Saturday Scrimmage Open To Public

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The University of Minnesota football team will hold its first scrimmage of fall camp on Aug. 10 at TCF Bank Stadium. The doors at the Lake of the Woods gate will open at 3:30 p.m. for fans and the scrimmage will begin at 4:40 p.m.

Saturday's scrimmage is the last open practice for the public and media before the season starts in earnest on Aug. 29 at home against UNLV.

What They're Saying - Aug. 9

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Coaching staff's loyalty tough to break (FSN)

D-line looking to prove people wrong (Pioneer Press), says to expect "pleasant surprises" (FSN)

Cockran grows into his frame (Pioneer Press)

Rodrick Williams feeling more comfortable (GopherSports.com), working on blocking (1500ESPN.com)

Three kickers competing for spots (Star Tribune)

Defense trumps offense in goal line drills (1500ESPN.com)

#20 Days Until Gopher Football

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Go Gophers! 20 Justin Conzemius
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Gophers vs. UNLV (Aug. 29): Buy Tickets

There are 20 days left until the Gophers kick off the season against UNLV, so today we revisit the career of former No. 20 Justin Conzemius. He played for Minnesota from 1992 to 1995.

Conzemius ranks ninth in school history in career tackles with 317. He led the team with 113 tackles, including 70 solo, as a junior in 1994. Conzemius also ranks tied for 11th all-time with eight career interceptions.

One of his finest performances came against Purdue in 1993. "The Fargo Flash" intercepted two passes, recovered a fumble, recorded a sack and tallied 11 tackles. His 55-yard interception return for a touchdown gave the Gophers the lead, and they went on to win 59-56.


Conzemius was a true student-athlete for the Gophers, earning Academic All-America First Team honors once and Second Team honors twice. He also received the team's Butch Nash Award twice for being competitive both on the field and in the classroom.

Williams Making Progress

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In 2012 fall camp and in the early part of the season, Donnell Kirkwood emerged as the Gophers' No. 1 running back. But late in the season, freshman Rodrick Williams came on strong and showed that he could contribute, too.

"The last game made me more comfortable with the rest of the team," he said. "In the beginning of the year, I was kind of just running downhill, not watching. Last year it progressed."

Now a sophomore, Williams said he understands more about the importance of tempo and of working together with the offensive line. He is also expanding his game by learning the pass block.

"He's working at it," head coach Jerry Kill said. "Still got to get better, but he's working at it."

The running back group overall will continue to work on that skill--both newcomers and returners. Whiile Williams may still be learning himself, his year of experience does allow him to help freshman Berkley Edwards get used to Minnesota football.

"What's good is he listens a lot," Williams. "He actually tries to listen and learn the play instead of making excuses for other things."

Williams has been impressed with Edwards, and said that his speed could provide a game-changing contrast to Williams' and Kirkwood's pounding running style. Style differences--from those two to Edwards to David Cobb, Cole Banham and James Gillum--are Williams' favorite aspect of his group of teammates.

While these styles can complement each other effectively in game situations, some backs will still get more carries than others. Fall camp is a battle for playing time, and Williams is enjoying it.

"It's a competitive sport," he said. "Competition just makes the game fun.

What They're Saying - Aug. 8

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21 days away (GopherSports.com)

Audio: Kill l Murray l Cockran l Hawthorne

Sky's The Limit (The Gazette)

1,000-yard back? (FSN)

Camp news and notes (Star Tribune)

Hawthorne have a leg up on kicking competition? (Pioneer Press)

Hawthorne inspired by hoops assistant coach (Pioneer Press) and is kicking with confidence (GopherSports.com)

Reusse weighs in on #YEAR3 expectations (Star Tribune)

Rebecca Kill introduced Coach Kill yesterday at Dunkers (Pioneer Press)

Best case, worst case for the Gophers (BTN.com)

Pirsig cleared for contact (Pioneer Press)

Minnesota called a trap game for one Big Ten opponent (ESPN.com)


#21 Days Until Gopher Football

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Go Gophers! 21 Marion Barber III
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Buy Tickets for Gophers-UNLV (8/29)

With Laurence Maroney representing No. 22 in the countdown to Gopher game day, it's only fitting that Marion Barber III follows directly after at No. 21. During his final two seasons, Barber combined with Maroney to form a potent rushing duo.

Go Gophers! Marion Barber III
Go Gophers!
Barber in the 2004 Music City Bowl
Go Gophers!
Barber, the son of Gopher great Marion Barber Jr. and older brother of Dom Barber (No. 23 on the countdown), played three full seasons in the Maroon and Gold (2001, 2003-04). He surpassed his father's career rushing total and ranks fourth in school history with 3,276 yards.

Barber missed most of the 2002 season with an injury, but came back with an All-Big Ten season in 2003. In the Gophers' game against Ohio, he tied a school record rushing for four touchdowns. No one has equaled it since then. His 17 rushing touchdowns that year put him second on the all-time season list.

Over his Minnesota career, Barber ran into the end zone 35 times, No. 2 in school history. His 2004 (1,269 yards) and 2003 (1,196 yards) season rushing totals rank ninth and 12th, respectively. He surpassed 100 yards in 14 games.

Barber went to the NFL Draft in 2005, when the Dallas Cowboys picked him in the fourth round. He played in the pros for six years, and was a 2007 Pro Bowl selection. That season, Barber rushed for 975 yards and 10 touchdowns, and caught 282 yards' worth of passes for two touchdowns.

