After sampling positions, U's Maye focuses on slot receiver, returner

  • Article by: JOE CHRISTENSEN , Star Tribune
  • Updated: April 3, 2013 - 12:13 AM

One of the most impressive players through four Gophers spring football practices has been sophomore wide receiver KJ Maye.

 

One of the most impressive players through four Gophers spring football practices has been sophomore wide receiver KJ Maye.

Maye was a quarterback at Murphy High School in Mobile, Ala., and played both running back and wide receiver for the Gophers last fall as a true freshman. He played all 13 games but finished with a mere 57 yards rushing, 49 yards receiving and 178 yards on kick returns. The highlight was a 45-yard kick return against Michigan.

Now the Gophers have him focused on being a slot receiver and kick returner.

“I was kind of nervous last year, trying to get the feel of playing receiver,” Maye said after Tuesday’s practice. “Now I’ve got the feel of it, and it’s all right. It’s running pretty smooth.”

Sophomore quarterback Philip Nelson continues to connect with Maye on short passes against Minnesota’s first-team defense.

“He runs great routes,” Nelson said. “He can catch the ball. He just has a little wiggle to him, that Wes Welker-type move. We like getting him out there in the slot and letting him kind of decipher the defense for himself. Once he gets the ball, he can run with it and break tackles. He’s a playmaker.”

Leidner gets a chance

Nelson continues to show poise and polish running the first-team offense, but redshirt freshman quarterback Mitch Leidner isn’t far behind.

While Nelson gained invaluable experience as a true freshman last fall, starting the final seven games, Leidner ran the scout-team offense. The week the Gophers played Nebraska, for example, Leidner was in charge of imitating Taylor Martinez.

“It feels good to be back here running our own offense and things like that,” Leidner said. “Coming in early last spring definitely helped me out. It was a struggle at times, but I was able to learn from it. And now, watching all those hours of film, it makes it that much easier out here.”

Still stuck inside

The Gophers have held all four practices indoors, but coach Jerry Kill said the team could be ready to move outside Thursday.

“It’s all about injuries,” Kill said. “If you watch the Big Ten Network, there’s somebody going down every day in spring ball. And you get one hurt now, a lot of times you don’t get him back. It’s still 30-35 [degrees], and that’s where the hamstring and groins [injuries happen]. It isn’t about being tough, it’s about the health part of it.”

Rough kicking spectacle

The Gophers worked on field goals for a few minutes Tuesday, and it wasn’t pretty.

Senior Chris Hawthorne lined up from about 40 yards and went 1-for-5. He shanked one kick wide left and had another blocked by Briean Boddy, who also blocked a field goal in the Meineke Car Care Bowl against Texas Tech.

The Gophers need to replace outgoing senior Jordan Wettstein. Hawthorne is the leading in-house candidate, and there are high hopes for incoming recruit Ryan Santoso, the 6-5, 270-pounder from Pace, Fla., who kicked in the Under Armour All-America Game.

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

NY Yankees - M. Pineda 12:07 PM
Toronto - D. Hutchison
Detroit - M. Scherzer 12:10 PM
Chicago WSox - C. Sale
Chicago Cubs - F. Doubront 1:15 PM
St. Louis - J. Masterson
Cincinnati - A. Simon 3:05 PM
Pittsburgh - V. Worley
Minnesota - K. Gibson 6:05 PM
Baltimore - C. Tillman
Philadelphia - J. Williams 6:10 PM
NY Mets - B. Colon
Miami - J. Cosart 6:10 PM
Atlanta - A. Harang
Boston - A. Webster 6:10 PM
Tampa Bay - J. Odorizzi
Cleveland - T. Bauer 6:10 PM
Kansas City - J. Shields
Detroit - K. Ryan 6:10 PM
Chicago WSox - C. Bassitt
Texas - R. Ross Jr. 6:10 PM
Houston - S. Feldman
Colorado - T. Matzek 7:10 PM
Arizona - V. Nuno
Chicago Cubs - T. Wada 7:15 PM
St. Louis - M. Gonzales
Los Angeles - Z. Greinke 7:40 PM
San Diego - I. Kennedy
Milwaukee - M. Fiers 8:05 PM
San Francisco - J. Peavy
Oakland - J. Samardzija 8:05 PM
LA Angels - C. Rasmus
Washington - S. Strasburg 8:10 PM
Seattle - R. Elias
Green Bay 9/4/14 7:30 PM
Seattle
(21) Texas A&M 52 FINAL
(9) So Carolina 28
Wake Forest 10 FINAL
ULM 17
Boise State 13 FINAL
(18) Ole Miss 35
Tulane 31 FINAL
Tulsa 38
Rutgers 41 FINAL
Washington St 38
Weber State 14 FINAL
(19) Arizona State 45
Temple 37 FINAL
Vanderbilt 7
BYU 35 FINAL
Connecticut 10
(6) Jacksonville St 7 FINAL
(8) Michigan State 45
Bowling Green 31 FINAL
Western Ky 59
TX-San Antonio 27 FINAL
Houston 7
Colorado State 31 FINAL
Colorado 17
UNLV 13 FINAL
Arizona 58
Penn State 26 FINAL
UCF 24
Troy 7 1st Qtr 8:56
UAB 0
(7) UCLA 0 1st Qtr 6:52
Virginia 0
Western Mich 0 1st Qtr 6:32
Purdue 7
(5) Ohio State 0 1st Qtr 6:18
Navy 0
Appalachian St 0 1st Qtr 6:21
Michigan 7
Ga Southern 11:30 AM
NC State
Boston College 2:00 PM
Massachusetts
West Virginia 2:30 PM
(2) Alabama
Rice 2:30 PM
(17) Notre Dame
(10) South Dakota St 2:30 PM
(24) Missouri
Fla Atlantic 2:30 PM
(22) Nebraska
California 2:30 PM
Northwestern
Marshall 2:30 PM
Miami-Ohio
UC Davis 3:00 PM
(11) Stanford
Arkansas 3:00 PM
(6) Auburn
(16) Clemson 4:30 PM
(12) Georgia
Liberty 5:00 PM
(23) North Carolina
Ohio U 5:00 PM
Kent State
Louisiana Tech 6:00 PM
(4) Oklahoma
Idaho 6:00 PM
Florida
Stephen F Austin 6:10 PM
(20) Kansas State
Fresno State 6:30 PM
(15) USC
Southern Miss 6:30 PM
Miss State
Texas-El Paso 7:00 PM
New Mexico
North Texas 7:00 PM
Texas
(1) Florida State 7:00 PM
Oklahoma State
(14) Wisconsin 8:00 PM
(13) LSU
South Dakota 9:30 PM
(3) Oregon
(25) Washington 9:30 PM
Hawaii
Utah State 8/31/14 6:00 PM
Tennessee
SMU 8/31/14 6:30 PM
(10) Baylor
Miami-Florida 9/1/14 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
Colorado 3:00 PM
Seattle
New England 4:00 PM
Toronto FC
Columbus 6:30 PM
Montreal
FC Dallas 7:30 PM
Chicago
Real Salt Lake 9:30 PM
San Jose
Portland 9:30 PM
Vancouver FC
Ottawa 10 FINAL
Montreal 20
Winnipeg 8/31/14 3:00 PM
Saskatchewan
Toronto 9/1/14 12:00 PM
Hamilton
Edmonton 9/1/14 3:30 PM
Calgary
Brt Columbia 9/5/14 6:30 PM
Ottawa
Calgary 9/6/14 6:00 PM
Edmonton
Hamilton 9/7/14 12:00 PM
Montreal
Saskatchewan 9/7/14 3:00 PM
Winnipeg
Chicago 6:00 PM
Indiana
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 pm
Sep 13 - at TCU 3 pm
Sep 20 - vs. San Jose St. TBA
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

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: Grade the Gophers in their season opener

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close