Hartman: Kill sees good things in U's spring practices

  • Article by: SID HARTMAN , Star Tribune
  • Updated: March 20, 2014 - 12:21 AM

Defensive back Damarius Travis and tight end Nate Wozniak stood out as emerging players this week.

hide

The University of Minnesota football coach Jerry Kill spoke to the media during a press conference on campus regarding his big raise, and spring football, Monday, February 24, 2014 in Minneapolis, MN. (ELIZABETH FLORES/STAR TRIBUNE) ELIZABETH FLORES • eflores@startribune.com

The Gophers football team is now on spring break. It will resume practice Tuesday and keep going until the spring game April 12, when school is back in session.

Gophers coach Jerry Kill says he was pleased with the amount of knowledge his players were able to absorb in their first week of spring practice, which ended last Thursday.

“Well, I really feel good about it,” Kill said. “I think the kids really worked hard, and I think we got a lot accomplished in a short period of time. We installed most of our offense and defense so it gives us the opportunity, when we come back for spring ball, to work on execution and repetitions and go over and over it again, so it becomes a good habit. I feel good about it. We have a few guys that need to get healed up and be ready to go back at it here in about a week.”

There were a few players who Kill said stood out through the first week.

“I think Damarius Travis has really stood out. I can tell he’s a much improved football player,” said Kill about the junior defensive back from Pensacola, Fla. “He was already a good one, but he’s had a great five, six days of practice and you can’t recruit one like that. He’s really come on in the secondary. He’s definitely stood out. Our other guys have done a good job, but he’s made a lot of progress, and I’m pleased with that.”

On offense, Kill said: “I think a guy that has really done good is [redshirt freshman Nate] Wozniak, the big tight end that’s about 6-9, 6-10 and 255, 260. He’s showed me a lot catching the ball, running with it, he’s a physical blocker. Those two guys, we have a lot of guys that have done really well, but those two guys have really stood out. Our backs, our quarterbacks have done a really good job, but those two guys come to mind as we speak.”

How about the overall health of the team after the practice?

“We have a few guys banged up,” Kill said. “[Redshirt sophomore tight end] Maxx Williams we have to be very careful with, and we will because we know what he can do; [sophomore wide receiver] Donovahn Jones got banged up about the fourth practice in, I look for him to be back after the break. Hopefully we’ll pick up a couple other guys [who haven’t played yet]. Even the ones, like [redshirt junior center] Jon Christenson, who went through a very serious [left leg] injury, it’s amazing what he’s doing right now.

“The most important thing is when we come to [fall] camp on August 1st, [spring practice] is a byproduct of getting better, but the most important thing is staying healthy and be ready when August 1st comes around.”

Kill was asked about redshirt junior center Brian Bobek, the transfer from Ohio State who has been on the injured list.

“He’s back in action,” Kill said. “His offseason was really good, but he hurt a hamstring. He’s done some good things. We just need to get him back in there and get him a lot of repetition. He’s overcome a lot of adversity and I’m really hoping for that young man to have some success.”

Kill also said he’s excited about the break in spring practice, which will give him the chance to be involved with an important epilepsy event.

“I’m going to fly to Washington, D.C., and do the walk for epilepsy and then Upsher-Smith, a pharmaceutical company in the Twin Cities, is going to have all their people out there and I’m going to get an opportunity to speak and support all the people that have epilepsy,” he said. “I think it’s a great opportunity to be helpful and fly back and go to spring ball. It’s exciting times for all of us and we look forward to doing that and getting back to spring ball and pushing forward.”

Jottings

• There’s a strong indication that Jared Allen will join a long line of former Vikings to end up playing with the Seattle Seahawks. ESPN reported Wednesday that with the Cowboys signing defensive tackle Henry Melton, Seattle might be the only option for Allen. He visited the Seahawks and Cowboys last weekend. The other option, which still remains on the table, is that Allen might retire following a 10-year career.

• Twins President Dave St. Peter, who just returned from spring training, was asked if former Twins manager Tom Kelly is still working with players in Fort Myers, Fla. “He’s been working vigorously with a lot of different guys, but I witnessed first-hand for about 10 days him working with Joe Mauer over at first base over on the back field,” St. Peter said. “So I know Joe, just like guys previous to him, Justin Morneau and going back to Kent Hrbek, all will tell you Tom Kelly had as great of knowledge on how to play first base as maybe anybody you’re going to find. I think we’re in pretty good hands, and I’m pretty confident Joe Mauer is going to take to that and be a very, very solid first baseman.”

• The Gophers baseball team will not play a home game until March 26. Having the Metrodome no longer available is a big deficit for the team, but they will have a home indoor field for early-season games at the new Vikings stadium.

• Tyler Nanne, one of the stars in Edina’s march to the Class 2A boys’ hockey title, has joined his cousin, Louis Nanne, with the Sioux Falls Stampede in the United States Hockey League. Tyler has two assists in two games, and Louis has eight points (four goals, four assists) in 31 games. Tyler has committed to Ohio State, and Louis, who originally was going to Minn-esota, has decided to attend RPI.

