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.
ORLANDO -- Gophers coach Jerry Kill said it wasn't a distraction to dismiss wide receiver Donovahn Jones after the team gathered here for the Citrus Bowl. As Kill noted, the dismissal took place before the team held its first practice in Florida on Friday.
"First of all, I dismissed him before we even got started," Kill said. "I don’t need to explain that. I’m going to concentrate on the ones who have focused in and the guys that have been productive. So I dismissed him for team policy, and that’s all I’m going to say about it. That took away from no focus because we got that taken care of, and we’ve had great practices. And production-wise, we’ve got Drew Wolitarsky back [from his ankle injury]. He’s had a great practice, so we’re in good shape."
Jones didn't have a catch in the season's final two regular season games, so Kill doesn't sound too concerned about how his absence will impact the team's receiver depth.
"We didn’t have Drew Wolitarsky [for the final four regular season games], and he’s one of our better players," Kill said. "He caught the ball all over the place today. But having him back, and KJ Maye and Maxx [Williams] and Isaac Fruechte, You know, Logan Hutton's had experience. Eric Carter -- you know, those guys have done a great job. I can’t say enough about the way those guys have practiced."
Former Gophers wide receiver Andre McDonald has decided to continue his football career at Wisconsin-River Falls, according to the Minnesota Daily.
McDonald was considered one of the top recruits in the Gophers' 2012 recruiting class and played in eight games that fall before getting suspended for the bowl game. McDonald returned to the team last August but got suspended again, this time for the season.
“I was smoking marijuana,” McDonald told the Daily. "It was always drug-related.”
McDonald told the Daily's Jack Satzinger that he went through rehab stints and spent time in Miami for a change of scenery. He has friends on River Falls team and decided the Division-III school would be the right fit.
McDonald told the Daily he hopes to become an elementary school teacher and "use what happened to me as an example.”
Some quick updates from Wednesday's practice:
Donnell Kirkwood (sprained ankle) was in an orange jersey running around, but he's doubtful for Saturday's game at New Mexico State. Still, it's a good sign that he's making progress less than a week after sustaining the injury.
Berkley Edwards (sprained ankle) is about as close to returning to game action as Kirkwood, said Coach Jerry Kill, who compared Edwards' injury to the one MarQueis Gray suffered last year. It took Gray about three weeks to come back from his injury, Kill said.
Derrick Wells (shoulder and hamstring injuries) has been practicing at full-speed this week and will have an opportunity to play against New Mexico State, defensive coordinator Tracy Claeys said. "I think Derrick will be available, if not for this one, next week for sure," Claeys said.
Jamel Harbison will miss his second straight game because of a discipline issue, Kill said. "But he’ll be back here soon," Kill said. "He’s doing a good job. He’s doing what he’s been asked to do and told to do. It's no different than -- I’m sure Rodrick [Williams] won’t be late to the team meeting this week. I don’t think he enjoyed missing the first half, so I think he’ll be the first one at the team meeting."
Gophers wide receiver Andre McDonald, who was dropped from the preseason roster for a violation of team rules, will not return to the team this semester, Coach Jerry Kill said Tuesday.
McDonald was a highly touted recruit out of Hopkins High School in 2012 but had a limited impact as a freshman before being suspended from the bowl game for a violation of team rules. When McDonald was taken off the preseason roster, Kill said he would have an update once school started.
Fall semester classes begin today.
"Right now, he's not going to play for us this semester," Kill said. "That’s all I'm going to say on that."
Gophers linebacker Lamonte Edwards was kicked off the team for a violation of team rules, a U of M spokesman confirmed Wednesday.
According to a search warrant, Edwards was arrested after an iPhone was stolen from another U of M athlete in a weight room inside a Gophers athletics building on June 18. Tracking software led police to Edwards, who first said the phone belonged to his cousin. When questioned later by U of M Police, he admitted he stole the phone from the weight room, according to the warrant and a U of M Police report.
A U of M Police spokesman said Edwards was released. Charges are pending from the Minneapolis City Attorney's Office.
Edwards, a junior who played in high school at Woodbury, transitioned from running back to linebacker during the course of his career. He made eight tackles during the 2012 season and started one game, against New Hampshire.
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