With the Gophers football team opening spring practice Tuesday, here are some quick notes from Coach Jerry Kill’s press conference today:
* Quarterback Philip Nelson will run the first-team offense, “but he’s going to have to prove it on an everyday basis, just like every other player on the team,” Kill said. “We’ve got two young guys [Mitch Leidner and Chris Streveler] that I’m sure are hungry and wanting to show what they can do, and we’re excited about that.”
* Derrick Wells will play some cornerback this spring, in addition to safety. Wells was one of the team’s leading tacklers last year, but the Gophers want to build in some flexibility as they look to replace two starting corners in Michael Carter and Troy Stoudermire.
* Jamel Harbison and Marcus Jones, who are both coming off knee surgery, have been cleared to practice but will be in green jerseys, limiting their contact. Harbison was one of the team’s top receivers last August, and Jones is moving from wide receiver to cornerback, the position he played in high school.
* Devon Wright is moving from running back to slot receiver.
* Junior-college transfer Damien Wilson and redshirt freshman Jack Lynn will battle for the starting middle-linebacker job. Aaron Hill is staying as an outside linebacker, and this will be a big spring for two other outside linebackers -- James Manuel and Lamonte Edwards.
Note: I'll have more material previewing spring practice in tonight's first editions.