Gophers hungry for another bowl game

The Gophers’ road to a fifth straight bowl game begins in 10 days in the wake of their Quick Lane Bowl win last season.

“I’ve been thinking about playing in that stadium again and just getting the opportunity to play the game I love,” said Gopher senior safety Damarious Travis. “We’ve been waiting since the bowl game!”

Instead of sneaking into bowl season with a 5-7 record like in 2015, this team wants to make a statement in the Big Ten west division.

“The teams that play well each week and do what they’re supposed to do, they’ll get what they deserve at the end of the season,” said Gophers head coach Tracy Claeys. 

Future success surrounds the production of key playmakers, and certainly goes for the Minnesota quarterback hoping for a bounce back season.

Mitch Leidner sat out of spring football practice following surgery on his left foot. He is now ready to help his Gophers team take the next step.

“It took almost 20 minutes to get my foot taped up every single day for practice, and that was pretty much to hold it together,” Leidner said about his foot injury in 2015. “Just to get away from that is really nice.”

Claeys says that the offense under new coordinator Jay Johnson requires the quarterback to take charge to get the team out of “bad plays,” but he also believes that Leidner is stepping up to that challenge.

“The quarterbacks have a lot more on their plate and [Leidner] has done a good job handling that,” Claeys said.

Fall camp is all about football, but a focus has been on the Gopher family too. Linebackers coach Mike Sherels was admitted to the hospital for an unexpected surgery recently, but has been released from the hospital according to Claeys.

“I don’t have an idea for a timeline [for Sherels’ return to the team], but it’s a hell of a lot better situation than it was,” Claeys said.