Many options behind Leidner to fill Gophers QB role

  • Article by: JOE CHRISTENSEN , Star Tribune
  • Updated: January 19, 2014 - 9:19 AM

Philip Nelson’s departure doesn’t leave the cupboard bare for the Gophers at quarterback by any means.

hide

Mitch Leidner will go into spring practice as the probable starter at quarterback now that Philip Nelson has left the program.

Photo: TONY DING • Associated Press,

CameraStar Tribune photo galleries

Cameraview larger

Gophers football players sit in assigned seats matching their uniform numbers for team meetings. When the squad reconvenes from winter break Monday, there will be a notable void in the front row: seat No. 9.

That’s where quarterback Philip Nelson sat the past two years, and where he was expected to sit through 2015 — until Thursday, when he suddenly announced he was transferring.

In seat No. 7 will be Mitch Leidner, who now seems the clear choice to start at quarterback. The question now becomes if three younger players — No. 5 Chris Streveler, No. 15 Connor Rhoda and No. 2 Dimonic Roden-McKinzy — can push Leidner this spring.

Coach Jerry Kill has been careful not to say much publicly about the quarterback battle so far this offseason, but here’s a closer look at his post-Nelson options:

Mitch Leidner

Year/height/weight: Redshirt sophomore; 6-4; 230 pounds

Stats: He completed 43 of 78 passes (55.1 percent) for 619 yards last season, with three touchdowns and one interception. He also rushed for 498 yards and seven touchdowns.

Background: Leidner enrolled in January 2012, just like Nelson, but arrived with far less hype. Leidner was a pocket passer who seldom ran at Lakeville South, but he transformed into a dual-threat option on the scout team.

After redshirting in 2012, Leidner pushed Nelson throughout spring practice last year. When Nelson injured a hamstring in September, Leidner got his chance and wound up starting four games. Leidner was inconsistent as a passer, much like Nelson, but showed his potential when he nearly rallied the Gophers to a bowl game victory with two fourth-quarter touchdown passes against Syracuse.

Best hope: Leidner builds off this experience, takes over as the clear leader of the offense, hones his passing and stays healthy despite a punishing running style.

Chris Streveler

Year/height/weight: Redshirt freshman; 6-2; 209 pounds

Stats: As a senior at Marian (Ill.) Central Catholic, he completed 68.8 percent of his passes for 2,662 yards with 26 touchdowns and just four interceptions. He also rushed for 1,276 yards with 22 touchdowns.

Background: Streveler has the speed, but he might not have the arm strength to be an effective Big Ten quarterback. He is such a good athlete, there was talk of moving him to receiver last summer. The accuracy and strong decision making that made him a good high school quarterback started showing during fall camp. Then he suffered a hand injury that required surgery. So it’ll be interesting to see how well he’s throwing the ball in spring practice.

Best hope: Streveler makes the same jump that Leidner made after his redshirt season, giving the Gophers someone they can count on immediately if needed.

Dominic Roden-McKinzy

Year/height/weight: True freshman; 6-0; 213 pounds

Stats: As a senior at Wyandotte (Kan.) High School, he completed 53 percent of his passes for 2,560 yards, with 26 touchdowns and 12 interceptions. He also rushed for 528 yards and eight touchdowns.

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

New England 2/1/15 5:30 PM
Seattle
Toronto 104 FINAL
Indiana 91
Cleveland 103 FINAL
Detroit 95
Milwaukee 109 FINAL
Miami 102
Memphis 109 FINAL
Dallas 90
Chicago 113 FINAL
Golden State 111
Washington 98 FINAL
LA Lakers 92
NY Rangers 1 FINAL
NY Islanders 4
Arizona 3 FINAL(SO)
Philadelphia 4
Winnipeg 3 FINAL
Pittsburgh 5
Washington 3 FINAL
Columbus 4
Tampa Bay 2 FINAL
Carolina 4
Dallas 2 FINAL
Montreal 3
Detroit 5 FINAL
Florida 4
Colorado 3 FINAL(OT)
Nashville 4
Buffalo 1 FINAL
Calgary 4
Minnesota 2 FINAL
Edmonton 1
Anaheim 4 FINAL
Vancouver 0
Ball State 47 FINAL
Akron 59
Northern Ill 46 FINAL
Bowling Green 56
Western Mich 71 FINAL
Buffalo 77
Ohio 40 FINAL
Eastern Mich 76
Xavier 66 FINAL
Georgetown 53
Vanderbilt 62 FINAL
Georgia 70
West Virginia 65 FINAL
Kansas State 59
Central Mich 53 FINAL
Kent State 63
Saint Josephs 48 FINAL
La Salle 53
Nebraska 44 FINAL
Michigan 58
Miami-Ohio 65 FINAL
Toledo 70
Tulsa 62 FINAL
Tulane 55
George Washington 48 FINAL
VA Commonwealth 72
Pittsburgh 67 FINAL
Virginia Tech 70
Indiana State 78 FINAL
Evansville 89
Tabor College 53 FINAL
Oral Roberts 94
Florida 52 FINAL
Alabama 50
Tennessee 64 FINAL
Arkansas 69
Texas A&M 71 FINAL
Auburn 61
Baylor 53 FINAL
Oklahoma State 64
DePaul 0 Postponed
Providence 0
Michigan State 0 Postponed
Rutgers 0
Wyoming 44 FINAL
Utah State 56
Fresno State 47 FINAL
San Diego St 58
UNLV 67 FINAL
Nevada 62
SD Christian 54 FINAL
CS-Bakersfield 79
Colorado State 78 FINAL
Boise State 82
Temple 71 FINAL
UCF 54
Campbell 42 FINAL
Presbyterian 51
Coastal Carolina 65 FINAL
High Point 73
Gardner-Webb 49 FINAL
Radford 59
UNC-Asheville 58 FINAL
Liberty 62
Winthrop 63 FINAL
Longwood 62
Columbia International 33 FINAL
Charleston Southern 74
Tulane 63 FINAL
Houston 46
(3) Baylor 89 FINAL
TCU 67
Navy 49 FINAL
American Univ 59
Valparaiso 42 FINAL
Illinois-Chicago 60
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: Do you favor the plan for expanded athletic facilities at the U of M?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close