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 Spring Practice #2: A look at two key defensive battles

Posted by: Joe Christensen under Gophers spring football Updated: March 29, 2013 - 12:31 PM

Derrick Wells played cornerback in high school in Lehigh, Fla., so even after thriving at safety last year for the Gophers, he’s having little trouble with the transition back to cornerback this spring.

“He can start at safety or corner,” Coach Jerry Kill said Thursday after the team’s second spring practice. “He could probably come over and play wide receiver and start. So he’s a good player.”

The Gophers need to replace two starting cornerbacks from last season, in Michael Carter and Troy Stoudermire. They’ve turned to Wells, knowing they still have Brock Vereen, Cedric Thompson and Antonio Johnson at safety.

Wells, a junior who missed some time last season because of complications with a lacerated knee, had no problem making the switch.

“I think I want to do what’s best for the team,” Wells said. “But moving to corner, it’ll take some pressure off my knee without all the contact in the middle, so I think that’ll help me out a lot too.”

MIDDLE LINEBACKER UPDATE

The Gophers also need to replace outgoing senior Mike Rallis at middle-linebacker, but for now, they are content keeping Aaron Hill at outside linebacker. The candidates for the MLB spot are junior college transfer Damien Wilson, redshirt freshman Jack Lynn and redshirt sophomore Jephte Matilus.

“I think [Hill’s] more suited to be outside, and I think we’ve got a lot of comfort recruiting Damien,” Kill said. “He’s picked things up very quickly. We’ve got Jephte, who was in there, and Jack, so we feel pretty good about that, and then we’ve got four other young men coming [as incoming recruits this summer].

“I mean, it’s kind of like the secondary was a year ago. I think we’ve really built a good secondary, even losing two outstanding players. And I feel like this recruiting class at linebacker is critical, and Damien certainly has fulfilled a need. He’s done very good the first two days, and Jack and Jephte are learning.”

Note: DT Ra'Shede Hageman looks like he's on a mission this spring, with the NFL looming as a real possibility for him next year. Here's my story on Hageman from today's paper. ... Spring Practice #3 will be Saturday at 10 a.m., at the Gibson-Nagurski Football Complex. Again, all these sessions are open to the public.

