|| Saturday, April 21|
Watch Today's Video on YouTube | Postgame Quotes |
Photo Gallery | MarQueis Gray (4/21) |
Jerry Kill Press Conference (4/21)
Fans of defensive football were all smiles Saturday at TCF Bank Stadium as Minnesota wrapped up its 2012 spring with the annual Maroon and Gold game. A lone 21-yard field goal from Chris Hawthorne proved to be the difference as the Maroon eked out 3-0 win in a shortened spring game that featured a running clock and just two 25-minute halves.
While jumbled lineups played havoc with the timing of both offenses, the defenses shined. The Maroon defense was particularly good, holding the Gold to just 47 yards and three first downs on eight possessions while not giving up a completed pass during the game.
Sophomore Michael Amaefula and the Maroon defensive line kept the Gold’s freshman quarterback duo of Philip Nelson and Mitch Leidner under constant pressure as the pair combined to go 0 for 8 passing. Amaefula led the unit with four tackles, including a pair of sacks, with redshirt freshman Gavin Bronson chipping in with two tackles for losses, including a sack. The unit also had four pass break-ups, two by redshirt freshman defensive back Steven Montgomery and one each by senior linebacker Ryan Grant and senior cornerback Michael Carter.
The Maroon offense, led by quarterbacks MarQuies Gray and Max Shortell, had its share of bright spots, totaling 209 yards and gaining nine first downs, but was unable to get into the end zone. Gray completed 4 of 8 passes for 62 yards, while Shortell was good on 4 of 10 attempts for 68 yards and led the games only scoring drive, marching the Maroon 71 yards on nine plays to open the second half.
Senior wide receiver Brandon Green led all receivers with three receptions for 59 yards, including a 35-yarder from Gray in the first half that was the longest play of the game. Senior Malcolm Moulton also hauled in a big play with his 33-yard reception from Shortell in the second half and finished the game with two catches for 35 yards.
Freshman running back JoJuan Harper finished the game with 44 yards on nine carries for the Maroon, with Shortell and junior running back James Gillum adding 30 and six yards each, respectively. Sophomore Donnell Kirkwood led the Gold rushing attack with 25 yards on five carries
Sophomore defensive back Cedric Thompson, junior linebacker James Manuel and sophomore defensive back Derrick Wells carried the load for the Gold defense. Thompson finished the game as the leading tackler with eight stops. Manuel collected five tackles, including a sack, and Wells was also credited with five stops.
Watch this video on YouTube
|| Friday, April 20|
2012 Spring Game Rosters
Rosters for the 2012 University of Minnesota Spring Game have been determined. Saturday’s spring game is set to kick off at 11:06 a.m. at TCF Bank Stadium, with the Maroon team facing off against the Gold squad.
Due to lack of depth at certain positions, some players may see action for both teams through the course of the game. The following is a look at the breakdown of each team by position:
Defensive Backs – Michael Carter, Grayson Levine, Steven Montgomery, Troy Stoudermire, Brock Vereen, Kenny Watkins
Defensive Line – Michael Amaefula, Quinn Bauducco, Cameron Botticelli, Gavin Bronson, Thieren Cockran, Curran Delaney, RaShede Hageman
Linebackers – Joey Balthazor, Lamonte Edwards, Ryan Grant, Jephte Matilus, Mike Rallis, Dominic Schultz
Offensive Line – Josh Campion, Zac Epping, Jimmy Gjere, Marek Lenkiewicz, Zach Mottla, Ed Olson, Tommy Olson
Quarterbacks – MarQueis Gray, Mitch Leidner
Running Backs – David Cobb, James Gillum, JoJuan Harper
Tight Ends/H-Backs – Drew Goodger, Mike Henry, Sahr Ngekia, John Rabe
Wide Receivers – C.J. Cesario, Derrick Engel, Malcolm Moulton, Cameron Wilson
Specialists – Jared Hartman, Chris Hawthorne, Dan Orseske, Dave Ramlet
Defensive Backs – Jeremy Baltazar, Briean Boddy, Martez Shabazz, Cedric Thompson, Nate Tow-Arnett, Derrick Wells
Defensive Line – Austin Hahn, Ben Perry, Scott Ekpe, Matt Garin, Eric Jacques, Harold Legania, DL Wilhite
Linebackers – Brendan Beal, Keanon Cooper, Aaron Hill, James Manuel, Dwayne Mitchell, Judd Paffrath, Spencer Reeves, Peter Westerhaus
Offensive Line – Caleb Bak, Joe Bjorklund, Jon Christenson, Foster Bush, Sean Ferguson, Ernie Heifort, Kyle McAvoy, Luke McAvoy
Quarterbacks – Dexter Foreman, Philip Nelson, Max Shortell
Running Backs – Cole Banham, Donnell Kirkwood, Devon Wright
Tight Ends/H-Backs – Moses Alipate, Alex Bisch, Kendall Gregory-McGhee, Gabe Mezzenga
Wide Receivers – AJ Barker, Devin Crawford-Tufts, Isaac Fruechte, Logan Hutton, Victor Keise, Matt Kloss
Specialists – David Schwerman, Jake Filkins, Peter Mortell, Jordan Wettstein
|| Thursday, April 19|
Watch Today's Video on YouTube | Jerry Kill (4/19) |
Defensive Coordinator Tracy Claeys (4/19)
As the final spring practice prior to the Spring Game wrapped up Thursday afternoon at the Gibson-Nagurski Football Complex, it felt more like a late-season practice in November. Overcast skies, cool temperatures and a light rain served as the backdrop for the workout.