Bonus reading: An August 2004 feature on Barber and Maroney, who ended up sharing team MVP honors that season

Kicking with Confidence

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Who will kick for the Gophers this fall? That has been one of the biggest questions for the program as the 2013 season approaches. Coaches and players continue to reiterate that the spot is wide open, but senior Chris Hawthorne currently has an edge as the only kicker with college game experience.

"Chris has kicked at another school as a young player," head coach Jerry Kill said. "He's kicked here. He's been through a lot in his career. He can be a great role model, a great teacher for the young guys who come in. I think that whole group in general has worked hard, and he's done a nice job."

Hawthorne, who transferred from N.C. State before the 2011 season, kicked in seven games that year before suffering an injury. In 2012, Jordan Wettstein took all but two kicks for the Gophers. But still, Hawthorne remembers how it feels to kick in pressure situations.

"Somebody's got to step up and prove that they're going to take that job," Kill said.

Freshmen Ryan Santoso and Andrew Harte are Hawthorne's challengers. At 6-5 and 260 pounds, Santoso does not look like the typical kicker, and he can get quite a bit of power into his kicks. While Santoso is a scholarship player and Harte is a walk-on, Harte has also proven so far in camp that he belongs in the mix.

More than one of the trio could see action this season. Kill said he would consider using different kickers for field goals and kickoffs.

For now, the position battle continues. Hawthorne said that one of the keys to practice is putting pressure on himself. It also helps when teammates stand in front of the kickers and yell during field goals.

"Coach always talks about treating every practice like it's a game," Hawthorne said. "It's not about the amount of reps. It's about making reps count."

Hawthorne went to a kicking camp this summer, and also worked with a specialist coach. At the camp, he was one of the top performers in a field goal contest.

"It felt good, but at the same time, there's no pads on out there," he said. "There's no people flying at your legs. So it doesn't really mean that much. But just from a confidence perspective, it meant a lot."

Hawthorne, Santoso and Harte are all kicking with confidence in practice right now. Any of the three could take that first kick against UNLV on Aug. 29.

What They're Saying - Aug. 7

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Full pads, almost full go (GopherSports.com)

AUDIO: Kill l Christenson

Damien Wilson looking to earn that spot at middle linebacker (Star Tribune)

Ra'Shede Hageman ranked the 15th best player in the Big Ten (ESPN.com)

Buy tickets! (MyGopherSports.com)

One word keeps coming up to describe the secondary and it is "athletic" (Minnesota Daily)

Josh Campion's journey to becoming a Gopher (Pioneer Press)

Gophers to keep an eye on (CBSSports.com)

Harbison working his way back (1500ESPN.com)

Wideouts do not have a lot of experience, but there is a lot of competition (FSN)







#22 Days Until Gopher Football

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Go Gophers! Tyrone Carter and Laurence Maroney
Go Gophers!

Buy Tickets for Gophers-UNLV (8/29)

No. 22 has been one of the best numbers in Minnesota football history, as Tyrone Carter and Laurence Maroney are among those to have worn it. With 22 days remaining before the season opener, we look back on the careers of a pair of Gopher greats.

Carter, a safety for the Gophers from 1996 to 1999, has collected a lot of hardware over the years. He won the 1999 Jim Thorpe Award as the best defensive back in the country, and was a First Team All-American as a junior and senior.

An M Club Hall of Famer, Carter holds the school record for career tackles with 528. His junior (158), senior (144) and sophomore (143) seasons rank third, tied for sixth and eighth, respectively. Carter set a record with two fumble returns for touchdowns in his third college game, against Syracuse in 1996.


After his senior season, during which he was a team captain, Carter was drafted by the Minnesota Vikings in the fourth round. He went on to win two Super Bowl rings with the Pittsburgh Steelers in 2005 and 2008. Carter is now retired from the NFL and remains connected to the Gopher football program.

A few years after Carter's departure from the U, Maroney arrived and took on No. 22. Like Carter, Maroney made an immediate impact. Sharing carries with Marion Barber III, the running back set a Minnesota freshman record with 10 rushing touchdowns in 2003.

Maroney's season rushing totals increased each year, and he ranks second all-time with 3,933 career yards in three seasons. His 2005 total of 1,464 yards as a junior is a season record. He rushed for 100-plus yards 21 times. His three games of 200 yards or more put him in a tie for a school record. Maroney rattled off a record-setting streak of seven consecutive 100-yard games from 2003 to 2004.

Maroney and Barber rushed for 100 yards in the same game eight times during their two seasons together. They helped run the Gophers into bowl appearances in both 2003 and 2004, and Maroney also played in a bowl game in 2005. Against Wisconsin in 2005, Maroney rattled off a 93-yard run, the second-longest in school history.

A two-time All-Big Ten First Team selection, Maroney was also named a First Team All-American by Rivals.com in 2005. He left for the NFL Draft after his junior year, and went to the New England Patriots in the first round. Maroney spent four seasons in New England, and played for the Denver Broncos in 2010.

Gophers Put on the Pads

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The Gophers are still only playing against themselves in practice, but they took another step closer to the real thing on Tuesday. The fifth practice of fall camp was their first wearing full pads.

Some Gophers said they felt a different atmosphere wearing full equipment. For others, it was not as much of a change.

"We've been in shells the last two days, so it's really not a huge difference," running back Donnell Kirkwood said. "We have pants on, but it's still 'thud.' We're not going full."

Kirkwood looks forward to the first practice when plays will be allowed to continue until an actual tackle.

"When that day comes, the level of excitement increases. It's more of a competition when you get to go full out."