With receiver at quarterback, Gophers move QB to wideout

  • Article by: PHIL MILLER , Star Tribune
  • Updated: April 13, 2011 - 12:49 AM

Jerry Kill and his staff like J.D. Pride's talent, just not under center. So the former signal-caller is the new man in the slot.

hide

J.D. Pride (from left, with former Cretin-Derham Hall teammates Michael Floyd and Cameron Clarkson in 2007)

Photo: Kyndell Harkness, Star Tribune 2007

CameraStar Tribune photo galleries

Cameraview larger

J.D. Pride stayed late after practice Tuesday, working on some pass routes with his position coach as he has done several times before.

Except one thing was different: Pride was running the routes, not throwing the ball.

That's right. If the Gophers can turn wide receiver MarQueis Gray into a quarterback, they believe they can reverse the process, too. Pride, the newest Gophers slot receiver, is about to find out whether it can be done.

"Coach [Jerry] Kill came to me and said, 'I think you can help the offense more as a receiver,' " Pride said after his first practice at a position he has never played. "I'm real excited. I just love football in general, and I want to do anything to play."

And that includes giving up the position he's played his whole life, a move that wasn't easy. Pride quarterbacked Totino-Grace's Class 4A state championship team in 2009 and accepted a scholarship at Minnesota in hopes of competing with Gray to take snaps for the Gophers.

But Gray appears to have solidified his hold on the job this spring, and Tom Parish and Moses Alipate are fighting for the No. 2 job. Meanwhile, the Gophers have only a half-dozen healthy receivers.

"J.D. wasn't picking up what we need at quarterback as much as the other guys. But he's a really good athlete," offensive coordinator Matt Limegrover said. "So rather than having him standing back there just hanging around, Coach felt we could fill a need and give him an opportunity to get on the field sooner. It doesn't make sense to stand as a 4 or 5 at one spot when we barely have 2's at another."

Now the hard part: Learning a new position. His quarterbacking background means he has a grasp of the various pass routes, but Pride learned quickly that there's a lot more to the job than lining up and running around.

"There's alignment -- top of the numbers, bottom of the numbers. How far [to stand] off the hash. Who to block on running plays, safety or corner," said Pride, the 19-year-old cousin of Dallas running back and Gophers product Marion Barber. "Today was my first practice. It was kind of fast-paced. I'm going to have to spend some extra time on my own."

"Coach [Pat] Poore will get him up to speed as fast as he can with some of the intricacies," Limegrover said. "Then it's entirely up to him where he fits in and how much he'll play."

Oh, and whether he can catch. That won't be a problem, Pride said. "I'm pretty decent at catching. I don't think I dropped more than one or two today," he said.

But what about when cornerbacks close in? "I'm definitely prepared. Contact is one thing I'm not afraid of," he said. "I'll catch it over the middle or wherever I can get the ball."

Note

• Da'Jon McKnight, the Gophers' leading receiver last season, injured his left knee early in Tuesday's practice. The injury didn't appear serious -- McKnight stayed on the field and watched the rest of the workout with ice on his knee -- but Kill said the team wouldn't know anything until an exam by doctors.

