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.

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Gophers visit Baylor for QB ideas

Posted by: Phil Miller under Coaching, College football, Gopher quarterbacks Updated: February 27, 2012 - 11:06 AM

     MarQueis Gray is a dangerous weapon when he tucks the football and runs, but he needs to become a more efficient passer. So Minnesota football coaches, with some free time available between recruiting season and spring practice, looked around the country for examples of mobile quarterbacks who blossomed as pass-throwers as their careers went on.
     Turns out, Baylor had one last season, an offensive machine that you don't have to be a football coach to have heard of. Which is how three Gopher assistant coaches came to spend a few days last week in Waco, Texas.
     "We liked what they did with Robert Griffin III, with what they put on his plate," offensive coordinator Matt Limegrover said of the Bears' Heisman Trophy winner. "We had seen him play the year before, and he made a real nice jump from 2010 to 2011 -- I think a lot of people would like to have a year like that, wouldn't they?"
     Um, yeah. Griffin had one of the great passing seasons in NCAA history, completing 72.4 percent of his passes, racking up 4,239 yards, and throwing for 37 touchdowns with only six interceptions. Not too bad.
     Nobody is demanding that Gray turn into a Heisman threat, of course, not even close. But coach Jerry Kill's staff wanted some tips on drawing more production out of their senior quarterback, who outgained Griffin on the ground, 966 yards (and a 4.9-yard-per-carry average) to 699 (and a 3.9 average), but barely completed half of his passes and threw for just 1,469 yards and eight scores.
     "They really did some things to help [Griffin] be successful, so we felt like that was a good thing to look at," Limegrover said. Quarterbacks coach Jim Zebrowski, receivers coach Pat Poore and offensive graduate assistant Daryl Agpalsa headed to Baylor to meet with Bears' coaches.
     That's what passes for a vacation in college football, a sport where everyone is looking for the next great idea. LImegrover himself, along with running backs coach Brian Anderson, tight ends coach Rob Reeves and quality-control coach Nate Griffin, drove to Ames, Iowa, on Friday to share ideas, and once Cincinnati begins spring practice in early March, he and Kill hope to fly to Ohio to watch.
     "It's a rite of spring," Limegrover said. "From a week after signing day to about mid-March, a lot of guys are on the move. We just finished up watching all of last season again with our [situational] cut-ups -- kind of figuring out, here's what we did well, here's what we didn't, here's what we need to chop, here's what we need to emphasize. You get that done, and you go, OK, maybe these people have a wrinkle we could look at."
      Many times, they do. Even during a rushed transition last spring, Gopher offensive coaches found time to visit Fort Worth to learn about TCU's shotgun offense. "One of our most effective play-action [passes] last year we got from that trip in February," Limegrover said. "We had a chance to spend some time with them talking about it, tweaked it to fit our players and what we needed from it, and it really turned out to be a good protection scheme for us."
 

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Cincinnati - LP: J. Broxton 1 FINAL
Pittsburgh - WP: T. Watson 2
Minnesota - LP: T. May 1 FINAL
Baltimore - WP: M. Gonzalez 9
NY Yankees - WP: C. Capuano 6 FINAL
Toronto - LP: M. Buehrle 3
Philadelphia - LP: J. Diekman 1 FINAL
NY Mets - WP: J. deGrom 4
Boston - WP: A. Ranaudo 8 FINAL
Tampa Bay - LP: C. Archer 4
Miami - LP: C. Hatcher 2 FINAL
Atlanta - WP: D. Carpenter 5
Cleveland - WP: D. Salazar 6 FINAL
Kansas City - LP: J. Vargas 1
Detroit - WP: J. Verlander 7 FINAL
Chicago WSox - LP: S. Carroll 1
Texas - WP: S. Baker 13 FINAL
Houston - LP: B. Oberholtzer 6
Chicago Cubs - WP: N. Ramirez 7 FINAL
St. Louis - LP: P. Neshek 2
Colorado 2 FINAL
Arizona 5
Oakland 0 Bottom 7th Inning
LA Angels 4
Los Angeles 2 Bottom 8th Inning
San Diego 2
Washington 7 Bottom 8th Inning
Seattle 2
Milwaukee 2 Bottom 5th Inning
San Francisco 13
Green Bay 9/4/14 7:30 PM
Seattle
(21) Texas A&M 52 FINAL
(9) So Carolina 28
Wake Forest 10 FINAL
ULM 17
Boise State 13 FINAL
(18) Ole Miss 35
Tulane 31 FINAL
Tulsa 38
Rutgers 41 FINAL
Washington St 38
Weber State 14 FINAL
(19) Arizona State 45
Temple 37 FINAL
Vanderbilt 7
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 6 3rd Qtr
Arizona 24
Penn State 8/30/14 7:30 AM
UCF
Troy 8/30/14 11:00 AM
UAB
(7) UCLA 8/30/14 11:00 AM
Virginia
Western Mich 8/30/14 11:00 AM
Purdue
(5) Ohio State 8/30/14 11:00 AM
Navy
Appalachian St 8/30/14 11:00 AM
Michigan
Ga Southern 8/30/14 11:30 AM
NC State
Boston College 8/30/14 2:00 PM
Massachusetts
West Virginia 8/30/14 2:30 PM
(2) Alabama
Rice 8/30/14 2:30 PM
(17) Notre Dame
(10) South Dakota St 8/30/14 2:30 PM
(24) Missouri
Fla Atlantic 8/30/14 2:30 PM
(22) Nebraska
California 8/30/14 2:30 PM
Northwestern
Marshall 8/30/14 2:30 PM
Miami-Ohio
UC Davis 8/30/14 3:00 PM
(11) Stanford
Arkansas 8/30/14 3:00 PM
(6) Auburn
(16) Clemson 8/30/14 4:30 PM
(12) Georgia
Liberty 8/30/14 5:00 PM
(23) North Carolina
Ohio U 8/30/14 5:00 PM
Kent State
Louisiana Tech 8/30/14 6:00 PM
(4) Oklahoma
Idaho 8/30/14 6:00 PM
Florida
Stephen F Austin 8/30/14 6:10 PM
(20) Kansas State
Fresno State 8/30/14 6:30 PM
(15) USC
Southern Miss 8/30/14 6:30 PM
Miss State
Texas-El Paso 8/30/14 7:00 PM
New Mexico
North Texas 8/30/14 7:00 PM
Texas
(1) Florida State 8/30/14 7:00 PM
Oklahoma State
(14) Wisconsin 8/30/14 8:00 PM
(13) LSU
South Dakota 8/30/14 9:30 PM
(3) Oregon
(25) Washington 8/30/14 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
Houston 3 FINAL
Sporting Kansas City 1
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
Minnesota 71 FINAL
Phoenix 85
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