Mitch Leidner stayed awake into the wee hours last Friday morning, dissecting video of the previous night's loss to TCU.
By the time the junior met with Gophers quarterbacks coach Jim Zebrowski, Leidner came prepared with his own critique, along with a game plan for this Saturday's opponent, Colorado State.
"Coach Z said it was more of an interaction, rather than a coach talking, player listening, in the film session," offensive coordinator Matt Limegrover said. "Those are all signs of a guy maturing in all areas, and there were some things [Leidner] wasn't very happy with."
Leidner attempted a career-high 35 passes against TCU, completing 19. Coach Jerry Kill said Leidner missed "two or three critical throws," but the coach also counted five drops by Gophers receivers, along with several pass protection breakdowns.
"When he wasn't getting hit in the back, he threw the ball pretty well," Kill said.
One thing Leidner noticed on video was that he rushed his drop-back steps at times when under duress. He needs to remain consistent with that timing, he said, from every practice rep through the games.
"I thought I threw the football pretty well. I don't know about you guys [in the media]," said Leidner, who threw zero interceptions against a TCU team that averaged two picks per game last season. "I felt confident in my reads, and I thought my receivers did a good job as well."
Good kind of quiet
Gophers center Brian Bobek got his first start against TCU. The coaching staff considered it a quiet success.
"When you have a center who you don't have to talk about, that's a pretty great thing," Limegrover said. "As far as every snap was on the money, he didn't get beat big for a big sack or a big loss of yardage. He went in and did his job, and that's all I asked from him. I said, 'You don't have to win the Outland Trophy tonight.' "
Bobek missed the 2013 season because of a heart infection and most of last season with a strained medial collateral ligament in his knee.
"He's been through so much," Limegrover said. "I told him just go in there and play and have a little fun because it's been a long time coming."
Kill's history with CSU
The Gophers announced that they'd sold their 2,700-seat ticket allotment for this game at Colorado State. "Fort Collins is a great place," Kill said. "I almost had a job out there."
In 2007, Kill led Southern Illinois to a 12-2 finish. Paul Kowalczyk, the athletic director who hired him at Southern Illinois in 2001, had taken over as the AD at Colorado State. With the Rams looking to replace longtime coach Sonny Lubick, Kowalczyk tried luring Kill to join him again. But Northern Illinois, coming off a 2-10 season, swooped in and hired Kill that December. "Sonny Lubick, what he did there, he's a great man," Kill said.
On their official injury report, the Gophers listed tight ends Lincoln Plsek and Duke Anyanwu and wide receiver Isaiah Gentry as out, with safety Damarius Travis as questionable.
Kill said Wednesday that Plsek (back) and Anyanwu (knee) could miss the entire season, but Gentry (hamstring) could be ready for next week's game against Kent State. Travis injured a hamstring on a late-game punt block attempt against TCU.