Mitch Leidner will be the starting quarterback for the Gophers when they open the season in just one week, but it looks like the battle for the backup quarterback spot could be coming down to a pair of freshmen.
According to the Pioneer Press, redshirt freshman Jacques Perra and true freshman Demry Croft are competing for the job to be Leidner's primary replacement, and both appear to be playing well, according to Gophers coach Jerry Kill.
"Jacques Perra has done a good job; (Croft) has done a good job," Kill told the newspaper. "We are still working (Chris) Streveler there some."
Streveler, who was Minnesota's backup last year, has also been working at other positions including tight end and H-back.
Importance of quarterback play for Gophers
The Gophers' success – or struggles – may very well hinge on quarterback play.
Minnesota lost some key weapons after last season as leading rusher David Cobb and leading pass catcher Maxx Williams are both in the NFL. That will leave a lot of pressure on Leidner as he enters his junior season.
Gopher Digest blogger Ryan Burns calls quarterback the single most important position for the Gophers this season.
"Minnesota's defense is going to be the best that they've had in a long time and it's going to come down to whether this Minnesota offense can move the ball through the air or not," said Burns.
Last year Leidner threw for 1,798 yards and 11 touchdowns to go with eight interceptions. But he also ran for another 452 yards and 10 touchdowns.
The one drawback on Leidner was his completion percentage – he connected on just 51 percent of his passes last year.
"Mitch Leidner needs to bump up his completion percentage from 51 percent last year to 58-60 percent," said Burns. "If he can the sky is the limit for Minnesota this season."
He'll have a tough test right out of the gate. The Gophers play against one of the top teams in the country in TCU.