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Joe Christensen

Gophers football reporter | Gophers, Big Ten
phone: 612-673-7844
Joe Christensen covered Major League Baseball for 15 years, including three 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.
Recent content from Joe Christensen
Notes: Gophers O-line adjusts without Campion in the lineup

Notes: Gophers O-line adjusts without Campion in the lineup

The Gophers played their season opener Thursday without senior offensive lineman Josh Campion, who had started all 39 games the previous three seasons.
Gophers drop chances to knock off No. 2 TCU

Gophers drop chances to knock off No. 2 TCU

TCU outgained the Gophers 449-341, but the main difference was Heisman Trophy candidate Trevone Boykin – and two crushing first-half fumbles by the Gophers.
Gophers dare to dream against No. 2 TCU

Gophers dare to dream against No. 2 TCU

A big challenge, and golden opportunity, await the Gophers in their season opener against national title contender TCU
Big tight end Wozniak has bigger shoes to fill for Gophers

Big tight end Wozniak has bigger shoes to fill for Gophers

With Maxx Williams off to the NFL, 6-10 Nate Wozniak will step in.
'Coach Fran' knows Kill-Patterson friendship

'Coach Fran' knows Kill-Patterson friendship

The football coaching tree that produced the Gophers’ Jerry Kill and TCU’s Gary Patterson is rooted in small-town Kansas, and the trunk is legendary coach Dennis Franchione.
Big Ten West preview: Best of friends Riley, Chryst are now rivals

Big Ten West preview: Best of friends Riley, Chryst are now rivals

Mike Riley and Paul Chryst have ties nearly a quarter-century old. Now, they meet in the Big Ten.
Big Ten East preview: A Spartan existence amid the hype

Big Ten East preview: A Spartan existence amid the hype

Ohio State and Michigan hog the attention, but don’t sleep on Michigan State.
Gophers' Maye leads the effort to get more from team's receivers

Gophers' Maye leads the effort to get more from team's receivers

KJ Maye is usually the first teammate Gophers quarterback Mitch Leidner mentions when asked which receivers have been standing out in practice.
Gophers say no to the no-huddle offense

Gophers say no to the no-huddle offense

The Gophers spent spring practice experimenting heavily with a no-huddle offense, but this month they’ve been huddling regularly again.
Gophers' Williams tops talented pack of tailbacks

Gophers' Williams tops talented pack of tailbacks

The Gophers believe they can fill David Cobb’s shoes. Rodrick Williams Jr. is expected to be the starter Sept. 3, when the Gophers open against TCU
Leidner hopes to erase TCU memories

Leidner hopes to erase TCU memories

The Gophers' QB threw three interceptions, lost a fumble and took two sacks in last year's game at TCU but is impressed with how far the team has come since then.
Fascinating football schedule awaits Gophers

Fascinating football schedule awaits Gophers

Three coaches new to their teams will visit TCF Bank Stadium. The Gophers face No. 1 Ohio State in Columbus, and none of Minnesota’s other road games is a gimme — at Colorado State, at Northwestern, at Purdue and at Iowa.
All-senior secondary strength of Gophers football

All-senior secondary strength of Gophers football

All are NFL prospects after arriving at U unheralded.
Backup QB Streveler showing he can play well at other spots

Backup QB Streveler showing he can play well at other spots

The Gophers football team continued to experiment with Chris Streveler at positions other than quarterback during Thursday night’s scrimmage, and coach Jerry Kill came away impressed.
Gophers coach Kill impressed with team's running backs

Gophers coach Kill impressed with team's running backs

Gophers coach Jerry Kill said Wednesday that he continues to feel good about the team’s running backs, though he mentioned an ankle injury for Berkley Edwards.
Gophers freshman Jones mainly quiet during training camp

Gophers freshman Jones mainly quiet during training camp

Jeff Jones, a highly touted running back recruit who converted to wide receiver, missed practice Wednesday because of an unspecified injury.
Christenson, Bobek are Gophers' comeback kids

Christenson, Bobek are Gophers' comeback kids

Two Gophers linemen are on the mend from a broken leg and a heart infection.
Gophers freshman QB Croft in position for backup job

Gophers freshman QB Croft in position for backup job

True freshman Demry Croft has a chance to climb to No. 2 on the Gophers’ quarterback depth chart this season, if not higher.
U tight ends struggling to stay on field

U tight ends struggling to stay on field

Duke Anyanwu has been slowed by knee surgery, while Lincoln Plsek hasn't practiced because of a back injury.

