Kirkwood impresses in controlled scrimmage

by Derek Wetmore

Incoming freshman running back Donnell Kirkwood was impressive in his first taste of game action Saturday. The Gophers held an intra squad scrimmage which they called a "contolled preview". Fans attended TCF Bank Stadium to watch the maroon and gold line up against each other for about 70 minutes Saturday afternoon. Admission was free.

Stats were unofficial, but the Star Tribune reported that Kirkwood carried the ball 19 times for 67 yards, breaking one off for 14 yards. At five feet, 10 inches, 210 pounds, Kirkwood is a physical runner that head coach Tim Brewster described as a "downhill, heavy, physical runner."

Senior quarterback Adam Weber reportedly looked good at the scrimmage, completing nine passes for 70 yards, including to connections for scores with receivers Collin McGarry and Da’Jon McKnight. Backup Marqueis Gray was slightly less comfortable, as he was "sacked" four times. Gray wasn’t distressed by the pocket pressure, noting that he would have tucked the ball and ran if it was a real game. With only a tag being required for defensive linemen to record a sack, Gray hardly thought the results were negative. He lined up at wide receiver several times throughout the scrimmage, and got the ball on an end-around as well. Both Brewster and Offensive Coordinator/Quarterbacks Coach Jeff Horton have vowed to find creative ways of getting Gray involved in this year’s offense.

Minnesota will open the season Sep. 2 at Middle Tennessee State before the home opener versus South Dakota, Sep. 11 at TCF Bank Stadium. Middle Tennessee State’s quarterback is currently being investigated by university officials, as well as MTSU Police. Since the investigation is ongoing, the university was unable to comment on the report, but Athletics Director Chris Massaro released a statement saying, "information was reported to the university involving student-athlete Dwight Dasher."

It is believed that the Blue Raiders senior quarterback was accused of failing to repay a large sum of money to an 80 year old patient at the Alvin York VA Medical Center. His status for the game against the Gophers has not been determined.