MINNEAPOLIS -- Beads of perspiration tumbled off Trevor McCulloch's forehead as he stood in stifling humidity inside the Gibson-Nagurski Complex at the University of Minnesota on media day Friday.
The 6-foot-4, 333-pound offensive lineman from Brainerd hopes to work up a sweat often this fall, earning some playing time in his redshirt freshman season for the Gophers.
Entering the beginning of practice Saturday, McCulloch was listed No. 2 on the depth chart at right guard.
"It would be a dream goal to start right now, my second year," he said, "but it could happen. Anything can happen with football, injuries, eligibility. I would have to step up to play."
Gordon Shaw, who coaches Gopher guards and centers, called McCulloch's strength "outstanding" but said playing time will have to be earned.
"He's one of the strongest guys on our football team in the lower half of his body," Shaw said. "He had a good spring. He started learning the system. Right now he's set at No. 2. Whether he sees a lot of playing time this year remains to be seen.
"Given what happened last year, with (Ryan) Roth going down, another guy going down, (Joe) Quinn getting banged up, some guys on the depth chart moved up quick, so we'll see."
Weight will be a factor in determining how much McCulloch plays, if at all.
"I want to be around 300 by the first game, if not lower," said McCulloch, who started in the spring game. "I was real close last year, right after the season, and I was moving better. I was playing twice as well as I did during the spring when I was a little heavier.
"I can feel it when I run, the weight. That's something I've had to work on all my career."
Passing a conditioning test will be another obstacle. Offensive linemen must complete five 60-yard shuttle runs in 54 seconds on the first day of practice.
"Right now it's not looking good for me," McCulloch said. "My weight is up a little bit. I need to work on my weight.
"Hopefully, I can pass the first one. We have to run two and average them out. If I pass the first one I will be happy with myself."
The Gophers shifted McCulloch to guard when he arrived on campus in 2001. In high school, he was a three-time all-conference tackle and a first-team all-state player as a senior.
"I like guard a lot better," McCulloch said. "You're more in the trenches. It's a little bit harder to figure out. There are a lot more calls inside because the closer you get to the ball the harder everything is.
"The center is like the heart of everything. Guard is blocking more than one guy. It seems at tackle you're blocking one guy a lot. He's got all the open space. I don't think I could make the adjustment back to tackle."
McCulloch adjusted to standing on the sidelines and watching games as a redshirt last fall.
"You've got to pay your dues," he said. "It would be selfish of me to say I should have been playing last year, or I should be playing this year. If I have to sit out again this year it's because I wasn't living up to what my expectations were and there's another guy who's playing better than me. That will be better for the Gophers in the long run.
"It was hard coming from starting four years in high school, but it's all worth it. Our team is going to be better because I'm not playing if I'm not the man for the job."
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