Football

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Running back Rodrick Williams missed half of last season after a foot injury.
Publish Date: 
Tue, 04/15/2014
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Rodrick Williams hasn’t taken a meaningful carry in a game in more than six months.

He started last year as part of a two-headed monster in the backfield, but a foot injury in the middle of the season derailed his sophomore campaign.

Williams missed two games with the injury, and by the time he returned, fellow running back David Cobb had taken a strong hold on the starting spot.

It’s been clear throughout the spring that Williams, a Lewisville, Texas, native, is gunning to be the No. 1 running back when the season opens up in August.

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Tue, 04/15/2014
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I attended Minnesota’s spring football games in 2011, 2012 and 2013.

I did not attend this year’s. And by the looks of it, not many other people did, either.

I skimmed a box score and talked to people who did opt to spend their Saturday afternoon at an empty TCF Bank Stadium. From what I gathered, this year’s spring game was like every other Gophers spring game in recent memory — boring as hell.

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Rodrick Williams scored the only touchdown during the spring game.
Publish Date: 
Mon, 04/14/2014
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To fans expecting a show, Minnesota’s spring football game Saturday afternoon at TCF Bank Stadium likely came as a disappointment.

With an announced crowd of 4,752 fans scattered throughout the 50,805-seat stadium and quarterbacks in green limited-contact jerseys, the atmosphere contrasted that of a normal game.

But the Gophers have been working all spring to ensure that TCF Bank Stadium is packed to the max when the season opens in August. There were flashes of that Saturday, courtesy of running backs Berkley Edwards and Rodrick Williams.

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Damarius Travis was a role player last year but has grown since then.
Publish Date: 
Wed, 04/02/2014
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Minnesota’s secondary will be stacked next season, but that doesn’t mean junior safety Damarius Travis won’t be able to break into the starting lineup.

Travis started only two games last year, and the Gophers’ returning safeties, Cedric Thompson and Antonio Johnson, started most of the games at the position in 2013.

Travis is coming for his two teammates, though, because his goal is to start.

“It matters a lot to me,” he said. “I always wanted a starting role.”

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Minnesota’s nearly 30-year-old football complex hosts three teams come spring.
Publish Date: 
Wed, 04/02/2014
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Gophers punter Peter Mortell caught a long snap and booted a moonshot toward the punt returner during last Thursday’s spring football practice at the Gibson-Nagurski Football Complex.

The return man didn’t have to move.

Mortell’s punt shtoinked off the ceiling, and chips of plaster floated dozens of feet down to the playing surface.

A few feet away, raindrops trickled through the leaky roof of the complex.

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Minnesota will need its wide receivers to step up next year in order to compete.
Publish Date: 
Wed, 03/26/2014
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At the start of the Gophers’ spring practice a few weeks ago, head coach Jerry Kill said his team’s offense will be much improved next season.

Mitch Leidner is the guy at quarterback after Philip Nelson’s transfer to Rutgers. David Cobb, fresh off a 1,000-yard rushing season, leads a loaded backfield. Maxx Williams and Drew Goodger return at tight end. And the offensive line boasts years of experience.

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The Gophers junior linebacker recorded 41 tackles in his first year with the team.
Publish Date: 
Wed, 03/12/2014
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At nearly 6 feet 6 inches, with dreadlocks spilling out of the back of his helmet, Gophers junior linebacker De’Vondre Campbell looks like touted NFL prospect Jadeveon Clowney when he blitzes quarterbacks.

There are vast differences between Campbell and Clowney, a near-lock to be a top pick in the 2014 NFL Draft.

Still, many think Campbell has the potential to be a first-round pick down the road.

“He has a great future ahead of him if he keeps doing everything he needs to do,” head coach Jerry Kill said.

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Derrick Engel tore his ACL last year but has recovered relatively quickly.
Publish Date: 
Tue, 03/11/2014
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Derrick Engel leapt between two Cornhuskers defenders and reeled in a touchdown, helping the Gophers to a 34-23 win.

“It was definitely a good moment for me and the team,” he said. “It probably was my biggest play of the year.”

It was more like the defining moment of his career — but less than a month later, leaping for another pass ended it.

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The Gophers held their first of 15 spring practices Tuesday afternoon.
Publish Date: 
Wed, 03/05/2014
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While the cold weather may not indicate it, spring has arrived — for the Gophers football team, at least.

Minnesota held its first of 15 spring practices Tuesday at the Gibson-Nagurski Football Complex. Those practices will culminate with the annual spring game, which is slated for April 12 at TCF Bank Stadium.

The Gophers started their spring season after a successful 2013 season, which ended just 68 days ago.

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Publish Date: 
Tue, 03/04/2014
Description: 
Sports reporters Sam Gordon, Dane Mizutani and Jack Satzinger recap Minnesota's Pro Day where Gopher athletes including Brock Vereen and Ra'shede Hageman perform drills in front of NFL recruits at the Gibson/Nagurski Football Practice Facility on Monday, March 3, 2014. <a href="http://www.mndaily.com/sports/football/2014/03/04/gophers-stand-out-pro-day">Read the full story.</a>
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