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.
Once again, it looked, during the half-hour we're allowed to watch practice, that receiver Eric Decker (ankle) and cornerback Marcus Sherels were moving well.
''I feel great,'' Decker said.
Decker has taken a few hits in the year-plus I've been watching him. He had that big on in Illinois that dinged his shoulder, the ankle injury against Northwestern last year and the big one against Cal last Saturday.
''I guess it comes with the territory a little bit,'' Decker said. ''Going across the middle, I know there will be some hits. But, whether or not you get hit, you have to catch the ball.''
Sherels, meanwhile, is ready to go. He was close last week. This week he'll play with a brace that helps him run pain free.
And it looks like defensive end Derrick Onwuachi, who hurt his knee in the first practice of training camp, is ready to make his return to action. How much he plays will depend on how he looks after such a layoff, But there is no reason he shouldn't reclaim his starting spot, either now or later.
''He was a starter,'' coach Tim Brewster said. "he is one of our better players. It's great to have him back."
Also on defense look for speedy linebacker Keanon Cooper to get his share of snaps this week as the Gophers play the pass-happy Northwestern Wildcats. That speed will come in handy. ''Absolutely,'' Brewster said. ''he played very well last week."
Matt Stommes was taking a lot of snaps at left tackle Wednesday. Dom Alford, still listed atop the depth chart at the position, appeared to have a sore leg, but Brewster said Alford would be fine.
Over in Illinois it appears Northwestern is getting healthier. cornerback Sherrick McManis and middle linebacker Nate Williams both practiced Wednesday. Both missed last weeks' game with Syracuse.
That's about it. Have a good evening
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