• After signing a five-year, $36.25 million contract with the New York Jets, former Gophers receiver Eric Decker told the media that he’s ready to prove he’s more than just a product of Peyton Manning’s great quarterback play. “Did he help? Of course he helped,” said Decker. “He’s a future Hall of Famer, but I think I’m also a good football player and I think my skill set and my assets will help the team win football games.” Decker and his wife, country singer Jessie James, had their first child, daughter Vivianne, on Tuesday.

• The U.S Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association honored Gophers senior thrower Jon Lehman as the 2014 USTFCCA Midwest Region Field Athlete of the Year after four track meet wins this year — the Snowshoe Open, the Bill Bergan Invitational, the Iowa State Classic and the Northwest Open. The Coon Rapids native set a school record of 22.98 meters (75.39 feet) in the weight throw at the Snowshoe Open, which ranks third in the NCAA this year.

 

Sid Hartman can be heard weekdays on 830-AM at 7:40, 8:40 and 9:20 a.m. and on Sundays at 9:30 a.m. shartman@startribune.com

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

Kansas City 4 Top 3rd Inning
San Francisco 1
Detroit 10/26/14 8:30 AM
Atlanta
Buffalo 10/26/14 12:00 PM
NY Jets
St. Louis 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Kansas City
Houston 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Tennessee
Minnesota 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Tampa Bay
Seattle 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Carolina
Baltimore 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Cincinnati
Miami 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Jacksonville
Chicago 10/26/14 12:00 PM
New England
Philadelphia 10/26/14 3:05 PM
Arizona
Oakland 10/26/14 3:25 PM
Cleveland
Indianapolis 10/26/14 3:25 PM
Pittsburgh
Green Bay 10/26/14 7:30 PM
New Orleans
Washington 10/27/14 7:30 PM
Dallas
New Orleans 10/30/14 7:25 PM
Carolina
Buffalo 2 FINAL
San Jose 1
Boston 4 3rd Prd 13:44
Toronto 0
NY Rangers 1 3rd Prd 13:25
Montreal 3
New Jersey 2 3rd Prd 10:59
Ottawa 1
Dallas 4 3rd Prd 8:45
NY Islanders 5
Detroit 2 3rd Prd 6:48
Philadelphia 3
Chicago 1 2nd Prd 11:10
St. Louis 1
Pittsburgh 1 2nd Prd 4:41
Nashville 0
Tampa Bay 1 2nd Prd 6:33
Minnesota 6
Florida 0 1st Prd 10:58
Arizona 0
Washington 9:00 PM
Calgary
So Florida 17 FINAL
Cincinnati 34
Troy 13 FINAL
South Alabama 27
BYU 30 FINAL
Boise State 55
(6) Oregon 59 FINAL
California 41
North Texas 21 FINAL
Rice 41
UAB 17 FINAL
Arkansas 45
Rutgers 24 FINAL
(16) Nebraska 42
Maryland 7 FINAL
Wisconsin 52
Texas 0 FINAL
(11) Kansas State 23
Minnesota 24 FINAL
Illinois 28
Memphis 48 FINAL
SMU 10
North Carolina 28 FINAL
Virginia 27
San Jose St 31 FINAL
Navy 41
Northern Ill 28 FINAL
Eastern Mich 17
(25) UCLA 40 FINAL
Colorado 37
Akron 21 FINAL
Ball State 35
Massachusetts 35 FINAL
Toledo 42
Ohio U 21 FINAL
Western Mich 42
Ga Southern 69 FINAL
Georgia State 31
Kent State 3 FINAL
Miami-Ohio 10
Oregon State 14 FINAL
Stanford 38
Fla Atlantic 16 FINAL
(23) Marshall 35
Louisiana Tech 31 FINAL
Southern Miss 20
(1) Miss State 45 FINAL
Kentucky 31
Georgia Tech 56 FINAL
Pittsburgh 28
(22) West Virginia 34 FINAL
Oklahoma State 10
Texas Tech 27 FINAL
(10) TCU 82
Michigan 11 FINAL
(8) Michigan State 35
Boston College 23 FINAL
Wake Forest 17
Central Mich 20 FINAL
Buffalo 14
Vanderbilt 14 FINAL
Missouri 24
Old Dominion 51 FINAL
