Much more than middling

  • Article by: PHIL MILLER , Star Tribune
  • Updated: April 22, 2011 - 1:17 AM

Transfer Brendan Beal joins senior Gary Tinsley to give the U a strong presence at middle linebacker.

hide

Gophers middle linebacker Brendan Beal, a transfer from Florida who also lost a season to a knee injury, is eager to play. ā€œIā€™m like a caged dog right now,ā€ he said.

Photo: Bruce Bisping, Star Tribune

CameraStar Tribune photo galleries

Cameraview larger

Tracy Claeys speaks about the battle at middle linebacker, between senior holdover Gary Tinsley and sophomore newcomer Brendan Beal, as a classic head-butting, may-the-best-man-win sort of arm-wrestle.

"It'll be a good little competition," the Gophers defensive coordinator said. "If you don't like competition like that, you don't belong in the Big Ten."

But Claeys can't keep up the one-or-the-other pretense for long. On a defense that ranked near the bottom of every significant statistic, there's no use in pretending that talented tacklers such as Tinsley and Beal won't be on the field most of the time, regardless of who edges the other.

"We'll have a role for them all," Claeys said. "Both guys will play all they can handle."

Still, as spring practice draws to a close, the Gophers have reason to feel good about their middle-linebacking corps. Tinsley led the Gophers in tackles last season, and is getting his speed and intensity back after sitting out a couple of weeks because of a hamstring injury.

And Beal? Well, there's no questioning his desire.

"I'm like a caged dog right now," the 21-year-old Pennsylvanian said. "Sitting around, it just makes you nuts."

Sitting around on gameday is all he has done since his nationally recognized senior season at Liberty High School in Bethlehem, Pa. -- four years ago.

Beal was among the top 10 major-college prospects in the East, along with Terrelle Pryor. The Buckeyes quarterback is entering his senior season of a memorable career, while Beal, who originally committed to Urban Meyer and Florida, has yet to play a single down. An injured knee, a redshirt season and a mandatory year off after transferring to Minnesota have kept him leashed. The leash is off, however, and Beal, whose speed belies his 6-3, 245-pound size, quickly made an impression on Claeys and new coach Jerry Kill as a quick-to-the-ball run-stopper.

"I can take on blocks. I'm a big, physical guy and I can run," Beal said. "That's where I live, in the middle. My goal is to make sure nobody can run on us -- that's what I've done my whole life."

That's what he will do for the Gophers, Claeys figures. "He's made some plays. He does a nice job in the box, shedding blocks," the new coordinator said. "He's got to play better in space than he is right now, but he's got the summer."

While Beal was making plays, Tinsley was sidelined by a hamstring injury for a couple of weeks. When he returned, Claeys and Kill toyed with the notion of moving him outside, in hopes of making him a pass-rusher. Tinsley did well, Claeys said, but they decided last week to keep him in the middle, his natural position.

"That position has more responsibility -- you have to set the front, make sure of the calls. We've got to make sure we've got at least two guys who know it," said Claeys.

Still, Tinsley, who made 90 tackles last year, will have plenty of responsibility. "We will have a specialized package where our four best pass-rushers will be in the game. And from what we've seen from him, he will definitely be one of the four," Claeys said. "Pass situations, he's going to be in the game."

So much for the kill-or-be-killed competition.

"If [Tinsley] and I were in the middle together, that would definitely be something to see," Beal said. "We're two guys who definitely love to hit, so it would be fun. We work really well together."