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

Philadelphia 12/20/14 3:30 PM
Washington
San Diego 12/20/14 7:25 PM
San Francisco
Minnesota 12/21/14 12:00 PM
Miami
Baltimore 12/21/14 12:00 PM
Houston
Detroit 12/21/14 12:00 PM
Chicago
Cleveland 12/21/14 12:00 PM
Carolina
Atlanta 12/21/14 12:00 PM
New Orleans
Green Bay 12/21/14 12:00 PM
Tampa Bay
Kansas City 12/21/14 12:00 PM
Pittsburgh
New England 12/21/14 12:00 PM
NY Jets
NY Giants 12/21/14 3:05 PM
St. Louis
Buffalo 12/21/14 3:25 PM
Oakland
Indianapolis 12/21/14 3:25 PM
Dallas
Seattle 12/21/14 7:30 PM
Arizona
Denver 12/22/14 7:30 PM
Cincinnati
Utah 85 4th Qtr 8:38
Orlando 74
Charlotte 85 4th Qtr
Philadelphia 72
Brooklyn 49 3rd Qtr
Cleveland 54
Washington 54 3rd Qtr
Miami 55
Minnesota 60 3rd Qtr 6:48
Boston 65
Toronto 58 3rd Qtr 9:51
Detroit 52
Chicago 43 2nd Qtr 3:15
Memphis 36
Portland 32 2nd Qtr 4:34
San Antonio 34
LA Clippers 8:00 PM
Denver
Oklahoma City 9:30 PM
LA Lakers
Tampa Bay 1 3rd Prd
New Jersey 2
Anaheim 0 2nd Prd 9:15
Ottawa 2
NY Islanders 2 2nd Prd 7:08
Detroit 1
Boston 0 2nd Prd
Winnipeg 1
Dallas 8:00 PM
Calgary
Wilberforce 71 FINAL
Youngstown St 92
Jackson State 49 FINAL
Tulane 56
Siena 66 FINAL
Radford 76
Stillman 39 2nd Half 6:19
Alabama 61
Case Western Reserve 65 FINAL
Bucknell 88
Niagara 47 2nd Half 7:16
Buffalo 70
SD Christian 46 FINAL
UC Santa Barbara 69
Concordia (MI) 60 FINAL
Central Mich 97
Northern Ill 46 1st OT
Dartmouth 46
North Florida 79 2nd Half 0:59
Florida A&M 64
Hiwassee 71 FINAL
Gardner-Webb 91
Tennessee St 51 2nd Half 1:45
Hampton 62
NC A&T 49 2nd Half 2:38
Kent State 61
Central Penn College 65 2nd Half 0:10
Liberty 94
Eastern Ky 68 2nd Half 1:56
Miami-Florida 44
Northern Ky 81 2nd Half 2:00
Morehead State 60
Northern Ariz 62 FINAL
Norfolk State 81
MD-Eastern Shore 43 FINAL
Old Dominion 60
St Marys-CA 42 2nd Half 5:29
St Johns 46
Clemson 45 2nd Half 1:16
South Carolina 68
Tenn Tech 55 2nd Half 0:16
Tennessee 60
Washington-MD 46 FINAL
William & Mary 86
Bethune-Cookman 28 2nd Half 15:14
Mercer 40
Furman 43 2nd Half 12:35
Fla Gulf Coast 50
South Dakota St 41 2nd Half 7:38
CS-Bakersfield 41
Milligan 24 2nd Half
Lamar 48
LSU-Alexandria 27 2nd Half
ULM 31
Southern Utah 20 2nd Half
Loyola-Chicago 38
Chattanooga 20 2nd Half
Middle Tennessee 29
Seattle 17 1st Half 2:41
Minnesota 38
Lipscomb 27 2nd Half
Princeton 44
Winthrop 32 2nd Half
SE Louisiana 44
Dickinson State 13 2nd Half
North Dakota 33
New Orleans 21 2nd Half
Southern Ill 29
TX-Pan American 8:00 PM
Creighton
Colorado State 8:00 PM
Denver
Alabama A&M 8:00 PM
Marquette
Ark-Pine Bluff 8:00 PM
Texas Tech
Eastern Wash 9:00 PM
California
Idaho State 9:05 PM
Utah State
Arizona 10:00 PM
Texas-El Paso
Hawaii 10:59 PM
Chaminade
Nevada 12/20/14 10:00 AM
Louisiana
Utah State 12/20/14 1:20 PM
Texas-El Paso
(23) Utah 12/20/14 2:30 PM
Colorado State
Western Mich 12/20/14 4:45 PM
Air Force
South Alabama 12/20/14 8:15 PM
Bowling Green
BYU 12/22/14 1:00 PM
