Limegrover, Claeys Address the Media

MINNEAPOLIS — In the absence of head coach Jerry Kill, coordinators Tracy Claeys and Matt Limegrover fielded questions from the media at Tuesday's weekly press conference.

There doesn't appear to be any controversy in the minds of the Golden Gopher coaches who the starting quarterback will be for the Minnesota.

"Yes, yes," offensive coordinator Matt Limegrover said emphatically when asked if MarQueis Gray would continue to be the starter. "And that will continue on until we feel like Max gets to a point where he does a significant number of things better than MarQueis. But MarQueis is a special kid. There are things he does that we really love about him.

"It's kind of interesting. We started this thing out talking about Denard Robinson. You never want to compare directly two people. But I think some of the things that Denard Robinson went through last year, even though he had a great year, I think that's what MarQueis is learning and going through this year being out there. Every time he takes a snap, something new is happening and he's learning. So I think he's just maybe a year behind a guy like Denard Robinson from an experience or from a playing standpoint."

"We're making improvements," Limegrover said about the offensive line. "We're not where we need to be. That's something those guys are aware of. It's just a matter of probably one of the positions that might be toughest when you have a transition, it's tough with a different coaching style all the way around on the offensive line as far as what we want from those kids as opposed to what they were asked to do in the past. Not better or worse, just different.

"I think we're getting closer. Each week I can see it in practice, and I think it's starting to come over into the ballgame a little bit, especially in the run game, still have some work to do protection wise. That's a 24/7 type of thing. It's always got to be on your mind as a coach. Those guys got to understand how important it is to protect that passer."

Last week, former running back Lamonte Edwards was moved to linebacker in an effort to provide depth at the position and to get the talented athlete on the field more. The coaches are hoping Edwards will start to make an impact after getting significant reps in practices for two weeks.

"He had a good week last week in practice," defensive coordinator Tracy Claeys said. "We'll try to get him a few snaps this week in the game now that he's had two weeks and gave him a lot of practice at it. But when we did that, we figured it would take a couple of weeks of practice, and probably for him to get a bunch of reps we're looking at next week's game. But with two weeks practice, he should be able to help us a little bit with what's going on. Definitely by the Purdue game I look forward to him getting some reps."

"Everybody right now that was available for last week's game is available this week as of today, so there is nothing big," Claeys said about player injuries. "Each week, as you go along, everybody gets banged up a little bit and a little bit sore. But there is nothing there that we anticipate injury wise. Everybody will be available, unless they get hurt this week in practice, which I hope doesn't happen."

One player that is still unavailable for Saturday's game is Josh Campion. The freshman offensive lineman has been out all season after suffering a concussion but his health continues to improve.

"He is, he is," Limegrover said when asked if Campion is getting better. "The tough thing is with the concussion issue is making sure that a kid feels really, really good, and that's a huge emphasis. So want to make sure that he feels real good about it and what he's able to do before you try to push him into things. But he's progressing and he's around here all the time and he's hungry. So he wants to get out there."

With the ongoing health problems of head coach Jerry Kill being so widely publicized it would be nearly impossible for Golden Gophers recruits to not be aware of the situation. Are the health problems scaring away commits and potential recruits?

"I don't think so at all," Claeys said. "We made them aware of it, and [Kill's] very involved with recruiting. Like I said, he was on the phone with them himself, and they know the situation and what it's about."

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