Hartman: Kill can't wait to turn loose Edwards in U offense

  • Article by: SID HARTMAN , Star Tribune
  • Updated: February 24, 2014 - 1:48 PM

The redshirt freshman running back has the speed and versatility to immediately become an impact player.

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Gophers running back Berkley Edwards

Another positive factor for Jerry Kill — now that the Gophers football coach had his contract extended through 2018 and the University of Minnesota administration showed confidence in him by raising his salary from $1.2 million in 2013 to $2.1 million in 2014 — is that recruits know he will be around for a while.

The deal also reassures members of the current squad that Kill will be coaching them.

Kill is excited about the opportunity to coach several young players who redshirted last year. One he likes to talk about is running back Berkley Edwards of Novi, Mich., whose father, Stan, and brother, Braylon, played for Michigan and in the NFL. He has four years of eligibility remaining.

Kill said the offense needs improvement and that Edwards is one of the players who could make that happen.

“Well, I don’t think there is any question that Berkley Edwards on the offensive side will really, really help us,” Kill said. “He’s got a lot of athletic ability. We can use him a lot of ways. He’s going to be a really, really good player.

“It allows us to have somebody in there [who] can line up at tailback. He can line up in the slot. He can line up a lot of places. I think there’s no question he has a chance to make our offense a lot better. I don’t think there is any question about that. If I was taking one guy that can specifically really make a difference, Berkley would be the one.

“I’d say he’s between 190 and 195 [pounds], about the size of Chad Spann that we had at Northern Illinois. He’s just phenomenally quick.”

Kill said he believes it is important to improve the offense, and Edwards is one of the new players who will help.

“If we can improve on offense, which I know we’re going to, that will allow us to continue to grow the program in the right direction,” Kill said. “Because we’re playing pretty good defense. We just need to take the next step offensively.”

U puck future bright

I mentioned to Gophers men’s hockey coach Don Lucia that he had a very young squad and asked if that means a bright future for the team.

“We have a chance to be real good again next year,” Lucia said. “We have to wait and see what happens come the end of the year. You never know. I don’t really anticipate anybody will leave at the end of this year but we’re just going to enjoy the year we have and then sit down with the kids after the season and see what their plans are.”

Lucia was asked if there have been any talks with the NHL and NCAA about changing the rules about kids leaving college programs after one year to turn pro.

“No, that’s not going to happen,” Lucia said. “The only window we had was with the last collective bargaining agreement. That’s been done, so there’s nothing that can be talked about doing until the next CBA, and I think that’s another seven-year contract. So you know what, it’s just working with the NHL teams and trying to work together.”

Jottings

• It’s amazing to look at Timberwolves history and see that Kevin Love had the franchise’s 31st triple-double Saturday night. Of those 31, Kevin Garnett has 19 of them and no other player has more than two.

The Wolves went more than five years without a triple-double until Garnett’s first one in January 1998, and after he left, they didn’t have another one for five years until J.J. Barea did it at Oklahoma City two years ago.

• If former Vikings star Sidney Rice, who is expected to be released by Seattle because of salary cap issues, can pass a physical, you would think the Vikings, who are short of receivers, would be interested in signing him.

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