Middle linebacker position firms up for Gophers

  • Article by: MICHAEL RAND , Star Tribune
  • Updated: August 26, 2013 - 2:12 PM

Gophers defensive coordinator Tracy Claeys gave the strongest indication yet on Sunday that Damien Wilson will be the starter.

hide

Linebacker Damien Wilson, a junior college transfer, likely will start at middle linebacker for the Gophers' season opener against UNLV, but redshirt freshman Jack Lynn could see some in the middle, too.

Photo: David Joles, Star Tribune

CameraStar Tribune photo galleries

Cameraview larger

 

Junior college transfer Damien Wilson and redshirt freshman Jack Lynn have been in a lengthy battle for playing time at middle linebacker. While that battle remains ongoing, Gophers defensive coordinator Tracy Claeys gave the strongest indication yet on Sunday that Wilson will be the starter when the Gophers take the field in their opener Thursday against UNLV at TCF Bank Stadium.

“Damien has played in a college football game before,” Claeys said. “I think the first group … you’d like to be able to show the younger players how they’re going to attack us before we get too many of them in there.”

Claeys said he can envision using Wilson for the first three series of the game before the pair goes into a rotation. Wilson has primarily been working with the Gophers’ top defensive unit in practice, Claeys said, though Lynn still gets reps with that group.

And, as always, nothing is certain until game day.

“Like I’ve always said, if [Wilson] doesn’t practice well the next few days and Jack ends up starting, that’s the way the ball bounces,” Claeys said. “We don’t decide until the morning of the game.”

Offensive line udpate

Offensive coordinator Matt Limegrover said three offensive linemen have separated themselves as starters — right tackle Josh Campion and guards Caleb Bak and Zac Epping.

Tommy Olson has been pushing Jon Christenson for the starting center job. Ed Olson is pushing Marek Lenkiewicz for the starting left tackle job, though head coach Jerry Kill said Saturday that the team needs to be cautious with Ed Olson coming back from major ankle surgery.

Jones in the mix

When the Gophers use a three-receiver set, their first unit will be Derrick Engel, Isaac Fruechte and KJ Maye. Limegrover said true freshman Donovahn Jones has been working in with that group, too.

 

“With that group of three of four guys, we’re really starting to develop a comfort level,” Limegrover said.

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

Chicago WSox - LP: Z. Duke 1 FINAL
Detroit - WP: J. Soria 2
San Diego - WP: J. Shields 5 FINAL
Chicago Cubs - LP: B. Schlitter 4
Philadelphia - LP: S. O Sullivan 2 FINAL
Washington - WP: M. Scherzer 7
Milwaukee - LP: J. Nelson 3 FINAL
Pittsburgh - WP: V. Worley 6
Atlanta - WP: C. Martin 8 FINAL
Toronto - LP: B. Cecil 7
Miami - LP: B. Hand 1 FINAL
NY Mets - WP: B. Colon 4
Baltimore - LP: B. Matusz 2 FINAL
Boston - WP: K. Uehara 3
NY Yankees - WP: D. Betances 5 FINAL
Tampa Bay - LP: K. Jepsen 4
LA Angels - WP: C. Ramos 6 FINAL
Houston - LP: C. Qualls 3
Cleveland - LP: B. Shaw 2 FINAL
Minnesota - WP: B. Boyer 3
Oakland - LP: D. Otero 4 FINAL
Kansas City - WP: W. Davis 6
Cincinnati - LP: J. Cueto 1 FINAL
St. Louis - WP: M. Wacha 6
Colorado - LP: K. Kendrick 3 FINAL
Los Angeles - WP: C. Kershaw 7
Texas - WP: Y. Gallardo 3 FINAL
Seattle - LP: J. Happ 1
Arizona - WP: J. Collmenter 9 FINAL
San Francisco - LP: J. Peavy 0
Ottawa 2 FINAL(OT)
Montreal 3
NY Islanders 3 FINAL
Washington 4
Chicago 2 FINAL
Nashville 6
Calgary 1 FINAL
Vancouver 4
San Jose 0 FINAL
Red Bull New York 2
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: Does it bother you that Tyus Jones chose Duke over Minnesota?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close