Joe Christensen covered Major League Baseball for 15 years, including three seasons at the Baltimore Sun and eight at the Star Tribune, before switching to the college football beat. He’s a Faribault, Minn., native who graduated from the University of Minnesota in 1996. He covered Jim Wacker’s Gophers for the Minnesota Daily and also wrote about USC, UCLA and the Rose Bowl for the Riverside Press-Enterprise before getting this chance to cover football again.
Email Joe to talk about the Gophers.
Don't begrudge me too much my trip to Phoenix. It has been in the 60s since I got here yesterday at mid-day, and today was the first time I'd seen the sun.
I'm not even wearing shorts.
Anyway, the Gophers finished their last practice of the season today. Tomorrow -- the day before the Insight Bowl -- the team will do a workout at the local high school they've been working out on. Then they'll go over to Sun Devils Stadium to look around and get comfortable.
Of course, most of these guys already know their way around Tempe.
Here are some notes off of today's practice"
--Brewster talked a bit about his upcoming extension. He agreed that it will help him in recruiting going forward. This year's class is nearly full already. There are maybe four or five spots left, depending on whether any of the school's current commitments change their minds.
"We're way ahead in recruiting," Brewster said. "We're doing a lott of junior recruiting at this point. Some sophomore recruiting. We're identifying young guys, particularly in the state of Minnesota.
--Center Jeff Tow-Arnett will play. Brewster guaranteed it. And that could cause some shuffling along the line. When Tow-Arnett is in at center, D.J. Burris could move over to left guard.
--Look for Ryan Collado to get a lot of minutes. He played well out of the nickelback position against Iowa, has proven he can blitz the quarterback from the slot position and has improved as a cover corner. I love this kid. He survived a pretty difficult first two seasons and has never quit working. I think he has proven he can be a big-play guy against the run and as a blitzer.
--I think it will be interesting to see how the Gophers offense responds after finishing the season on a down note. I think MarQueis Gray will be a big part of the offense as a receiver. Brandon Green is healthy again and the young receivers in general have had another month to learn and practice the offense.
--Speaking of Decker, he's using a walking boot now. Everything has gone well so far with his recovery. His plans are to take the boot off in three weeks and start walking. Then he'll do some jogging. In March he will undergo surgery to remove some of the metal that was put in place to keep his foot stable. His goal is to be full-go by May or June.
--Brewster reiterated his desire to get the Big Ten into a system where they're playing games early in December. His preference, as he's said before, would be to see an expanded Big Ten. In any event he'd like to see a bye in the schedule that would allow the regular season to end after Thanksgiving.
That's about it. Have a good day and I'll get back to you tomorrow.
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