Gophers tight ends struggle to stay on the field

Duke Anyanwu had knee surgery and Lincoln Plsek is sidelined by a back injury.
Several freshmen, top units play well in parts of Gophers scrimmage

Several freshmen, top units play well in parts of Gophers scrimmage

The U’s first-team offense and defense also shined at times in a scrimmage.
Kill shows patience amid Gophers facility delays

Kill shows patience amid Gophers facility delays

Gophers football coach Jerry Kill said it's important the University get it right when it comes to building the new athletics facilities since it's only going to be built "once."
Gophers football coach Jerry Kill gets longer contract, raise

Gophers football coach Jerry Kill gets longer contract, raise

The raise leaves Jerry Kill eighth among the highest-paid Big Ten coaches. The one-year extension means that Kill is now under contract to Minnesota through 2019.
Former Texas prep teammates are tested, seeking success with U

Former Texas prep teammates are tested, seeking success with U

After tough high school years playing for the Fighting Farmers of Lewisville High, three Gophers from the Texas school are seeking more success in college.
With Lauer nursing knee injury, Gophers' backup left tackles struggle

With Lauer nursing knee injury, Gophers' backup left tackles struggle

Protecting quarterback Mitch Leidner’s blind side is the left tackle’s primary responsibility, and defensive end Hank Ekpe made it tough on replacements Foster Bush and Quinn Oseland.
Gophers' success hinges on recharged Leidner's arm

Gophers' success hinges on recharged Leidner's arm

In June, Mitch Leidner attended the Manning Passing Academy — Peyton, Eli, Archie and friends — and came back “a different kid,” Gophers' coach Jerry Kill said
Interim AD Goetz takes in Gophers' football practice

Interim AD Goetz takes in Gophers' football practice

Beth Goetz wasted little time establishing her presence around the Gophers football program one day after being named Minnesota’s interim athletics director.
Queries about Teague accompany Gophers' first fall practice

Queries about Teague accompany Gophers' first fall practice

Gophers coach Jerry Kill’s first fall practice was overshadowed by Norwood Teague’s resignation.
Brothers (and others) come together as Gophers football starts practice

Brothers (and others) come together as Gophers football starts practice

They’ve got the Leidners (Mitch and Matt), the Ekpes (Scott and Hendrick), the Mayes (Alex and Connor) and the Huffs (Julian and Jacob) — one team, four sets of brothers. (And there's more, including two Moores who aren't related.)
Gophers get creative in hopes of improving receiving corps

Gophers get creative in hopes of improving receiving corps

The Gophers need better wide receiver production this year. That’s no secret, and they aren’t limiting the competition to players who have specialized at that position.
Kill leading U football back to prime-time relevancy

Kill leading U football back to prime-time relevancy

TCU’s visit, more time on TV help fuel the Gophers' resurgence.
Gophers' Kill is in good spirits, says his health is great

Gophers' Kill is in good spirits, says his health is great

Jerry Kill said he hasn't had a seizure in more than 18 months.
Defending champion Buckeyes pick up where they left off

Defending champion Buckeyes pick up where they left off

The 2014 national champions are ranked No. 1 by coaches, but even they have their issues.
Kill, three Gophers players in Chicago for Big Ten media days

Kill, three Gophers players in Chicago for Big Ten media days

Each team can bring three players, and Gophers coach Jerry Kill is taking quarterback Mitch Leidner, cornerback Briean Boddy-Calhoun and defensive end Theiren Cockran.
Media peg Gophers for third in Big Ten West

Media peg Gophers for third in Big Ten West

The media picked Wisconsin as the favorite to win the Big Ten West Division on Monday, and Gophers football coach Jerry Kill didn’t disagree.
Gophers recruit Garcia transferring from East Ridge; won't play football

Gophers recruit Garcia transferring from East Ridge; won't play football

Jojo Garcia, a top lineman who’s committed to play for the Gophers, is transferring from East Ridge to Simley for his senior year. He was deemed ineligible to play because of a dispute over his residence.
Lingering concussion effects force Kessel to end Gophers' career

