Spring football is right around the corner for the Gophers, starting March 1, but the team won’t be quite as accessible to the public as it’s been in the past.

Former coach Jerry Kill kept all 15 spring practice sessions open to the public during his first four years at Minnesota. Last year, when the team began experimenting with a no-huddle offense, Kill closed the first two spring practices before keeping the rest open.

This year, new coach Tracy Claeys is keeping eight of the 15 spring practice sessions closed to the public, including the first four. This will give new offensive coordinator Jay Johnson a chance to begin installing his systems before the public (and media) gets access to watch March 10.

It’s worth noting that many college football programs around the country close all their spring practices to the public until their spring games. The Gophers still have seven open sessions, including the annual April 9 spring game at TCF Bank Stadium.

Just like the past two years, the Gophers scheduled a chunk of their practices before spring break with another chunk afterward. The university’s spring break runs from March 14 to 18.

Joe Christensen

Key spring practice dates


March 1: First practice (closed to the public, media).


March 10: First public practice, at Gibson-Nagurski Football Complex.


March 26: First public weekend practice, at Gibson-Nagurski.


April 9: Spring game, TCF Bank Stadium.