The Gophers football team held their sixth spring practice Saturday in TCF Bank Stadium. It was their first outdoor practice. The first five practices were held indoors at the Gibson-Nagurski Football Complex. The weather was great for Saturday’s practice as it was sunny with a temperature in the mid-50’s. The Gophers also had their first scrimmage Saturday, going live for roughly 45 minutes.
Head Coach Jerry Kill stopped the practice numerous times to make players perform up-downs. Kill said he wasn’t impressed with the pace of the practice. Although he put some of the blame on himself and his unfamiliarity with TCF Stadium, he made it clear that he is teaching the players tempo. He proved that point by forcing players, particularly on offense, to perform up-downs if they came out of the huddle too slow. The work the players are putting in this spring will pay off when the games start to matter. Kill’s Gophers may not be the most talented when the season opens five months from now, but they will not be out-hustled.
- After a two-interception performance during Thursday’s practice, Marqueis Gray had his best showing of the spring, completing 10-of-13 passes during the scrimmage. Gray took most of the snaps during scrimmage, with redshirt freshman Tom Parish taking the rest of the snaps.
- Parish completed passes of 70 and 50 yards, drawing cheers from the 500 spectators in attendance. “He’s probably the next one in line as far as knowing the whole offense and putting us in the right spots,” offensive coordinator Matt Limegrover said when asked about the Wisconsin native. It remains unclear who will be the #2 option at quarterback for Kill and the Gophers when the season begins, but Parish seems to be grasping the mental aspect of Kill’s schemes quicker than sophomore Moses Alipate, junior Adam Lueck, and fellow redshirt freshman J.D. Pride.
- Keanon Cooper was praised by Kill for his hustle when he forced a fumble after running down a ball carrier. Cooper is penciled in as a starting linebacker and shold be one of the Gophers most effective pass rushers.
- Marqueis Gray and receiver Da’Jon McKnight are developing a chemistry. McKnight was Gray’s go-to target during the scrimmage. “Once you see Da’Jon man-on-man, it’s a no-brainer. You’ve got to give him the ball,” Gray said of McKnight.
- The Gophers next practice is Tuesday at 2:30pm indoors at the Gibson-Nagurski Football Complex.