Football

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David Cobb finished 12th in program history in rushing yards last season.
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Wed, 07/30/2014
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CHICAGO — David Cobb began last season as Minnesota’s third-string running back.

But when he got an opportunity in the first game of the season, he seized it.

Starting running back Donnell Kirkwood sprained his ankle against Nevada-Las Vegas, and Cobb came into the game and rattled off a 60-yard run.

After leapfrogging Kirkwood and Rodrick Williams at the position, Cobb kicks off this season as Minnesota’s go-to guy in the backfield.

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Jerry Kill has battled epilepsy for years, but his condition seems to be getting better.
Publish Date: 
Wed, 07/30/2014
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CHICAGO — At a recent summer workout, the Gophers slammed their chests down to the ground in unison and pushed off the turf with their arms, repeating that process over and over again.

Midway through the conditioning drill, called up-downs, senior safety Cedric Thompson noticed something unexpected.

“I look over and I see coach [Jerry] Kill doing up-downs with us,” Thompson said. “I was honestly shocked.”

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Minnesota ranked last in the Big Ten in passing yards last season.
Publish Date: 
Wed, 07/30/2014
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CHICAGO — Throughout last season, the Gophers claimed that having two capable quarterbacks in Philip Nelson and Mitch Leidner was a positive.

“You can play two kids that can run your offense,” offensive coordinator Matt Limegrover said in September 2013 of Minnesota’s quarterback situation.

Entering the 2014 campaign, Nelson is out of the picture and Leidner is Minnesota’s team leader. Now, the Gophers are saying that having one signal caller could help them take the next step as a football team.

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Publish Date: 
Wed, 07/30/2014
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CHICAGO — For many, Big Ten Media Days was the first chance to see Gophers football players Mitch Leidner, David Cobb and Cedric Thompson up close.

The trio engaged in numerous interviews throughout the two days, but they also had a chance to express themselves nonverbally: through their fashion.

Senior safety Cedric Thompson

For Thompson, the event was the first time he wore a suit.

“I hate wearing them. They feel so stiff,” he said.

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Betsy Helfand and Chelsea Gortmaker
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Caleb Bak used to protect Gophers quarterbacks and now is focused on keeping information secure.
Publish Date: 
Wed, 07/23/2014
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Long before Caleb Bak tried his hand at protecting Gophers quarterbacks from opposing defenses, he was a self-proclaimed nerd. 

The former offensive lineman developed a passion for fiddling with computers from a young age, and after a blow to his head knocked him out of college football, his time for technology freed.

“It’s hard for me not to sit down at a computer and tinker with it a little bit,” Bak said.

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McNamara also played basketball, and he has influenced University of Minnesota athletics in many ways.
Publish Date: 
Wed, 07/23/2014
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Bob McNamara, an All-America football player and an influential Gophers fundraiser, died on Sunday night at age 82 after a battle with cancer.

McNamara played both football and basketball for the University of Minnesota in the 1950s, but his influence in the athletics department spanned long after that.

Athletics director Norwood Teague said in a statement that the University “had no greater advocate” than McNamara.

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Ra’Shede Hageman and Brock Vereen begin training camp on Thursday.
Publish Date: 
Wed, 07/23/2014
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The past two months have been a whirlwind for former Gophers defensive tackle Ra’Shede Hageman.

After being selected No. 37 by the Atlanta Falcons in May’s NFL Draft, Hageman received a reported $2.2 million signing bonus, bought a Porsche, moved south and started memorizing a thick, new playbook in preparation for the upcoming season.

And as Hageman reports to Falcons training camp Thursday, he’s confident in his ability to adjust to the life of being a NFL player.

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Former Gophers and NFL tight end Ben Utecht retired early due to concussions.
Publish Date: 
Wed, 07/09/2014
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Chatter echoed throughout Ben Utecht’s home just miles south of the Twin Cities on Monday morning as his daughters got dressed and ready for the day.

“I want the pink polka dot glasses,” Elleora, the oldest at 5 years old, called out while descending the suburban home’s staircase into the living room. Wearing a pink dress and accessories to match, she gave her father a hug.

“You’re beautiful,” said Utecht, 33, a former NFL and University of Minnesota tight end.

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A policy change will have unsold student season passes go public sooner.
Publish Date: 
Wed, 06/18/2014
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The University of Minnesota is trying to fill its student section at Gophers football games — even if students alone aren’t enough.

After years of student season ticket sales plummeting, the University’s Board of Regents approved the athletics department’s request on Friday to make unsold student tickets available for the public sooner. University officials say the move will increase attendance and improve the overall atmosphere at Gophers football games.

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Aaron Hill signed with the Rams as an undrafted free agent in May.
Publish Date: 
Wed, 06/18/2014
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For many fans, there’s a belief that the National Football League is a group full of “chosen ones.”

To the contrary, nearly one-third of players on NFL rosters in 2013 weren’t chosen in the league’s draft.

Former Gophers linebacker Aaron Hill is trying to carve out a spot for himself on the St. Louis Rams’ roster despite going undrafted.

He’s no stranger to skepticism. Hill chose to walk-on at Minnesota and redshirted in 2009. He played for the Gophers for the next four years.

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