Gophers football scrimmage at TCF Bank Stadium elevates emotions

  • Article by: JOE CHRISTENSEN , Star Tribune
  • Updated: August 10, 2013 - 12:34 AM

Head football coach Jerry Kill talked to his players at the end of the spring game at TCF Bank Stadium

Photo: Marlin Levison, DML - Star Tribune

CameraStar Tribune photo galleries

Cameraview larger

Yes, it’s only one of 27 practice sessions the Gophers will hold during preseason camp, but the players seem pumped up for Saturday’s scrimmage at TCF Bank Stadium.

The scrimmage, which starts at 4:40 p.m., will be the public’s last chance to see the Gophers before the Aug. 29 season opener against UNLV.

“Every time you’re in the stadium, you’ve always got high emotions because it’s TCF,” defensive end Michael Amaefula said. “In a couple weeks, we’re going to be back there [for UNLV], so it’s not just another day.”

Defensive tackle Ra’Shede Hageman said tensions have been running high between the offensive and defensive lines, “so we’re ready to get after each other right now.”

Summer school ended Friday, so Saturday also will be the Gophers’ first chance to hold two practice sessions on the same day. They will have a special teams scrimmage at 9:10 a.m., before running the offense vs. the defense during the public session.

“We open it up to the fans because I think they deserve that, but for us it’s another opportunity, another practice,” coach Jerry Kill said. “If we wanted to make sure how good we looked for everybody, we wouldn’t [practice Friday night and Saturday morning ahead of the afternoon scrimmage].”

Cockran likes surroundings

Playing next to Hageman has its benefits. Defensive end Theiren Cockran said teams usually try to double-team Hageman, which leaves the end in a 1-on-1 battle.

D.L. Wilhite took advantage last year, racking up a team-high 8½ sacks before graduating. Now, Cockran moves into Wilhite’s spot.

“It’s not a lot of pressure,” Cockran said. “[Wilhite] worked with me a lot last year. He showed me a lot of things, sitting behind him, watching him on film. Going back, this year and watching more film, I feel like it’s prepared me more.”

Young Ekpe grows fast

Scott Ekpe surprised the Gophers coaches last year with how much improvement he made between spring practice and fall camp. The defensive tackle from Lewisville (Texas) High School wound up playing in all 13 games as a true freshman.

His younger brother, Hendric, followed him to the university this January, and it’s been like déjà vu for the Gophers coaching staff.

“Hank Ekpe’s probably our most improved player from the spring,” Kill said.

Defensive coordinator Tracy Claeys added: “Hank Ekpe’s a completely different person than he was in the spring. It’s weird. It’s kind of like his brother.

“We thought we were going to redshirt Scott after his first spring. I don’t know what it is in the summer in the Twin Cities. All of a sudden, he’s getting off the ball raising hell and playing well. ”


– a chance at wide receiver. First, the team needs to pick a No. 3 quarterback behind Philip Nelson and Mitch Leidner, Limegrover said, noting that this won’t happen right after the scrimmage.

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions


Tampa 6 FINAL
Philadelphia 2
LA Clippers 96 FINAL
Chicago 86
Cleveland 47 3rd Qtr
Houston 50
Golden State 5:00 PM
Philadelphia 5:00 PM
Portland 5:00 PM
Charlotte 5:00 PM
Oklahoma City 5:30 PM
LA Lakers
New Orleans 7:00 PM
Los Angeles 0 2nd Prd
Winnipeg 1
Tampa Bay 4:00 PM
Columbus 4:00 PM
Toronto 6:00 PM
Anaheim 7:00 PM
St. Louis 8:30 PM
Connecticut 81
Quinnipiac 65 FINAL
Manhattan 69
Fairfield 56 FINAL
Niagara 57
Marist 49 FINAL
Rider 59
Iona 60 FINAL
Saint Peters 68
Oregon State 55 2nd Half 2:30
California 65
South Florida 46 2nd Half 3:30
Houston 69
Marquette 36 2nd Half 11:46
Providence 56
Michigan State 25 2nd Half
Wisconsin 36
Siena 9 1st Half 11:35
Monmouth 12
Pittsburgh 5:30 PM
Wake Forest
Oregon 6:00 PM
Purdue 6:30 PM
Ohio State
Arizona State 7:30 PM
Washington St 8:30 PM
Georgetown 66 FINAL
Providence 81
Binghamton 50 FINAL
Elon 65 FINAL
Hofstra 58
Virginia Tech 47 FINAL
Boston College 49
(8) Louisville 59 FINAL
Virginia 75
Texas 69 FINAL
West Virginia 76
Creighton 53 FINAL
Villanova 61
Seton Hall 85 FINAL
Butler 76
UNC-Wilmington 76 FINAL
Coll of Charleston 65
(5) Maryland 69 FINAL
(25) Northwestern 48
Saint Josephs 67 FINAL
La Salle 55
Louisiana Tech 53 FINAL
TX-San Antonio 60
Rhode Island 70 FINAL
Massachusetts 78
Richmond 55 FINAL
VA Commonwealth 49
Davidson 46 FINAL
Fordham 54
St Bonaventure 43 FINAL
Duquesne 51
George Mason 45 FINAL
(22) George Washington 80
Indiana 60 FINAL
(20) Rutgers 71
(12) Texas A&M 63 FINAL
LSU 80
Ole Miss 47 FINAL
(11) Miss State 55
Clemson 56 FINAL
Pittsburgh 61
Maine 47 FINAL
New Hampshire 61
Vermont 48 FINAL
Albany 76
Quinnipiac 87 FINAL
Monmouth 48
Saint Peters 47 FINAL
Siena 64
(4) Notre Dame 67 FINAL
NC State 60
Wisconsin 62 FINAL
Penn State 56
Stony Brook 49 FINAL
Hartford 56
Northeastern 47 FINAL
William & Mary 62
St Johns 61 FINAL
Xavier 74
James Madison 74 FINAL
Delaware 71
Towson 45 FINAL
Drexel 50
Illinois State 46 2nd Half 1:15
Bradley 54
Southern Ill 65 2nd Half 0:28
Loyola-Chicago 60
Northern Iowa 53 2nd Half 0:52
Wichita State 59
Minnesota 74 2nd Half 0:37
(17) Iowa 92
(15) North Carolina 61 2nd Half 6:32
(16) Duke 68
Alabama 58 2nd Half 3:20
Auburn 70
(9) Florida State 58 2nd Half 4:17
Miami-Florida 47
Arkansas 41 FINAL
Missouri 57
Georgia 49 2nd Half 1:15
Florida 45
Dayton 95 FINAL
Saint Louis 68
Drake 55 2nd Half 0:20
Missouri State 86
Colorado 21 2nd Half
(10) Arizona State 22
(19) Stanford 30 2nd Half
Oregon 29
Marquette 43 2nd Half
DePaul 46
Southern Miss 35 2nd Half
Texas-El Paso 37
Vanderbilt 4:00 PM
(6) Tennessee
(2) South Carolina 4:00 PM
(13) Kentucky
Utah 4:00 PM
Ohio State 4:00 PM
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters





question of the day

Poll: Who is the best center on a Twin Cities sports team?

Weekly Question