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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
Najarian, Goetz, Frazier among 9 top candidates in U AD search

Najarian, Goetz, Frazier among 9 top candidates in U AD search

Sources say a group of top candidates, consisting of interim AD Beth Goetz and eight men with Upper Midwest ties, has emerged.
Gophers getting some attention for NFL draft

Gophers getting some attention for NFL draft

Four from the U were drafted in 2015, and three could be selected in middle to late rounds this year.
Illinois coaching hire shakes up spring in Big Ten

Illinois coaching hire shakes up spring in Big Ten

Lovie Smith's arrival could revitalize the Illini, which means trouble for the Gophers and other Big Ten teams.
U's athletic director job description indicates preference for experience

U's athletic director job description indicates preference for experience

At a time when some boosters are pushing for former Gophers who've succeeded outside the college sports realm, the job description shows those candidates could face an uphill climb.
Streveler leaves Gophers football team, will transfer to another school

Streveler leaves Gophers football team, will transfer to another school

The former U quarterback will be eligible to play for another team right away.
Running game stands out in Gophers' spring game

Running game stands out in Gophers' spring game

Ground game rolls for Gold team, while Leidner backup Croft struggles.
Gophers notes: Marshall lineman Andries commits to Gophers

Gophers notes: Marshall lineman Andries commits to Gophers

The Gophers received big news Saturday before the spring game, when highly coveted recruit Blaise Andries committed to Minnesota.
Spring game enables Gophers to set foundation for the fall

Spring game enables Gophers to set foundation for the fall

It will be the first spring game for Tracy Claeys as a head coach, the first as offensive coordinator for Jay Johnson, and the first spring game period for quarterbacks Demry Croft and Seth Green.
Gophers' young secondary not looking to backpedal

Gophers' young secondary not looking to backpedal

Former Gophers captain Briean Boddy-Calhoun has a nickname for his school that he'd like to see stick: DBU (Defensive Back University).

Gophers alter their approach for the spring game

The Gophers will divide into two teams — Gold vs. White —­ and play two 40-minute halves with a running clock. The coaches plan to reward the winning team but haven't yet said how.
Gophers receivers following the lead of 'Coach KJ'

Gophers receivers following the lead of 'Coach KJ'

As KJ Maye prepares for his pro career, he's helping those who will try to replace his production with the Gophers' football team.
Expectations hiked for Gophers offensive line

Expectations hiked for Gophers offensive line

New coach of that unit emphasizes finishing.
U regents battle over proposal to take more control on coaching contracts

U regents battle over proposal to take more control on coaching contracts

The board's chairman said, "I just think if this resolution passes, we're going to ... have less interest from very capable (athletic director) candidates."
Mobile tackling dummy tested at Gophers football practice

Mobile tackling dummy tested at Gophers football practice

They're just the latest team to try out a remote-controlled tackling dummy from a company called MVP (Mobile Virtual Player). The device was designed by a team of engineers at Dartmouth to help teams reduce practice injuries.
Gophers showing the intensity Claeys wants during spring practice

Gophers showing the intensity Claeys wants during spring practice

Coach Tracy Claeys said the charged atmosphere helps his players practice hard. "If they don't bite when they're a puppy, they won't bite," he said.
Gophers AD search fights 'done deal' perceptions

Gophers AD search fights 'done deal' perceptions

As the University of Minnesota expands the national search for its next athletic director, the school could be battling a perception that the eventual choice, interim athletic director Beth Goetz, already has the job.
Seth Green shows Gophers he's a quick learner

Seth Green shows Gophers he's a quick learner

Green graduated from high school early, enrolled at the university in January and is competing in his first spring football practice. Offensive coordinator Jay Johnson said Green "has done tremendous."
U athletes, local business leaders will help lead athletic director search

U athletes, local business leaders will help lead athletic director search

President Eric Kaler announced that a16-member committee including big names in business and current and former Gophers athletes will work with a search firm to drive the process.
Gophers women's hockey coach Frost shrugs off dynasty talk

Gophers women's hockey coach Frost shrugs off dynasty talk

Brad Frost dismisses dynasty talk, even after a fourth women's national title in five years.
Gophers women win NCAA hockey title

Gophers women win NCAA hockey title

Boston College had the perfect record. The Gophers had the perfect combination of everything else -- for the fourth time in five years.
Kessel feels 'fortunate' to celebrate another NCAA title

