The Gophers could get one of two injured offensive line starters back for Saturday’s game at Purdue, with left guard Jon Christenson returning from knee surgery.
Coach Jerry Kill said Christenson would try to practice Tuesday. Christenson had surgery after injuring a knee Sept. 12 at Colorado State. If all goes well, Christenson will come back and split time with Joe Bjorklund, who has a knee issue himself.
“If you get 80 plays in a ballgame, you’re getting 40 and 40 with those guys,” Kill said.
Offensive tackle Ben Lauer remains limited because of a broken hand, but his injured knee is feeling better. Kill noted that fellow tackle Jonah Pirsig has been playing with a shoulder brace.
Secondary still thin
Defensive coordinator Tracy Claeys said none of the team’s injured defensive players were due back for Tuesday’s practice. That means safety Damarius Travis (hamstring) and cornerback Briean Boddy-Calhoun (knee) could remain out this week. Backup cornerback Craig James is out because of a broken leg.
Team lacked ‘juice’
The Gophers hope to learn from their 27-0 loss at Northwestern.
“I think the biggest disappointment I had — and I told the kids — Northwestern wanted it more than we did,” Kill said. “That bothers me. I mean, they had all kinds of juice on that sideline. We had all kinds of juice at the TCU game, all kinds of energy.”
But Kill noticed far less enthusiasm on the Gophers sideline at Northwestern.
“[Northwestern] definitely brought the juice and played hard all game long,” quarterback Mitch Leidner said. “I wouldn’t say it’s a matter of them wanting it more than us because we want it bad. We’re a team that’s worked extremely hard all year round. Just sometimes things don’t go your way.”