Something feels different in Dinkytown this summer. Aside from the record heat and humidity there is something else in the air that Gophers fans aren’t used to. For starters, there is continuity, both with the coaching staff and personnel. The Gophers saw great participation in captains practices and summer workouts. There were no bombastic proclamations of Big Ten championships or any statements that could be used as bulletin board material for other teams. Even die hard Gopher fans have steered clear of excessive Kool-Aid consumption with tempered and realistic expectations for the season. It’s like the Gophers are poised for doing instead of thinking. Everyone seems to be on the same page, from the coaching staff, to the players, to the fans, and to the media. Everyone is taking a cautiously optimistic approach to the season. So what exactly does that mean….
Gophers offensive coordinator Matt Limegrover lost 118lbs this summer. Limegrover did this under the radar. He didn’t hold a press conference to gloat, in fact media members and players had to talk to him about it first before he would even open up. Limegrover walked the walk this summer instead of talked the talk, and the 2012 Gophers hope to take after their coach when they tee it up in Las Vegas on August 30th. Head coach Jerry Kill also looks like he lost a bit of weight, however he wouldn’t let you know about it. In fact, Jerry seems like he always wants to change the subject when a reporter asks him about his health. Kill has been quoted as saying “I feel great!” and looks around the room for anyone that wants to ask him about football instead. This Gopher team doesn’t want to draw attention to itself. It makes them uncomfortable. Instead they want to fly under the radar and let their play do the talking, kind of like their coaches.
With Tim Brewster, or for that matter with Jim Wacker you would be thinking that Rashede Hageman is the next Ndamukong Suh and MarQueis Gray is the next RGIII. Part of the issue with this program in the past was the over the top praise, hype, and publicity of its “stars”. That hype was never warranted for past players and often times fans would be left disappointed in a particular player because of the unrealistic expectations set upon them. However, the staff is tempering those expectations despite the obvious physical gifts of the players mentioned. Again a little less talk and a lot more action is the goal.
Just because this team seems to “get it” doesn’t mean they are going to have a breakout season and go to a major bowl game. It simply means that everyone from the coaches, the players, and even the fans are on the same page. Last year Kill was quoted as saying he wants to build the program from concrete not sand. That means and I hate this term because I think it can be cliché and completely overused, but that means he needs to change the culture (my words, not Kill’s), which may be another reason why I like Kill so much. Kill is not a cliché robot, he is brutally honest, at times to a fault. Jerry Kill is a straight shooter and that is exactly what this program is looking for. Gopher football 2012: less talk, more action!