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

New England 2/1/15 5:30 PM
Seattle
Milwaukee 6:00 PM
Orlando
New York 6:00 PM
Indiana
Denver 7:00 PM
Memphis
Chicago 9:30 PM
LA Lakers
Montreal 6:00 PM
NY Rangers
Winnipeg 6:00 PM
Philadelphia
Boston 6:00 PM
NY Islanders
Arizona 6:30 PM
Toronto
Dallas 6:30 PM
Ottawa
Detroit 6:30 PM
Tampa Bay
Columbus 6:30 PM
Florida
Nashville 7:00 PM
St. Louis
Minnesota 8:00 PM
Calgary
Buffalo 8:30 PM
Edmonton
Anaheim 9:00 PM
San Jose
DePaul 72 FINAL
Providence 83
Michigan State 42 2nd Half
Rutgers 34
Boston Univ 6:00 PM
Army
Fla Atlantic 6:00 PM
Charlotte
Youngstown St 6:00 PM
Detroit
East Tenn St 6:00 PM
Furman
Saint Louis 0 1st Half 20:00
George Mason 0
USC Upstate 6:00 PM
Jacksonville
High Point 6:00 PM
Liberty
Central Conn St 6:00 PM
Long Island
Western Ky 6:00 PM
Louisiana Tech
Dayton 6:00 PM
Massachusetts
Chattanooga 0 1st Half 20:00
Mercer 0
Wofford 6:00 PM
UNC Greensboro
Maryland 0 1st Half 20:00
Ohio State 0
FIU 6:00 PM
Old Dominion
Fair-Dickinson 6:00 PM
Robert Morris
Mount St Marys 6:00 PM
St Francis-NY
Bryant 6:00 PM
St Francis-PA
Northern Ky 6:00 PM
Stetson
Coll of Charleston 6:00 PM
Towson
Western Carolina 6:00 PM
Va Military
Sacred Heart 6:00 PM
Wagner
Lipscomb 6:00 PM
Fla Gulf Coast
Kennesaw St 6:00 PM
North Florida
Appalachian St 6:30 PM
Ga Southern
Holy Cross 6:30 PM
Loyola-Maryland
Eastern Ill 6:30 PM
UT Martin
Jacksonville St 7:00 PM
Belmont
Connecticut 7:00 PM
Cincinnati
Rider 7:00 PM
Saint Peters
SIU Edwardsville 7:00 PM
SE Missouri St
Marshall 7:00 PM
Southern Miss
Tenn Tech 7:00 PM
Tennessee St
Middle Tennessee 7:00 PM
TX-San Antonio
Ill-Chicago 7:00 PM
Milwaukee
Weber State 7:00 PM
North Dakota
Denver 7:00 PM
North Dakota St
IUPU-Ft Wayne 7:00 PM
South Dakota
Louisiana 7:05 PM
South Alabama
Georgia State 7:15 PM
Texas-Arlington
Ark-Little Rock 7:30 PM
Arkansas State
ULM 7:30 PM
Troy
Portland 8:00 PM
Gonzaga
Kentucky 8:00 PM
Missouri
Eastern Ky 8:00 PM
Murray State
UAB 8:00 PM
Texas-El Paso
Idaho State 8:00 PM
Northern Colorado
UMKC 8:00 PM
Grand Canyon
Chicago State 8:05 PM
Utah Valley U
Colorado 8:30 PM
USC
Cal Poly 9:00 PM
UC Irvine
Hawaii 9:00 PM
CS-Northridge
Pepperdine 9:00 PM
Pacific
Santa Clara 9:00 PM
San Diego
Utah 9:00 PM
UCLA
UC Santa Barbara 9:00 PM
UC Davis
Montana 9:05 PM
Portland State
Montana State 9:05 PM
Sacramento St
Long Beach State 9:30 PM
Cal State Fullerton
Loyola Marymount 9:30 PM
St Marys-CA
San Francisco 10:00 PM
BYU
California 10:00 PM
Washington St
Louisiana 47 FINAL
South Alabama 57
