AP NEWS

Mike Zim, er, Tracy Claeys mum on Gophers QB depth chart

August 22, 2016 GMT

Mitch Leidner is the undisputed starting quarterback for the Gophers, but the backup spot remains a question nine days before the season opener.

When Big Ten Network visited for Saturday’s scrimmage, studio host Dave Revsine tweeted, “Looks like [Conor] Rhoda may be ahead of Demry Croft in the battle to back up Mitch Leidner for Gophers.”

Asked about that comment Monday, Gophers coach Tracy Claeys said, “I guess you have to decide whether to believe them or not. … As they say, beauty is in the eyes of the beholder.”

Earlier in camp, the QB rotation usually went: Leidner, Croft and Rhoda, followed by true freshmen Seth Green and Mark Williams.

Claeys planned to give the players a depth chart Tuesday, giving them time to digest their roles before installing the game plan for the Sept. 1 opener against Oregon State.

Claeys said he’s “torn” about the backup spot.

“Obviously Mitch is ahead of everybody else,” he said. “So now you’ve got to decide if you get into an injury situation who gives you the best opportunity to win. And for the first game, you make that decision based off what you’ve seen so far.

“We’re going to release a depth chart, but a true one will probably be decided after this week to see how those other guys handle the game plan that they put in.”

Etc.

• Claeys didn’t rule out Shannon Brooks (broken foot) for the opener against Oregon State, but it would be surprising if Brooks played.

• Claeys said freshman wide receiver Tyler Johnson will “definitely be a part of what we’re doing this fall.” Claeys said the Minneapolis North graduate, a QB in high school, added weight and strength this summer. Claeys said Johnson’s AAU basketball experience has “given him a mentality of competing against older kids. So it didn’t faze him. … Tremendous hands, and he can jump and come up with the ball.”