The Free Press, Mankato, MN

Sports

April 19, 2014

Hoffner, MSU football players finally get BACK TO WORK

After extended absence, veteran coach returns to MSU football

After a two-day delay, Minnesota State's Todd Hoffner finally got back to the business of coaching football Friday, joining his team on the MSU football practice fields.

Hoffner did not take an active role in running the drills, but spent time talking to the media, mingling with acquaintances and alumni, courting apparent recruits and simply watching his team go through the rigors of a workout.

When asked if any semblance of normalcy had returned, he nodded affirmatively.

"Yes, I actually had a pretty typical spring football day today," he said. "I went to some meetings, had some 1-on-1s with the players, just the usual stuff you do during the spring."

After a 20-month absence from the team that included being placed on leave, suspended and ultimately fired by the university, as well as a brief stint as head coach at Minot State, Hoffner was reinstated as the Mavericks' coach following an arbitrator's ruling last week. He returned to campus Wednesday only to be rebuffed by MSU's players. A series of meetings Wednesday and Thursday smoothed things out, and practice resumed Friday.

Hoffner said he was able to sleep late Friday for the first time since returning to Mankato and tried to take advantage of it.

"It only lasted so long," he said. "Our kids didn't have school today so my son was in the bedroom pretty early telling me it was time to go to work."

Friday's practice session was held amid sunny but cool and windy conditions. The team is scheduled to have four more workouts, culminating with the annual spring game on Saturday, April 26.

Hoffner indicated his role with the team for the next week should be more of the same.

"I don't anticipate doing much differently," he said. "For the spring game I may just be walking through the stands, mixing in with the spectators."

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