The Gophers received a scare in Tuesday’s open practice when standout sophomore safety Antoine Winfield Jr. left the football field on a cart after injuring his left hamstring during drills.
Coach P.J. Fleck shortly after practice described the injury as “a little bit of a tweak” and said, “we’ll take a look at it and evaluate it.” Fleck did not indicate how much time Winfield might miss.
Winfield, the son of former Vikings defensive back Antoine Winfield, has been one of the highlights during training camp, making big plays during live 11-on-11 drills. “He’s just been outstanding,” Fleck said.
As a true freshman last year, Winfield played in 12 games and started nine. He ranked fifth on the team with 52 tackles, broke up three passes, recovered two fumbles and returned his only interception 82 yards for a touchdown.
No QB starter yet
Sophomore Demry Croft and senior Conor Rhoda continued to split reps with the first team at quarterback, and Fleck wasn’t ready to name a starter for the Gophers’ Aug. 31 season opener against Buffalo.
“We’re getting there. I can’t say I’m favoring one or the other,” he said. “It’s still right down the middle. Scrimmage is going to be big for us on Saturday, in terms of a lot of live reps.”
Fleck said both are progressing. “They are way better than there were at the start of camp. I mean, way better,” he said.
Getting him ready
Offensive tackle Blaise Andries, a 6-5, 313-pound freshman, appears to be a solid candidate to play this season. He has been working mainly with the second team, but late in Tuesday’s practice, Fleck threw the Marshall, Minn., product in with the first team in 11-on-11 drills against the first-team defense. The offense scored on the next play.
“We don’t have a lot of tackle depth,” Fleck said. “He’s a true freshman who looks like he’s ready to go. He’s smart, he’s athletic, he’s tough and he has the size to play in the Big Ten.”
• Freshman Rey Estes has moved from quarterback to defensive back. “I called him into my office and said, ‘Rey, I don’t know if this quarterback thing is working out, and we’re extremely thin in the secondary.’ ” Fleck said. “He goes, ‘Coach, Coach, you don’t have to go any farther. I was actually going to come talk to you tomorrow, because I don’t think this quarterback thing is working out.’ ”
• The Gophers’ next open practice is at 4:15 p.m. Friday at the Gibson-Nagurski complex.