
Tampa Bay 5 FINAL
Dallas 1
Colorado 0 FINAL
Calgary 2
Los Angeles 4 FINAL
San Jose 1
Fla Atlantic 10/2/14 6:00 PM
FIU
UCF 10/2/14 6:00 PM
Houston
Arizona 10/2/14 9:30 PM
(2) Oregon
Louisville 10/3/14 6:00 PM
Syracuse
San Diego St 10/3/14 9:00 PM
Fresno State
Utah State 10/3/14 9:15 PM
(18) BYU
(6) Texas A&M 10/4/14 11:00 AM
(12) Miss State
Ball State 10/4/14 11:00 AM
Army
Iowa State 10/4/14 11:00 AM
(21) Oklahoma State
Marshall 10/4/14 11:00 AM
Old Dominion
Southern Miss 10/4/14 11:00 AM
Middle Tennessee
(20) Ohio State 10/4/14 11:00 AM
Maryland
Purdue 10/4/14 11:00 AM
Illinois
Florida 10/4/14 11:00 AM
Tennessee
SMU 10/4/14 11:00 AM
(22) East Carolina
Virginia Tech 10/4/14 11:30 AM
North Carolina
Eastern Mich 10/4/14 1:00 PM
Akron
North Texas 10/4/14 1:30 PM
Indiana
Massachusetts 10/4/14 1:30 PM
Miami-Ohio
Tulsa 10/4/14 2:00 PM
Colorado State
New Mexico 10/4/14 2:30 PM
TX-San Antonio
(3) Alabama 10/4/14 2:30 PM
(11) Ole Miss
(14) Stanford 10/4/14 2:30 PM
(9) Notre Dame
(17) Wisconsin 10/4/14 2:30 PM
Northwestern
Navy 10/4/14 2:30 PM
Air Force
(7) Baylor 10/4/14 2:30 PM
Texas
(4) Oklahoma 10/4/14 2:30 PM
(25) TCU
Wake Forest 10/4/14 2:30 PM
(1) Florida State
NC State 10/4/14 2:30 PM
Clemson
Buffalo 10/4/14 2:30 PM
Bowling Green
Ohio U 10/4/14 2:30 PM
Central Mich
Oregon State 10/4/14 3:00 PM
Colorado
Vanderbilt 10/4/14 3:00 PM
(13) Georgia
Kansas 10/4/14 3:00 PM
West Virginia
Kent State 10/4/14 4:00 PM
Northern Ill
South Alabama 10/4/14 5:00 PM
Appalachian St
Texas-El Paso 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Louisiana Tech
(15) LSU 10/4/14 6:00 PM
(5) Auburn
UAB 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Western Ky
Texas Tech 10/4/14 6:00 PM
(23) Kansas State
Michigan 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Rutgers
Hawaii 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Rice
Toledo 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Western Mich
ULM 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Arkansas State
Georgia State 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Louisiana
Idaho 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Texas State
Memphis 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Cincinnati
Arizona State 10/4/14 6:30 PM
(16) USC
So Carolina 10/4/14 6:30 PM
Kentucky
Pittsburgh 10/4/14 6:30 PM
Virginia
Miami-Florida 10/4/14 6:30 PM
Georgia Tech
(19) Nebraska 10/4/14 7:00 PM
(10) Michigan State
UNLV 10/4/14 7:00 PM
San Jose St
Ga Southern 10/4/14 7:00 PM
New Mexico St
California 10/4/14 9:30 PM
Washington St
Utah 10/4/14 9:30 PM
(8) UCLA
Boise State 10/4/14 9:30 PM
Nevada
Winnipeg 10/3/14 6:00 PM
Ottawa
Calgary 10/3/14 9:00 PM
Saskatchewan
Edmonton 10/4/14 3:00 PM
Toronto
Brt Columbia 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Hamilton
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

Date/Opponent 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 pm30-14
Oct 11 - vs. Northwestern 11 am
Oct 18 - vs. Purdue 11 am
Oct 25 - at Illinois 11 am
Nov 8 - vs. Iowa TBA
Nov 15 - vs. Ohio State TBA
Nov 22 - at Nebraska TBA
Nov 29 - at Wisconsin TBA

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: How will the Gophers do against Michigan?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close