Hartman: Kill thinks freshmen will contribute for U

  • Article by: SID HARTMAN , Star Tribune
  • Updated: August 16, 2012 - 7:03 AM

Several new players have stood out in fall practice, with good competition at tailback and the defensive line.

Several Big Ten Network announcers, a group that included a couple of former college coaches, recently made their annual visit to watch the Gophers football team. They already had been to some other Big Ten camps, so coach Jerry Kill had to feel good when some members of the crew told him: "Coach, you have a heck of a freshman class."

Said Kill: "They travel around the whole Big Ten, so we're excited about the freshman class and [the fact that some of our recruits] have got a chance to maybe play as true freshmen as we go."

Kill and his assistants are really happy with this freshman class. Although none of the freshmen have played in a regular-season game, the coaches are convinced they didn't make a mistake in recruiting even one member of the class.

This is one reason I don't agree with media members who have picked the Gophers to finish last in the Big Ten. And the schedule is in their favor. They have a nonconference schedule in which could win all four games and, except for road games at Wisconsin and Nebraska, they have a Big Ten schedule in which they could steal a couple of victories.

This good freshman squad will join the seven junior college transfers who should give the team depth it didn't have during the Tim Brewster era and last year with Kill.

Speaking about the freshman class after watching it perform in fall practice, Kill said: "Secondary-wise we have two true freshmen, Antonio Johnson and Damarius Travis, at safety that really stood out in practice, and also a young corner named Eric Murray.

"Then at tailback, I thought [the freshmen] have all played pretty well. They've had some good, consistent play. ... K.J. Maye, who can play receiver or tailback, that gives him some flexibility, he's a special freshman. We have six or seven real special freshmen that could help us this year."

Kill also is high on some returning players from last year.

"A guy that has come a long way in a fast way is [redshirt freshman offensive lineman] Joe Bjorklund. I think he has really done a good job in camp," Kill said. "From a defensive perspective, [redshirt junior defensive lineman] Ra'Shede Hageman has really played well. He's a totally different player than he was a year ago."

Looking back to Friday's scrimmage, Kill sang the praises of several defensive linemen, including Roland Johnson, Cameron Botticelli, Michael Amaefula, Ben Perry and Alex Keith, saying they all played well.

At linebacker, Kill had good things to say about Lamonte Edwards and Brendan Beal, who missed all of last season because of a knee injury.

"I thought those two had very good scrimmages and stood out," Kill said.

Yes, this Gophers team will be a lot better than some analysts are predicting.

Status of Peterson

People are dreaming if they think the Vikings are going to take a chance and play running back Adrian Peterson in any of their three remaining exhibition games or even in the season opener.

Asked about when the great running back might make his game debut, coach Leslie Frazier pointed out that at 7 1/2 months since reconstructive knee surgery, nobody expected Peterson would be able to do the things he is doing now.

"You really don't want to put parameters on his rehabilitation," Frazier said. "You just want to let it go and see where it takes us. We have some ideas. Our medical staff talked all along about what this process would look like and what was necessary. We're in that process right now, so we still have to take it day by day."

Honoring Lester

Many Metrodome personnel were standing on Mall of America Field on Wednesday night. Those people -- from members of the facilities commission, grounds crew, or coaches and athletic directors that had teams play there -- were on hand to honor all members of the Metropolitan Sports Facilities Commission over the past 30 years, especially Bill Lester, who was the director of the MSFC for about 25 years.

Yes, the dome had a great history, being the only arena in the country to host the Super Bowl, the NCAA Final Four and the World Series.

Lester was grateful for a message from Mark Wilf, one of the Vikings owners, for his cooperation with the team. And Lester Bagley of the Vikings presented Lester with a Vikings jersey to show their appreciation.

Jottings

• Friday's Vikings exhibition game with Buffalo is sold out only because several thousand tickets were given away to local charities, according to Steve LaCroix, vice president of sales and marketing. There are tickets available for all regular-season home games, including the normally hard-to-get Packers and Bears games.

• From Aug. 4-10, 1,257 fans attended Gophers football practice. Each person had to register to get in by listing their name and address. Believe it or not, Kill wrote everyone a note thanking them for being a Gophers fan.

David Crum, who for the past five years has been a Gophers associate athletic director in charge of fundraising, is leaving his position. Gophers executive associate athletic director David Benedict will now be in charge of fundraising, with someone yet to be hired to work with him.

• Former Minnetonka High School and Gophers golfer Donald Constable shot rounds of 70 and 75 during stroke play at the U.S. Amateur and missed the cut by two strokes in Cherry Hills Village, Colo.

• The Green Bay Packers placed former Gophers tight end Eric Lair on injured reserve to make room for running back Cedric Benson. Lair suffered a knee injury during training camp. ... Also on the Packers roster are former Gophers running backs Du'ane Bennett and Jon Hoese. Neither player suited up for Green Bay's opening preseason game because of injuries, Bennett because of a bad knee and Hoese because of a hamstring injury.

• Former Gophers football coach Brewster has joined CBS Sports as a commentator. Brewster's son, Nolan, was a safety at Texas, but had his football career end last September because of concussion problems.

