A Fan’s Day at Gopher Football Practice: Practice #3

Gopher Gridiron

GoAUpher: Bumping for the great recap and because I'm super jealous I couldn't go.

A fine day, one that felt like spring for more reasons than just the fact that I was watching live football. Today I attended my first Gopher Football practice, the third and final practice open to the public this fall, not include the scrimmage this coming Saturday. I have to say that I enjoyed it, more than I thought I would. The players are right next to you, run pass and in-between you between stations, and if you aren’t paying enough attention, might run into you. That in mind, I would like to share some jottings of what I observed and felt.

Note: I wasn't able to attend the full practice, but I did see most of it. Also, I don’t know what direction coaches gave the players, so that might have an impact on what I saw (example, coaches telling the QBs to throw long so the WR would stretch out)

General Observations

  • Decent attendance. I have no skills on estimating crowd size but I would say about 125 people of all age ranges.
  • Of those 125 people, Tyrone Carter and his daughter were among them.
  • So was several members of the media, including Nate Sandell (man he looks young, and I’m only 35)
  • Also, there was a dog there.
  • While it was my first practice, I am told that the improvement on how they practice now, compared to the last 2 years, is impressive.
  • It was very organized. Kill continued to run his practice by the clock, kind of like circuit training.
  • The team was disciplined and confident, the players ran to their stations and formed their lines well.
  • More on discipline, the coaches where not afraid to yell/curse at the players, but they didn’t have to do it too often.
  • So far "The Expendables 2" is a horrible, horrible movie (I am watching it while I write this).
  • The uniform of the day was shorts, shoulder pads, and helmets.
  • #99 Ra’Shede Hageman & #79 Jonah Prisig are just huge human beings. Each of these guys ran past me from behind at one point and I could just sense them coming.


  • They made several interceptions in drills and coverage seemed tight
  • The D-Line seemed to jump at a hard count quite a bit, let’s hope this changes.
  • The line did get some penetration
  • LB’s looked good at times.
  • #26 De’Vondre Campbell is really tall.
  • #56 Nick Rallis was very vocal, seemed to be calling the shots among the 2nd team LBs.
  • #57 Aaron Hill was also very vocal and seemed to call the shots among the 1st team LBs.
  • #3 Martez Shabazz had a couple of nice hits that caused receivers to drop the catch.


  • Didn’t see the Line jump much, only once that I can remember
  • #7 Mitch Leidner looks great running, almost a run-first kinda QB.
  • #9 Philip Nelson looked fine, especially on the short passes. He had one really nice long ball.
  • #4 Donovahn Jones looks liked he could be a good QB, right now his passes tend to go low.
  • Receivers, including #12 Andre McDonald looked fine.
  • I heard "good job Logan" (#17 Logan Hutton) quite a bit, hopefully he can start to make those good plays/moves outside of practice.
  • #16 Jamel Harbison & #82 Drew Wolitarsky have good hands.
  • No way #39 Nat Wozniak redshirts unless he can’t block. So tall with good hands. Several times he, not the WRs went long.
  • Tight ends in general looked good, as did the running backs.
  • The centers where the only people in full pads (as I think shorts would have gotten in the way), but the long snappers still had shorts on.

Special Teams

  • Didn't see much but the field goals looked fine.
  • #28 Ryan Santoso really is huge
  • They had starters (like Kirkwood) among the people practicing punt blocking.


I am very excited. Really, that is all I need to say. But if I had to say one more thing it would be that I am much more confident, not only about this year but the future. Lastly, wholly crap is the Expendables 2 a really bad movie.

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