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Updated: October 23rd, 2013 11:36pm
Gophers still waiting to name starting QB for match-up with Nebraska

Gophers still waiting to name starting QB for match-up with Nebraska

by Nate Sandell
Email | Twitter

A week with at least some uncertainty surrounding their starting quarterback is becoming the norm for the Minnesota Gophers.

The Gophers have put off making their final decision on whether Philip Nelson or Mitch Leidner will get the start Saturday against Nebraska in a key Big Ten Legends division match-up.

Leidner's status has been questionable this week as he has battled an illness and is on medication. But the redshirt freshman, who has started two straight games for the Gophers, was able to take a few reps Tuesday and practiced again Wednesday.

Acting head coach Tracy Claeys said after Wednesday's practice he plans on naming his starter Thursday, but reiterated that both quarterbacks will play Saturday.

Leidner started last weekend at Northwestern, but Nelson made an appearance after the offense struggled early on. With Nelson at the helm, the Gophers awoke to put together upset victory over the Wildcats that has in turn revitalized Minnesota's season (5-2, 1-2 in the Big Ten).

Ultimately, the two quarterbacks have very similar styles, which makes the transition from one to the other less dramatic. It may come down to, as Claeys hinted at earlier in the week, going with the "hot hand." That would make Nelson appear to be the likely choice.

"Both are going to play ... But the one thing I can tell you we're not going to do is we're not going to get into alternating series. I just do not believe in that," Claeys said Sunday. "I think you play the guy who gives you the best opportunity to win."


Head coach Jerry Kill made an appearance at practice. Kill, on indefinite leave as he deals with treatment for epilepsy, has been around the team periodically throughout the week in largely an observational role.

Kill was in good spirits, joking with reporters as he left the practice field that it "feels good to be an assistant."

Kill won't coach against Nebraska, but he is expected to watch the game from the coaches' box at TCF Bank Stadium.

Nate Sandell is a contributor to
Email Nate | @nsandell