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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Kill mentions strong play from Leidner, Maye, Williams, Jones, Wells and Cobb

Posted by: Joe Christensen under Gophers preseason practice Updated: August 12, 2014 - 2:28 PM

Gophers coach Jerry Kill kept Tuesday morning's practice short but sounded pleased coming off the field.

"There were some good things that happened out there today," he said. "Mitch [Leidner] continues to grow, and KJ Maye is just playing his tail end off right now. This is the first time I’ve seen him full-speed since he’s gotten here, and he’s really playing well.

"And of course, Maxx [Williams] is Maxx. And our offensive line is really playing well. We’ve got to get a couple guys healthy, which they will, but right now it's kind of messes things up a little bit. Defensive line, linebackers and secondary -- we’re pretty fast and athletic."

The Gophers had two practices Monday, and Kill said a couple plays stood out.

"Fifty-five seconds to go on the clock, Maxx Williams just made a tremendous catch on the goal line," Kill said. "Donovahn Jones made a catch over the top that we haven’t done. We’ve had some tight ends make some big catches. And Derrick Wells picked one off that most people don’t pick off."

On David Cobb, Kill said, "He’s playing unbelievable right now, special teams, the whole ball of wax. That just shows you, when you get some confidence, work hard, good things happen to you. And I think Berkley [Edwards] sees that, and that’s a good example of what people want to do. ... David’s body’s changed. Even this year, he’s cut up really well. So I think he’s going to have a really good year."

Special guest

Brandon Jacobs, who starred for Kill at Southern Illinois before moving on to the New York Giants, was a special guest at Tuesday's practice. Kill was talking about building programs and thought back to when the 6-4, 250-pound Jacobs transferred to Southern Illinois from Auburn.

"That big fella that just walked by here, that’ll solve a lot of problems for you," Kill said.

Note: How tough is this year's schedule for the Gophers? I'll have an in-depth look in tonight's first editions.

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