Despite injury, Leidner may play Saturday

Mitch Leidner injured his left knee in last week’s game, and Nick Rallis is out for the season

Minnesotas Mitch Leidner runs the ball against Middle Tennessee on Saturday at TCF Bank Stadium.

Amanda Snyder

Minnesota’s Mitch Leidner runs the ball against Middle Tennessee on Saturday at TCF Bank Stadium.

Jack Satzinger

Despite injuring his left knee in Saturday’s victory over Middle Tennessee State, redshirt sophomore quarterback Mitch Leidner might play this weekend against Texas Christian University.

Gophers head coach Jerry Kill said Leidner “moved around” on Sunday and that he would practice Tuesday.

“He’s a tough son of a gun, and that’s straight-up,” Kill said.

Leidner’s teammates and other coaches reiterated Kill’s sentiments when asked about his status. Redshirt sophomore tight end Maxx Williams said there’s “no doubt” in his mind Leidner will play. Offensive coordinator Matt Limegrover said his gut told him Leidner would suit up.

“We’re in there preparing right now for practice and expect to be at full force,” Limegrover said.

While the prospect of Leidner playing is promising for Minnesota, the Gophers have to be careful he doesn’t exacerbate his knee on the field.

With that in mind, the team is also prepping backup quarterback Chris Streveler in case he needs to play.

“We certainly won’t wear [Leidner] out today. [It] wouldn’t be very smart. We’ll give Chris Streveler a lot of reps,” Kill said. “I can’t guarantee anything, but I can guarantee you that he’s going to practice today and that will help us determine some things.”

While Leidner came into the 2014 season as Minnesota’s undisputed No. 1 quarterback, he’s been shaky in his first two games. The Lakeville, Minn., native said he was nervous in the home opener, but he gained momentum as the game wore on to complete nine of 17 passes for 144 yards.

Last Saturday, he was even worse; he was uncharacteristically overthrowing receivers. Leidner finished with just 67 yards passing, converting five of 11 attempts for one touchdown and one interception before going down.

Streveler came into the game and didn’t attempt a single pass, instead opting to hand the ball off to Minnesota’s talented running backs.

Streveler replaced Leidner in the season opener as well, only after the 42-20 victory over Eastern Illinois was well in hand. He attempted one pass.

“He’s a very confident kid. Been successful in everything he’s done,” Limegrover said of Streveler.

Rallis out for season

While Leidner’s availability for Saturday’s game isn’t set in stone, one thing is for certain — Nick Rallis is out for the season with a knee injury.

The redshirt sophomore linebacker was arguably Minnesota’s most experienced backup behind starters Damien Wilson, De’Vondre Campbell and Jack Lynn.

“We pulled a redshirt off Everett [Williams], and he’s got to step up. That’s really all you do,” Kill said.