Thursday’s session was a little shorter than it has been in throughout much of the spring. But plenty of guys got reps and the effort pleased head coach Jerry Kill.
“I thought the intensity was good,” Kill said. “For as many kids as we played today, we didn’t have a lot of mental mistakes.”
Kill said the team is ready to hit the game field and give their fans a good show Saturday. But like most coaches, his main concern is getting through Saturday without the athletic medicine staff having to be involved much.
“I’m looking forward to Saturday and get through that without getting anybody hurt,” Kill said.
He’s also looking forward to seeing the team get after it. There is a somewhat unique reward for the winning team on Saturday that should help spark some extra motivation.
“I think it will be fun,” Kill said. “It’s the first time in a long time that we’ve done it this way. But I think it will be good for the people and the crowd … a little competition. The winner gets pork and the loser gets beans (after the game). We’re really going to heat it up. The kids have worked hard for us. Let them have a little fun and have some good old-fashioned competition.”
That competition will begin at 11:06 a.m. The gates to TCF Bank Stadium will open at 10 a.m. Admission for the spring game is free. Click here for more information on the spring game, including parking, traffic updates and audio/video coverage.
Golden Gopher Football on the Web:
Maturity helps Gray evolve into better quarterback (Star Tribune)
Nelson discovering comfort level at QB (1500 ESPN)
For Grant, football is in his blood (Fox Sports North)
|| Tuesday, April 17|
Watch Today's Video on YouTube | Jerry Kill (4/17) |
DB Coach Jay Sawvel (4/17) | Troy Stoudermire (4/17)
The Minnesota football team got an infusion of new talent in the defensive backfield this spring with the addition of junior college transfers Martez Shabazz, Jeremy Baltazar and Briean Boddy all enrolling at the University in January.
While the Gophers are excited about the prospects for the new Gophers in the secondary, some other news that came out in January may be the most exciting thing that happened to the defensive backfield in the off-season. It was Jan. 13 that cornerback Troy Stoudermire found out he was granted a medical hardship waiver by the Big Ten, restoring a year of eligibility he lost when he missed the final eight games of 2011.
“I feel like I’ve done a lot better (this spring),” Stoudermire said. “I’m one of the veterans, one of the leaders. I had to get it down. I think I’ve progressed a lot.”
The new guys in the secondary have fit in well, according to Stoudermire.
“I think we’ve done pretty good,” Stoudermire said. “The (new players) coming in have got it down, they’re meeting with Coach Sawvel every day. I think we’re coming together pretty good, as a whole.”
It’s exciting for Sawvel – if not a little nerve-wracking – to have so many new players in his meeting room and on the field at his position. He mentioned Stoudermire and Carter who have a fair amount of experience in their Gopher careers. Otherwise, everyone who is on the field this fall in those positions is relatively new.
“That’s about as much experience as there is,” Sawvel said. “Brock Vereen started for the whole year at cornerback, but we’re moving him to safety and he’s missed the whole spring with an injury. Everything’s starting over. It’s exciting that way. But you don’t have a whole base of knowledge to draw off of. There’s athletic ability there, they work hard and they care. That’s the biggest things.”
Golden Gopher Football on the Web:
Gophers aim to upgrade endgame in 2012 (Pioneer Press)
Jumbo-sized Alipate sizing new role for U at tight end (Star Tribune)
Searching for a go-to threat (1500 ESPN)
Gophers take advantage of early enrollees (Fox Sports North)
Gophers QBs could face a battle from Philip Nelson (ESPN.com)
Click Here For Week Three Coverage of Gopher Spring Football!