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.
The Gophers fumbled at least eight times during Tuesday's scrimmage, MarQueis Gray was thrown off the field by Jerry Kill at one point, and every positive play seemed offset by a couple of bad ones.
And that's the good news.
Center Ryan Wynn rolled his ankle three plays into the scrimmage and spent the rest of the three-hour session at TCF Bank Stadium on crutches, his left leg in a boot. Troy Stoudermire took a knee to the head and appeared dazed on the sideline as he tried to clear his head. Even long-snapper Jake Filkins was shaken up after also being hit in the head.
But nobody appeared too alarmed. Annoyed? Definitely. Kill had harsh words for his players several times during the practice, at one point telling Gray, his starting quarterback, "MarQueis, you're killing us right now" for fumbling a couple of snaps. But the mistake-ridden play, particularly on offense, is standard for a first scrimmage. "If we were perfect, then I'd think something's wrong," Kill said.
A handful of highlights:
Brock Vereen intercepted a Gray pass and took it almost 60 yards, but was caught from behind by Duane Bennett at the 3-yard line.
Bennett popped outside for several big gains, at least four of double-digits, and used a spin move to get into the end zone at one point.
Walk-on Jordan Wettstein, in the competition for the place-kicking job, nailed a 50-yard field goal.
Freshman David Cobb impressed Kill with his toughness running inside, particularly near the goal line. "Give me my touchdown-maker," he said at one point when he was disappointed with another back.
Receiver Ge'Shun Harris, after being benched for a few series for lining up wrong, redeemed himself with a spectacular 37-yard catch -- he knocked the ball into the air, then came down with it -- near the goal line.
I'll have more on the scrimmage, which was attended by perhaps 100 fans, later, and in tomorrow's Star Tribune.
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