Dear Mitch Leidner:
I am writing you today knowing full well I will be vilified in the comments, but that's ok because what I have to say has to be said by someone. You yourself knows what it is like to be vilified. Gopher fans and media alike have tried solely pinning the shortcomings of this season on your broad shoulders. Never mind the fact you were playing behind a makeshift offensive line and throwing to receivers who were/are trying to figure out how to play at the collegiate level.
Mitch, if I am going to be completely honest with you, I have defended you when I have felt the criticism was unwarranted. For example, the TCU game. However, I have also criticized you when I felt it was warranted. For example, the Northwestern loss, but I have a feeling you'd be the first to raise your hand and say you didn't play well that game. I will also take this stand going forward. Play well, I'll defend you, play poorly, I'll criticize. Sound fair?
Sorry, I tend to go off on tangents. The reason I am writing you today is to apologize to you on behalf of the state of Minnesota. You haven't always been treated in the fairest or in the nicest of ways. It's one thing to criticize your play, it's another to have some of the personal shots you've had to endure. It's easy for people to throw darts but for some reason it is more difficult to offer praise. Ultimately that is why I am writing. You deserve credit when you have played a great game.
The Mitch Leidner that has played the past three games has been the Mitch Leidner I expected to see coming into the season. You have played arguably the three best games of your career. Unfortunately two of them resulted in losses due to no fault of your own. At one point in the Nebraska game you were 16 of 17 passing, but the defense didn't show and the team loss. That is not on you, even though I still saw some saying you should be benched, which made no sense to me. You cannot have that loss pinned on you. You played a great game.
I would like to discuss the Michigan loss with you. I cannot imagine how difficult of a week it must have been for you and your teammates. It doesn't take much to see how much Jerry Kill meant to you as a coach. The man gave you the opportunity to play college football. He stuck with you through thick and thin. He gave your brother the chance to play college football. He clearly has had a massive influence on your life and will continue to as a friend/mentor.
When you came out waving the Jerrysota flag, it was obvious you meant business and your play showed it. You willed your team to within a half yard of beating the #15 ranked team in the country. As a fan, I couldn't be more proud of how you played. The end result wasn't the end result we were all looking for, but you played like a big time quarterback should play like. You put your team on your shoulders against the #1 ranked defense in the country and said let's go win this thing. And you all but did. There will be a lot of debate over the final sequence of plays but you know what, I'm cool with it. Cut out all the bullshit of the debate and it comes down to the fact you came up half yard short. Shit happens. You have nothing to hang your head about. You did right by Jerry Kill, your teammates and the state of Minnesota. Thank you for giving us everything you had in this game.
One final thought before I let you go; bottle the way you have played the past three games. Keep playing this way, continue to build on it and you will win more games than you lose.
Let's take our Stroll Through Twitterland. The main hashtags for this game were:
This says it all. Classy, classy move and speaks volumes...
Video tribute to Jerry.
Chris Long (@ChrisLongKSTP) October 31, 2015
The team unveils an alternate uniform. Thoughts on them?
See open letter above for my thoughts on this...
Leidner's career-high 317 yards passing made him the first #Gophers QB to have consecutive 300-yard passing games since Cory Sauter in 1995.— Marcus R. Fuller (@GophersNow) November 1, 2015
You speak the truth @Mr.Thorman
Proud of our players. Damn proud. #SkiUMah— Mr.Thorman (@MrThorman) November 1, 2015
Congratulations. This one will be talked about for a long time.
All that said though, I'll let you be the judge. I know what my thoughts are...
Encroachment or nah? pic.twitter.com/bE4UVRFyYF— Michael Citro (@11W_Michael) November 1, 2015
This is why we have a love/hate relationship with sports.
What if Wolitaraky had just kept his knee up? Life is pain. Have a good night.— Kristen McCune (@InAWomansWorld) November 1, 2015
Couldn't have said it any better.
The sun rose today! I love Gopher Football!— Ryan Priola (@ChiSotaGuy) November 1, 2015
What were your favorite tweets this week? Thoughts on the final sequence? Have you made your peace with the final sequence? Are you proud of how the team played?