Switch to receiver moves Gray back to the future

  • Article by: PHIL MILLER , Star Tribune
  • Updated: October 25, 2012 - 11:53 AM

Before arriving at the U, he'd always played quarterback but he's game to play anywhere. NFL scouts believe his future is at receiver.

hide

Gophers receiver MarQueis Gray hauled in a pass beating Badgers defender Devin Smith (10) in first half action on Saturday. (MARLIN LEVISON/STARTRIBUNE(mlevison@startribune.com

Photo: Marlin Levison, Star Tribune

CameraStar Tribune photo galleries

Cameraview larger

MarQueis Gray returned to the practice field as a full-time wide receiver on Wednesday after three days off to rest his sore left leg, and his coach was encouraged by his play. "I thought he moved much better than he did last week," Gophers' coach Jerry Kill said. "Having Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, he didn't seem to be quite as gimped up."

His physical condition remains a bit of a question for Saturday's game against Purdue. Gray's mental state, after ceding his starting-quarterback role to freshman Philip Nelson, has never been in question.

"The thing I love about MarQueis is, and he says it all the time: 'Hey, whatever I can do to help this team win,' " offensive coordinator Matt Limegrover said.

"He just wants to play -- that's been a real nice bonus. He hasn't been sulking around. He's been great with Philip, great with Max [Shortell]."

That's not to say Gray welcomed the switch. He's just mature enough, two weeks short of his 22nd birthday and seven weeks shy of his wedding day, to accept the reality of his situation, that the Gophers could no longer count on him being healthy enough to quarterback.

"Just realizing there are people out there in the world going though more than what I am -- that's one of the main reasons I keep my head up," Gray said. "I come though here, [then] go home to my kids. There are plenty of ways to keep my head up."

One of them is to help the Gophers turn their season around by catching a few passes. Another is to act as an informal tutor to Nelson.

"I just keep building his confidence in the huddle, on the sidelines. [And] catching everything that comes my way," Gray said. "I'm trying to be in his head about how this game is slower than most people may think it is. He's the leader of this offense now, he has the keys to the car. So just being out there and encouraging him is the best thing I can do."

Except for his first two seasons at Minnesota, Gray had never played any position but quarterback, going all the way back to pee-wee football in Indiana. So it's not easy to give up, even though he understands that NFL scouts believe his future is at receiver.

Not that he's thinking about that yet.

"I really don't know what to do [to prepare]. I never really thought of myself as going to the next level playing receiver," Gray said. "But I've had so many people telling me that that's what the scouts have been coming in and saying."

He wouldn't mind taking a few more snaps, but understands he's not likely to be the starter anymore.

"I love having the ball in my hands, every play. If I get a chance to go back, to make some plays, even as a wildcat, I'd be happy," he said.

Until then, he's trying to re-familiarize himself with his former position. The catching part, he feels pretty good about.

"The hardest thing is blocking. I'm a big guy out there, and those little corners are shifty," he said. "The main thing is getting my pads low and dropping down to their level to get my hands on them. Other than that, it's just run and catch the ball."

