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.
Brandon Kirksey has been reinstated to the Gophers' roster as expected, coach Jeff Horton said Sunday, and will play Saturday against Illinois.
Horton believes he will get one of Kirksey's best games, too, after the junior captain served a one-game suspension for a locker-room blowup following Minnesota's 52-10 loss to Ohio State.
"They've got a lot of guys from St. Louis, where he's from, so that's a big game to him. I think he'll really rebound and play well," Horton said. "He's a good kid. Just needs to channel all that energy into getting ready this week."
The Gophers keep losing games, and now they're losing players, too.
Defensive tackle Brandon Kirksey has been suspended for Saturday's game at Michigan State for unspecified reasons, Minnesota coach Jeff Horton said Tuesday. But Kirksey -- a team captain -- has already met with Horton, and th
e coach said he expects Kirksey to return to action Nov. 14 at Illinois.
Michael Carter and Ra'Shede Hageman, on the other hand, probably won't play again this season, after Horton suspended them "so they can focus on academics."
Hageman, a redshirt freshman who backed up Kirksey at defensive tackle, appeared in eight games this season and made five tackles, while Carter, a sophomore cornerback, had two interceptions and 24 tackles in seven games.
Senior offensive linemen Matt Carufel and Dom Alford, meanwhile, have been sidelined by knee injuries and will not play, leaving the Gophers with six healthy offensive linemen to cover five positions, Horton said. But it's possible that both players could still return this year, the coach added.
Defensive tackle Ra'Shede Hageman has been suspended for Saturday's game after an unspecified violation of coach Jeff Horton's new rules, the coach said Wednesday.
"I made some points that I expected our players to follow, what I expected out of them on and off the field and practice field," said Horton, in his first week as interim coach of the Gophers. Hageman violated those rules on Tuesday, the coach said, and will not be in uniform against Penn State.
"We will meet again on Sunday, and if he fulfills his obligations all week long like I expect him to, he will be reinstated on Sunday," Horton said.
Hageman, a reserve tackle who started the season as a defensive end and eventually was moved inside, has four tackles in seven games thus far. The remaining three tackles on the depth chart -- Brandon Kirksey, Jewhan Edwards and Austin Hahn -- will absorb Hageman's playing time this week, the coach said.
Troy Stoudermire has been restored to the Gophers' roster, but he's not a wide receiver anymore.
Tim Brewster announced at his weekly press conference that Stoudermire, apologetic about a Facebook posting that declared his intention to quit the team, is back in uniform after a one-game suspension.
But the junior wideout, who had six catches, including a 49-yard touchdown reception, in the Gophers' first three games, has switched back to cornerback, his original position in Minnesota. According to secondary coach Ronnie Lee, "he wanted to be back there, so we welcomed him. We can use him." Stoudermire practiced for the first time at his new/old position on Tuesday.
Meanwhile, Stoudermire took to the forum he made headlines with last week -- his Facebook page -- to repair the damage of his "I'm no longer a Gopher" post. The junior's current Facebook post reads, "I apologize for my actions to my teammates, fans and coaches. I deeply regret letting my emotions get the best of me. I handled this situation incorrectly and realize the consequences of my actions. We are all here for one overall goal and that is to win championships. I hope we can move on from this and I will do anything to help my team win. I am proud to be a Gopher and let's go beat Northwestern!"
Troy Stoudermire announced via Facebook last week that "I am no longer a Gopher," but Minnesota coach Tim Brewster considers that post a tantrum, not a commitment.
"Troy is in a lesson-learning mode," Brewster said of the junior receiver and kick returner. "Young kids sometimes are impulsive."
The Facebook post was deleted a few hours after it appeared, and the coach said "the story has changed."
"He wants very much to be part of our team," Brewster said. "He didn't say anything awful. He was frustrated."
Stoudermire was indefinitely suspended for "conduct detrimental to the team" shortly before posting his anger in cyberspace, but Brewster sounded open to the possibility of the Dallas native, who has six catches in three games this season, returning to the Gophers.
"We'll see," he said. "That will be a decision that's made by myself and our team."
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