Even for U's bowl game, defining Gray's role is hard

  • Article by: PHIL MILLER , Star Tribune
  • Updated: December 8, 2012 - 8:20 PM

MarQueis Gray isn't sure if he'll close out his Gophers career as a receiver or quarterback. He's still practicing at both for postseason.

hide

MarQueis Gray was contained by the Michigan State defense.

Photo: Marlin Levison, Star Tribune

CameraStar Tribune photo galleries

Cameraview larger

MarQueis Gray claims not to know whether his wedding will come off Wednesday as long planned -- "I still have to talk to Coach about that," Gray said coyly about the potential conflict with a football practice that day -- but perhaps he just doesn't want the details published in a newspaper. Fair enough.

Gray is a lot more convincing, however, when he professes ignorance about another pressing topic: his role in the Gophers' offense at the Meineke Car Care Bowl.

"I'm not sure," Gray said Saturday after the Gophers' second practice in preparation for the Dec. 28 finale to his five-year career at Minnesota. "Most likely, I'll be the backup [quarterback]. Go in and get reps at quarterback, then play receiver, like I did my sophomore year."

That 2010 season ended with Gray providing a glimmer of promise in a dreary season by showing off, in the Gophers' final two games, the effortless way he seemed to gain yardage by scrambling with the ball at quarterback, while also making 42 catches as a receiver. Now, however, the two- position responsibility is one of necessity: With the early departure of backup quarterback Max Shortell, Gray is the only experienced quarterback behind starter Philip Nelson.

Right down to his final day as a Gopher, in other words, Gray's position isn't exactly clear.

"I've been getting reps at quarterback as well as receiver," Gray said of the Gophers' bowl preparations. "That's what's given me the idea I could play both."

Yeah, that and his entire Minnesota career. The game with Texas Tech officially will be Gray's 25th start as a Gopher -- 13 as a receiver and 12 as a quarterback. He has thrown for 2,045 yards in four seasons, and gained 2,438 by catching passes or running. He has passed for 14 touchdowns, and gotten to the end zone himself 18 times. Perhaps the bowl game could be a chance to showcase his pass-catching skills for NFL scouts, or to take a few snaps one last time.

And if it's both? How fitting.

Gophers coach Jerry Kill has spoken several times about how good a quarterback Gray might be had he focused exclusively on that position since his arrival in Minneapolis, and the same undoubtedly can be said about his ability as a wide receiver. Gray made it clear he always wanted to be the quarterback -- but now that his career is nearly over, he's not complaining about how it all worked out.

"I'd have to say [it's been] memorable," Gray said. "I've done a lot of stuff here, a lot of ups and downs. But I know it's going to stick with me through, hopefully, my long-term career playing football. But if not, I still had fun. I have no regrets coming here."

And Kill feels the same way.

Gray was chosen the Gophers' most valuable player last month, and while it was partly based on his play on the field -- counting passing, rushing and receiving yards, Gray narrowly led the team in total yardage -- it was also a reflection of his worth to his teammates.

"It's a respect thing," Kill said. "The unselfishness. ... Everybody knows athletically what he brings, [so] it's been frustrating for him. It really has to do more with [being] a good teammate."

  • GOPHERS

    Up next: Meineke Car Care Bowl of Texas

    U vs. Texas Tech • 8 p.m. Dec. 28

    Houston • TV: ESPN (100.3-FM)

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

Chicago Cubs - LP: J. Arrieta 2 FINAL
Cincinnati - WP: D. Axelrod 7
NY Yankees - LP: S. Kelley 2 FINAL
Detroit - WP: P. Coke 3
Colorado - LP: J. Lyles 1 FINAL
San Francisco - WP: Y. Petit 4
Tampa Bay - LP: K. Yates 4 FINAL
Baltimore - WP: A. Miller 5
Atlanta - WP: M. Minor 6 FINAL
NY Mets - LP: J. Niese 1
Cleveland - WP: C. Carrasco 3 FINAL
Chicago WSox - LP: J. Danks 2
Minnesota - WP: A. Swarzak 11 FINAL
Kansas City - LP: B. Chen 5
Texas - LP: R. Mendez 2 FINAL
Houston - WP: C. McHugh 4
Oakland - LP: R. Cook 3 FINAL
LA Angels - WP: F. Salas 4
Atlanta 24 FINAL
Jacksonville 14
Detroit 23 FINAL
Buffalo 0
Indianapolis 7 FINAL
Cincinnati 35
Kansas City 14 FINAL
Green Bay 34
NY Jets 7 FINAL
Philadelphia 37
St. Louis 13 FINAL
Miami 14
Carolina 10 FINAL
Pittsburgh 0
New England 13 FINAL
NY Giants 16
Washington 24 FINAL
Tampa Bay 10
Baltimore 22 FINAL
New Orleans 13
Chicago 13 FINAL
Cleveland 33
Denver 27 FINAL
Dallas 3
Minnesota 19 FINAL
Tennessee 3
San Francisco 40 FINAL
Houston 13
Arizona 9 FINAL
San Diego 12
Seattle 31 FINAL
Oakland 41
(21) Texas A&M 52 FINAL
(9) So Carolina 28
Wake Forest 10 FINAL
ULM 17
Boise State 13 FINAL
(18) Ole Miss 35
Tulane 31 FINAL
Tulsa 38
Rutgers 41 FINAL
Washington St 38
Weber State 14 FINAL
(19) Arizona State 45
Temple 37 FINAL
Vanderbilt 7
BYU 6:00 PM
Connecticut
(6) Jacksonville St 6:30 PM
(8) Michigan State
Bowling Green 6:30 PM
Western Ky
TX-San Antonio 8:00 PM
Houston
Colorado State 8:00 PM
Colorado
UNLV 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
Arizona 9/4/14 7:00 PM
TX-San Antonio
Ottawa 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
Brt Columbia 9/5/14 6:30 PM
Ottawa
Calgary 9/6/14 6:00 PM
Edmonton
Hamilton 9/7/14 12:00 PM
Montreal
Saskatchewan 9/7/14 3:00 PM
Winnipeg
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: Grade the Gophers in their season opener

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close