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.
Interesting morning in TCF Bank Stadium for Gopher fans -- and there were a surprising number of them, considering it was a Friday morning. Roughly 250 people turned out to watch Minnesota's only public scrimmage of the fall, and they received both a jolt of electricity about the Gopher offense of the present and the Gopher offense of the future.
The ease and precision that MarQueis Gray ran the offense with was impressive. Many receivers, many types of throws, none with any evident hesitation, certainly nothing resembling the close-your-eyes-and-hope style he displayed at the beginning of last season. The only thing that could depress Gopher fans about their No. 1 offense on Friday was the daydream about how good Gray would look now if he hadn't spent so much time learning to be a receiver.
And as for the future, Philip Nelson didn't disappoint, either. Handed the ball after Gray and backup Max Shortell had basically finished their morning's work, the freshman quarterback announced his presence right away. Nelson threw a perfect pass across the middle to a wide-open Isaac Fruechte, who turned it into a 66-yard touchdown.
I'll have lots more on the Gophers' scrimmage in Saturday's first editions.
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