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Updated: October 2nd, 2013 11:43pm
Will Nelson and Leidner both play against Michigan? Kill isn't saying

Will Nelson and Leidner both play against Michigan? Kill isn't saying

by Nate Sandell
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MINNEAPOLIS -- When it comes to his quarterbacks, Minnesota Gophers coach Jerry Kill has chosen his words carefully.

And Kill is staying especially tight-lipped about whether or not he plans on using two quarterbacks in the Gophers' visit to No. 19-ranked Michigan on Saturday.

"We're not going to say one way or the other, because we don't need everybody else to know," Kill said with soft laugh after practice on Wednesday.

A steady flow of quarterback questions have kept coming at Kill since he opted to stick with sophomore starter Philip Nelson throughout the Gophers' stinging Big Ten opening loss to Iowa, keeping redshirt freshman backup Mitch Leidner on the sidelines.

Freshly recovered from a hamstring injury, Nelson made his return, somewhat unexpectedly, last Saturday after missing the Gophers' nonconference finale against San Jose State. It turned out to be a highly frustrating outing for both Nelson and the offense, unable to produce more than seven points against Iowa's stingy defense.

Magnified by the offense's obvious struggles in a key rivalry game, Kill has endured criticism from portions of the Gophers' fan base and media alike for his decision not to put Leidner in for at least a series when the offense continued to stumble.

But Kill has urged patience in regards to his quarterbacks, careful not to unnecessarily disrupt the balance and depth the Gophers are trying to cultivate with Nelson and Leidner. While reiterating Nelson's status as the Gophers' primary starter, Kill has noted his intention to openly use both quarterbacks.

How that will play out, and in what form, remains to be seen, which for now, is the way Kill likes it.

"Everybody talks about the quarterback position," Kill said. "In our situation, we went through two of them last year, so we're glad we have two of them that are capable of playing ... We feel like that's good. If we use both of them or one, sometimes the game dictates what you do or what kind of rhythm you get in."

Nate Sandell is a contributor to
Email Nate | @nsandell