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Toronto 1 Top 8th Inning
NY Yankees 5
Washington - WP: S. Strasburg 2 FINAL
Miami - LP: N. Eovaldi 1
NY Mets 6 Bottom 7th Inning
Atlanta 2
Boston 3 Bottom 7th Inning
Baltimore 2
Milwaukee 0 Top 9th Inning
Pittsburgh 1
Chicago WSox 10 Top 7th Inning
Tampa Bay 2
Cleveland 5 Bottom 5th Inning
Minnesota 1
Detroit 2 Bottom 4th Inning
Kansas City 4
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Chicago Cubs 2
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St. Louis 31
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Philadelphia 27
Houston 17 4th Qtr 1:20
NY Giants 30
Minnesota 9 FINAL
New Orleans 20
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Cincinnati 33
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Cleveland 21
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Detroit 19
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Seattle
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Miami
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Carolina
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Washington
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Carolina 3
Buffalo 4:00 PM
Washington
St. Louis 5:30 PM
Columbus
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Edmonton
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Calgary
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Rice 42
Troy 0 FINAL
(12) Georgia 66
Georgia Tech 27 FINAL
Virginia Tech 24
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(9) Michigan State 73
Iowa 24 FINAL
Pittsburgh 20
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(19) Wisconsin 68
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Syracuse 20
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Colorado 21
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Akron 17
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(23) East Carolina 70
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Wake Forest 24
Virginia 33 FINAL
(20) BYU 41
(6) Texas A&M 58 FINAL
SMU 6
Rutgers 31 FINAL
Navy 24
Central Mich 10 FINAL
Kansas 24
Utah 26 FINAL
Michigan 10
Florida 21 FINAL
(3) Alabama 42
Louisville 34 FINAL
FIU 3
Fla Atlantic 19 FINAL
Wyoming 20
Indiana 31 FINAL
Missouri 27
San Jose St 7 FINAL
Minnesota 24
Texas State 35 FINAL
Illinois 42
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Penn State 48
Georgia State 14 FINAL
Washington 45
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(14) Miss State 34 FINAL
(17) LSU 29
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Arkansas 52
Middle Tennessee 17 FINAL
Memphis 36
Utah State 14 FINAL
Arkansas State 21
Miami-Ohio 24 FINAL
Cincinnati 31
Idaho 24 FINAL
Ohio U 36
Ball State 23 FINAL
Toledo 34
(13) So Carolina 48 FINAL
Vanderbilt 34
(4) Oklahoma 45 FINAL
West Virginia 33
Ga Southern 28 FINAL
South Alabama 6
UNLV 14 FINAL
Houston 47
Miami-Florida 31 FINAL
(21) Nebraska 41
New Mexico 38 FINAL
New Mexico St 35
Clemson 17 FINAL
(1) Florida State 23
California 45 FINAL
Arizona 49
San Diego St 7 FINAL
Oregon State 28
(2) Oregon 38 FINAL
Washington St 31
Louisiana 9 FINAL
Boise State 34
Texas Tech 9/25/14 6:30 PM
(24) Oklahoma State
Appalachian St 9/25/14 6:30 PM
Ga Southern
(11) UCLA 9/25/14 9:00 PM
(15) Arizona State
Middle Tennessee 9/26/14 7:00 PM
Old Dominion
Fresno State 9/26/14 7:00 PM
New Mexico
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(25) Kansas State
Tennessee 9/27/14 11:00 AM
(12) Georgia
Vanderbilt 9/27/14 11:00 AM
Kentucky
Wyoming 9/27/14 11:00 AM
(9) Michigan State
Northwestern 9/27/14 11:00 AM
Penn State
TCU 9/27/14 11:00 AM
SMU
Iowa 9/27/14 11:00 AM
Purdue
Tulane 9/27/14 11:00 AM
Rutgers
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(19) Wisconsin
Colorado State 9/27/14 11:30 AM
Boston College
Western Mich 9/27/14 11:30 AM
Virginia Tech
Maryland 9/27/14 12:30 PM
Indiana
Akron 9/27/14 12:30 PM
Pittsburgh
Bowling Green 9/27/14 2:00 PM
Massachusetts
Arkansas 9/27/14 2:30 PM
(6) Texas A&M
Kent State 9/27/14 2:30 PM
Virginia
Western Ky 9/27/14 2:30 PM
Navy
Minnesota 9/27/14 2:30 PM
Michigan
Wake Forest 9/27/14 2:30 PM
Louisville
FIU 9/27/14 2:30 PM
UAB
(1) Florida State 9/27/14 2:30 PM
NC State
Miami-Ohio 9/27/14 2:30 PM
Buffalo
Colorado 9/27/14 3:00 PM
California
Louisiana Tech 9/27/14 3:00 PM
(5) Auburn
Texas 9/27/14 3:00 PM
Kansas
Temple 9/27/14 3:00 PM
Connecticut
(16) Stanford 9/27/14 3:15 PM
Washington
TX-San Antonio 9/27/14 4:00 PM
Fla Atlantic
South Alabama 9/27/14 4:00 PM
Idaho
Cincinnati 9/27/14 5:00 PM
(22) Ohio State
Rice 9/27/14 6:00 PM
Southern Miss
Missouri 9/27/14 6:00 PM
(13) So Carolina
Boise State 9/27/14 6:00 PM
Air Force
North Carolina 9/27/14 6:00 PM
Clemson
Central Mich 9/27/14 6:00 PM
Toledo
Troy 9/27/14 6:00 PM
ULM
New Mexico St 9/27/14 6:30 PM
(17) LSU
Memphis 9/27/14 6:30 PM
(10) Ole Miss
Duke 9/27/14 6:30 PM
Miami-Florida
Texas State 9/27/14 7:00 PM
Tulsa
Washington St 9/27/14 7:00 PM
Utah
(8) Notre Dame 9/27/14 7:00 PM
Syracuse
(7) Baylor 9/27/14 7:00 PM
Iowa State
UNLV 9/27/14 7:00 PM
San Diego St
Illinois 9/27/14 8:00 PM
(21) Nebraska
Oregon State 9/27/14 9:30 PM
(18) USC
Nevada 9/27/14 9:30 PM
San Jose St
Chivas USA 0 1st Half 5:00
Toronto FC 1
Toronto 40 FINAL
Brt Columbia 23
Edmonton 23 FINAL
Hamilton 25
Calgary 15 2:36
Montreal 31
Ottawa 3:00 PM
Saskatchewan
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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 TBA
Oct 11 - vs. Northwestern TBA
Oct 18 - vs. Purdue 11 am
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

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