The Hope and Concern series marches on with the Minnesota Golden Gophers.
Biggest reason for hope: Quarterback MarQueis Gray's spring development
Gray was the most pleasant surprise of Minnesota's spring practice session, as the one offensive player who really needed to grasp the new system seemed to get it. While many anointed Gray as Minnesota's starting quarterback after the 2010 season, the junior went out and earned it this spring. He studied Northern Illinois film in the winter to absorb the new offense and then was able to give pointers to his teammates when practices began. "He's been the biggest surprise on our whole team, period," coach Jerry Kill said. "MarQueis has done an unbelievable job of picking up what we're asking him to do. He's had to learn a lot, he's seen a lot of different things from the defense, he's handled himself well, he's very composed." Exactly what Minnesota needs from its leader.
Biggest reason for concern: So many adjustments
Minnesota players not only are adjusting to new systems on both sides of the ball, but they have to acclimate to Kill and his increased demands. Kill came to Minnesota because of his ability to turn programs around, but he typically doesn't see things click in Year 1. The new schemes could benefit the Gophers on both sides of the ball, especially on defense, but several position groups have significant question marks, including defensive line and wide receiver. Kill also challenged his players to improve areas like academics and conditioning this spring. It'll be interesting to see how many players truly buy in.
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