The Gophers were contemplating a position switch for Jack Lynn anyway. Cody Poock’s knee injury just sped up the process.
Lynn, a redshirt sophomore who had been backing up senior Damien Wilson at middle linebacker, moved into Poock’s outside linebacker spot with the first-team defense Tuesday.
It was the Gophers’ first practice since Saturday, when Poock tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee.
“We had two [middle] linebackers playing really well, so we were going to work [Lynn] outside,” coach Jerry Kill said. “Jack’s really improved his athleticism, and you’re trying to get your best players on the field.
“We took a harder look at it [after Poock’s injury], and thought, ‘Hey, we need to do this sooner than we thought.’ ”
Poock, a transfer from Iowa Western Community College, would be eligible for a medical redshirt. But Kill said Poock already told him he’d be ready to return this fall.
“Nobody thought Adrian Peterson [would return from his ACL injury so quickly],” Kill said. “I don’t ever say no to anybody when they’ve got that kind of attitude. So we’ll see what happens.”
Maye back to full speed
KJ Maye emerged as a go-to receiver during spring practice last year as a sophomore but finished the season with just seven catches for 70 yards. Though it wasn’t publicized, Maye suffered a sports hernia in Week 3, which limited him all season, even though he played in all 13 games.
Maye had surgery after the Gophers’ bowl game and was back at full speed by the start of spring practice. He’s already re-established himself as a favorite target for quarterback Mitch Leidner.
“It kind of challenged my character a little bit [last season] to see if I could push through this, or if I was going to sit back and let it take over me,” Maye said. “It’s an injury that affected my running and my ability to play like I play. But I knew that I still needed to be there for the team.”
Offensive coordinator Matt Limegrover said Maye’s return has given the whole offense a lift.
“There were times he looked like he was in slow motion last fall and, what makes it that much tougher is, he’s a kid that you just root for,” Limegrover said. “You see him struggling, and a little piece of you is dying because he’s such a great kid. We’re just happy to have him back.”
Jeff Jones update
With his school on spring break, Minneapolis Washburn running back Jeff Jones came to the Gophers practice and spent time talking to Kill and the rest of the staff. A four-star recruit, Jones continues to work toward qualifying academically to play Division I by this fall. He’s scheduled to take the ACT exam again April 12.