Memphis
Marshall 12/23/14 5:00 PM
Northern Ill
Navy 12/23/14 8:30 PM
San Diego St
Central Mich 12/24/14 11:00 AM
Western Ky
Fresno State 12/24/14 7:00 PM
Rice
Illinois 12/26/14 12:00 PM
Louisiana Tech
Rutgers 12/26/14 3:30 PM
North Carolina
NC State 12/26/14 7:00 PM
UCF
Ohio Valley 33 FINAL
Youngstown St 84
East Tenn St 48 FINAL
UNC-Wilmington 61
Cal-Irvine 44 FINAL
Purdue 69
Campbell 63 FINAL
Stetson 76
Jacksonville St 70 FINAL
Charleston Southern 43
Louisiana 64 FINAL
Alcorn State 57
Denver 63 FINAL
Wright State 72
Blue Mountain 30 FINAL
Central Arkansas 71
Texas State 51 FINAL
Bethune-Cookman 40
Albany 62 FINAL
Pepperdine 36
TX-San Antonio 53 FINAL
Houston 56
Yale 66 FINAL
Bucknell 73
Northern Colorado 56 FINAL
Fla Gulf Coast 69
Belmont 86 FINAL
Mercer 83
Massachusetts 66 FINAL
Georgia State 71
George Mason 69 FINAL
Winthrop 57
Portland State 33 FINAL
Princeton 104
UCLA 71 FINAL
Samford 52
Mobile 30 FINAL
Alabama State 66
Nicholls 49 FINAL
Texas Tech 76
Toledo 65 FINAL
Nevada 56
UMass Lowell 48 FINAL
(13) Duke 95
McMurry 49 FINAL
Houston Baptist 69
NJIT 62 FINAL
Seton Hall 74
(6) North Carolina 65 FINAL
Maine 36
Siena 62 FINAL
Binghamton 53
(19) Syracuse 72 FINAL
(9) Baylor 74
Buffalo 68 FINAL
Manhattan 58
Canisius 43 FINAL
Michigan 79
St Marys-CA 45 2nd Half 0:59
Virginia 54
McNeese State 45 2nd Half 3:02
Rice 48
Lafayette 58 2nd Half 0:03
Stony Brook 60
Longwood 46 2nd Half 3:33
Clemson 65
Savannah State 49 2nd Half 1:46
Florida State 90
Davidson 64 2nd Half 1:05
NC State 78
Northern Ky 61 2nd Half 0:09
Delaware 58
Saint Louis 42 2nd Half 15:59
Austin Peay 51
(25) DePaul 48 2nd Half 11:53
(2) Connecticut 72
Ohio U 50 2nd Half 11:23
La Salle 41
Florida Atlantic 33 2nd Half
Long Beach St 38
Miami-Florida 13 1st Half 10:00
Tulane 10
Miss Valley St 19 2nd Half
Memphis 32
Ark-Pine Bluff 25 2nd Half 19:17
UAB 42
Bowling Green 26 2nd Half
Illinois State 18
Arkansas State 31 2nd Half
Missouri State 37
ULM 14 2nd Half
Wichita State 30
(16) Oregon State 8:00 PM
Southern Ill
Utah Valley U 8:30 PM
Montana
Pacific 9:00 PM
New Mexico St
No Dakota State 9:00 PM
Cal State Fullerton
Utah State 9:00 PM
Sacramento St
Bethesda (CA) 9:00 PM
Fresno State
LSU 9:30 PM
UC Santa Barbara
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

<
Gophers Football Time W L Score
2014 season     
Aug 28 - vs. E. Illinois 6 pmX42-20
Sep 6 - vs. M. Tennessee St. 2:30 pmX35-24
Sep 13 - at TCU 3 pmX30-7
Sep 20 - vs. San Jose St. 3 p.m.X24-7
Sep 27 - at Michigan 2:30 pmX30-14
Oct 11 - vs. Northwestern 11 amX24-17
Oct 18 - vs. Purdue 11 amX39-38
Oct 25 - at Illinois 11 amX28-24
Nov 8 - vs. Iowa 11 amX51-14
Nov 15 - vs. Ohio State 11 amX31-24
Nov 22 - at Nebraska 11 amX28-24
Nov 29 - at Wisconsin 2:30 pmX34-24
Jan 1 - vs. Missouri noon

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: How much do you like the Gophers going to the Citrus Bowl?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close