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.
Tickets remain on sale for Nebraska's first visit to Minneapolis as a Big Ten member -- unsold student-section tickets in the east end zone are available at gophersports.com -- but TCF Bank Stadium should be sold out by Saturday. How many fans come dressed in Nebraska red-and-white remains a big question.
And it's got Jerry Kill a little worried. What if, he said this week, the Husker fans are too quiet?
Yes, he wants noise, and lots of it, when the Cornhuskers have the ball.
"Nebraska goes to the line of scrimmage, and [quarterback Taylor] Martinez calls every play" from there, the Gophers coach explained. "He's going to look over his certain keys and they're going to run the ball one way or the other because of what he sees. If you've got tons of crowd noise on every single snap, he can't [communicate] those checks, and that makes it tough."
That's one reason why he hopes the Gophers have a more competitive first quarter against Nebraska than they did at Michigan or Purdue -- to keep the crowd into it.
"Hopefully we can do something positive ... to get our crowd involved. We need to give them something positive so that we can create that atmosphere every snap," Kill said. "Right now, you can go to places where every single snap, the quarterback comes under center and he can't make a check. You go to Baton Rouge and LSU, you can't do all that stuff. That's why you don't see Alabama in the spread offense -- they huddle up, and it's because of crowd noise."
TCF Bank Stadium isn't known as a loud building, but Kill would like that to change. "You'd love to have this happen on Saturday," Kill said. But ultimately, it doesn't make a huge difference, he admitted.
"If you're a focused football player and you're a really good football player, good coach, you never hear anything, anyway," he said.
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