Cody Poock has established himself as a potential starting linebacker for the Gophers this spring after transferring from Iowa Western Community College. So there was obvious concern Saturday when Poock limped off the field because of a right knee injury.
Head trainer Ed Lochrie accompanied Poock to the training room, then returned to update head coach Jerry Kill and linebackers coach Mike Sherels.
"I know it's a knee [injury], but I don't know the severity of it," Kill said. "So we'll find that out. You don't want anybody to ever get banged up."
Poock had been working with the first-team linebackers, along with Damien Wilson and De'Vondre Campbell — two junior college transfers who stepped in and played last season. Nick Rallis, a sophomore from Eden Prairie, took Poock's spot for the rest of practice.
Leidner looks sharp
Quarterback Mitch Leidner was rusty Tuesday after the team returned from spring break, but he looked sharp the rest of the week.
On Thursday, he made two perfect passes to KJ Maye in a red zone drill —one for a touchdown and one that fell incomplete. On Saturday, Leidner hit a long pass to tight end Duke Anyanwu and had two other well-thrown bombs that Logan Hutton and Eric Carter couldn't corral.
"He's been right on with the deep ball," Kill said. "We've got to make a couple plays for him, but he's playing pretty well. … That position's always critical, and everybody kind of rallies around that, so it's a good thing."
Anyanwu finds a role
The Gophers recruited Anyanwu as a quarterback from Blaine in 2012, just as they brought in Maxx Williams as a quarterback out of Waconia. Now, they are similar-sized tight ends (6-4, 250 pounds).
With Williams being brought back slowly from a knee injury, Anyanwu is getting reps with the first-team offense and making the most of them, along with 6-9 tight end Nate Wozniak.
"We don't want to practice Maxx right now; we know what he can do and we've got to continue to build depth," Kill said. "Duke played quarterback in high school. His apple's getting close to being red. It's been green. It takes a while. He had an ACL injury, and he's blossomed right now, getting better and better."
Still recruiting Class of 2014
The Gophers are considering adding another defensive back to this year's recruiting class. Ra'Shaun Croney is making an official visit this weekend from Pahokee, Fla. He had offers from South Carolina and Arkansas but needed to improve his grades to qualify academically.
Now, his grades are on the rise. He committed to play at Ellsworth (Iowa) Community Class but might flip to the Gophers if they offer a scholarship.