Coach Kill's comments on today's Sports Huddle:
1) Sid opened the show with a statement. He said that he's hearing that the B1G Conference is going to expand to 18 teams and ultimately the NCAA will be replaced by power BCS conferences: Kill responded, "You hear a lot about realigning . . . I think there are schools that are still realigning . . . Rutgers and Maryland makes us a national conference." He went onto say he sees further realignment and that ultimately there'll be "Four maybe five power conferences." (Kill sounded more confident with the number of 4 power conferences.)
2) Sid asked, again, what the players are doing and if they're still having 6 a.m. workouts: Kill replied saying the team has been busy but have slacked off in recent days as they prepare for spring drills and are focusing on their studies. The start of spring drills is Tuesday, March 26 at 2:00 p.m. Thursday, March 28 drills will also start at 2:00 p.m. and the first Saturday practice (March 30) will begin 10:30 a.m. He said the practices will be open to the public and hopes the fans will avail themselves to the opportunity of the open practices.
Coach Kill closed out the question talking about personnel that will be withheld from spring drills:
a) Eddie Olson had ankle surgery and will not practice.
b) Zack Mottla is recovery from his season-ending injury and surgery and will be witheld from the spring practices.
c) Andre McDonald is out; however, he expects to see his return in May.
d) Marcus Jones will practice but it will be on the light side as he recovers from his ACL injury and subsequent surgery.
e) He also said there are a few other players that have similar status as Marcus Jones, however, no names given.
He said Tennessee's new head coach ____ Jones was recently in for a high school clinic.
3) Kill spoke briefly about an upcoming free clinic (Youth day) for youth 4-13 years of age. He said it's a great time for the young kids and the Gopher players who lead the youth through team drills. It's another way in which the players give back to the community . . . it's good for the youth to be around players and for the players to mingle with the young fans.
June 9th is the start of Coach Kill's summer camps.
4) Sid asked about visiting coaches: Kill said they have had a lot of visitors - coaches in for the clinic . . . North Dakota State's Craig Bohl spoke at one of the clinics as well as coaches from Southern Illinois and Northern Illinois. He also said they have frequent conversations with Mississippi State and TCU (long term relationships). Kill sounded pleased and supportive of the state colleges in Minnesota, "Try to help the state schools." Coaches from several of the state's DII and DIII schools have visited the University of Minnesota and its clinic.
5) (Killjoy's question) Dave asked about the expansion of the team's playbook (It was kept simple, however, there were more wrinkles in December's bowl game): Kill replied: "We want to be where we were in past." Kill said the playbook is being expanded now that he's had a couple years under his belt at Minnesota and with the recruitment of his type of players: "Looking forward to next year . . . excited about (team's) direction."
6) Dave asked about the abundance of players at the center position and the offensive line: He said they need to get Eddie Olson healthy (they know what he can do). During spring drills several players will be practicing at the center and guard positions. (No doubt last year's streak of injuries has influenced their thinking about having players proficient at more than one position.) It sounded as though there are still players in the offensive line that are nicked up and in recovering phases. He said they'll be thin during spring drills. However, he expects the team to be in much better shape this summer with the influx of new players that'll be arriving on campus.