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Gophers back from bye, eager to put Iowa in past

Associated Press Modified: October 9, 2012 at 4:47 pm •  Published: October 9, 2012

And quarterback MarQueis Gray, who sprained his left ankle in the game on Sept. 15 against Western Michigan, returned to practice on Sunday. Kill said he's "cautiously optimistic that he can be available in some situations" on Saturday.

"I pushed him a little bit, and I thought he responded OK," Kill said Tuesday, adding: "He took some reps. We even did a little bit with team reps, but still has a little bit of a limp. If we were playing tomorrow, he wouldn't be ready to play, but we'll see how things progress.

That means the Wildcats, who blew a 28-17 lead with 10 minutes left at Penn State last week and suffered their first loss of the season 39-28, ought to be ready for Gray and Max Shortell to play. The Gophers wouldn't hesitate to use both of them.

"If he's full tilt and ready to go, that's good for our football team," Kill said of Gray.

Kill said the extra practice time was good for the team, too. He said he was in a bad mood last week. So the workouts were focused on fundamental skills like blocking and tackling, rather than doing too much analyzing Northwestern.

"It was a good week of practice. Guys were flying around out there. It should be a good benefit for us this week," wide receiver A.J. Barker said.


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