The Free Press, Mankato, MN

Sports

August 3, 2013

With year's experience, Nelson battling to be Gophers' QB

Nelson welcomes competition at quarterback spot

MINNEAPOLIS — Philip Nelson faked to the running back, rolled to his right and found the receiver streaking down the middle.

For anyone who's followed Mankato West football the last five years, you've seen that play many, many times from No. 9.

But Nelson is bigger and stronger, with a little more zip on the pass. Now working with the starters at the University of Minnesota's first football practice, Nelson looks different, and it has nothing to do with a few days' growth on a starter beard.

"Experience is the big factor," Nelson said, just finishing off a two-hour practice at the Gophers' facility. "I have more knowledge and more confidence."

For the first time since his sophomore season at West, Nelson is competing to be the team's starting quarterback. There are five quarterbacks on the Gophers' roster, and he's the only one that's not a freshman, having played in seven games last season after losing his redshirt.

"You can see the experience," offensive coordinator Matt Limegrover said. "If we tried to do last year what we did today, it would be chaos."

Though Nelson is the incumbent, he's been guaranteed nothing. His seven games last season were marked with some brilliant play, but as with any true freshman, there was inconsistency.

He passed for 873 yards and eight touchdowns, which is the third most ever by a Gophers freshman quarterback, and his 1,057 yards of total offense led the team. He was the first Gophers player to ever be named the freshman of the week by the Big Ten, after beating Purdue with 246 yards passing and three touchdowns.

However, he also had three games where he passed for less than 100 yards, and threw eight interceptions.

"You have to take care of the ball and make the right decisions," he said. "I need to work on it and be a good leader."

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Sports

Outdoors
Latest auto racing news
Featured Ads
Shane Frederick's Twitter updates
Chad Courrier's Sports Report
Latest NCAA basketball news
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
NDN Video
Meet Johnny Manziel's New Girlfriend NBA playoff preview: Memphis Grizzlies vs. Oklahoma City Thunder NBA Eastern Conference playoff preview Can Malik Zaire Win the QB Job At Notre Dame? Boise State's Past Points To A Promising Future NFL Draft 2014 Team Needs - Seattle Seahawks NBA playoff previews: Golden State Warriors vs. Los Angeles Clippers Mike Tyson throws out first pitch at PNC Park Jabari Parker declares for the NBA draft NHL playoff preview: New York Rangers vs. Philadelphia Flyers NFL Draft 2014 Team Needs - Philadelphia Eagles Boomer: Chris Johnson signing will work for Jets NHL playoff preview: Los Angeles Kings vs. San Jose Sharks NFL Draft 2014 Team Needs - New England Patriots NFL Draft 2014 Team Needs - Washington Redskins NFL Draft 2014 Team Needs - New Orleans Saints NHL playoff preview: Boston Bruins vs. Detroit Red Wings NHL playoff preview: Tampa Bay Lightning vs. Montreal Canadiens NFL Draft 2014 Team Needs - Dallas Cowboys NHL playoff preview: Pittsburgh Penguins vs. Columbus Blue Jackets