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UNIVERSITY OF MINNESOTA MEDIA CONFERENCE


September 16, 2014


Matt Limegrover


Q.  When you look around the football, obviously you're banged up.  Was it a function of their offensive line play?  What did you see?
COACH LIMEGROVER:  It had a lot to do with the offensive line.  Wasn't really happy going back and taking a look at film.  We're not playing the way we're able to right now up front.  For me that's where it all starts from.  You talk about David being banged up, you can talk about this or that, but we've got to play better up front.  That was made pretty clear on Sunday, and we're working on that.  That's got to be a priority because everything comes from that.  Everybody likes to talk about everything else, but it all starts there and we're not playing the way we need to right now.
So that is a big challenge for us.  I've taken it upon myself and Coach made that clear that we need to be better in those positions.

Q.  After you have a game on Saturday, if you guys preach so much about trying to improve the passing game, is it tough just to deal with that frustration at this point that it's not maybe improving the way you anticipated?
COACH LIMEGROVER:¬† Yeah, I think we'd like to be throwing for 300 yards a game, and it's not happening right now.¬† So there is always‑‑ there are going to be challenges no matter what.¬† Maybe if we were throwing the ball better, there would be something else that wouldn't be up to what we like.¬† But, yeah, it was a priority and it still is a priority, and we're still working on getting that thing honed down.¬† So there is frustration all the way around.¬† But you can either give into it or you can keep working to make some changes.¬† We're choosing the latter, and we're going to move forward.

Q.  What about your offensive line?  You have the same guys back.  It seemed they played a lot better last year than they're playing this year.
COACH LIMEGROVER:¬† Yeah, for the most part we do have the same guys back and made some changes.¬† Had some injuries during camp, which isn't an excuse.¬† We just haven't quite meshed yet, and I think that's a function of maybe the guys just trying to get used to a new year.¬† It's hard to say.¬† The schemes aren't that much different, so I think it's a big function of just going out there and being consistent.¬† That's what I've tried to preach to them.¬† That was a big problem last year was being inconsistent when we were out there and that's kind of carried over. ¬†So we're continuing on talking about what we do.¬† We need to be consistent in it.¬† So hopefully as guys get settled in, and we have flip‑flopped some guys and done some things because of the way the injuries played out, but eventually that will sort itself out and we go from there.

Q.  Who are the injury guys on the offensive line?
COACH LIMEGROVER:  It was during camp we had some guys that were injured.  So Jonah Pirsig missed some time.  He had been coming on.  Ben Lauer had sprained an ankle.  So it forced us to make some changes moving Josh Campion over to left, which I'm really happy in the long run that we did that because Josh is playing really well.  So when those things start to happen, that's when everything gets disrupted a little bit, and you start to put it together.
Chemistry is so important.  Guys feeling comfortable with each other is so important in the offensive line, just trying to make sure that's there week after week.

Q.  Do you feel you're at point where you'll make changes going into Saturday or would you like to make the rotation now to build that chemistry?
COACH LIMEGROVER:  No, I'm never averse to making changes.  That is a hallmark of a Coach Kill team.  If the best five aren't out there, or the best 11, you need to find a way to make that happen.  So there are some things that have been done, and some guys that will be given some opportunity this week during practice still trying to make that right combination moving forward.

Q.  How did you think Isaac did Saturday?
COACH LIMEGROVER:  He really did a nice job.  He had been working a lot at left guard but bounced him over there because he's really progressed well.  He was basically that next man in and had practiced really well.  Really liked when he got in there and that gave us a little lift there.  That was very encouraging to see.  The biggest thing with Isaac is he doesn't have a lot of experience.  So everything's new to him right now.
So the more experience and more opportunities he gets, he'll be that much better, better, better.

Q.  Was Gentry close to playing before he got hurt?
COACH LIMEGROVER:  Close to playing is kind of one's idea of close and another's idea of close may be different things, but he had been doing some different things.  The problem is that injury wasn't something that crept up.  It had been going on for a while, but it affected him for a while and he had been fighting through it.  We did like quite a bit what we saw.  I can't say how close he was to playing, necessarily because that's kind of a gray area question.  But I will say this much, we really liked how he was progressing, but he couldn't get any further with the way his knee was.