Western Ky 66
UNLV 20 FINAL
Utah State 34
Temple 14 FINAL
UCF 34
(15) Arizona 59 4th Qtr 5:05
Washington St 30
Texas-El Paso 27 4th Qtr 15:00
TX-San Antonio 0
Wyoming 10 3rd Qtr 4:24
Colorado State 31
Syracuse 6 3rd Qtr 8:07
(21) Clemson 3
Texas State 7 4th Qtr 13:20
ULM 18
(3) Ole Miss 7 3rd Qtr 14:05
(24) LSU 3
(4) Alabama 27 3rd Qtr
Tennessee 10
So Carolina 21 3rd Qtr 14:07
(5) Auburn 21
(13) Ohio State 10 2nd Qtr 6:52
Penn State 0
(20) USC 9:00 PM
(19) Utah
(14) Arizona State 9:45 PM
Washington
Nevada 10:59 PM
Hawaii
(2) Florida State 10/30/14 6:30 PM
Louisville
Troy 10/30/14 6:30 PM
Ga Southern
Cincinnati 10/31/14 7:00 PM
Tulane
Tulsa 10/31/14 7:00 PM
Memphis
Purdue 11/1/14 2:00 AM
(16) Nebraska
(17) Oklahoma 11/1/14 2:00 AM
Iowa State
Oklahoma State 11/1/14 2:00 AM
(11) Kansas State
(10) TCU 11/1/14 2:00 AM
(22) West Virginia
Texas 11/1/14 2:00 AM
Texas Tech
Northwestern 11/1/14 2:00 AM
Iowa
Maryland 11/1/14 2:00 AM
Penn State
Air Force 11/1/14 10:30 AM
Army
ULM 11/1/14 11:00 AM
Texas A&M
Duke 11/1/14 11:00 AM
Pittsburgh
Wisconsin 11/1/14 11:00 AM
Rutgers
Rice 11/1/14 11:00 AM
FIU
(18) East Carolina 11/1/14 11:00 AM
Temple
UCF 11/1/14 11:00 AM
Connecticut
Boston College 11/1/14 11:30 AM
Virginia Tech
North Carolina 11/1/14 11:30 AM
Miami-Florida
Washington 11/1/14 12:00 PM
Colorado
Central Mich 11/1/14 12:00 PM
Eastern Mich
Western Mich 11/1/14 1:30 PM
Miami-Ohio
Western Ky 11/1/14 2:00 PM
Louisiana Tech
NC State 11/1/14 2:00 PM
Syracuse
Texas State 11/1/14 2:00 PM
New Mexico St
Virginia 11/1/14 2:30 PM
Georgia Tech
BYU 11/1/14 2:30 PM
Middle Tennessee
Indiana 11/1/14 2:30 PM
Michigan
Florida 11/1/14 2:30 PM
(9) Georgia
Georgia State 11/1/14 2:30 PM
Appalachian St
Kentucky 11/1/14 3:00 PM
Missouri
Kansas 11/1/14 3:00 PM
(12) Baylor
Houston 11/1/14 3:00 PM
So Florida
(20) USC 11/1/14 3:30 PM
Washington St
Arkansas State 11/1/14 4:00 PM
Idaho
South Alabama 11/1/14 4:00 PM
Louisiana
New Mexico 11/1/14 4:30 PM
UNLV
UAB 11/1/14 6:00 PM
Fla Atlantic
(5) Auburn 11/1/14 6:00 PM
(3) Ole Miss
Arkansas 11/1/14 6:00 PM
(1) Miss State
Old Dominion 11/1/14 6:00 PM
Vanderbilt
Colorado State 11/1/14 6:00 PM
San Jose St
Stanford 11/1/14 6:30 PM
(6) Oregon
Tennessee 11/1/14 6:30 PM
So Carolina
Southern Miss 11/1/14 7:00 PM
Texas-El Paso
(7) Notre Dame 11/1/14 7:00 PM
Navy
Illinois 11/1/14 7:00 PM
(13) Ohio State
(15) Arizona 11/1/14 9:30 PM
(25) UCLA
California 11/1/14 9:30 PM
Oregon State
San Diego St 11/1/14 9:30 PM
Nevada
Wyoming 11/1/14 9:45 PM
Fresno State
(19) Utah 11/1/14 10:00 PM
(14) Arizona State
Utah State 11/1/14 10:00 PM
Hawaii
Los Angeles 0 FINAL
Seattle 2
D.C. 1 FINAL
Montreal 1
Toronto FC 0 2nd Half 10:00
New England 1
Portland 0 1st Half 7:00
FC Dallas 0
Colorado 9:00 PM
Vancouver FC
Montreal 23 FINAL
Ottawa 17
Saskatchewan 27 FINAL
Calgary 40
Hamilton 24 FINAL
Toronto 26
Brt Columbia 13 15:00
Winnipeg 17
Hamilton 10/31/14 6:30 PM
Ottawa
Winnipeg 11/1/14 3:00 PM
Calgary
Brt Columbia 11/1/14 6:00 PM
Edmonton
Toronto 11/2/14 11:00 AM
Montreal
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 pmX35-24
Sep 13 - at TCU 3 pmX30-7
Sep 20 - vs. San Jose St. 3 p.m.X24-7
Sep 27 - at Michigan 2:30 pmX30-14
Oct 11 - vs. Northwestern 11 amX24-17
Oct 18 - vs. Purdue 11 amX39-38
Oct 25 - at Illinois 11 amX28-24
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: Who wins and loses in football this weekend?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close