Lloyd’s foot is the answer to U’s kicking question

by Dan Miller

At the beginning of the football season, Minnesota coach Glen Mason wasn’t sure if he would have a set starting kicker or punter. Now, it appears he has both in one foot.

Minnesota place kicker Rhys Lloyd became the first Gophers kicker to have two or more 50-yard field goals in a season since Adam Bailey in 1997.

In the first quarter, Lloyd hit a 54-yarder from the left hash, which ranks fifth longest in school history. Lloyd also had a 30-yarder in the second quarter.

In addition, for the second straight game, Lloyd handled all punting responsibilities with two punts for an average of 40.5 yards.

The Gophers have used two other punters this season: first-string tight end Ben Utecht against Tulsa and freshman punter Mark Rivers versus Troy State.

“Coach Mason asks me to do a job and I just step in and do it,” Lloyd said. “I am pretty confident about my punting. I am not an actual punter, but I work on it in practice because that’s what they want me to do.”

As far as handling double kicking duty indefinitely, Lloyd said he will do what he is told.

“I’ll take each game as it comes,” he said. “If someone comes in and does it better, then fair game to him, but for now coach gave me a job and I’ll do it.”

Delany sets teleconference

Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany will hold a teleconference with all of the Big Ten athletics directors on Tuesday.

Minnesota Athletics Director Joel Maturi said Saturday night he assumes Delany will hold an administrative council to find a solution to the possible scheduling conflicts involving the Twins and Gophers football in mid-October.

Home games versus Michigan on Oct. 11 and Michigan State on Oct. 18 pose potential conflicts with a Twins run in the postseason. Now that the Twins appear to be en route to a second-straight division title, decisions are inevitable.

Options discussed include moving the football games to Friday nights instead of Saturday or to an alternate site such as Ford Field in Detroit.

The games would only have to be moved if the Twins got past the American League division series, which would be against the New York Yankees if the season ended today.

The council can either decide on a plan now or wait until after the division series.

Kamrath connects

Second-string quarterback Benji Kamrath rushed for his first career touchdown in the second quarter against Louisiana-Lafayette. He has appeared in all four games this season, the longest streak of his career.

Kamrath has been the subject of coach Glen Mason’s praise for his improvement with the offense this year.

“I feel very comfortable with the offense,” Kamrath said. “This is my fifth year here, and the more experience I get, the more comfortable I will get.”

As the Big Ten season approaches, Kamrath feels his role stays the same.

“Right now I am just waiting for my chance as the opportunity presents itself,” he said.