Gophers quarterback Mitch Leidner will be limited in spring practice, recovering from the foot surgery he has scheduled right after the Quick Lane Bowl, coach Tracy Claeys said Wednesday.
Leidner has been playing with an injured left foot this season but hasn’t missed a game and will be ready to face Central Michigan on Monday.
“It’s a matter of getting him healthy,” Claeys said. “Right now, he’s not healthy. He’s a great competitor, and we’ve limited his practices to make sure that he’s as full speed as he can be.
“His body feels as good as it has in a long time. So I think he’ll play well [in the bowl game], but then at the same time, he can’t make it through a full season with the foot injuries that he has now.”
Leidner has fought to keep practicing through several injuries in his Gophers career. But he’ll be a senior next fall, and the team wants him fully healthy.
With Leidner limited in the spring, Claeys noted that backup quarterback Demry Croft and newcomer Seth Green will both get chances to show what they can do.
“We’ll take time in the offseason and get [Leidner’s injuries] taken care of,” Claeys said. “So it’ll limit him in the spring, but by the time we get to the summer workouts, he should be in good shape.”
Coaching hires coming
Claeys said he’s close to hiring an offensive coordinator and an offensive line coach.
“I’m just not going to do anything right now to take away from the team and what we’re doing in the bowl game and that,” Claeys said. “After you identify someone, there’s certain things you’ve got to do at the university, by background checks and things like that. So shortly after the bowl we’ll have something to say about it.”
It doesn’t sound like Adam Weber will get promoted to quarterbacks coach at this point, but he’s still in the fold with the Gophers as a graduate assistant.
“You don’t have to sit and talk to him very long to realize he’s very sharp and kids relate to him very well,” Claeys said. “We’re very fortunate to have him here as a GA, and for him to have some more time here is definitely a plus for the University of Minnesota.”
For now, Weber has been helping tight ends coach Rob Reeves put together a game plan for the bowl game. Reeves will serve as offensive coordinator for the game.
“There’s a lot of experience in that room, and I think they’ve done a good job of putting together some things that our kids do well,” Claeys said. “That’s all I ask: Let’s do things our kids do well and give them a chance to be successful.”
• Defensive tackles Steven Richardson (calf) and Scott Ekpe (concussion) are listed as questionable on the injury report. Both have been practicing, and Claeys said he’s hopeful both can play.
• Cornerback Jalen Myrick (punctured lung) has been cleared to play for the first time since the Ohio State game on Nov. 7. This should help the Gophers against a Central Michigan team that has five players with at least 500 receiving yards.