Skip to main content

New leader: Leidner is Gophers' starting QB as spring practice begins

  • Author:
  • Updated:

Today's forecasted high temperature is 19 degrees and spring doesn't officially begin until March 20, but that isn't stopping the Golden Gophers football team from opening its spring practice schedule today.

The first of 15 spring practices will be held at the Gibson-Nagurski Football Complex at 4 p.m. today. Head coach Jerry Kill, for a fourth consecutive year, has made all 15 practices free and open to the public.

Fans and media members will have a close eye on redshirt sophomore quarterback Mitch Leidner. The starting job is Leidner's to lose since last year's No. 1 quarterback Philip Nelson decided to transfer to Rutgers last month. Nelson's departure afforded Leidner the opportunity to take over as the true leader of the offense.

"It is something I wanted to do right after the bowl game. It is something I have wanted to do for a long time, but is has been hard being in a two-quarterback system to really be that guy," Leidner told "But after the bowl game I said I wanted to come back and, “Be that guy,” and do everything I can."

Minnesota lost to Syracuse in the Texas Bowl, but they might have won if Leidner played the entire game. He took over for Nelson and nearly led Minnesota to a come-from-behind win with a pair of fourth-quarter touchdown passes.

Former Gophers quarterback Adam Weber, who worked out for NFL teams at the Gophers' Pro Day on Monday, thinks Leidner can become one of the best quarterbacks in the Big Ten. 

"It comes naturally to him to be 'the guy.'" Weber said in an interview with the Pioneer Press. "I really look for him to take what he's done (last season) and improve on it, polish his skills and become a dominant player in the Big Ten. He's definitely capable of it."

Next Up


Minnesota health officials warn monkeypox cases could grow rapidly

The state has so far confirmed only six cases of monkeypox virus.


Bodies of woman, three young children recovered from Vadnais Lake

Authorities say the bodies recovered were those of two boys, one girl and their mother.

Pixabay laptop keyboard phone dark

Charges: Duluth man had hundreds of child porn images, videos

The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children found nearly 330 images on the man's electronic devices.

hennepin county sheriff water patrol lake minnetonka

Scuba diver found dead in Lake Minnetonka identified as 20-year-old

The Hennepin County Medical Examiner's Office said 20-year-old Brady Alan Aune, from Elko New Market, died of freshwater drowning on June 3.

Screen Shot 2022-06-30 at 11.18.35 AM

Felony charges filed after authorities search 'Peacebunny Cottage'

The president of the rabbit rescue non-profit faces multiple animal cruelty charges after over 40 rabbits were found dead inside the organization's barn.

monkeypox virus

Minnesota up to 6 confirmed cases of monkeypox virus

Most people recover at home within 2-4 weeks.

thc edibles

Did Minnesota just accidentally legalize THC?

A Republican lawmaker who voted to approve the new law in May is already talking about rolling it back.

Screen Shot 2022-06-30 at 3.19.42 PM

Gasoline may be cause of sewer explosion on U of M campus

An all-clear was given around 9 p.m. Thursday, with residents in the area allowed to return to their homes.


Overwhelming demand for THC products on first day of new law in MN

One shop owner said his Chaska store broke the online sales record before they opened Friday morning.

Flickr - Lake Minnetonka boat - Greg Gjerdingen

Increased drunk boating enforcement over 4th of July weekend

The increased enforcement is part of the Operation Dry Water initiative.


Four kayakers stranded, rescued in Chisholm park

The kayakers became stranded at Redhead Mountain Bike Park Thursday afternoon.