The temperatures may not be proof but spring is in the air at the University of Minnesota and no one is more excited for a fresh start than new football coach Tracy Claeys.
Claeys steps into his first collegiate head coaching job after succeeding retired Jerry Kill. Claeys accepted a three-year contract and is hitting the field with a Gopher fix-it list.
Claeys insists that energizing the Gophers stagnant offense is a priority. Minnesota ranked 105th in college football scoring in 2015 (22.5 points per game) and all eyes will be on senior quarterback Mitch Leidner. Leidner will be absent from spring drills while he heals from left foot ligament-repair surgery.
The new coach also shook up his coaching staff by firing longtime friend and offensive coordinator Matt Limegrover. Claeys then added offensive coordinator Jay Johnson and offensive line coach Bart Miller. Minnesota will get 15-spring practices and in that time, Claeys is determined to lay a foundation that reshapes the Gophers into a far more physical team. A Gophers team that runs more instead of being pass-first and a team that is better condition so it can avoid injuries during the course of the season.
The Gophers will play their annual Spring game April 9th at TCF Bank Stadium. Minnesota will open the season at home against the Pac-12's Oregon State Beavers on Thursday September 1st.