Friday, April 20, 2012
Spring game preview: Minnesota
By Brian Bennett
Three more Big Ten spring games are on tap Saturday, and we're here to get you ready for each one. Let's take a look at what to expect from Minnesota:
When: Noon ET, Saturday
Where: TCF Bank Stadium
Admission: Free. Maroon, Gold and Ski-U-Mah lots will be open for tailgating at 9 a.m local time. Cost will be $10. Gopher lot opens at same time at the same price but will not allow tailgating.
TV: The game will be streamed live on the Big Ten Digital Network and BTN2Go. The Big Ten Network will broadcast the game at 7 p.m. ET on Sunday.
Weather forecast: A 50 percent chance of showers, with a high of 57 degrees.
What to watch for: Jerry Kill says the spring game will be "some good old-fashioned competition," with the team and coaches split up. The winning side will eat pork and the loser gets beans.
That Kill feels he can have a true, competitive spring game speaks volumes to how far this team has come since a year ago and how much more comfortable he is with the roster. The Gophers have more depth and understanding of the system, and that could show on Saturday.
MarQueis Gray continues to develop as a passer; keep an eye on a deeper receiving corps that has been coming on at the end of spring practice. Coaches have also been high on junior college transfer James Gillum, who'll get a chance to show off his running skills in a game day setting.
It's always about the lines in the Big Ten, though, and the defensive line has been suspect at Minnesota for some time. That position seems to be improving, and while it's hard to judge a pass-rush during a spring game, it would be encouraging to see that group play well.