Joe Christensen covered Major League Baseball for 15 years, including three seasons at the Baltimore Sun and eight at the Star Tribune, before switching to the college football beat. He’s a Faribault, Minn., native who graduated from the University of Minnesota in 1996. He covered Jim Wacker’s Gophers for the Minnesota Daily and also wrote about USC, UCLA and the Rose Bowl for the Riverside Press-Enterprise before getting this chance to cover football again.
Email Joe to talk about the Gophers.
You can't blame MarQueis Gray if he feels a little nervous for the next couple of months.
The sophomore from Indianapolis has dutifully waited his turn for two years, serving as Adam Weber's seldom-seen understudy and now biding his time by catching Weber's passes. Through it all, the Gophers' coach and offensive coordinator have assured him that Weber's job is his once the senior is done setting school records.
But Tim Brewster and Jeff Horton can't keep their promises to Gray if they're not here.
That's why Gray will watch the university's coaching search with more than a little interest. He understands his future is at stake.
"Coach Brew recruited me as a quarterback, but (a new coach) might think I've been helping this team a lot more as a receiver," said Gray, who despite being shut out at Purdue last week, still ranks as one of Weber's most frequent targets. Gray has 26 catches, 349 yards and four touchdowns and wants more -- but he wants those promises kept, too.
"If the coach thinks I'm a receiver, we're going to talk about it," Gray said, "because I want to play quarterback next year. That's what I'm going to work at in the offseason."
Horton doesn't expect to be back in his old offensive coordinator role, which is too bad for Gray, because the coach had already worked out a plan. "We were going to probably incorporate what they call the 'pistol' offense now, do some of those things," said Horton. The "pistol" is a semi-shotgun formation used in a spread offense, where the quarterback lines up a couple of steps behind the line of scrimmage, giving him the opportunity to run the ball if he sees holes, or pass quickly to one of his three receivers.
"That would be somebody else's responsibility now," Horton said, though he repeated his hope that Gray is allowed to quarterback the team. "Unless we win five in a row -- then maybe (we'll) make it tough on somebody."
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