Heat slows freshmen’s first football practice

by Anthony Maggio

A sweltering Monday afternoon sun greeted Minnesota football freshmen and walk-ons on the first day of practice.

The practice was considered by head coach Glen Mason more of an orientation than a workout, as drills were performed at “a walking pace.”

The heat-stroke-related death of Viking Korey Stringer and the continued hot and humid conditions had the Gophers staff taking all necessary precautions to keep players healthy.

“With players, you can’t assume anything,” Mason said. “With the guys who are having problems, I tell the trainers to stand there and watch them drink three bottles of water to make sure they do it.”

Once conditioning begins later this week, Mason said he will adjust the practice schedule to start earlier in the morning if the heat continues to be a problem.

As far as the incoming freshmen, Mason doesn’t want to make any calls just yet.

“I’m pleased so far,” Mason said. “It looks like a pretty athletic group. We’ve got a lot of guys who have the range we look for on defense.”

“I gave up a long time ago on getting too excited or too down on guys too early.”

The remainder of the players reported on Tuesday.