Kessel feels 'fortunate' to celebrate another NCAA title

Championship ensures Amanda Kessel has no regrets about her U encore.
With team crown comes rookie's honors for U's Potomak

With team crown comes rookie's honors for U's Potomak

Sarah Potomak might have several big moments ahead for the Gophers, but it will be tough topping her first trip to the Women's Frozen Four.
Blood, guts and glory: Gophers women extend NCAA hockey reign

Blood, guts and glory: Gophers women extend NCAA hockey reign

Gophers roll past unbeaten Boston College for second consecutive national title
Gophers women enjoying the ride eyeing another national title

Gophers women enjoying the ride eyeing another national title

The Gophers are the only Division I women's hockey team that knows how it feels to finish a perfect season. And now here's Boston College, at 40-0.
Potomak's OT goal launches Gophers into fifth straight women's hockey title game

Potomak's OT goal launches Gophers into fifth straight women's hockey title game

Freshman Sarah Potomak finished off archrival Wisconsin. Next up is unbeaten Boston College.

Boston College rallies to beat Clarkson 3-2 in women's hockey NCAA semifinal

Haley Skarupa scored her second goal of the game 58 seconds into overtime to win it for the undefeated Eagles.

Gophers need to beat Badgers, incredible goalie to return to women's hockey title game

Wisconsin's Ann-Renee Desbiens has posted an NCAA-record 21 shutouts and hasn't allowed a goal over the past five games.
Kessel's hat trick helps Gophers trounce Princeton, advance to Frozen Four

Kessel's hat trick helps Gophers trounce Princeton, advance to Frozen Four

Amanda Kessel's hat trick put Gophers back in the Frozen Four for the fifth consecutive year.
U's Kessel, concussion behind her, has clear head and goals

U's Kessel, concussion behind her, has clear head and goals

Amanda Kessel, back on the ice, wants a national title and Olympic gold.
It's a 'big plus' for Gophers to welcome Travis back

It's a 'big plus' for Gophers to welcome Travis back

Damarius Travis injured a hamstring trying to block a last-minute punt in last year's season opener against TCU. He had a setback around midseason and settled for a medical redshirt, which allows him to return this fall.
28 NFL teams give ex-Gophers a look at pro day

28 NFL teams give ex-Gophers a look at pro day

After posting the third-fastest 40-yard dash time among linebackers (4.58 seconds) at the NFL combine last month, De'Vondre Campbell continued working on his draft stock Monday at the Gophers' annual pro day.
Wisconsin beats Gophers 1-0 for WCHA women's hockey title

Wisconsin beats Gophers 1-0 for WCHA women's hockey title

The Gophers landed the third seed in the eight-team NCAA field and drew a quarterfinal matchup against Princeton on Saturday afternoon at Ridder Arena.
Kessel's goal, assist help Gophers beat North Dakota in WCHA tournament

Kessel's goal, assist help Gophers beat North Dakota in WCHA tournament

The senior forward had a goal and an assist as the Gophers reached the final.
Gophers' women's hockey players 'love to hang banners'

Gophers' women's hockey players 'love to hang banners'

The Gophers are lined up for another postseason run, starting with this weekend's WCHA Final Face-Off at Ridder Arena.
'Everything from scratch.' Gophers adjusting to higher expectations

'Everything from scratch.' Gophers adjusting to higher expectations

Among other things, the sight of a quarterback staring into his wrist band in the huddle is ending. "The quarterback has to be in charge," Tracy Claeys said.
For Gophers football, spring will be no break

For Gophers football, spring will be no break

Gophers coach Tracy Claeys aims to put a physical stamp on the program during spring drills.
After parting ways with U, Kill says he's more hurt than mad

After parting ways with U, Kill says he's more hurt than mad

After discussions with president Eric Kaler failed to lead to a new full-time job with the Gophers, former football coach Jerry Kill said the talks "were never about money. … I'm more hurt by it than I am mad.".
One week from spring practice, Claeys is focusing on offensive line

One week from spring practice, Claeys is focusing on offensive line

Two junior college transfers, Garrison Wright and Vincent Calhoun, are expected to take over immediately this spring as starting guards for the Gophers' football team.
Changing course, Kaler now favors search firm for new Gophers AD

Changing course, Kaler now favors search firm for new Gophers AD

Two months after saying he was leaning against using a search firm to hire a new athletic director, University of Minnesota President Eric Kaler has changed his mind.
Ex-Gophers lineman no longer keeping secret about being gay

Ex-Gophers lineman no longer keeping secret about being gay

Asked why he didn't come out publicly while still playing, Luke McAvoy said, "I wasn't the face of the team. The attention shouldn't be on me. It should be on the people who are out there performing and truly building the team."
Gophers have four prep quarterbacks who'll fill holes for team elsewhere

Gophers have four prep quarterbacks who'll fill holes for team elsewhere

Four of Wednesday's signees played quarterback in high school but will move to other positions. "Most times that [quarterback] is the best player at a lot of places," Gophers coach Tracy Claeys said.
Claeys stamps his image on first Gophers recruiting class

Claeys stamps his image on first Gophers recruiting class

After getting 20 official commitments to play football for Minnesota next year, coach Tracy Claeys said he's looking for the Gophers to add "explosion, size, strength and attitude."
Will in-state talent save Gophers 2016 recruiting class?

Will in-state talent save Gophers 2016 recruiting class?

Minnesota produced 14 players this year who will sign scholarship agreements with Power Five conference schools. The Gophers nabbed eight of them.
Super Preps: Coughlin keeps it in the family with decision to play for Gophers football

Super Preps: Coughlin keeps it in the family with decision to play for Gophers football

Despite tempting football offers, Carter Coughlin chose to continue his clan's Gophers legacy
Despite defections, Gophers recruiting class still thought to be strong

Despite defections, Gophers recruiting class still thought to be strong

Nine recruits have decommitted from the Gophers football program since Jerry Kill retired in late October, but new coach Tracy Claeys has added several key commitments, too.
Jay Johnson brings successful résumé to Gophers as offensive coordinator

Jay Johnson brings successful résumé to Gophers as offensive coordinator

Jay Johnson's offenses set records at last two stops.

Gophers to make Jay Sawvel defensive coordinator

If they formed a band, they could call it "Tracy Claeys and the Two Jays."Claeys introduced Jay Johnson as the Gophers' new offensive coordinator…
Gophers third-string QB Jacques Perra to transfer

Gophers third-string QB Jacques Perra to transfer

The ex-Roseville prep star is unsure where he will go.
Once Wisconsin's savior, Bart Miller must now rescue Gophers' line

Once Wisconsin's savior, Bart Miller must now rescue Gophers' line

Tracy Claeys is hoping Bart Miller can work his coaching magic again.
Gophers QB Mitch Leidner will be limited until summer after foot surgery

Gophers QB Mitch Leidner will be limited until summer after foot surgery

Gophers quarterback Mitch Leidner had successful left foot surgery Wednesday and should take about four months to heal, the team announced."Mitch's surgery went well,"…
New boss of Gophers offense will keep 'em guessing

New boss of Gophers offense will keep 'em guessing

Jay Johnson's former QB expects balance and an easy transition for Gophers.
Three more players leave Gophers football program

Three more players leave Gophers football program

Craig James, Desmond Gant are transferring. Berkley Edwards might focus on track and field.
Leidner leads Gophers rally to win Quick Lane Bowl

Leidner leads Gophers rally to win Quick Lane Bowl

The junior quarterback scored a decisive fourth-quarter touchdown against Central Michigan, ending the program's seven-game bowl slide.
Claeys picks new offensive coordinator, fills out coaching staff

Claeys picks new offensive coordinator, fills out coaching staff

Gophers coach Tracy Claeys has picked Minnesota native Jay Johnson to be his next offensive coordinator, and former Wisconsin offensive line coach Bart Miller to hold that role with the program.
Bloated bowl season a bonus for Gophers' bank accounts

Bloated bowl season a bonus for Gophers' bank accounts

Big schools typically make money on bowl appearances, even in Detroit.
Leidner's pending surgery will limit him in spring practice

Leidner's pending surgery will limit him in spring practice

The Gophers quarterback has been playing with an injured left foot this season but hasn't missed a game.
Gophers football notes: RB Smith is ready to return to action

Gophers football notes: RB Smith is ready to return to action

Gophers freshmen Shannon Brooks and Rodney Smith have combined to rush for 1,240 yards this season, and that total could be higher if Smith hadn't sprained his right ankle.
'Hard time adjusting' — former Washburn star Jones leaving Gophers

'Hard time adjusting' — former Washburn star Jones leaving Gophers

Former Minneapolis Washburn star running back is transferring to a junior college in Iowa after struggling on and off the field. Coach Tracy Claeys called him "a great kid" and would welcome him back.
Busy day of additions for Gophers football

Busy day of additions for Gophers football

Former East Ridge quarterback Seth Green was one of seven recruits who officially signed to play for the Gophers on Wednesday, with plans to enroll at the university next month and participate in spring practice.
Central Michigan, Gophers' bowl foe, can pass and defend against the pass

Central Michigan, Gophers' bowl foe, can pass and defend against the pass

The Chippewas will present definite challenges with their passing offense and passing defense.

