KJ Maye is usually the first teammate Gophers quarterback Mitch Leidner mentions when asked which receivers have been standing out in practice.
“If you ever go watch KJ on film, he’s easily the guy who’s working harder than every single guy on the field,” Leidner said. “When a teammate makes a catch, he’ll be downfield, blocking a guy for 10 yards. It’s unbelievable the motor that he has.”
Maye emerged as more of a playmaker for the Gophers last season, with 16 receptions for 298 yards, along with 10 rushes for 144 yards. He scored two touchdowns.
Maye said his biggest goal this season is to go 13-0 as a team. He said he also wrote down some individual goals: 10 touchdowns, 60 receptions and 900 yards.
“This whole summer, I was just thinking about that,” Maye said. “How am I going to get better? How am I going to improve my weaknesses?”
The Gophers need more production from their receivers this year.
“KJ Maye has had a great camp,” coach Jerry Kill said Sunday. “[Drew] Wolitarsky’s really done well. We moved him inside [to slot receiver], and I think he’s really had a good camp. Eric Carter’s done some very good things, and Melvin Holland’s done some really good things.
“Jeff Jones had a good practice [Sunday], and Rashad Still, when he gets all of it figured out, he’s a freak of nature. Desmond Gant’s still learning. It’s just going to be a learning process. We’re going to suffer through some things, but we’ve got guys who can get vertical with some length.”
Offensive line healing
The Gophers had to shuffle their offensive line during camp after left tackle Ben Lauer had surgery, with Josh Campion moving from right guard to left tackle, and Connor Mayes moving to right guard.
“For whatever reason, we’ve been banged up on the offensive line,” Kill said.
He declined to detail specific injuries as the TCU game gets closer, but he was breathing easier after Sunday’s practice, saying a couple of injured players had made progress.
“Ben Lauer was hurt; now he’s back,” Kill said. “You just go through some of that.”
• Leidner said the Gophers don’t start by scripting the first 15 plays or anything. “I don’t even know the first play coming, which is tough,” he said, laughing. “I wish, though. That’s why you have to study the whole entire game plan and know the plays like the back of your hand.”
• Defensive coordinator Tracy Claeys: “[TCU’s] also one of the best trick teams you’ll play in the country. You watch through the season, they have some incredible trick plays, so that’ll be the fireworks for the evening, to see what type of trick plays they come up with.”