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

St. Louis - LP: A. Wainwright 1 FINAL
Pittsburgh - WP: J. Locke 3
Texas - WP: C. Lewis 12 FINAL
Seattle - LP: E. Ramirez 4
Washington - D. Fister 6:05 PM
Philadelphia - K. Kendrick
Tampa Bay - D. Smyly 6:05 PM
Baltimore - K. Gausman
Boston - J. Kelly 6:07 PM
Toronto - M. Stroman
NY Yankees - S. Greene 6:08 PM
Detroit - D. Price
Atlanta - J. Teheran 6:10 PM
NY Mets - Z. Wheeler
Chicago Cubs - J. Turner 6:10 PM
Cincinnati - M. Latos
Cleveland - C. Kluber 7:10 PM
Chicago WSox - H. Noesi
Minnesota - P. Hughes 7:10 PM
Kansas City - L. Hendriks
Oakland - D. Pomeranz 7:10 PM
Houston - B. Peacock
Milwaukee - Y. Gallardo 8:10 PM
San Diego - O. Despaigne
Los Angeles - C. Kershaw 8:40 PM
Arizona - W. Miley
Miami - H. Alvarez 9:05 PM
LA Angels - H. Santiago
Colorado - F. Morales 9:15 PM
San Francisco - T. Hudson
Atlanta 8/28/14 5:00 PM
Jacksonville
Detroit 8/28/14 6:00 PM
Buffalo
Indianapolis 8/28/14 6:00 PM
Cincinnati
Kansas City 8/28/14 6:00 PM
Green Bay
NY Jets 8/28/14 6:00 PM
Philadelphia
St. Louis 8/28/14 6:00 PM
Miami
Carolina 8/28/14 6:30 PM
Pittsburgh
New England 8/28/14 6:30 PM
NY Giants
Washington 8/28/14 6:30 PM
Tampa Bay
Baltimore 8/28/14 7:00 PM
New Orleans
Chicago 8/28/14 7:00 PM
Cleveland
Denver 8/28/14 7:00 PM
Dallas
Minnesota 8/28/14 7:00 PM
Tennessee
San Francisco 8/28/14 7:00 PM
Houston
Arizona 8/28/14 9:00 PM
San Diego
Seattle 8/28/14 9:00 PM
Oakland
(21) Texas A&M 8/28/14 5:00 PM
(9) So Carolina
Wake Forest 8/28/14 6:02 PM
ULM
Boise State 8/28/14 7:00 PM
(18) Ole Miss
Tulane 8/28/14 7:00 PM
Tulsa
Temple 8/28/14 8:15 PM
Vanderbilt
Rutgers 8/28/14 9:00 PM
Washington St
Weber State 8/28/14 9:30 PM
(19) Arizona State
BYU 8/29/14 6:00 PM
Connecticut
(6) Jacksonville St 8/29/14 6:30 PM
(8) Michigan State
Bowling Green 8/29/14 6:30 PM
Western Ky
TX-San Antonio 8/29/14 8:00 PM
Houston
Colorado State 8/29/14 8:00 PM
Colorado
UNLV 8/29/14 9:30 PM
Arizona
Penn State 8/30/14 7:30 AM
UCF
Troy 8/30/14 11:00 AM
UAB
(7) UCLA 8/30/14 11:00 AM
Virginia
Western Mich 8/30/14 11:00 AM
Purdue
(5) Ohio State 8/30/14 11:00 AM
Navy
Appalachian St 8/30/14 11:00 AM
Michigan
Ga Southern 8/30/14 11:30 AM
NC State
Boston College 8/30/14 2:00 PM
Massachusetts
West Virginia 8/30/14 2:30 PM
(2) Alabama
Rice 8/30/14 2:30 PM
(17) Notre Dame
(10) South Dakota St 8/30/14 2:30 PM
(24) Missouri
Fla Atlantic 8/30/14 2:30 PM
(22) Nebraska
California 8/30/14 2:30 PM
Northwestern
Marshall 8/30/14 2:30 PM
Miami-Ohio
UC Davis 8/30/14 3:00 PM
(11) Stanford
Arkansas 8/30/14 3:00 PM
(6) Auburn
(16) Clemson 8/30/14 4:30 PM
(12) Georgia
Liberty 8/30/14 5:00 PM
(23) North Carolina
Ohio U 8/30/14 5:00 PM
Kent State
Louisiana Tech 8/30/14 6:00 PM
(4) Oklahoma
Idaho 8/30/14 6:00 PM
Florida
Stephen F Austin 8/30/14 6:10 PM
(20) Kansas State
Fresno State 8/30/14 6:30 PM
(15) USC
Southern Miss 8/30/14 6:30 PM
Miss State
Texas-El Paso 8/30/14 7:00 PM
New Mexico
North Texas 8/30/14 7:00 PM
Texas
(1) Florida State 8/30/14 7:00 PM
Oklahoma State
(14) Wisconsin 8/30/14 8:00 PM
(13) LSU
South Dakota 8/30/14 9:30 PM
(3) Oregon
(25) Washington 8/30/14 9:30 PM
Hawaii
Utah State 8/31/14 6:00 PM
Tennessee
SMU 8/31/14 6:30 PM
(10) Baylor
Miami-Florida 9/1/14 7:00 PM
Louisville
D.C. 9:30 PM
Los Angeles
Ottawa 8/29/14 6:30 PM
Montreal
Winnipeg 8/31/14 3:00 PM
Saskatchewan
Toronto 9/1/14 12:00 PM
Hamilton
Edmonton 9/1/14 3:30 PM
Calgary
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

Date/Opponent Time W L Score
2014 season     
Aug 28 - vs. E. Illinois 6 pm
Sep 6 - vs. M. Tennessee St. 2:30 pm
Sep 13 - at TCU 3 pm
Sep 20 - vs. San Jose St. TBA
Sep 27 - at Michigan TBA
Oct 11 - vs. Northwestern TBA
Oct 18 - vs. Purdue 11 am
Oct 25 - at Illinois 11 am
Nov 8 - vs. Iowa TBA
Nov 15 - vs. Ohio State TBA
Nov 22 - at Nebraska TBA
Nov 29 - at Wisconsin TBA

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: Which football team will have the best record in 2014?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close