Sid Hartman can be heard weekdays on WCCO AM-830 at 6:40, 7:40 and 8:40 a.m. and on Sundays at 9:30 a.m. • shartman@startribune.com

  • related content

  • A year later comes the payoff for U's Bush

    Thursday August 16, 2012

    Coach Jerry Kill was tempted to burn Foster Bush's redshirt last year, but now the tackle could fill a big need.

  • Crawford-Tufts won't be hamstrung

    Thursday August 16, 2012

    Devin Crawford-Tufts rehabbed his left hamstring on Wednesday, and he will do it again on Thursday. And you can count on him following the same routine for the next several...

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

Team Irvin 7:15 PM
Team Carter
Miami 64 3rd Qtr 3:09
Chicago 55
Oklahoma City 2:30 PM
Cleveland
Dallas 5:00 PM
New Orleans
Indiana 5:00 PM
Orlando
LA Clippers 5:00 PM
Phoenix
Minnesota 5:00 PM
Atlanta
Detroit 6:00 PM
Toronto
Milwaukee 6:00 PM
San Antonio
Boston 7:00 PM
Golden State
Washington 7:00 PM
Denver
Houston 8:30 PM
LA Lakers
Team Toews 4:00 PM
Team Foligno
South Florida 53 FINAL
Connecticut 66
Boston College 45 2nd Half 9:53
Georgia Tech 35
Virginia 36 2nd Half 10:24
Virginia Tech 43
Indiana 32 2nd Half
Ohio State 38
Stony Brook 16 1st Half 8:11
Binghamton 15
Cincinnati 12 1st Half 9:52
UCF 18
Maine 19 1st Half 6:20
Hartford 16
Monmouth 26 1st Half 4:13
Manhattan 29
Fairfield 21 1st Half 5:47
Marist 21
Rowan 18 1st Half 2:31
Princeton 41
St Bonaventure 10 1st Half 7:37
Rhode Island 13
Duke 23 1st Half 11:05
St Johns 17
Saint Peters 26 1st Half 3:46
Siena 21
Drake 10 1st Half 7:48
Wichita State 20
Vermont 21 1st Half 5:57
UMass Lowell 15
Seton Hall 2:00 PM
Butler
NJIT 2:05 PM
South Alabama
Northern Iowa 3:00 PM
Illinois State
Louisville 3:00 PM
Pittsburgh
UMBC 3:30 PM
Albany
Niagara 3:30 PM
Iona
Notre Dame 5:30 PM
NC State
Belmont 5:30 PM
Tennessee St
Creighton 6:00 PM
Villanova
Northwestern 6:30 PM
Maryland
Washington 7:30 PM
Utah
Senior-North 34 FINAL
Senior-South 13
Seton Hall 99 FINAL
Georgetown 85
St Johns 69 FINAL
Villanova 81
Arkansas 58 FINAL
Florida 72
Maine 51 2nd Half 5:51
UMBC 38
Vanderbilt 45 2nd Half 7:18
Alabama 43
Lafayette 35 2nd Half 11:21
Lehigh 41
UCF 16 1st Half 9:08
SMU 12
Utah 17 1st Half 5:20
Washington 24
James Madison 28 1st Half 5:49
Coll of Charleston 18
Delaware 18 1st Half 3:40
Drexel 26
Hofstra 18 1st Half 7:26
William & Mary 22
Hartford 16 1st Half 8:13
Albany 24
Binghamton 16 1st Half 6:54
Stony Brook 22
Towson 27 1st Half 7:14
UNC-Wilmington 16
Wake Forest 26 1st Half 8:33
(17) Florida State 34
Georgia Tech 20 1st Half 4:40
Virginia 24
(22) Georgia 22 1st Half 5:55
(5) Tennessee 14
Drake 23 1st Half 6:03
Evansville 21
Iona 30 1st Half 5:45
Canisius 22
Fairfield 10 1st Half 7:21
Monmouth 17
Northwestern 21 1st Half 7:31
Penn State 26
Wisconsin 26 1st Half 3:59
Michigan State 27
Ohio State 20 1st Half 5:20
Purdue 20
Northern Iowa 19 1st Half 7:56
Indiana State 14
Butler 2 1st Half 18:13
Xavier 2
Creighton 2:00 PM
Marquette
Providence 2:00 PM
DePaul
Northeastern 2:00 PM
Elon
(2) Connecticut 2:00 PM
Cincinnati
Oregon 2:00 PM
Arizona
Bradley 2:00 PM
Loyola-Chicago
NC State 2:00 PM
(23) Syracuse
(7) Maryland 2:00 PM
Indiana
Illinois State 2:05 PM
Missouri State
Colorado 3:00 PM
Washington St
Tulane 3:00 PM
South Florida
(14) Kentucky 3:00 PM
Missouri
(9) Oregon State 3:00 PM
(13) Arizona State
Vermont 3:30 PM
UMass Lowell
Iowa State 3:30 PM
(8) Texas
Southern Ill 3:45 PM
Wichita State
(15) Duke 4:00 PM
(12) North Carolina
Miami-Florida 4:00 PM
(4) Louisville
(21) Minnesota 4:15 PM
(25) Rutgers
California 5:00 PM
UCLA
(11) Stanford 7:00 PM
USC
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: Do you favor the plan for expanded athletic facilities at the U of M?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close