May you live in interesting times.
This ultimate fortune cookie curse may as well be a tagline for Minnesota football in 2016. Whatever else this season may turn out to be, it has certainly been interesting.
The big news of the season should have been Minnesota’s hot 5-0 start. Instead, the Gophers are now 0-2 in the Big Ten, Mitch Leidner won’t be playing against Maryland, and the only hot things around the program are all the #HOTTAEKS.
Here’s a quick recap of what we know so far:
— Mitch Leidner is listed as out for the Maryland game with an apparent concussion he may have received after a hit in the Iowa game. Conor Rhoda, a former walk-on from Cretin-Derham Hall is officially QB2 on the depth chart and should get the nod against the Terrapins (Joe Christensen, Minneapolis Star Tribune).
— More from Joe C: It’s not clear what Tracy Claeys knew prior to his press conference yesterday. Claeys did clarify that Leidner was administered the recommended concussion protocol when he came out of the game against Iowa, in accordance with the school’s Concussion Management Plan. Under this plan, Leidner will have to be monitored and cannot return to practice or competition until his symptoms decline to a baseline level and he can pass a cognitive test. That means there’s still a small possibility he might be back in action on Saturday.
— Many people are concerned about Rhoda in a road game (er, terrible pun not entirely unintended). But Drew Wolitarsky is not one of those people. Expressing confidence in Rhoda’s abilities, the receiver noted that Rhoda likes to “sling the rock.” (VIDEO)
— Rhoda should get some help against Maryland, as Brandon Lingen will be back on the field along with receiver Rashad Still. Antoine Winfield, Jr. will also be returning.
— In more news of the not-great variety, offensive tackle Jonah Pirsig will be out for two or three weeks due to a high ankle sprain he sustained in the Iowa game. With Pirsig out, the offensive line will experience some personnel rotations. Garrison Wright will move from left tackle to right tackle, and Donnell Greene will play on the left now (Andy Greder, St. Paul Pioneer Press).
— Maryland has its own concerns. Linebacker Isaiah Davis has been suspended after late hit on Penn State kicker Joey Julius last week. Terps’ head coach DJ Durkin was not pleased with Davis after the game, nothing “that is not our program. We will not do that.”
— Running back Trey Edmunds is also out for Saturday, although for the more prosaic reason of a foot fracture from practice. Edmunds, a senior, has 26 carries for 158 yards and a touchdown so far this season, along with a score off a blocked punt. It shouldn’t be too much of a loss for the Terps though, as Lorenzo Harrison and Ty Johnson are the team’s current rushing leaders (Don Markus, Baltimore Sun).
— Quarterback Perry Hills is also not 100% healthy. He suffered a shoulder injury and missed the entire second half in Maryland’s loss to Penn State. He’s reported as day-to-day, but Durkin expects Hills to be back for the game against Minnesota.
A final thought on this chilly Wednesday morning: you can check out any time you like, but you can never leave.