Lingering concussion effects force Kessel to end Gophers' career

Amanda Kessel’s electrifying career with the Gophers women’s hockey team officially has ended because of lingering concussion effects from her time playing for the 2014 U.S. Olympic Team.
Visiting the border, Chryst strikes new tone with Badgers football

Visiting the border, Chryst strikes new tone with Badgers football

The more polished Paul Chryst will add his own spin to the Big Ten football contenders at Wisconsin.
U pushes back start of facilities project

U pushes back start of facilities project

The school said pushing the vote back won’t delay the project’s completion date.
Gophers football on an offseason winning streak

Gophers football on an offseason winning streak

The Gophers have continued to build recruiting momentum since March, when Eden Prairie linebacker Carter Coughlin picked them over offers from Ohio State and Oregon, the teams that played for last season’s national title.
College athletes feel the Twitter love (and hate)

College athletes feel the Twitter love (and hate)

Twitter's 302 million users allow vitriol to hit people in an ugly place that’s hard to avoid, especially for this phone-clutching generation of college athletes.
Gophers' grades in annual NCAA report continue to improve

Gophers' grades in annual NCAA report continue to improve

In the latest report, released Wednesday, all 25 Gophers teams cleared the score required to avoid penalties, and 19 teams showed improvement.
Gophers lineman fills a hole in the classroom, too

Gophers lineman fills a hole in the classroom, too

Jonah Pirsig spends fall Saturdays using his 320-pound body to shield the Gophers’ backfield from danger. But on a recent morning, that same huge force of nature came strolling into Edina Highlands Elementary, wearing a sweater, jeans and boat shoes..
Big Ten: Freshman ineligibility idea just the start

Big Ten: Freshman ineligibility idea just the start

Jim Delany’s idea of making freshmen ineligible in football and men’s basketball has drawn plenty of attention and scorn.
U to break ground on athletic village in August

U to break ground on athletic village in August

The school has raised $70 million of its $150 million goal, with more gains expected soon.
Bobby Bell a Gophers grad, 56 years later

Bobby Bell a Gophers grad, 56 years later

By earning his degree, Gophers football legend Bobby Bell is fulfilling a promise to his father.
Former Gophers running back rolls with NFL draft punches

Former Gophers running back rolls with NFL draft punches

Many draft analysts say David Cobb is an underrated prospect.
Prime time: Get ready for Saturday night Gophers football

Prime time: Get ready for Saturday night Gophers football

Last year, Minnesota had six consecutive 11 a.m. kickoffs. But this fall, the Gophers are expected to play at least four primetime games.
Seven weeks after injury, ex-Gopher Cobb has pro day

Seven weeks after injury, ex-Gopher Cobb has pro day

Former Gophers running back David Cobb held his own pro day Monday, and about 17 teams, including the Vikings, were on hand to watch.
Gophers unveil few new tricks at spring game

Gophers unveil few new tricks at spring game

Even with a genuine buzz Saturday in front of an estimated 10,100 fans for the spring game, Gophers coach Jerry Kill was careful not to reveal too much.
Gophers install quick-pass, no-huddle attack for diversity

Gophers install quick-pass, no-huddle attack for diversity

The Gophers have spent spring camp working almost exclusively on a no-huddle attack. They’ve sped up the pace and worked more on short, quick-passing routes
Former Washburn star Jones emerging as top receiver for Gophers

Former Washburn star Jones emerging as top receiver for Gophers

After coming to campus as a highly touted running back recruit, Jeff Jones appears to have found a new niche.
Gophers' Kill gets point across after offense struggles

Gophers' Kill gets point across after offense struggles

Gophers quarterback Mitch Leidner was so frustrated after a play toward the end of Tuesday’s practice, he heaved the football downfield in disgust. Coach…
Pals from Georgia together again with Gophers football

Pals from Georgia together again with Gophers football

Jonathan Celestin and Rodney Smith graduated high school together last year and were unheralded additions to the Gophers’ 2014 recruiting class. Each could fill a key role this fall
Gophers playing RB Jones at slotback frequently to fill need

Gophers playing RB Jones at slotback frequently to fill need

The Gophers’ use of Jeff Jones at wide receiver this spring appears more than just an experiment.
A big opportunity with Gophers for running back Williams

