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' practice had that same follow-the-script urgency of spring ball on Monday, with activity going on at a half-dozen spots on the field at all times. A crowd of perhaps 100-150 fans and alumni lined the side, just as they had in the spring. The biggest difference was all the freshmen running around, faces put to names on last February's recruit list.
The most commented-on revelation was that quarterbacks coach Jim Zebrowski was working with a trio of quarterbacks, which seemed to signal which ones are in the running for playing time: MarQueis Gray, who will start. Tom Parish, who impressed coaches during spring practices. And Max Shortell, the true freshman from Kansas.
Too early to draw any conclusions, of course, but that delineation consigned freshman Dexter Foreman, junior Adam Lueck and sophomore Moses Alipate to a separate huddle. And after practice ended, Alipate, the strong-armed QB from Bloomington Jefferson, worked on catching passes from Parish, lining up wide and running 10-yard outs.
Alipate's 275-yard frame always made him an odd size for a quarterback, but there's no telling what his future is with all these other passers around.
Jerry Kill was all over the field, just like in the spring. But Gray said he was a little more subdued than during those practices.
"For some reason, I think he did [take it easy], just because it was our first practice," Gray said. "But with more practice, he's not going to let mistakes happen, he's going to be doing a lot more screaming and making sure guys are doing the right things. That's where the leaders and older veterans come into play. Make sure we get to the players first before coach has to."
Camp continues Tuesday at 3:55 p.m., and is open to the public.
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