Various drills, walkthroughs and live sessions are commonplace at Gophers football training camp, but one important practice element will make its first and only appearance soon.
Coach P.J. Fleck said after Monday’s practice that the Gophers will run their one big scrimmage of the entire training camp Tuesday.
“I want them to really zone in, treat it like a game,” Fleck said. “… We need to find out what a lot of our young guys can do. There’s a lot of guys we know what they can do. They’ll take limited reps, and then each series, there will be more and more guys pulled out.
“But everybody will start. Everybody will play. Everybody will get reps. Everybody will have game activity. And that’s what we need to be able to have. Some need it more than others, and that’s what we’ll determine as a staff.”
Fleck isn’t the only one looking forward to seeing the youth perform. Graduate transfer defensive lineman Micah Dew-Treadway is also anticipating that action.
“It would be cool to see a lot of younger guys get reps because when I was younger, reps were the one thing that I needed more [of],” Dew-Treadway said. “… The fun of taking on green zone, red zone, being down there tight, offense being backed up, you don’t get to enjoy it because you’re the one doing it. So seeing them to be able to [be in that] situation is one thing that I’m really, really excited for.”
Fleck hasn’t made a decision on starting kicker yet, but he does seem to have it narrowed down to two. Freshman Brock Walker sank a 47-yard field goal to end practice Monday, Fleck said, while freshman Michael Lantz kicked a 54-yarder in a two-minute drill Sunday. Walker, a redshirt last year, has been around the team for a year while Lantz is still new.
Fleck didn’t specifically mention fellow new addition Michael Tarbutt, a graduate transfer with 29 games of experience at UConn.
“We’re going to need all of them,” Fleck said. “We have a lot of guys that can do one thing really well. We don’t have [graduated kicker] Emmit Carpenter, who just did everything or us. It’s going to be a little bit by committee and by job.”
Sophomore quarterback Johnny Santaga stepped in at running back a couple of times during the spring game when the team was thin at the position with injuries. As of camp, he’s been working with the running backs full time.
Fleck said that’s not necessarily a permanent move for Santaga, who has yet to play for the Gophers. But it’s a way for the sophomore to possibly see the field this season.
“He’s going to play a lot of special teams for us,” Fleck said. “So playing running back gets him a lot of contact, gets him to play physical, not just in the quarterback protected area.”
A snake in my boot
Zack Annexstad wasn’t born until 2000, but apparently he still remembers.
The injured quarterback was again scooting around the practice field Monday, his right foot in a cast after surgery last week. Displayed prominently on the sole: the name ANDY, in all caps.
That’s a reference to the popular animated movie “Toy Story,” as toy cowboy Woody has the name of his kid owner scrawled on the bottom of his spurred boot.
“Toy Story” came out in 1995. Annexstad just turned 19 this past spring. But the franchise just released its fourth film last month, so the funny homage makes sense.
Senior defensive lineman Winston DeLattiboudere is running a school supply drive at the Gophers open practice 4:15 p.m. Friday at Athletes Village, collecting notebooks, paper, pens and pencils for the Hmong International Academy in Minneapolis and Rock Primary School in Jamaica.