Much like his boss, Tracy Claeys knows how to work a crowd.

With Gophers coach Jerry Kill out of state for his youngest daughter's wedding, Claeys filled in Wednesday as the football team's speaker on the first leg of the third annual Gopher Road Trip.

"Obviously we're excited about where we've been," said Claeys, the team's defensive coordinator and associate head coach. "Last year we accomplished some things that hadn't been done in over 40 years. At the same time, we all agree, we think we can do better.

"I know one thing: me personally, I'm not going to relax until that Axe comes back."

This drew big cheers from the crowd of about 150 at Johnny O'Neil's Green Lake Social.

The Gophers are riding an 11-game losing streak against Wisconsin, and are on a mission to reclaim Paul Bunyan's Axe.

Claeys said another goal is to finish with a bowl game victory. The Gophers are 0-7 in bowls since defeating Alabama in the 2004 Music City Bowl.

Gridiron Gold: