Gophers quarterbacks tested in spring practice

Spring is always time of growth and the Minnesota Gophers are starting to see that in camp.

“I think we’re a more mature team,” Gophers safety Antoine Winfield Jr. said. “We were young last year and it was a new culture, and I feel like right now we are way more advanced than where we were last year.”

Progress also pertains to a position that is drawing the most interest too: quarterback. The Gophers are continuing their search for a new QB as spring reaches a halfway point.

“I would say all of [the quarterbacks] look very good,” Gophers wide receiver Tyler Johnson said. “I like the way they all throw the ball. I feel like they’re going to get confident because they are learning.”

It’s a position battle that continues to get more and more interesting with things kicking up a notch on Tuesday. P.J. Fleck put the QBs in a two-minute drill situation for the first time with mixed results.

“Sometimes that stage is too big for somebody at this point and sometimes it’s not,” Fleck said. “It was definitely a chance for them to improve.”

Tanner Morgan is getting most of the starter snaps with Vic Viramontes right behind him in the rotation, and true freshman Zach Annexstad is also standing out for the starting job. Standing at 6’3” Annexstad looks the part and is starting to play it too, per his head coach.

“I think he was maybe one of the best ones today in terms of the two-minute [drill],” Fleck said of the true freshman QB. “He looked like he had been out there for five years. Nothing rattles him, nothing is too big for that young man.”

New quarterbacks are in the fight, but one QB appears to be moving positions.

Seth Green transitioned to tight end for the first time in Tuesday’s practice. It’s a different role, but one that could pay off for both player and team.

“He’s a natural athlete,” Fleck said about Green’s ability. “It was his first day [playing tight end] and it looked like he’s been doing it the whole time.”  

Things are starting to change for everyone on the Gophers roster though, as spring football hits a new gear with more game-like practices.

“There are so many installs from practice one to practice seven and now you’re starting to get into more situational football,” Fleck said. “Every situation is emphasized and it is done through a game type situation.”