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.

Email Joe to talk about the Gophers.

As promised, Gophers practice with a thud

Posted by: Phil Miller under College football, Gophers preseason practice Updated: August 9, 2012 - 7:44 PM

     The Gophers were supposed to practice in shorts and shoulder pads Thursday morning, then switch to full uniforms for a late-afternoon workout. But after the first session, which was devoted almost entirely to special teams and individual drills, the coaches changed their mind and made the second practice a shorts-and-shoulder-pads, too.
     Why? Because the team will hold a full-blown scrimmage on Friday morning, defensive coordinator Tracy Claeys said, so they didn't want the players to be tackled to the ground twice in such a short time span. But Claeys said, in that Kansas coachspeak that's so enjoyable, that Thursday's practice would be physical even without full pads. "We're still gonna thud," he said.
     Marvelous. And the Gophers did thud a little bit, though the biggest thud was administered by the defense on the final play of practice. Cornerback Briean Boddy, who had been picked on by quarterbacks a couple of times during the no-huddle drill, stepped in front of a Mitch Leidner pass and took it in stride down the sidelines 35 yards into the end zone.
     That wrapped up an afternoon session that included plenty of team play, from 7-on-7 skelly drills to situational scrimmages, and more highlight-reel moments than the past week combined.
     There was the perfect pass dropped on Isaac Fruechte's hands by Max Shortell, a 20-yard gainer or so. There was Philip Nelson's long completion to Malcolm Moulton. There was MarQueis Gray's 30-yard scoring strike to Jamel Harbison. There was Gray's 35-yard gain to an outstretched Derrick Engel, a pass caught between defenders Michael Carter and Brock Vereen. And there was probably the most impressive catch of the day, a 30-yard beauty that Andre McDonald went high to catch while running full speed, foiling some pretty tight defense by Jeremy Baltazar. Shortell threw it, and he skipped down the field to celebrate.
     The defense had a few highlights, too. Carter leaped to break up a nice Shortell-to-Logan Hutton completion over the middle, and Troy Stoudermire made a one-handed interception of a Nelson pass. And defensive end D.L. Wilhite scooped up a fumbled snap, took it 20 yards to the end zone, and dunked it over the goalpost.
     Thud indeed.
     The morning workout wasn't nearly as interesting, though it did feature freshman K.J. Maye, who has mostly played tailback so far, lining up at wide receiver and catching a couple of passes. The completions weren't as impressive as Maye's moves past the defense once he caught the ball, though. The Gopher coaches seem to be enjoying the versatility of their quickest player.
     Funniest moment came during a kick-coverage drill, though. Head coach Jerry Kill was conducting the drill himself, teaching would-be tacklers how to deal with double-teams. But as they began the drill, there was no ball carrier to simulate a returner. McDonald stepped in a couple of times in the role, and place-kicker Chris Hawthorne gave it a try, but Kill was unhappy with his speed. Then running backs coach Brian Anderson jogged upfield as the kick returner, and Kill cracked, "If we play teams with a returner that slow, we're going to win a hell of a lot of games!"
     Friday morning is the final chance for Gopher fans to see the football team practice this fall. The scrimmage, to be held in TCF Bank Stadium, will begin at 10:25 a.m.
 