Chaska's Kegel becomes fifth recruit to decommit from U

Chaska offensive lineman Matt Kegel announced Tuesday that he is decommitting from the Gophers.The 6-6, 300-pound Kegel is a consensus three-star recruit who also had…
Green's switch from Oregon to Gophers highlights big weekend for U football

Green's switch from Oregon to Gophers highlights big weekend for U football

Former East Ridge standout quarterback Seth Green committed to the Gophers along with four others, including former Viking Antoine Winfield's son.
Unlike Nebraska, Gophers coaches to get bowl bonuses for five-win season

Unlike Nebraska, Gophers coaches to get bowl bonuses for five-win season

Since Jerry Kill coached seven of this season's 12 games, he'll get 58 percent of his bonus. Tracy Claeys, who coached the final five games, will get the remaining 42 percent.
Gophers have Seth Green back in their QB recruiting mix

Gophers have Seth Green back in their QB recruiting mix

According to sources, the Gophers would welcome Green as part of their 2016 recruiting class, but they also don't want him to think his decision will make or break them.
Academic improvement gets U to bowl despite losing football record

Academic improvement gets U to bowl despite losing football record

The Gophers bid to the Quick Lane Bowl in Detroit against Central Michigan was made possible because of the team's improvement in the classroom.
Gophers will get bowl invitation Sunday

Gophers will get bowl invitation Sunday

The U will be one of three teams with 5-7 records to play in the postseason. Which bowl is uncertain.
Coaching shuffle leads to lost recruits, rankings drop for Gophers

Coaching shuffle leads to lost recruits, rankings drop for Gophers

Four recruits have decommitted from the Gophers football team since Nov. 22 but, according to sources, only one of those losses stung coach Tracy Claeys.
Gophers still have good chance for a lower-tier bowl

Gophers still have good chance for a lower-tier bowl

While an invite to a lower-tier bowl might not seem like a big positive, one advantage to earning a trip to any bowl game is that teams are given 15 additional practices.
Despite firings, don't expect a new-look Gophers offense

Despite firings, don't expect a new-look Gophers offense

"I love 75-80 percent of what we do," Tracy Claeys said. "This isn't going to be a total overhaul." But there were reasons he felt a change had to be made.

With Gophers, Dan O'Brien goes back to his coaching roots

The U administrator will fill an opening on defensive staff.
Claeys swings the ax: Fires Limegrover, quarterbacks coach

Claeys swings the ax: Fires Limegrover, quarterbacks coach

When Jerry Kill retired, Tracy Claeys quickly hinted that offensive staff changes could be coming if he were hired to keep the job. The move breaks up a staff known for its continuity.

O'Brien named Gophers assistant for defensive backs, special teams

Tracy Claeys filled a defensive coach opening Monday by getting longtime Gophers athletics administrator Dan O'Brien to return to his roots.
Season over? Gophers miss out on Axe, bowl forecast is gloomy

Season over? Gophers miss out on Axe, bowl forecast is gloomy

The Gophers lost 31-21 on Saturday at TCF Bank Stadium to finish the regular season 5-7. It was their 12th straight defeat to the Badgers in the battle for Paul Bunyan's Axe.
Gophers notes: Lauer, Bobek won't return next year

Gophers notes: Lauer, Bobek won't return next year

The Gophers offensive line definitely will have a different look next season after two potential returning starters — Ben Lauer and Brian Bobek — both retired Saturday.
Bowl bid would be nice, but Gophers want the Axe

Bowl bid would be nice, but Gophers want the Axe

Saturday afternoon's game at TCF Bank Stadium is Minnesota's best chance to beat Wisconsin in six years, according to the point spread. For Coach Tracy Claeys and the Gophers, reclaiming the Axe easily would trump a bowl bid.
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