For Gophers, football set aside to attend Tinsley's funeral

  • Article by: PHIL MILLER , Star Tribune
  • Updated: April 13, 2012 - 11:38 AM

The Gophers football team knelt in prayer for former teammate Gary Tinsley, who died last week. The team held its first practice since Tinsley's death.

Photo: Jeff Wheeler, Star Tribune file

CameraStar Tribune photo galleries

Cameraview larger

Most spring practices don't include road trips. The Gophers desperately wish this one didn't, either.

But Minnesota's football team will take a day off from workouts and practices Saturday to fly to Jacksonville, Fla., to take part in the funeral for linebacker Gary Tinsley, who died April 6 of still-undetermined causes.

"The kids are handling it really well," coach Jerry Kill said after Thursday's practice at TCF Bank Stadium. "You always say, you find out who you are in these times."

By coincidence of the schedule, the Gophers face a busy couple of days. They will practice again Friday night under the stadium lights, the lone back-to-back practices since the first three days of spring drills. That 7:15 session will conclude shortly after 9 p.m.

Kill wants his players to head home and get to bed immediately afterward, because Saturday's wake-up comes early. The Gophers, who have been asked to dress up "to show what Gary meant to you," are due at a team breakfast at 4:30 a.m. the next morning. Their schedule calls for going through a TSA security checkpoint and boarding buses at 5, and departing for the airport at 5:30.

The 1,200-mile charter flight to Jacksonville departs at 6:30, with the team due in around 9 a.m. CDT. They will bus to Abyssinia Missionary Baptist Church for the 11 a.m. funeral service, then head to Edgewood Cemetery for burial.

The Gophers' traveling party, which currently numbers 149 people -- 94 players, 12 former players who were teammates of Tinsley, and 43 coaches and staff members -- is expected back in the Twin Cities around 7 p.m.

"We'll get up early. Like most people, a lot of kids sleep on the flight," Kill said. "I don't think any of us will be too tired or make excuses. We're all looking forward to going down and seeing Gary's family."

Cobb hurts knee

Tailback David Cobb sat out of Thursday's practice after suffering a knee injury two days earlier.

"He made a cut and [injured] the back of his knee -- the same thing [tight end] John Rabe had last year," Kill said. "It's not something that will [require] surgery or anything. But it's going to slow him up. We may get him back towards the end [of spring practices}," which are scheduled to conclude with the spring game on April 21.

Cobb's absence meant junior college transfer James Gillum carried the ball for much of Thursday's practice, but the Gophers did get some work for another tailback. Sophomore Donnell Kirkwood took part in his first full-contact scrimmage of the spring, an indication that his sore hamstring is all but healed.

"Just shows you why you've always got to have more than one back," Kill said.

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions


St. Louis 2
Pittsburgh 4 FINAL
Atlanta 2
Miami 7 FINAL
Washington 11
Detroit 4 FINAL
Philadelphia 4
Minnesota 6 FINAL
Baltimore 5
NY Yankees 7 FINAL
Houston 0
Tampa Bay 2 FINAL
Boston 3
Baltimore 4 FINAL
Toronto 2
Cincinnati 7 Top 7th Inning
LA Angels 3
Chicago Cubs 1 Bottom 4th Inning
Kansas City 0
Los Angeles 3 Top 4th Inning
San Francisco 3
Chicago WSox 3 Bottom 4th Inning
Cleveland 1
Milwaukee 0 Bottom 4th Inning
Oakland 3
Seattle 1 Bottom 4th Inning
San Diego 6
Texas 3 Bottom 3rd Inning
Los Angeles 0
Colorado 6 Top 4th Inning
Arizona 6
Arizona 0 Top 5th Inning
Colorado 0
Houston 99 FINAL
Washington 91
LA Lakers 87 4th Qtr 5:41
Brooklyn 94
Minnesota 44 3rd Qtr 10:40
New Orleans 53
Philadelphia 40 2nd Qtr 2:56
Cleveland 47
Detroit 5:00 PM
LA Clippers 5:00 PM
Dallas 6:00 PM
Memphis 6:00 PM
San Antonio
Oklahoma City 8:00 PM
Washington 4 3rd Prd 4:07
NY Rangers 2
Calgary 0 1st Prd 11:14
Nashville 1
Boston 1 1st Prd 12:02
Carolina 0
Detroit 2 1st Prd 11:25
NY Islanders 2
Florida 0 1st Prd 13:35
Ottawa 0
Anaheim 6:00 PM
New Jersey
Chicago 6:30 PM
San Jose 6:30 PM
Michigan State 76 FINAL
Louisville 70
Gonzaga 14 1st Half 11:17
Duke 23
Philadelphia 0 1st Half 35:00
Chicago 0
Toronto FC 6:00 PM
Real Salt Lake
(7) Florida State 74 FINAL
(3) South Carolina 80
Villanova 70 FINAL
West Virginia 75
Michigan 69 FINAL
Southern Miss 60
Temple 17 1st Half 7:08
Middle Tennessee 8
Siena 4 1st Half 14:51
Louisiana 11
St Marys-CA 13 1st Half 13:05
(5) Baylor 7:30 PM
(2) Notre Dame
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters





question of the day

Poll: Who is your favorite team in the NCAA men's hockey tournament?

Weekly Question