  • SPRING GAME

    1 p.m. Saturday • TCF Bank Stadium • Free admission • Radio: 1130-AM • Video webcast: bigtennetwork.com

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

NY Yankees 0 Top 5th Inning
Toronto 2
Detroit 3 Top 4th Inning
Chicago WSox 5
Chicago Cubs 0 Top 1st Inning
St. Louis 0
Cincinnati - A. Simon 3:05 PM
Pittsburgh - V. Worley
Minnesota - K. Gibson 6:05 PM
Baltimore - C. Tillman
Philadelphia - J. Williams 6:10 PM
NY Mets - B. Colon
Miami - J. Cosart 6:10 PM
Atlanta - A. Harang
Boston - A. Webster 6:10 PM
Tampa Bay - J. Odorizzi
Cleveland - T. Bauer 6:10 PM
Kansas City - J. Shields
Detroit - K. Ryan 6:10 PM
Chicago WSox - C. Bassitt
Texas - R. Ross Jr. 6:10 PM
Houston - S. Feldman
Colorado - T. Matzek 7:10 PM
Arizona - V. Nuno
Chicago Cubs - T. Wada 7:15 PM
St. Louis - M. Gonzales
Los Angeles - Z. Greinke 7:40 PM
San Diego - I. Kennedy
Milwaukee - M. Fiers 8:05 PM
San Francisco - J. Peavy
Oakland - J. Samardzija 8:05 PM
LA Angels - C. Rasmus
Washington - S. Strasburg 8:10 PM
Seattle - R. Elias
Green Bay 9/4/14 7:30 PM
Seattle
BYU 35 FINAL
Connecticut 10
(6) Jacksonville St 7 FINAL
(8) Michigan State 45
Bowling Green 31 FINAL
Western Ky 59
TX-San Antonio 27 FINAL
Houston 7
Colorado State 31 FINAL
Colorado 17
UNLV 13 FINAL
Arizona 58
Penn State 26 FINAL
UCF 24
Troy 10 3rd Qtr 6:46
UAB 31
(7) UCLA 21 3rd Qtr 5:22
Virginia 17
Western Mich 21 3rd Qtr 10:28
Purdue 23
(5) Ohio State 13 3rd Qtr 4:40
Navy 14
Appalachian St 7 3rd Qtr 6:16
Michigan 42
Ga Southern 17 3rd Qtr 11:30
NC State 3
Boston College 2:00 PM
Massachusetts
West Virginia 2:30 PM
(2) Alabama
Rice 2:30 PM
(17) Notre Dame
(10) South Dakota St 2:30 PM
(24) Missouri
Fla Atlantic 2:30 PM
(22) Nebraska
California 2:30 PM
Northwestern
Marshall 2:30 PM
Miami-Ohio
UC Davis 3:00 PM
(11) Stanford
Arkansas 3:00 PM
(6) Auburn
(16) Clemson 4:30 PM
(12) Georgia
Liberty 5:00 PM
(23) North Carolina
Ohio U 5:00 PM
Kent State
Louisiana Tech 6:00 PM
(4) Oklahoma
Idaho 6:00 PM
Florida
Stephen F Austin 6:10 PM
(20) Kansas State
Fresno State 6:30 PM
(15) USC
Southern Miss 6:30 PM
Miss State
Texas-El Paso 7:00 PM
New Mexico
North Texas 7:00 PM
Texas
(1) Florida State 7:00 PM
Oklahoma State
(14) Wisconsin 8:00 PM
(13) LSU
South Dakota 9:30 PM
(3) Oregon
(25) Washington 9:30 PM
Hawaii
Utah State 8/31/14 6:00 PM
Tennessee
SMU 8/31/14 6:30 PM
(10) Baylor
Miami-Florida 9/1/14 7:00 PM
Louisville
Arizona 9/4/14 7:00 PM
TX-San Antonio
Pittsburgh 9/5/14 6:00 PM
Boston College
Washington St 9/5/14 9:30 PM
Nevada
SMU 9/6/14 11:00 AM
North Texas
Fla Atlantic 9/6/14 11:00 AM
(2) Alabama
Buffalo 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Army
(24) Missouri 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Toledo
Arkansas State 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Tennessee
(8) McNeese State 9/6/14 11:00 AM
(22) Nebraska
Central Mich 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Purdue
