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.
A key question for the Gophers heading into spring practice was whether Brian Bobek, a transfer from Ohio State, would play himself into the starting center job.
Jon Christenson worked with the first-team offense at center last week and showed no signs of relinquishing that spot. Offensive coordinator Matt Limegrover, who doubles as the team’s offensive line coach, reiterated Saturday that all five jobs on the line are up for grabs this year, with 15 legitimate candidates.
“Any one of those guys could be a starter when we hit UNLV [on Aug. 29], including Brian, so that carrot’s right at the tip of his nose," Limegrover said. "All he needs to do is reach out and grab that thing.
“What I’ve gotta get him to do -- he’s such a laid-back, such a nice kid -- is I’ve gotta get him to bite a little bit. I’ve gotta get a sense of urgency with him, that hey, ‘You go out there and you take care of business, and I’ll figure out what to do with the other four spots.' And he picked it up a little bit [Saturday].”
Limegrover said if the 6-2 Bobek establishes himself at center, the 6-4 Christenson could move to guard.
“Jon Christenson is a little bit taller and has played some guard for us; there’s some more versatility,” Limegrover said. “But until Brian comes out and consistently beats Jon -- and Jon’s done a great job these first three days. I don’t think Jon’s going to be relinquishing a starting spot anytime soon because he takes it to heart when I say, 'Every day when you get up, there’s somebody who’s breathing down your neck.'
“He knows nothing’s taken for granted, nothing’s given, and he comes out and just works his tail off. That’s what I’m trying to instill in every one of them.”
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