A big opportunity with Gophers for running back Williams

Gophers running back Rodrick Williams lost his spot to David Cobb, and then lost weight to win it back.
Gophers' freshman Jones showing promise at slotback, too

Gophers' freshman Jones showing promise at slotback, too

On Thursday, the Gophers' coaching staff gave running back Jeff Jones an extensive look at slot receiver as a secondary position for him.
Leidner getting tips from new Gophers assistant Adam Weber

Leidner getting tips from new Gophers assistant Adam Weber

Adam Weber is the Gophers' all-time passing leader, and now he’s working hand-in-hand with quarterbacks coach Jim Zebrowski as a graduate assistant.
Old result, new twist: Gophers win national title, cut down the net

Old result, new twist: Gophers win national title, cut down the net

After beating Harvard for their third NCAA women's hockey title in four years, the Gophers added something new to their postgame celebration.
Gophers women's hockey returns most of its core for next season

Gophers women's hockey returns most of its core for next season

After celebrating its third NCAA championship in four years Sunday, the Gophers women’s hockey team will open next season as one of the favorites to win it all again.
After upset last season, Gophers seniors aching for third title

After upset last season, Gophers seniors aching for third title

The Gophers remember the pain of losing in the title game a year ago.
Gophers' Brandt playing against familiar opposing coach

Gophers' Brandt playing against familiar opposing coach

Hannah Brandt was one of the early cuts from the U.S. Olympic team in June 2013. The coach was Harvard’s Katey Stone.
Gophers earn another chance at Women's Frozen Four title

Gophers earn another chance at Women's Frozen Four title

The Gophers reeled off three quick second period goals and got 34 saves from junior goaltender Amanda Leveille for a 3-1 victory before a sellout crowd at Ridder Arena.
Long established, women's college hockey fights for audience

Long established, women's college hockey fights for audience

Established as an NCAA varsity sport 15 years ago, women's hockey struggles with securing a steady audience, even if Ridder Arena is sold out this weekend.
Gophers breeze into women's Frozen Four with win over RIT

Gophers breeze into women's Frozen Four with win over RIT

The Gophers shook off two major penalties to still win 6-2 and advance to next week’s Frozen Four at Ridder Arena.
Rachel Ramsey carving her own niche off the ice

Rachel Ramsey carving her own niche off the ice

Rachel Ramsey, the daughter of an ex-NHL star, is ready for a change.
Eden Prairie LB Coughlin picks Gophers over Ohio State, Oregon

Eden Prairie LB Coughlin picks Gophers over Ohio State, Oregon

Jerry Kill has landed a big in-state victory.
Gophers' Ekpe now gets a chance to give other guys headaches

Gophers' Ekpe now gets a chance to give other guys headaches

After a health setback, he’s making an impression.
Gophers football trying no-huddle offense in its infancy

Gophers football trying no-huddle offense in its infancy

After holding two spring football practices behind closed doors, the Gophers invited the public Saturday and revealed a no-huddle offense.
Gophers' next goal: Win fourth straight WCHA women's title

Gophers' next goal: Win fourth straight WCHA women's title

Winning a fourth consecutive WCHA tournament would add to the Gophers’ legacy.
Gophers begin football drills with a spring in their step

Gophers begin football drills with a spring in their step

After the team’s first official spring practice, quarterback Mitch Leidner sounded as if he wished the Sept. 3 season opener against TCU were coming this weekend.
Race to replace Gophers' top rusher begins in spring practice

Race to replace Gophers' top rusher begins in spring practice

David Cobb rewrote the Gophers’ record book, but now he’s NFL-bound. Will Rodney Smith be up next?
Botticelli among Gophers trying to make an impression

Botticelli among Gophers trying to make an impression

The defensive tackle will work with other U players for scouts during the Gophers’ pro day.
Kill convinced facilities project will break ground in August

Kill convinced facilities project will break ground in August

Jerry Kill continues to have full confidence that the University of Minnesota will be ready to break ground on its new $150 million athletic…
Gophers officials 'thrilled' with facilities fundraising so far

Gophers officials 'thrilled' with facilities fundraising so far

Officials reiterate that the university hopes to break ground on $150 million project by summer’s end.
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