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Gopher Football: Thursday Practice Notes, Vikings Defend The Bank, A Beer Trip For Your Weekend

Nutritious links to go with your lunch.

Hannah Foslien


Here's some quick links to get you ready for your weekend!


Let's start with an important tidbit you might have missed.

- Fuller has some Thursday practice and team related notes. The biggest? MOAR REDSHIRTS may be on the horizon:

The Gophers are at a point in Year 4 under coach Jerry Kill that playing true freshmen isn’t critical for depth.

So they are looking to redshirt kids, unless a young player is so advanced physically and far enough along mentally that you just have to find a way to get him on the field.

That could be the case for a few freshmen this year, most notably 6-foot, 290-pound defensive tackle Steven Richardson from Chicago. Richardson

On Thursday, Kill compared Richardson’s size (he’s talented but don’t get too excited yet) to former University of Pittsburgh defensive tackle Aaron Donald, who was selected 13th overall in this year’s NFL Draft by the St. Louis Rams.

"He’s really built like Donald," Kill said. "He’s shorter but he’s got really long arms. I was at the draft, and Donald wasn’t a very tall guy. He’s about 6-foot. But he can flat play. (Richardson) is built for leverage. And he’s strong. As you can see, he can run. In his situation, yeah (he can play)."

Continuing the notes...who will be this year's Mike Henry? The answer may surprise you:

REPLACING HENRY: The biggest under-the-radar loss offensively from last season was probably starting fullback Mike Henry, who was a pass-catching threat and experienced blocker.

But the Gophers are encouraged by the play of junior college transfer Miles Thomas, sophomore Tyler Hartman and former linebacker Jephete Matilus.

"He brings it," offensive coordinator Matt Limegrover said about Matilus. "He really wants to play. When you get a kid who is toward the end of his career and just wants to get on the field, I kind of like that. You like that hunger… The thing I like about him is he’s not making a lot of mental mistakes."


Limegrover didn’t hesitate to say Thursday that his offensive line has a "long way to go" to improve as a pass blocking unit.

They have the most experience out of any group on offense, especially with All-Big Ten caliber players such as Zac Epping, Tommy Olson and Josh Campion returning.

But Limegrover has seen them give up too many sacks in practice so far to be completely comfortable protecting quarterback Mitch Leidner entering the season.




He says they’ll be where they need to be by the Aug. 28 season opener against Eastern Illinois though.



Ok, perhaps not the time to panic.

- TOMORROW IS YOUR LAST CHANCE TO SEE THE GOPHERS PRACTICE THIS FALL. That's right, tomorrow is the final open practice that the public can attend. You know what do to.

4:40pm on Saturday. TCF Bank Stadium. Be there.

- BOYS OF FALL: Something I had forgotten about? The "Boys of Fall" camp that Kill and the program ran for fans as a program fundraiser. How did the first one go?

Eighteen attendees paid $2,000 each for the "Boys of Fall Elite Camp" that coincided with the opening of Gophers training camp last Friday, Saturday and Sunday.  Participants received an inside look at the Gophers program, attending team and position meetings and eating with players.  The camp raised money for the football program.

- Ed Olson has overcome a problem that often afflicts college lineman when they leave their programs and go pro in something other than sports...losing the weight they no longer need:

With no more football in his future, Ed has gone on a low carbohydrate diet and dropped about 90 pounds from his playing weight of 320.  He wore jersey No. 58, the same number his father, Ed Sr., did playing for the Gophers in the early 1980s.  Now Tommy will wear No. 58.  "Really cool," Ed Jr. said about Tommy continuing the tradition.  "Couldn’t think of anyone else wearing it."

- I've only been meaning to say something about this for a week now...

My response?

Seriously though, I love anything Throwback Goldy and will proudly wear this version as well.

When Recruiting and Fighting Cancer Collide

- A good number of Gopher recruits will be playing this weekend at the Twin Cities Classic. The TCC is a charity event that raises money for the American Cancer Society, with 100% of the proceeds going to the fine work they do. What does the event include?

The one-day event features three all-star games, a three-point shootout, and a slam dunk contest.


This is a chance for our community to come together to support these young athletes and the cause they’re playing for, to remember and support all those we know who have struggled with cancer or continue that fight.

team hope vs. team inspiration: 2:00 PM
Three point shootout: 3:30 PM
team persevere vs. team courage: 4:00 PM
slam dunk contest: 5:30 PM
Team FIGHT vs. team bravery: 6:00 PM

Potential Gopher targets include Jarvis Johnson, Sacar Anim, Gary Trent Jr, Goanar Mar, Brock Bertram, and Dupree McBrayer.

Key details?

When: Sunday, Aug 10th starting at 2pm.

Who: Full Rosters

Cost: $10 for adults, $5 for kids under 10 with a paying adult. Tickets are being sold at the door

Vikings Test Out Their New Home

- Tonight is the Vikings first game at TCF Bank Stadium. How will it all work? That's a good question. I'm with Shama here, in that I expect social media to melt down over some trivial stuff:

Tonight’s game at TCF Bank Stadium will be the only one on the Vikings’ home schedule played on a weekday night.  Traffic and parking comments could enliven social media late this afternoon and in the early evening.  Last year traffic was awful for the Gophers-UNLV game played on a Thursday night in late August at TCF Bank Stadium.  On Tuesday of this week, 80 minutes before the Twins game at Target Field, traffic was moving at 10 miles per hour on east-bound I-394 between highways 169 and 100.

The game is also a good chance to work out the kinks of changing the field over between the Vikings and Gophers (or vice-versa) in a short period.

The process might take some getting used to, but it should become routine by the time the Gophers and Vikings play on back-to-back days Oct. 11 and Oct. 12.

"The field will be completely scrubbed and we'll repaint for Gophers football," University of Minnesota associate athletics director Scott Ellison said Wednesday. "We'll have the block M. We'll have the college hash (marks) and the college numbers down for the scrimmage on Saturday."

The Gophers are still uncertain about how long the transformation takes, because "this will be the first real quick flip we have to do," Ellison said.

Beer On The Shore

Looking for an excuse to visit the Duluth area now or next week? There are two new brew joints in the area you could try (note: I've been to neither because OHIO...just figured I'd toss this out and see if you all had thoughts). The first is the Endion Station Public House: yourself a favor and check out the latest project from our friends from Fitger's Brewhouse, Endion Station Public House in Canal Park. This will be the first chance for the general public to check the place out. As we've mentioned before, Endion Station Public House will feature Duluth-Packed pulled meat sandwiches and kebabs and it will be the first Duluth cider house with multiple cider taps and a few signature Brewhouse beers as well as craft soda.

Next Friday is the opening of the Castle Danger Taproom in Two Harbors.

In a time when it seems like breweries are opening left and right, let us not forget that existing breweries are expanding at a great clip. A year ago, we told you about Castle Danger's plans to step away from their tiny brewery located on the family resort property to build a new brewery and taproom in Two Harbors. We're happy to announce that said location is opening in a couple of weeks!
On Friday, August 15th from 3-11pm, you'll be able to check out the new taproom. Expect lots of beer, food, games, live music, tours and more. Can't make it Friday? They'll be open from noon - 11pm on Saturday, August 16th. The new brewery is located at 17 - 7th Street in Two Harbors, MN.

Personally I think any excuse is a good excuse to get up to the North Shore so feel free to make either of these yours!