Bradley Leeb-US PRESSWIRE

Injuries plague Gophers as Kill gets ready for Nebraska


Nov 10, 2012; Champaign, IL, USA; Minnesota Golden Gophers running back Donnell Kirkwood (20) runs for a touchdown during the third quarter against the Illinois Fighting Illini at Memorial Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Bradley Leeb-US PRESSWIRE

Do you know how to snap a football? Do you stand at least 6-foot-2-inches and weigh in at around 275 pounds? If so, you could have just won a trip to Lincoln, Neb. this weekend!

University of Minnesota head football coach Jerry Kill is looking for answers on the offensive line. Especially at the position of center.

In the Gophers 17-3 win last weekend in Champaign, Ill. versus the Fighting Illini, Kill had to run three different players to snap the football for his squad. Include that with injuries to multiple other offensive lineman and this tattered corps of pile movers need some breaks.

In his weekly press conference with the media today, coach Kill addressed the season ending injury to center Zach Mottla. Stating that a broken leg is the reason the Gophers had to turn to backup backup center Zac Epping last Saturday. Mottla was already in play, because of a high ankle sprain to freshmen center John Christenson.

Epping looks to be the favorite to start against the Cornhuskers this weekend. Christenson will be a questionable play with his injury and is expected to travel to Lincoln for the game.

Kill gave credit to offensive coordinator Matt Limegrover for having the extra bodies ready to snap the football like Epping, who usually lines up as an offensive guard.

“Coach Limegrover since I’ve been with him has always snapped three or four guys to make sure if we ever were in a situation, hoping that we never would be and never thought we would be.  But we were.  But we move on and go from there.” Kill said after talking about the rarity of even traveling with three centermen.

The Gophers’ coach also mentioned that brothers Ed and Tommy Olson, who each have injury concerns themselves, will take snaps in practice this week.

“We’ll snap both Olson’s, both those young men, see what they can do.  That’s the choice. We’re not going to pull any red shirts or anything like that this late.  Can’t do that.  So that’s where we’re at.”

It is an interesting dynamic to handle at this point of the season. Minnesota is now bowl eligible and would like to finish strong to improve their position in the Big Ten Conference bowl standings.

The Cornhuskers will welcome the Gophers to town as the No. 14 team overall in the BCS Standings.

When asked if Kill had ever coached a game in Lincoln, he responded “I have not coached a game.  I’ve watched a game in Lincoln, but I have not coached one.”

Immediately after his response, a statement from the crowd came, “pretty tough down there.” In which Kill responded, “Oh, I know.  Most of the time I watched it it was pretty tough, too, because I happened to be from Kansas and they were Nebraska and Kansas didn’t beat Nebraska very often.”

Tags: Featured Football Minnesota Golden Gophers Popular

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Derek-Johnson/1213345316 Derek Johnson

    Looking forward to seeing Gopher fans in Lincoln today. I made the trip to Minneapolis last year, and enjoyed the hospitality. My story: http://wp.me/p1ZYxe-iq