Akron 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Penn State
Western Ill 9/6/14 11:00 AM
(14) Wisconsin
(20) Kansas State 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Iowa State
(4) Oklahoma 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Tulsa
Western Ky 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Illinois
SC State 9/6/14 11:30 AM
(16) Clemson
Navy 9/6/14 12:00 PM
Temple
UAB 9/6/14 1:00 PM
Miss State
South Alabama 9/6/14 1:00 PM
Kent State
New Mexico St 9/6/14 1:00 PM
Georgia State
Colorado 9/6/14 2:00 PM
Massachusetts
Fresno State 9/6/14 2:00 PM
Utah
(1) Eastern Wash 9/6/14 2:00 PM
(25) Washington
(15) USC 9/6/14 2:30 PM
(11) Stanford
Ohio U 9/6/14 2:30 PM
Kentucky
Middle Tennessee 9/6/14 2:30 PM
Minnesota
Northern Ill 9/6/14 2:30 PM
Northwestern
Missouri State 9/6/14 2:30 PM
Oklahoma State
Ball State 9/6/14 2:30 PM
Iowa
Maryland 9/6/14 2:30 PM
So Florida
Eastern Mich 9/6/14 3:00 PM
Florida
Georgia Tech 9/6/14 3:00 PM
Tulane
(18) Ole Miss 9/6/14 3:30 PM
Vanderbilt
Old Dominion 9/6/14 5:00 PM
NC State
(8) Michigan State 9/6/14 5:30 PM
(3) Oregon
(19) Arizona State 9/6/14 6:00 PM
New Mexico
Louisiana Tech 9/6/14 6:00 PM
Louisiana
San Jose St 9/6/14 6:00 PM
(6) Auburn
East Carolina 9/6/14 6:00 PM
(9) So Carolina
Duke 9/6/14 6:00 PM
Troy
Idaho 9/6/14 6:00 PM
ULM
(17) Sam Houston St 9/6/14 6:30 PM
(13) LSU
Michigan 9/6/14 6:30 PM
(17) Notre Dame
Lamar 9/6/14 6:30 PM
(21) Texas A&M
Northwestern St 9/6/14 6:30 PM
(10) Baylor
BYU 9/6/14 6:30 PM
Texas
Citadel 9/6/14 6:30 PM
(1) Florida State
San Diego St 9/6/14 7:00 PM
(23) North Carolina
Virginia Tech 9/6/14 7:00 PM
(5) Ohio State
Memphis 9/6/14 9:00 PM
(7) UCLA
Colorado State 9/6/14 9:15 PM
Boise State
Air Force 9/6/14 9:15 PM
Wyoming
Oregon State 9/6/14 9:30 PM
Hawaii
Texas Tech 9/6/14 10:00 PM
Texas-El Paso
Colorado 3:00 PM
Seattle
New England 4:00 PM
Toronto FC
Columbus 6:30 PM
Montreal
FC Dallas 7:30 PM
Chicago
Real Salt Lake 9:30 PM
San Jose
Portland 9:30 PM
Vancouver FC
Ottawa 10 FINAL
Montreal 20
Winnipeg 8/31/14 3:00 PM
Saskatchewan
Toronto 9/1/14 12:00 PM
Hamilton
Edmonton 9/1/14 3:30 PM
Calgary
Brt Columbia 9/5/14 6:30 PM
Ottawa
Calgary 9/6/14 6:00 PM
Edmonton
Hamilton 9/7/14 12:00 PM
Montreal
Saskatchewan 9/7/14 3:00 PM
Winnipeg
Chicago 6:00 PM
Indiana
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

Date/Opponent Time W L Score
2014 season     
Aug 28 - vs. E. Illinois 6 pmX42-20
Sep 6 - vs. M. Tennessee St. 2:30 pm
Sep 13 - at TCU 3 pm
Sep 20 - vs. San Jose St. TBA
Sep 27 - at Michigan TBA
Oct 11 - vs. Northwestern TBA
Oct 18 - vs. Purdue 11 am
Oct 25 - at Illinois 11 am
Nov 8 - vs. Iowa TBA
Nov 15 - vs. Ohio State TBA
Nov 22 - at Nebraska TBA
Nov 29 - at Wisconsin TBA

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: Grade the Gophers in their season opener

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close