Two QBs? Nothin’ new
The Conor Rhoda-Demry Croft rotation certainly won’t be the first two-headed quarterback approach in Gophers history. Between Adam Weber’s senior season (2010) and Mitch Leidner’s sophomore season (2014), Jerry Kill and the Gophers deployed a QB rotation often:
2011: MarQueis Gray, Max Shortell
In Kill’s first season, Gray ultimately become the Gophers go-to quaterback. But in opening losses to USC and New Mexico State and throughout the first half of the season, both QBs took turns trying to get the Gophers’ offense off the ground, with neither gaining traction. The QB rotation shouldered a good share of the blame for the 3-9 season.
2012: Gray, Shortell, Philip Nelson
Gray started the first three games, Shortell took over, the two shared playing time for a month and then Nelson, a freshman, was summoned to the starting lineup by Kill. Nelson started his first game in Madison in Game 7 (a 38-13 Gophers loss) and took most of the snaps the rest of the 6-7 season.
2013: Nelson-Mitch Leidner
Nelson began the season as the starter, but a Week 3 hamstring injury opened the door for Leidner, who finished one nonconference victory and led another. Nelson returned and led victories over Nebraska, Penn State and others, but as he sputtered down the stretch Leidner saw more action. In the Texas Bowl, Leidner relieved Nelson and threw two fourth-quarter TDs in the close loss to Syracuse, signaling that he could be the main man in 2014. Nelson would announce his transfer less than a month after the 8-5 season.