Injured Gophers return eager to get back in swing

  • Article by: PHIL MILLER , Star Tribune
  • Updated: April 6, 2012 - 7:05 AM
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Gophers running back Donnell Kirkwood (right)

Photo: Marlin Levison, Star Tribune file

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With the help of the Gophers' athletic training staff, Donnell Kirkwood has figured out why he keeps straining his right hamstring.

"I put stress on my hamstring [because of] how I run," the sophomore running back said. "I run with my leg out [in front] instead of under my body, so I'm not aligned when I run. It's something I have to work on in the offseason. It's crucial because it's something that hinders me from making progress."

Still, he has improved, and on Thursday he shed his orange jersey and rejoined practice, albeit only for noncontact drills.

And he wasn't the only Gopher who was getting healthy. Foster Bush, recovering from offseason knee surgery, took part in practice with the offensive line, and freshman safety Steven Montgomery, who had surgery to repair a torn pectoral muscle, rejoined the secondary.

"We'll be on the cautious side," said coach Jerry Kill, but he said there is benefit to getting the wounded back on the field even for part of spring ball. "Foster's been doing some things, but we just hadn't gone full tilt with him. And Montgomery, we don't know a lot about him, so we'd like to see him get reps. ... Each situation is a little different."

It is, but one thing is the same: They want to play. "I love to play football. It ain't no fun sitting on the sideline," said Kirkwood, who reinjured the same hamstring that has given him problems during both of his seasons in Minnesota early in spring ball. Kirkwood said it's unlikely that he will take part in contact scrimmages this spring, but "they just want me to kind of get back in a rhythm. Just individual [drills], timing with the quarterback, things that kind of get me back in a groove [from] what I missed being injured."

Victory gear

The offense wore white on Thursday and the defense maroon, a switch from the previous seven practices this spring. The reason?

Defense rules

It did on Tuesday, anyway, when the offense couldn't manage a single first down during a second-and-8 scrimmage. And for their success, defenders wore maroon at the next practice, the Gophers' version of victory gear.

Midterm report

Kill said the presence of nearly a dozen midterm enrollees has been "better than I ever would have expected. You look out there and look at the secondary, without those guys, where would [we] be?" That secondary has been boosted by the presence of junior-college transfers Martez Shabazz, Jeremy Baltazar and Briean Boddy. "The running back [James Gillum] has gotten better and better. The quarterbacks [Mitch Leidner and Philip Nelson] have learned so much coming in. I don't think there's one youngster that hasn't done a little better than I thought."

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NY Mets 6 Bottom 8th Inning
Miami 7
Philadelphia - WP: C. Hamels 7 FINAL
Atlanta - LP: J. Teheran 0
Boston 3 Top 10th Inning
Tampa Bay 3
Minnesota - WP: P. Hughes 6 FINAL
Baltimore - LP: K. Gausman 4
Pittsburgh 4 Bottom 7th Inning
St. Louis 2
Milwaukee 2 Bottom 7th Inning
Chicago Cubs 3
Detroit 2 Bottom 1st Inning
Cleveland 0
Seattle 0 Bottom 1st Inning
Oakland 2
San Francisco 2 Suspended
Colorado 2
Arizona 0 Bottom 1st Inning
San Diego 0
San Francisco - T. Hudson 4:40 PM
Colorado - F. Morales
Washington - G. Gonzalez 7:10 PM
Los Angeles - R. Hernandez
Texas - C. Lewis 7:10 PM
Kansas City - Y. Ventura
Green Bay 9/4/14 7:30 PM
Seattle
Buffalo 9/7/14 12:00 PM
Chicago
New Orleans 9/7/14 12:00 PM
Atlanta
Minnesota 9/7/14 12:00 PM
St. Louis
Cleveland 9/7/14 12:00 PM
Pittsburgh
Jacksonville 9/7/14 12:00 PM
Philadelphia
Oakland 9/7/14 12:00 PM
NY Jets
Cincinnati 9/7/14 12:00 PM
Baltimore
Washington 9/7/14 12:00 PM
Houston
Tennessee 9/7/14 12:00 PM
Kansas City
New England 9/7/14 12:00 PM
Miami
Carolina 9/7/14 3:25 PM
Tampa Bay
San Francisco 9/7/14 3:25 PM
Dallas
Indianapolis 9/7/14 7:30 PM
Denver
Utah State 7 FINAL
Tennessee 38
SMU 0 FINAL
(10) Baylor 45
Miami-Florida 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
(7) 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
(2) 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
(15) 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
Ottawa 10 FINAL
Montreal 20
Winnipeg 30 FINAL
Saskatchewan 35
Toronto 12 FINAL
Hamilton 13
Edmonton 3:30 PM
Calgary
Indiana 18 2nd Qtr 10:00
Chicago 16
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