ADVERTISEMENT

San Diego 7:25 PM
Denver
Detroit 10/26/14 8:30 AM
Atlanta
Buffalo 10/26/14 12:00 PM
NY Jets
St. Louis 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Kansas City
Houston 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Tennessee
Minnesota 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Tampa Bay
Seattle 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Carolina
Baltimore 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Cincinnati
Miami 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Jacksonville
Chicago 10/26/14 12:00 PM
New England
Philadelphia 10/26/14 3:05 PM
Arizona
Oakland 10/26/14 3:25 PM
Cleveland
Indianapolis 10/26/14 3:25 PM
Pittsburgh
Green Bay 10/26/14 7:30 PM
New Orleans
Washington 10/27/14 7:30 PM
Dallas
Indiana 6:00 PM
Charlotte
Philadelphia 6:30 PM
Detroit
Dallas 7:00 PM
New Orleans
NY Islanders 6:00 PM
Boston
Pittsburgh 6:30 PM
Detroit
Vancouver 7:00 PM
St. Louis
Chicago 7:00 PM
Nashville
Arizona 7:00 PM
Minnesota
Carolina 8:00 PM
Calgary
Buffalo 9:30 PM
Los Angeles
Columbus 9:30 PM
San Jose
Arkansas State 40 FINAL
Louisiana 55
Connecticut 6:00 PM
(18) East Carolina
Miami-Florida 7:00 PM
Virginia Tech
So Florida 10/24/14 6:00 PM
Cincinnati
Troy 10/24/14 6:30 PM
South Alabama
BYU 10/24/14 8:00 PM
Boise State
(6) Oregon 10/24/14 9:00 PM
California
North Texas 10/25/14 11:00 AM
Rice
UAB 10/25/14 11:00 AM
Arkansas
Rutgers 10/25/14 11:00 AM
(16) Nebraska
Maryland 10/25/14 11:00 AM
Wisconsin
Texas 10/25/14 11:00 AM
(11) Kansas State
Minnesota 10/25/14 11:00 AM
Illinois
Memphis 10/25/14 11:00 AM
SMU
North Carolina 10/25/14 11:30 AM
Virginia
San Jose St 10/25/14 12:00 PM
Navy
Northern Ill 10/25/14 12:00 PM
Eastern Mich
(25) UCLA 10/25/14 1:00 PM
Colorado
Akron 10/25/14 1:00 PM
Ball State
Massachusetts 10/25/14 1:00 PM
Toledo
Ohio U 10/25/14 1:00 PM
Western Mich
Ga Southern 10/25/14 1:00 PM
Georgia State
Kent State 10/25/14 1:30 PM
Miami-Ohio
Oregon State 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Stanford
Fla Atlantic 10/25/14 2:30 PM
(23) Marshall
Louisiana Tech 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Southern Miss
(1) Miss State 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Kentucky
Georgia Tech 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Pittsburgh
(22) West Virginia 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Oklahoma State
Texas Tech 10/25/14 2:30 PM
(10) TCU
Michigan 10/25/14 2:30 PM
(8) Michigan State
Boston College 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Wake Forest
Central Mich 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Buffalo
Vanderbilt 10/25/14 3:00 PM
Missouri
Old Dominion 10/25/14 3:00 PM
Western Ky
UNLV 10/25/14 3:00 PM
Utah State
Temple 10/25/14 4:00 PM
UCF
(15) Arizona 10/25/14 5:00 PM
Washington St
Texas-El Paso 10/25/14 6:00 PM
TX-San Antonio
Wyoming 10/25/14 6:00 PM
Colorado State
Syracuse 10/25/14 6:00 PM
(21) Clemson
Texas State 10/25/14 6:00 PM
ULM
(3) Ole Miss 10/25/14 6:15 PM
(24) LSU
(4) Alabama 10/25/14 6:30 PM
Tennessee
So Carolina 10/25/14 6:30 PM
(5) Auburn
(13) Ohio State 10/25/14 7:00 PM
Penn State
(20) USC 10/25/14 9:00 PM
(19) Utah
(14) Arizona State 10/25/14 9:45 PM
Washington
Nevada 10/25/14 10:59 PM
Hawaii
Montreal 10/24/14 5:30 PM
Ottawa
Saskatchewan 10/24/14 8:30 PM
Calgary
Hamilton 10/25/14 3:00 PM
Toronto
Brt Columbia 10/25/14 6:00 PM
Winnipeg
Hamilton 10/31/14 6:30 PM
Ottawa
Winnipeg 11/1/14 3:00 PM
Calgary
Brt Columbia 11/1/14 6:00 PM
Edmonton
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 pmX35-24
Sep 13 - at TCU 3 pmX30-7
Sep 20 - vs. San Jose St. 3 p.m.X24-7
Sep 27 - at Michigan 2:30 pmX30-14
Oct 11 - vs. Northwestern 11 amX24-17
Oct 18 - vs. Purdue 11 amX39-38
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: How will the Vikings and Gophers do this weekend?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT