The Minnesota Golden Gophers will take on the Golden Gophers of Minnesota in a spring game showdown at noon on Saturday, April 14, at TCF Bank Stadium. Leading up to the game, we’ll be taking a look at the outlook for each position group.
Key Departure(s): Demry Croft and Conor Rhoda
Key Returner(s): Seth Green and Tanner Morgan
Early Enrollee(s): Zack Annexstad and Vic Viramontes
There is a reason that the best photo I could find for this post was of Tanner Morgan throwing during warm-ups prior to last season’s game against Michigan in Ann Arbor.
None of the quarterbacks on the roster have thrown a collegiate pass at Minnesota.
Gone are Demry Croft and Conor Rhoda. Rhoda has graduated after starting six games as a redshirt senior, and Croft opted to transfer to Tennessee State after taking over for Rhoda midway through the season and starting the Gophers’ final six games. Croft showed the most promise of the pair, but aside from a spirited comeback against Michigan State and running roughshod over a porous squad of Nebraska blackshirts, he struggled for the most part.
So for the second straight year, the Gophers will take the field in their season opener with a new starting quarterback under center. But who will it be?
The top candidates are redshirt freshman Tanner Morgan and redshirt sophomore Vic Viramontes. Morgan, having redshirted last season, is a bit of an unknown, while Viramontes has at least cut his teeth at the junior college level. His mobility is perfect for the RPO offense that offensive coordinator Kirk Ciarrocca wants to run, but he is far from a polished passer.
Redshirt sophomore Seth Green is competing right alongside Morgan and Viramontes this spring, but head coach P.J. Fleck has openly questioned whether Green will still be a quarterback by the end of his college career. He raves about his athleticism, but his accuracy and decision-making need work if he wants to remain under center.
True freshman Zack Annexstad is a name to remember. Barring disaster, he’ll redshirt this season, but from everything I’ve heard about him, he will quietly be making his presence known among the quarterbacks. I don’t know if he’ll ever see the field in his college career, but he is the kind of walk-on who will push the scholarship players in practice.
Next: Running Backs