Limegrover feels chipper after losing weight

  • Article by: PHIL MILLER , Star Tribune
  • Updated: August 6, 2012 - 5:48 AM
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The University of Minnesota head football coach Jerry Kill cheered on his team as the University of Minnesota football team went through their first day of practice at the U of M football complex Saturday, Aug. 4, 2012, in Minneapolis, MN.

Photo: David Joles, Star Tribune

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Not many Division I college football coaches shop at Goodwill, but not many of them need a new wardrobe every few weeks, either. And Matt Limegrover knew he was making real progress when he found a pair of Nike golf shorts he really liked at the Goodwill store but was disappointed that they were several sizes too large. "I look closely, and [realize], 'These are my shorts," Limegrover said "I donated them two weeks ago."

The shorts were size 54, appropriate for a football coach who weighed 401 pounds by the end of last season. But 118 lost pounds later, they're just a punch line for the 283-pound offensive coordinator.

The drastic weight loss came about after a doctor's appointment last winter, when the 43-year-old coach was told he was showing early signs of developing diabetes and hypertension. He's a married father of two school-age children and, "I realized I have people depending upon me."

And not just his family, either. "I felt like I let us down last year a little bit, with how the season went and how I felt as we went along. If these guys are going to work as hard as they did, I want to give them every chance to be successful," he said.

That meant, first of all, kicking a 7- or 8-a-day Diet Coke habit and eliminating caffeine. Then he changed his diet, eliminating carbohydrates such as bread and pasta. With the help of strength coach Eric Klein and the team's athletic trainers and doctors, he began to work out in the weight room. Mostly through simple willpower, Limegrover began shedding pounds in a hurry.

And he felt it on Saturday. "I had probably 10 times more energy today than I did at any point last season," said Limegrover, who intends to lose another 50 pounds or so. "It's easier to concentrate. I'm not as tired. ... It feels good not having two 45 pound weights around your neck every day."

Kill fine with schedule

Now that the Big Ten's scheduling agreement with the Pac-12 has been canceled, the conference is expected to consider a nine-game league schedule once more, though the idea remains more popular with administrators than coaches.

Gophers coach Jerry Kill is one of those who prefers to leave the schedule as it is.

"There are lots of things you just can't control in football, but you try to take care of your own schedule. I didn't like letting someone else [like the Pac-12] having input in that," Kill said. "I would just like to play eight [Big Ten] games, and have four that we have an opportunity to schedule on our own. Just leave it to the schools."

Injured players return

A handful of players who missed significant time with injuries last season were cleared to practice. They included linebacker Brendan Beal (knee), offensive linemen Josh Campion and Jimmy Gjere (both concussions), saftey Brock Vereen (hand), linebacker Keanon Cooper (hand) and receiver Marcus Jones (knee).

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