It's hard to believe that spring practice for the University of Minnesota football team is in its last week. With the April 21 spring game approaching, it's time to look at the most intriguing pieces of the spring season.
First and foremost is the starting quarterback situation. While head coach Jerry Kill hasn't stopped the rumors that freshman Phillip Nelson is pushing senior Marquis Gray, it's almost absurd to think the season will begin with a freshman in command. Nelson is going to be a good Big Ten quarterback, but I don't think any freshman is ever ready to play regularly in this conference. Especially at quarterback.
Nelson has done everything asked of him at spring camp. He looks sharp and he may even be ahead of sophomore Max Shortel, who played well when called upon as a freshman. Gray will be the man come late-August when the Gophers open their season in Las Vegas. However, expect to see a ton of Nelson during the spring game. First of all, the coaches want to see him in a game situation, and, secondly, the fans at the spring game will get energized at the possibility of this kid from Mankato leading the team for the next four seasons.
Another observation from spring camp is how we aren't hearing coach Kill say that his team is ill-prepared like we did last spring. Kill made it very clear he wasn't impressed with the conditioning plan of the Tim Brewster regime and that Kill's Gophers needed to step it up. This spring, it looks and sounds like conditioning isn't an issue. Now that that issue is settled the team can work on more important things like perfecting the offense and denying teams sustained scoring drives.
As a fan, I am very excited for the spring game. There will be a lot to observe in a small amount of time. Kill is smart when it comes to events like these. He's going to make sure the players are put through their paces, but he is also going to make sure the fans leave TCF Bank Stadium pumped for another fall of Gophers football.
Blair Reynolds is a lifelong Gophers fan who knew how to sing the Minnesota Rouser before he knew how to count to 10.
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