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Gophers

Gophers’ Weight Room, Practice Field Get A Facelift

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(credit: CBS) Mike Max
Mike Max returned to WCCO-TV as a sports reporter and anchor in Apr...
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MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — So what does $1.3 million get you in big-time college football? At the University of Minnesota, it means a refurbished weight room and new practice turf.

But the improvements are really about marketing internally and externally.

It’s difficult to understand the work that has been done to the weight room. It’s basically a football upgrade for the entire athletic department.

“It not only helps football, but it helps the other sports out because it’s not just football,” said Gophers Coach Jerry Kill. “I think we’ve upgraded some things, and not only for us but again for the rest of our sports.”

But make no mistake, football is the focus. And the feel of the room is what they hope keeps the athletes coming in and coming back, getting better and better every year.

“The thing that got me is when our athletes, our football players first walked in, they were like ‘Wow, I really want to work out here now,'” said Head Strength and Conditioning Coach Eric Klein.

It’s difficult for the naked eye to observe the difference between the new practice field turn and the old turf, but what they want it to be like is what they already have on the game field over at TCF Bank Stadium.

If there is an edge that comes with the improvements, it’s that game day will feel more like practice day.

“We also have stadium graphics in laid over here so it will feel like they are playing in the stadium field. The old field didn’t have any graphics on the field, it was just a blank field,” said coach Jarrett Yehlen.

It’s all about one thing in college football: Having a complex that sells recruits, that brings the top players in the state and country to Minnesota, a places that’s very hungry for a winning football program.

“They’re all comparing weight rooms and comparing facilities, they’re comparing schools, they’re comparing wins and losses, because that’s what they do,” Kill said. “So if we don’t stay up-to-date with it, we’ll fall behind. It certainly is beneficial, it’s all about recruiting and getting players to help you turn a program around.”

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