Q.  Was it a couple weeks with the injury?
COACH LIMEGROVER:¬† Yeah, he's a tough kid.¬† He fought through what a lot of guys would have shut down on and really actually did pretty well.¬† So long‑term, that's exciting for us, and it's a little disappointing in the short term that he had to get shut down.

Q.  Are you at the point now where you have to make that finalized decision whether or not you want to play Melvin this year or Conner?
COACH LIMEGROVER:  Yeah, we're pretty close.  I think that's the thing.  There is an easy, hey, just throw him in there and play him.  Then there has to be that take a step back and say is this the best thing for that young man's future?  Are there other alternatives, so you're looking through and looking through.  But you do kind of hit a point of no return on that.  I don't know that we're there yet, but it's coming upon us.
The nice thing about it as you know with the way we practice those guys can get a lot of reps.  If we do go that route, we feel like they're going to be ready and we're not going to throw them to the wolves.

Q.  You guys had a lot of success with the Jets last year.  Specifically with TCU was it their personnel or knowing how they could match up with it?
COACH LIMEGROVER:  Yeah, they're fast, fast.  One of the things with the jet sweep is getting some people out of position as you do it.  That was a very athletic group that was also very well coached.  So you were kind of caught on both ends of it.  You'd say, okay, fast group of guys that maybe aren't disciplined, but we can get them here, get them there.  They kind of had the full profile.
You didn't feel real comfortable doing it because you said, okay, that guy who in any of that stuff, when you're handing the ball off, you lose your quarterback as a blocker, so you're 10 on 11 at the end of the day.  You'd like to get that 11th guy furthest away from the ball as possible.  Even when you were doing that, those guys were very good from what we watched from other people as far as making up ground and going and making plays.
So, you know, even we tried to get one late in the game, and the end jumped up the field, which we hadn't done before.  We weren't counting on that one.  We were hoping to get the ball in the perimeter, and he jumps up the field on us and kind of creates a dead play.  Even their ends weren't real well coached up on that stuff.

Q.  Do you think Mitch can be a good passing quarterback?
COACH LIMEGROVER:¬† I do.¬† It goes back to what we started talking about.¬† I think everybody wants to focus on Mitch.¬† I think there is‑‑ he's got to feel comfortable.¬† In anything you want to be successful, you have to feel comfortable in that environment, and I don't think he feels comfortable now going back and throwing the football.¬† So what's happening is he's trying to do too much and it's getting him in trouble.¬† I think that has to start up front.
That's what we really, more than anything else have stressed, is that if he's going to be successful, he needs to feel comfortable.¬† Well, that goes back to offensive lines, backs, tight ends, all those guys doing what they need to in pass protection and the O‑line.

Q.  End of the first half, you guys were moving the ball to about the 40, and then kind of slowed it down a little bit.  What factors went into that?
COACH LIMEGROVER:  Boy, you have a better memory than me.  I like to forget them and move on.  I don't think there was anything consciously done on anybody's part.  I'll be honest with you, I can't really recall.  There wasn't something where we said put the brakes on or anything like that.  So I apologize for not having that one.

Q.  Mitch's best throw seemed to come in the third quarter.  Even the ball to Donovahn in the end zone, not to throw Donovahn under the bus, but is that as he progresses, is that a ball he maybe catches?
COACH LIMEGROVER:¬† I think so, but it wasn't as though it was right there and he dropped it.¬† You would like over the course of time for Mitch to put a little better ball and Donovahn to make a play on that thing.¬† But as far as it goes with Mitch, I still think there is‑‑ I think he wants to do so well.¬† Every time he goes back and he does drop back there are two factors at play.¬† He wants to make the exact right throw, and yet there is a lot going on around them.
We need to do our part to let him figure out what that right throw is.  I think that's when things really fall into rhythm.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports




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