Joe Christensen covered Major League Baseball for 15 years, including three seasons at the Baltimore Sun and eight at the Star Tribune, before switching to the college football beat. He’s a Faribault, Minn., native who graduated from the University of Minnesota in 1996. He covered Jim Wacker’s Gophers for the Minnesota Daily and also wrote about USC, UCLA and the Rose Bowl for the Riverside Press-Enterprise before getting this chance to cover football again.

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Posts about Gopher quarterbacks

Kill praises Leidner's performance from Michigan game

Posted by: Joe Christensen Updated: September 28, 2014 - 4:05 PM

After watching video of Saturday’s win at Michigan, Gophers coach Jerry Kill was particularly impressed with quarterback Mitch Leidner.

“Probably the key to the game was, we did good things throwing the football,” Kill said Sunday. “Actually, Mitch was on target on every throw he made. Mitch got some pressure but he stood in there and threw it, didn’t turn the ball over.”

Leidner completed 14 of 22 passes for 167 yards and a touchdown. The redshirt sophomore had missed the previous game with a knee and toe injury after throwing three interceptions and losing a fumble in the loss at TCU.

The coaches thought Leidner relaxed and had fun at Michigan after pressing too hard in the season’s first three games.

“I know Mitch has his critics, but they still don’t understand the kid is young,” Kill said. “And he also played well in the Big House last year. So I think it was a really good game for him. He gained confidence.”

Streveler named Big Ten Co-Freshman of the Week

Posted by: Joe Christensen Updated: September 22, 2014 - 9:25 AM

Gophers quarterback Chris Streveler was named Big Ten Co-Freshman of the Week on Monday after rushing for 161 yards in Saturday's 24-7 victory over San Jose State. Streveler shared the honor with Indiana linebacker Tegray Scales.

Filling in for injured starter Mitch Leidner, Streveler completed just one of seven passes for seven yards, but was a major part of the Gophers 380-yard rushing attack.

The last time the Gophers had a Big Ten Freshman of the Week was last year, when Leidner rushed for 151 yards and four touchdowns in a 43-24 win over San Jose State.

Gophers injury updates: Leidner, Edwards, Kirkwood, Gentry, Alex Mayes

Posted by: Joe Christensen Updated: September 16, 2014 - 2:30 PM

Here's a quick rundown on the news from Coach Jerry Kill's press conference:

* Mitch Leidner will practice today.

"Like last week, the trainer said that he's banged up and so forth, but said he'd be at full speed today," Kill said. "We'll see. I can't tell you until we get out there, but that's where we're at as far as I know."

Kill added: "He did not break his toe; that's all I can say. He was moving around on Sunday, so whether it's full speed or all of those things -- what I can say is the trainer said he was running pretty well. No different than last week. He basically got what they call turf toe, but he's not swelled up."

* Berkley Edwards and Donnell Kirkwood suffered shoulder injuries against TCU but are ready to practice today.

* Isaiah Gentry needs season-ending knee surgery. The freshman wide receiver will get a redshirt. And redshirt freshman offensive tackle Alex Mayes needs shoulder surgery.

Kill anticipates that quarterback Leidner will practice today

Posted by: Joe Christensen Updated: September 16, 2014 - 10:57 AM

Gophers coach Jerry Kill said quarterback Mitch Leidner will practice today, with an eye toward playing Saturday against San Jose State.

Leidner sprained the medial collateral ligament in his left knee on Sept. 6 against Middle Tennessee State and added a toe injury in last Saturday’s loss at TCU. But his toe is not broken, Kill said.

Kill added that Leidner has turf toe, and has been cleared for practice by the team's training staff. Saturday's game is the final nonconference game before the Gophers open their Big Ten schedule at Michigan on Sept. 27.

Backup quarterback Chris Streveler has played in each of the team’s first three games and threw the lone touchdown pass against TCU.

Kill unsure if Leidner will be ready for San Jose State; Epping's ankle also a concern

Posted by: Joe Christensen Updated: September 14, 2014 - 4:02 PM

Gophers coach Jerry Kill said Sunday that he's not sure if quarterback Mitch Leidner will be ready to play in next Saturday's game against San Jose State.

Leidner played with his left knee in a brace and was seen after the 30-7 loss at TCU wearing a protective boot on his left foot. Without giving any specifics on Leidner's injuries, Kill said he'd have to see how the sophomore progresses this week.

Update: Leidner suffered a toe injury Saturday, but there were no broken bones, according to people familiar with the situation. Leidner still hopes to play against San Jose State.

Kill also mentioned that starting guard Zac Epping played with a high ankle sprain in the 30-7 loss at TCU. David Cobb played with a low-ankle sprain, and right tackle Jonah Pirsig was limited with a right shoulder injury.

Kill seemed to think Cobb and Pirsig will be fine, but the coach was admittedly concerned about Leidner and Epping's ability to continue playing through their injuries.

Kill blamed himself for the team's poor performance at TCU. He thinks this is a resilient team that will bounce right back. I'll have more on the Gophers in tonight's first editions.

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