Gophers energized, efficient in Saturday scrimmage

Minnesota looked sharp on both sides of the ball in front of a large crowd.

Minnesota quarterback Philip Nelson makes a pass near the beginning of game against Michigan on Saturday, Nov. 3, 2012, at TCF Bank Stadium.

Mark Vancleave, Daily File Photo

Minnesota quarterback Philip Nelson makes a pass near the beginning of game against Michigan on Saturday, Nov. 3, 2012, at TCF Bank Stadium.

Nate Gotlieb

The Gophers football team played with energy and confidence during Saturday’s scrimmage, running the ball well and playing aggressive defense in front of a large crowd at the Gibson-Nagurski Football Complex.

With hundreds of fans and more than 60 kids from the Minnesota Epilepsy Foundation’s Shining Star program in attendance, the Gophers looked sharp on both sides of the ball.

Sophomore quarterback Philip Nelson led the first-team offense on an efficient touchdown drive to start the scrimmage. He completed more than half his passes while not turning the ball over.

Running backs David Cobb, Donnell Kirkwood and Cole Banham all broke long runs as the Gophers’ offense scored several early touchdowns.

The defense struggled early before holding the offense to several three-and-outs. It also stopped the offense in a red-zone drill for the first time in nine tries.

Family of Gophers TE safe after West, Texas, explosion

The family of Gophers tight end and West, Texas, native Lincoln Plsek is safe after a fertilizer plant exploded Wednesday night. The explosion in West killed 14 and injured about 200.

The explosion struck the plant at about 8 p.m. on Wednesday, leveling a four-block area of the town, according to The Associated Press.

Plsek, whose family lives two miles away from the plant, got in touch with his mom at about 9 p.m. on Wednesday.

His family stayed at his grandparents’ house about 10 minutes out of town Wednesday night. Plsek stayed up the whole night watching news reports on CNN.

Plsek dedicated Thursday’s practice to those injured and killed.

He said a relative’s dad died in the explosion.

Plsek said he plans to play in the spring game next Saturday and finish the semester. Then he’ll return to West.

“Obviously I want to go down there and help so bad,” Plsek said after practice Thursday. “But it might just be the best decision to stay up here and wait it out.”

Notes

  • Defensive linemen Scott Ekpe and Hendrick Ekpe missed Saturday’s practice because of a family situation.
  • With two practices and the spring game remaining, the Gophers will limit some of their top players to prevent injury, offensive coordinator Matt Limegrover and defensive coordinator Tracy Claeys said Saturday.