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Leidner has 'it' factor; Gophers announce practice schedule

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Don't expect any big changes to the Gopher football team's offensive philosophy this fall. Head coach Jerry Kill and offensive coordinator Matt Limegrover still plan on running the ball a lot, even though quarterback Mitch Leidner has taken a big step since last fall.

In an interview with Big Ten Network on Monday, Limegrover praised Leidner for having the trait all quality quarterbacks have - the "it" factor.

"It really has been fun to watch Mitch take off," Limegrover said. "You feel excited about the leadership at the position. There is an “it” factor to being a quarterback. Mitch has got that. The road will be rocky at times, he’s still going through development. But we have established an offensive identity. We aren’t gonna fool anybody—we are gonna run the football. That will allow Mitch to not have to win games week in and week."

The pressure won't fall directly on Leidner's shoulders to win games, which might be a good thing even if Limegrover thinks the world of him. Minnesota's passing offense ranked 115th in the country last season, and this year's group of wide receivers will again be inexperienced.

"We have a young receiving crew, which makes it a little tougher on your quarterback," Limegrover admitted. "Four of our top five receivers are probably gonna be true sophomores or true freshmen. But we feel like we can run the ball and not have to throw it 45 times to win."

Golden Gopher football returns to the gridiron August 28 with the season/home opener at TCF Bank Stadium versus Eastern Illinois.

The Gophers announced today the preseason practice schedule, which runs August 1-26. The Star Tribune has the full practice schedule.

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