Summer doesn't go to waste as U transfer keeps training

  • Article by: PHIL MILLER , Star Tribune
  • Updated: August 23, 2012 - 12:07 PM

Ex-Buckeyes center Brian Bobek is growing into his future Gophers role.

So how did Brian Bobek spend his summer in preparation for joining the Gophers football team in two weeks? By breaking NCAA rules.

Well, at least it could sound that way.

"I'd say I'm definitely doing more work with a strength coach than the NCAA would allow," said the former Ohio State center, who transferred to Minnesota and is slated to be able to play in 2013. "It's about all I do."

The catch is, the coach is his father, Jeffrey, a former Iowa offensive lineman, and the workouts are at his suburban Chicago home, not as part of a university program. Totally legal, in other words -- and by Bobek's estimation, entirely effective.

"He's got me doing work on the field for agility. He's got me doing a lot of conditioning out there. He's got me lifting all the time," Bobek said of his bigger-and-better program. "I'm stronger than I've ever been."

Bigger, too, which may come as a shock in Columbus. According to the Columbus Dispatch, new Buckeyes coach Urban Meyer believed that a 270-pound center wasn't big enough for his offense. But Bobek has put on more than 15 pounds this summer, can bench press 480 pounds, and believes he will report to Minnesota for fall semester at 290 pounds, at least.

He'll do so as a walk-on, too, a demonstration of his commitment to Minnesota -- not many Parade All-Americas, as Bobek was at Fremd High School in Palatine, Ill., ever lack a scholarship. But Gophers coach Jerry Kill didn't have any scholarships available when Bobek contacted him in May. Bobek's family will pay tuition and expenses until January, when he becomes a scholarship player again. He'll room with upperclassman linemen, so he can become acquainted with his teammates while spending the fall practicing for next year.

"It says something that they found a way to get me there," Bobek said. "They said they definitely wanted me."

And why not? Recruits with Bobek's credentials -- all-state in Illinois, the Cook County athlete of the year, a champion shot put and discus thrower -- don't choose Minnesota very often. Kill and his staff, at Northern Illinois during Bobek's high school career, knew his accomplishments very well but realized early on they had little chance to lure him with Ohio State coach Jim Tressel after him, too.

Bobek chose the Buckeyes, and doesn't regret it, even though Tressel resigned only four months after signing day. He loved the big-time atmosphere at Ohio Stadium, enjoyed the buildup to the Buckeyes' showdown with Wisconsin, and made plenty of friends. He played twice early last season as a true freshman, and was considered a possible starter this year, until Meyer arrived.

But by the time spring ball ended, it was clear he had slipped on the depth chart. He asked his father to contact a dozen schools on his behalf and see if there was any interest in a transfer. Gophers offensive coordinator Matt Limegrover was very interested.

"I definitely did not hang up the phone when his dad called," Limegrover said. "It's nice when that happens. We're excited to get him on campus."

Limegrover and Kill are the reasons why, Bobek said. West Virginia and another Big Ten school were interested, and he visited the Mountaineers' campus in Morgantown, where coaches emphasized that the center position will be open when he's eligible. Plus, under Big Ten policy, transfers within the conference must forfeit a year of eligibility, so Bobek could play three years at West Virginia, not two.

"It really came down to the coaches. I loved talking to Coach Limegrover and Coach Kill. I felt very welcome there," Bobek said. "Coach Limegrover cares about his players a lot. Honestly, that's the first thing that I look at. They're going to do what they think is best not just for the team but the players as well."

  • GOPHERS FOOTBALL Season opener: 10 p.m. Aug. 30 at Nevada-Las Vegas

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

New England 2/1/15 5:30 PM
Seattle
Toronto 104 FINAL
Indiana 91
Cleveland 103 FINAL
Detroit 95
Milwaukee 104 4th Qtr 2:32
Miami 94
Memphis 58 3rd Qtr 11:05
Dallas 44
Chicago 9:30 PM
Golden State
Washington 9:30 PM
LA Lakers
NY Rangers 1 3rd Prd
NY Islanders 4
Arizona 3 FINAL(SO)
Philadelphia 4
Winnipeg 3 FINAL
Pittsburgh 5
Washington 3 FINAL
Columbus 4
Tampa Bay 2 3rd Prd 6:00
Carolina 4
Dallas 2 3rd Prd 10:44
Montreal 3
Detroit 5 3rd Prd 8:47
Florida 4
Colorado 2 3rd Prd
Nashville 2
Buffalo 1 2nd Prd
Calgary 1
Minnesota 0 1st Prd 11:34
Edmonton 0
Anaheim 9:00 PM
Vancouver
Ball State 47 FINAL
Akron 59
Northern Ill 46 FINAL
Bowling Green 56
Western Mich 71 FINAL
Buffalo 77
Ohio 40 FINAL
Eastern Mich 76
Xavier 66 FINAL
Georgetown 53
Vanderbilt 62 FINAL
Georgia 70
West Virginia 65 FINAL
Kansas State 59
Central Mich 53 FINAL
Kent State 63
Saint Josephs 48 FINAL
La Salle 53
Nebraska 44 FINAL
Michigan 58
Miami-Ohio 65 FINAL
Toledo 70
Tulsa 62 FINAL
Tulane 55
George Washington 48 FINAL
VA Commonwealth 72
Pittsburgh 67 FINAL
Virginia Tech 70
Indiana State 62 2nd Half 3:47
Evansville 75
Tabor College 53 FINAL
Oral Roberts 94
Florida 35 2nd Half
Alabama 22
Tennessee 33 1st Half 1:56
Arkansas 31
Texas A&M 28 1st Half 1:50
Auburn 24
Baylor 21 2nd Half
Oklahoma State 30
DePaul 0 Postponed
Providence 0
Michigan State 0 Postponed
Rutgers 0
Wyoming 26 2nd Half
Utah State 29
Fresno State 22 2nd Half
San Diego St 32
UNLV 9:00 PM
Nevada
SD Christian 9:00 PM
CS-Bakersfield
Colorado State 10:00 PM
Boise State
Temple 71 FINAL
UCF 54
Campbell 42 FINAL
Presbyterian 51
Coastal Carolina 65 FINAL
High Point 73
Gardner-Webb 49 FINAL
Radford 59
UNC-Asheville 58 FINAL
Liberty 62
Winthrop 63 FINAL
Longwood 62
Columbia International 33 FINAL
Charleston Southern 74
Tulane 63 FINAL
Houston 46
(3) Baylor 89 FINAL
TCU 67
Navy 49 FINAL
American Univ 59
Valparaiso 42 FINAL
Illinois-Chicago 60
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: Do you favor the plan for expanded athletic facilities at the U of M?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close