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.

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Murray gets a chance at cornerback with the Gophers first-team defense

Posted by: Joe Christensen under Gopher recruiting, Gophers injuries, Gophers spring football Updated: April 4, 2013 - 9:42 PM

It was only the fifth spring practice, too soon to read much into things, but Gophers sophomore cornerback Eric Murray continues to establish himself as a player to watch.

Gophers defensive coordinator Tracy Claeys said he waits until after the sixth practice of the spring to establish a firm depth chart, so the team is still at the stage where the staff is mixing personnel.

Still, it was notable that sophomore Eric Murray was with the first-team defense at cornerback, instead of senior Martez Shabazz. Derrick Wells was at the other corner, as he has been all spring.

The Gophers need to replace two outgoing seniors at cornerback this year, in Michael Carter and Troy Stoudermire. Murray is definitely in the mix.

"After the first four days of practice, he’s really emerged," Coach Jerry Kill said. "He’s got such great focus and great maturity for a young person and tremendous talent.”

Murray -- a 6-0, 194-pound speedster out of Riverside University High School in Milwaukee -- played in all 13 games last season as a true freshman, mostly on special teams.

"Being a freshman coming out of high school, you’re really not accustomed to the speed of the game," Murray said. "So I think that really helped and gave me some more football knowledge on top of the football knowledge I already had."

  • The Gophers stayed indoors again. With rain in the forecast Saturday, it looks like it’ll be into next week before they move outside for the first time this spring.
  • WR Devon Wright was in an orange non-participation jersey because of an injured shoulder.
  • Damarius Travis played safety with the first-team defense, over Cedric Thompson, and Nick Rallis was at outside linebacker, instead of James Manuel. If those same substitutions are made next week, it'll really be time to take note.
  • Andrew Stelter, a junior defensive end from Owatonna, attended Thursday's practice. According to Rivals.com, he has offers from Minnesota and Iowa State.

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