Gophers banged up, but Kill knows things could be worse

  • Article by: MYRON P. MEDCALF , Star Tribune
  • Updated: August 25, 2011 - 6:42 AM

During Wednesday afternoon's Gophers football practice, redshirt freshman running back Lamonte Edwards stood on the sideline in shorts and a jersey after tweaking his hamstring.

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Gophers running back Lamonte Edwards (left)

Photo: Bruce Bisping, Star Tribune

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During Wednesday afternoon's Gophers football practice, redshirt freshman running back Lamonte Edwards stood on the sideline in shorts and a jersey after tweaking his hamstring.

Edwards stretched in the team's complex while the rest of the team practiced on the field.

"He's got to learn how to stay healthy," said coach Jerry Kill, who didn't offer additional details on Edwards' status.

Starting linebacker Keanon Cooper missed his third consecutive day of practice. He continues to sport a cast and a sling on his right arm.

Offensive lineman Ryan Wynn returned after missing time because of an ankle injury, but Kill said the staff planned to bring him back gradually.

Kill said the Gophers face some question marks with a little more than a week before their Sept. 3 season opener at Southern California. But he added he's content the team has mostly avoided the injury bug.

The first-year coach will discuss the specifics of his team's current injuries Thursday.

"Again, you look at the injury report, we've got a few injured. But we've been fairly fortunate," Kill said. "We've got some guys ... I don't know if we'll have a guy miss USC or not. We've got a couple of them that you're concerned about, but everybody does. You just watch the injury report and you kind of have to judge on what you're doing and how you're doing it."

Getting ready

Kill said the team adjusted well when the staff began to implement strategies for the USC game Wednesday. "I thought we were able to do some things as we started preparing for USC," he said. "I thought practice went well. I think we've got some tired bodies, but everybody does."

Birthday wishes

Kill confirmed earlier "rumors" that he celebrated his 50th birthday Wednesday. True to the blue-collar work ethic that's carried him throughout his career, Kill said he planned to spend the day at the office during the hours following the team's final practice.

"Well, I've got film at 7:15 [p.m.]. I'll be up there until about 11 o'clock. I've had the same birthday for about 29 seasons: work," he said. "Work from about 6 in the morning until about 11, 12 o'clock at night. So, nothing changes much."

Road alert

Cornerback Troy Stoudermire said the Gophers are preparing mentally for the jeers and boos they'll hear when they enter the L.A. Coliseum next weekend. Capacity at the Coliseum is more than 90,000, but the Trojans struggled to fill the venue during their 8-5 (5-4 Pacific-10) campaign last season.

"[We're working on] keeping our eyes in the right spot, staying focused and not letting the crowd get to us," Stoudermire said.

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