Big, mobile QB presents challenge
Gophers' Gray is a handful; Minnesota unsure if coach Kill will make trip to Ann Arbor
ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- Even with a strong 4-0 start, the Michigan football team isn't overlooking any team -- especially not 1-3 Minnesota.
"They came up just short of USC, who's just stacked on players," Wolverines center David Molk said. "That's obviously a game you look at and say, 'Well, they did that to USC, so obviously they're still a formidable team.' "
Despite their three losses, the Gophers provide a few new challenges for the Wolverines. It's the first Big Ten game and the first trophy game for Michigan.
"He's talented. We tried to recruit him out at Ball State," Hoke said of Gray. "He's a big guy who has got very good feet."
Minnesota faces a big challenge of its own, and that is the status of coach Jerry Kill, who suffered a seizure during the Gophers' 28-21 loss to New Mexico State on Sept. 10.
Kill, 50, has a history of seizures and was admitted to the hospital for testing after the New Mexico State game. However, on Sunday Kill suffered another seizure, which caused him to check himself in to the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn. At this point, it's not known whether he will be making the trip to Ann Arbor for Saturday's game.
"He and his wife, Rebecca, are two of the finest people you'll ever be around," Hoke said. "Our prayers for him and his family are there. He's a great person and a terrific coach."
Kill and Hoke most recently coached against one another in 2008, Hoke's final year at Ball State. Kill was coaching at Northern Illinois at the time and Hoke's team beat the Huskies, 45-14.
Michigan's kicking game up in the air
Punter Will Hagerup will be eligible to play in this weekend's game after serving a four-game suspension, and Hoke expects strong competition this week.
"He's been at practice every day, showing what he can do," Hoke said. "He's been helping out the scout team, giving the team a great look. ... He's been a great leader in that aspect."
According to Hoke, Hagerup's suspension for a violation of team rules has been beneficial for the sophomore.
"We all mature," Hoke said. "We all grow up."
The starting punter for Saturday is listed as "Hagerup or Matt Wile." Wile has averaged 39.1 yards so far this season, while Hagerup averaged 43.6 yards last year.
Troy Woolfolk, who limped off the field this past weekend with a left ankle problem, ran Sunday night and did everything he would normally do, according to Hoke.
"I think he's being physical, which is always one of the first things, when guys are a little beat up, that you worry about," Hoke said. "But he's being physical. I think he's doing a nice job of breaking on balls."
Hoke mentioned that Ricky Barnum, who also left the San Diego State game with an ankle injury, is sore, and Hoke is unsure whether he'll be back for Saturday's game.
Cam Gordon, who has been listed as the starter at strongside linebacker despite the fact he hasn't played, continues to be at the top of the depth chart. His backup, Jake Ryan, has performed well, recording 13 tackles, three for a loss. Ryan also has two fumble recoveries.
"He's just not 100 percent," Hoke said of Gordon. "I think he's just not where he needs to be yet."
Chantel Jennings covers University of Michigan sports for WolverineNation. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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