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.

Gophers Spring Practice #2: A look at two key defensive battles

Posted by: Joe Christensen under Gophers spring football Updated: March 29, 2013 - 12:31 PM

Derrick Wells played cornerback in high school in Lehigh, Fla., so even after thriving at safety last year for the Gophers, he’s having little trouble with the transition back to cornerback this spring.

“He can start at safety or corner,” Coach Jerry Kill said Thursday after the team’s second spring practice. “He could probably come over and play wide receiver and start. So he’s a good player.”

The Gophers need to replace two starting cornerbacks from last season, in Michael Carter and Troy Stoudermire. They’ve turned to Wells, knowing they still have Brock Vereen, Cedric Thompson and Antonio Johnson at safety.

Wells, a junior who missed some time last season because of complications with a lacerated knee, had no problem making the switch.

“I think I want to do what’s best for the team,” Wells said. “But moving to corner, it’ll take some pressure off my knee without all the contact in the middle, so I think that’ll help me out a lot too.”

MIDDLE LINEBACKER UPDATE

The Gophers also need to replace outgoing senior Mike Rallis at middle-linebacker, but for now, they are content keeping Aaron Hill at outside linebacker. The candidates for the MLB spot are junior college transfer Damien Wilson, redshirt freshman Jack Lynn and redshirt sophomore Jephte Matilus.

“I think [Hill’s] more suited to be outside, and I think we’ve got a lot of comfort recruiting Damien,” Kill said. “He’s picked things up very quickly. We’ve got Jephte, who was in there, and Jack, so we feel pretty good about that, and then we’ve got four other young men coming [as incoming recruits this summer].

“I mean, it’s kind of like the secondary was a year ago. I think we’ve really built a good secondary, even losing two outstanding players. And I feel like this recruiting class at linebacker is critical, and Damien certainly has fulfilled a need. He’s done very good the first two days, and Jack and Jephte are learning.”

Note: DT Ra'Shede Hageman looks like he's on a mission this spring, with the NFL looming as a real possibility for him next year. Here's my story on Hageman from today's paper. ... Spring Practice #3 will be Saturday at 10 a.m., at the Gibson-Nagurski Football Complex. Again, all these sessions are open to the public.

ADVERTISEMENT

Buffalo 12/28/14 12:00 PM
New England
Cleveland 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Baltimore
Dallas 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Washington
Indianapolis 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Tennessee
Jacksonville 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Houston
San Diego 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Kansas City
NY Jets 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Miami
Chicago 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Minnesota
Philadelphia 12/28/14 12:00 PM
NY Giants
New Orleans 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Tampa Bay
Carolina 12/28/14 3:25 PM
Atlanta
Detroit 12/28/14 3:25 PM
Green Bay
Oakland 12/28/14 3:25 PM
Denver
Arizona 12/28/14 3:25 PM
San Francisco
St. Louis 12/28/14 3:25 PM
Seattle
Cincinnati 12/28/14 7:30 PM
Pittsburgh
Washington 102 FINAL
New York 91
Oklahoma City 114 FINAL
San Antonio 106
Cleveland 91 FINAL
Miami 101
LA Lakers 93 FINAL
Chicago 113
Golden State 42 2nd Qtr 1:29
LA Clippers 34
DePaul 69 FINAL
Loyola Marymount 72
Ohio 58 FINAL
Nebraska 71
Colorado 66 FINAL
Hawaii 69
George Washington 60 FINAL
Wichita State 54
Central Mich 48 FINAL
Western Ky 49
Fresno State 6 FINAL
Rice 30
Illinois 12/26/14 12:00 PM
Louisiana Tech
Rutgers 12/26/14 3:30 PM
North Carolina
NC State 12/26/14 7:00 PM
UCF
Cincinnati 12/27/14 12:00 PM
Virginia Tech
Duke 12/27/14 1:10 PM
(15) Arizona State
Miami-Florida 12/27/14 2:30 PM
So Carolina
Boston College 12/27/14 3:30 PM
Penn State
(25) Nebraska 12/27/14 7:00 PM
(24) USC
Texas A&M 12/29/14 1:00 PM
West Virginia
Oklahoma 12/29/14 4:30 PM
(18) Clemson
Arkansas 12/29/14 8:00 PM
Texas
Notre Dame 12/30/14 2:00 PM
(22) LSU
(13) Georgia 12/30/14 5:45 PM
(20) Louisville
Maryland 12/30/14 9:00 PM
Stanford
(9) Ole Miss 12/31/14 11:30 AM
(6) TCU
(21) Boise State 12/31/14 3:00 PM
(12) Arizona
(8) Miss State 12/31/14 7:00 PM
(10) Georgia Tech
(19) Auburn 1/1/15 11:00 AM
(17) Wisconsin
(7) Michigan State 1/1/15 11:30 AM
(4) Baylor
(16) Missouri 1/1/15 12:00 PM
Minnesota
(2) Florida State 1/1/15 4:00 PM
(3) Oregon
(5) Ohio State 1/1/15 7:30 PM
(1) Alabama

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: Do you like the Twins' offseason moves so far?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT