Gophers notes: Ground game breaks off big gains in scrimmage

  • Article by: JOE CHRISTENSEN , Star Tribune
  • Updated: April 20, 2013 - 11:38 PM

Donnell Kirkwood set the tone for Saturday’s full-contact scrimmage on the second play, when he burst through a huge hole for a 46-yard gain


Gophers running back Donnell Kirkwood set the tone for Saturday’s full-contact scrimmage on the second play, when he burst through a huge hole for a 46-yard gain.

It was the first of five runs for at least 20 yards in the team’s second scrimmage of the spring. David Cobb had a 38-yarder, Cole Banham had a 64-yarder and quarterback Mitch Leidner had runs that went for 21 and 24 yards.

“I was encouraged we popped some big plays because we didn’t have much of that last year,” offensive coordinator Matt Limegrover said.

It was less encouraging for the defense, which made big strides overall last year but still needs work against the run.

“I don’t mind seeing a run break every now and then because then we get a tackle in the secondary,” defensive coordinator Tracy Claeys said. “But at the same time, it shouldn’t get there.”

Nelson looks solid

Philip Nelson completed eight of 14 passes for 80 yards, including a 14-yard touchdown strike to Isaac Fruechte on the first drive.

“He made some hot throws against blitzes, he kept the chains moving, he made a great touchdown throw early,” quarterbacks coach Jim Zebrowski said. “I thought he got in a great rhythm.”

Leidner had some impressive runs but finished just 1-for-5 passing on the day.

“I thought Mitch played well in the [April 12] scrimmage,” Zebrowski said. “I felt like he got more reps in some tougher situations [Saturday] and did some really good things. He still ran well ... and made some good decisions.”


• Chris Hawthorne hit field goals from 28 and 36 yards during the scrimmage. Afterward, coach Jerry Kill invited about 300 spectators onto the field to add chaos for Hawthorne’s last two kicks, and he drilled both 42-yarders, finishing a perfect day.

•  Claeys said he will limit the repetitions for defensive tackle Ra’Shede Hageman, safety Brock Vereen and cornerback Derrick Wells through the April 27 spring game. The coaching staff knows their abilities and wants to be sure they are healthy heading into fall camp.

• The crowd on the field included about 60 kids from the Epilepsy Foundation of Minnesota. Kill shouted encouragement to the group, telling the kids never to give up chasing their dreams. “You can do it!” Kill said. “And don’t let anybody tell you that you can’t do it!”

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions


Atlanta 7 FINAL
Pittsburgh 5
Miami 5 FINAL
St. Louis 3
Baltimore - LP: K. Gausman 4 FINAL
Detroit - WP: J. Nathan 6
Minnesota 4 FINAL
Boston 5
NY Yankees 5 FINAL
Tampa Bay 6
Philadelphia 1 FINAL
Toronto 4
Cincinnati 13 FINAL
Cleveland 2
Los Angeles 9 FINAL
Chicago WSox 6
Kansas City 3 FINAL
Seattle 0
Seattle 1 FINAL
Milwaukee 15
San Diego 3 FINAL
Arizona 3
Washington 3
LA Angels 8 FINAL
Chicago Cubs 4
Colorado 3 FINAL
Texas 6
Oakland 6 Top 8th Inning
San Francisco 4
Indiana 107 FINAL
Milwaukee 111
Pittsburgh 2 FINAL
Carolina 5
New Jersey 2 FINAL(OT)
Washington 3
Los Angeles 3 FINAL
NY Islanders 2
Arizona 4 FINAL(OT)
Buffalo 3
Anaheim 3 FINAL(OT)
Boston 2
Nashville 3 FINAL
Tampa Bay 2
San Jose 6 FINAL
Detroit 4
NY Rangers 5 FINAL
Ottawa 1
Florida 4 FINAL
Toronto 1
Montreal 2 FINAL
Winnipeg 5
Colorado 3 3rd Prd 1:11
Vancouver 1
Wichita State 70 FINAL
Notre Dame 81
North Carolina 72 FINAL
Wisconsin 79
Evansville 89 FINAL
Louisiana 82
West Virginia 39 FINAL
Kentucky 78
Xavier 53 2nd Half 4:28
Arizona 55
St Johns 55 FINAL
Villanova 63
NC State 79 FINAL
Temple 80
Missouri 55 FINAL
Michigan 65
Oral Roberts 64 FINAL
Louisiana 65
Duquesne 39 FINAL
West Virginia 60
Ole Miss 70 FINAL
Middle Tennessee 82
Northern Colorado 60 FINAL
St Marys-CA 77 FINAL
Sacramento St 69
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