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.
Gophers safety Antonio Johnson got hurt against Ohio State last week and won't be able to play at Nebraska on Saturday, coach Jerry Kill said Thursday on 100.3-FM.
Kill did not specify the injury. Johnson, a junior from Cleveland, ranks ninth on the team with 29 tackles and also has an interception.
"What it does is it hurts our depth a little bit," Kill said. "Cedric [Thompson] and Damarius [Travis] are going to have to play a lot of minutes. Grayson Levine will have to step up. Derrick Wells may have to play a little bit of safety. But we’re hoping that we can get [Johnson] back for the bowl game -- maybe next week. The kid’s really, really tough."
Gophers coach Jerry Kill has said the decision on whether to pull another redshirt at wide receiver could depend on how long Drew Wolitarsky is out with his sprained ankle.
Thursday, on 100.3-FM, Kill said, “It’s a tough situation right now because we’re not going to have Drew Wolitarsky [against Iowa], and we may not have him the rest of the year.”
Without Wolitarsky, the Gophers top three wide receivers are Isaac Fruechte, Donovahn Jones and KJ Maye. Kill has said Logan Hutton and Eric Carter are in the group of players who could see more playing time in Wolitarsky’s absence.
The Gophers brought true freshman receiver Jerry Gibson on the trip to Illinois, though he didn’t play. He could be next in line if the Gophers decide to burn his redshirt.
It sounds like the Gophers will be without wide receiver Drew Wolitarsky for Saturday's game against Iowa. Wolitarsky sprained his right ankle in the team's last game against Illinois.
"He's not practicing at all," coach Jerry Kill said. "He is very questionable, and I don't think he'll play."
Kill said Logan Hutton and Eric Carter are among the receivers who could see more playing time in Wolitarsky's absence. And it's still possible the Gophers will pull a freshman's redshirt.
Right tackle Ben Lauer also has been out with an ankle injury. Kill said Lauer hoped to practice today, but Jonah Pirsig is getting ready to start there, just as he did the first two games of the season.
"Jonah is improving every week, and he played sick [against Illinois], too," Kill said. "At halftime, he wasn't doing very well. He knew he had to stay in there and play. Sunday, he really had a good practice. The more you play, the more success you have, the more confidence in your game. But you know, we certainly need him right now. There's no doubt about that."
Gophers wide receiver Drew Wolitarsky suffered a high ankle sprain in Saturday's 28-24 loss at Illinois, and the injury could lead the team to pull a redshirt from one of its freshman receivers.
Wolitarsky had just hauled in a 35-yard pass from Mitch Leidner when his right ankle rolled under the Illinois defender. Wolitarsky limped to the sideline and was unable to put any weight on the ankle. The sophomore has 10 catches for 106 yards this season.
On his Sunday radio show on 830-AM, coach Jerry Kill said Wolitarsky's injury is "not good."
Later, Kill told the team's beat writers, "We’ve got four or five [receivers] who can play, but do you pull a redshirt off? Because if one more goes down -- you know, you’ve got five games left. That’s the whole bad thing about all that. So we’ve got a lot of work to do this week, got a lot of healing to do and a lot of work to do."
The Gophers had true freshman Jerry Gibson on their 70-man travel squad to Illinois. He has yet to play this year, but that's one redshirt that could be pulled. He can play tight end, but the Gophers had him ready to play receiver at Illinois.
The Gophers were getting true freshman wide receiver Isaiah Gentry ready to play this season before he tore an ACL. They also think highly of their three other true freshmen receivers -- Melvin Holland Jr., Conner Krizancic and Desmond Gant.
A quick rundown on the other medical news:
* RT Ben Lauer re-aggravated his ankle injury.
* Kill said RT Jonah Pirsig, TE Maxx Williams and TE Drew Goodger all threw up on the sideline during the game. RB Berkley Edwards had thrown up on Friday night.
"It’s no excuse, just the flu or whatever," Kill said.
Gophers junior Foster Bush, who has started at right guard the past nine games, dating to last season, will miss Saturday’s game against Northwestern with an unspecified injury, coach Jerry Kill said Thursday on his weekly radio show (100.3-FM).
Starting left guard Zac Epping has been playing through a high-ankle sprain, but Kill said he’s been moving around better. So it sounds like Epping will be ready to make his 40th consecutive start Saturday.
Kill said the Gophers had three guards out with injuries for last Sunday’s practice. But Joe Bjorklund is feeling better and should be ready to play against Northwestern. Isaac Hayes is another top reserve at guard.
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