By Jordan Kruger - @Intern_Jordan
Minneapolis, MN - Minnesota Gopher quarterback Mitch Leidner has a different approach coming into spring camp, knowing he’ll be the guy under center in the fall.
After a continuous quarterback battle last season and Phillip Nelson transferring to Rutgers, Mitch Leidner now has a new leadership approach knowing that the offense is his. Leidner and Nelson split time all through last season, eventually leading the Leidner playing more than Nelson in the Texas Bowl. This is Leidner’s team now and that is how he approaches spring practices, leading by example.
“It just makes me really focused wanting to get better and keep pushing everybody else this spring, helping out the younger guys at quarterback getting better and more comfortable out here and just being more confident every single day,” Leidner said. “I mean there is like a little bit more breathing room you could say, but at the same time I still like competing as hard as I can every single day and doing everything I can out there just playing football because I love it.”
Leidner’s playing style has changed significantly since he was recruited to play at the University of Minnesota. Leidner was a pocket passer at Lakeville South high school, and he said that his style developed once he began workouts with the Gophers. “It changed when I graduated high school early and got here and started doing workouts and everything. I actually started getting faster and that helped me a lot.”
Leidner carried the ball 120 times last year in 10 games for the Gophers. Leidner knows change is inevitable though if he expects to be an every down college quarterback. “Now it’s a little bit different, I gotta be smarter because I want to keep playing for a long time and not get nagging injuries and what not.”
Leidner and the Gophers will compete in the spring game on April 12.