"We liked what they did with Robert Griffin III, with what they put on his plate," Minnesota offensive coordinator Matt Limegrover told the Minneapolis Star Tribune. ”We had seen him play the year before, and he made a real nice jump from 2010 to 2011 -- I think a lot of people would like to have a year like that, wouldn't they?"
Grey, the team's quarterback, and the Minnesota coaches sure would.
So three members of the team's staff traveled to Waco, Texas before spring practice to visit the Big 12 school and pick the brains of their coaches about how they positioned their star dual-threat QB to complete 72.4 percent of his passes for 4,239 yards with 37 touchdowns against only six interceptions while rushing for nearly 700 yards.
“Having a mobile quarterback, he can do a lot of things, running, throwing, and getting those 4th-and-1 yards,” Gray said. “Especially a big quarterback is a great thing, and a positive thing for spread offensives.”
And the 6-foot-4, 245-pounder knows he has a steep learning curve for his arm to catch up with his legs. The former receiver demonstrated his elite athleticism by rushing for 966 yards and six touchdowns on 199 carries last season. However, he completed just 50.7 percent of his passes last season for 1,495 yards with eight touchdowns against eight interceptions, hardly what you would call ‘Heisman material.'
But the trip to the Lone Star State is a big step in the right direction for maximizing Gray's passing ability. Last season, a vicit to TCU to learn the team's spread offense resulted in the Golden Gophers acquiring one of their top play-action passes and protections schemes for the season.
All these new ideas and plays, however, likely won't result in a trip for Gray to the Downtown Athletic Club in New York City in December. But a bowl game? That pass could be right on target.
“That's my ultimate goal,” Gray said, “to leave here with a bowl win.”
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