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.
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.
Gophers freshman receiver Andre McDonald will not play in the Meineke Car Care Bowl in Houston on Friday because of a violation of team policy.
Coach Jerry Kill made the announcement this afternoon in a press release.
McDonald has 10 catches for 121 yards this season.
The Gophers' opponent, Texas Tech, will be missing three players on Friday.
The Red Raiders say the players violated undisclosed team rules.
Suspended are starting defensive back Cornelius Douglas, special teams player Chris Payne and reserve defensive lineman Leon Mackey.
Chris Thomsen is the Red Raiders' interim head coach after Tommy Tuberville left to go to Cincinnati three weeks ago. Thomsen will lead the Raiders on Friday even though Kliff Kingsbury has been hired as Tuberville's successor for next season.
Among the many tapes he analyzed Sunday, coach Jerry Kill watched the recording of his team's sideline, in order to evaluate body language of the players, coaches and staff members not on the field. And what was his opinion?
"We did a little extra running" because of it, Kill said.
The Gophers are learning quickly that their coach watches everything, and he saw some activity that he wants corrected, Kill said Tuesday.
"I thought there was a group that did a great job, and we had a group that could have done better," Kill said. "You can tell when players come off frustrated. It doesn't mean you get on them, but if you've got a kid that's frustrated, sometimes you don't se that as a coach. So then you can talk to him on Sunday, or even after the game, say, 'Hey, we understand you're a competitor, but you've got to play with great composure."
Kill said he even judged his own performance. "I did an OK job for awhile, and there were a few times I didn't do so good, either, didn't hold my composure. So we all need to be evaluated sometimes and held accountable."
Kill chased an official onto the field after USC cornerback Torin Harris intercepted Max Shortell's pass on Minnesota's final drive, and berated another official as play resumed.
"Everybody said, 'Boy, coach got after that official,' but you never know what I'm saying down there. I might have been asking him if he had a hot date that night," Kill joked, adding that he has never been flagged for unsportsmanlike conduct. "Aggressive football is aggressive football, so I'm not going to moan and groan about it. You know, that kid made a good interception and he made an aggressive play, and if I was on the other side of it, we'd be coaching that aggressive play."
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