Saint Josephs 51 FINAL
Saint Louis 52
Appalachian St 77 FINAL
Georgia Southern 74
Niagara 48 2nd Half 1:35
Saint Peters 54
Old Dominion 43 2nd Half 15:17
FIU 29
Southern Miss 44 2nd Half 17:06
Marshall 32
Georgia State 15 2nd Half
TX-Arlington 25
Ark-Little Rock 34 2nd Half 19:39
Arkansas State 35
ULM 13 1st Half 2:01
Troy 41
Pittsburgh 14 1st Half 3:37
(17) Duke 28
(6) Tennessee 6:00 PM
(10) Kentucky
Nebraska Omaha 6:00 PM
IUPU-Ft Wayne
UC-Riverside 6:00 PM
CS-Northridge
Army 6:00 PM
Boston U
New Orleans 6:00 PM
Nicholls
Charlotte 6:00 PM
Florida Atlantic
Hofstra 6:00 PM
Northeastern
New Hampshire 6:00 PM
Maine
UNC-Wilmington 6:00 PM
William & Mary
Clemson 6:00 PM
Wake Forest
Alabama 6:00 PM
(1) South Carolina
(23) Syracuse 6:00 PM
(8) Louisville
Missouri 6:00 PM
Florida
Iona 6:00 PM
Fairfield
Manhattan 6:00 PM
Marist
NC State 6:00 PM
Virginia
(4) Notre Dame 6:00 PM
Virginia Tech
(22) Rutgers 6:00 PM
Purdue
(5) Maryland 6:00 PM
Michigan
Milwaukee 6:00 PM
Cleveland State
Jacksonville 6:00 PM
USC Upstate
Stetson 6:00 PM
Northern Ky
(24) Oklahoma 0 1st Half 18:47
(14) Texas 2
Towson 0 1st Half 19:01
Delaware 0
Albany 4 1st Half 19:07
Vermont 0
Hartford 0 1st Half 20:00
Stony Brook 0
Wright State 0 1st Half 19:10
Oakland 3
North Florida 0 1st Half 20:00
Kennesaw St 0
Loyola-Maryland 6:05 PM
Holy Cross
Lamar 6:30 PM
Sam Houston St
Fla Gulf Coast 6:30 PM
Lipscomb
Vanderbilt 7:00 PM
(18) Miss State
IUPUI 7:00 PM
Western Ill
Abilene Christian 7:00 PM
Houston Baptist
Incarnate Word 7:00 PM
TX A&M-CC
McNeese State 7:00 PM
SE Louisiana
Oral Roberts 7:00 PM
South Dakota St
Louisiana Tech 7:00 PM
Western Ky
TX-San Antonio 7:00 PM
Middle Tennessee
Texas-El Paso 7:00 PM
UAB
Auburn 7:00 PM
Arkansas
Grand Canyon 7:00 PM
UMKC
Illinois 7:00 PM
(15) Nebraska
(20) Iowa 7:00 PM
Northwestern
Utah Valley U 7:05 PM
Chicago State
Green Bay 7:05 PM
Valparaiso
Ole Miss 8:00 PM
LSU
Portland State 8:00 PM
Montana
Sacramento St 8:00 PM
Montana State
North Dakota 8:00 PM
Weber State
Ohio State 8:00 PM
Wisconsin
Northern Colorado 8:00 PM
Idaho State
BYU 9:00 PM
San Francisco
St Marys-CA 9:00 PM
Loyola Marymount
Pacific 9:00 PM
Pepperdine
Cal-Irvine 9:00 PM
UC Santa Barbara
San Diego 9:00 PM
Santa Clara
UC Davis 9:00 PM
Cal Poly
Long Beach St 10:59 PM
Hawaii

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: Which of these teams is the most frustrating to watch right now?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

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

ADVERTISEMENT