Projected Starter: After leading the Minnesota offense for 3 years as the starting QB, redshirt senior Adam Weber was battling highly touted sophomore MarQueis Gray throughout spring practice, to remain the starting signal caller for the Golden Gopher attack. Weber's experience, leadership and maturity helped him edge out Gray to retain his position under center for the 2010 season. Weber, who failed to improve upon his extraordinary sophomore campaign which earned him second team All-Big Ten honors, completed only 52% of his passes and threw more interceptions (15) than touchdowns (13). While he struggled to transition last season to a new pro-style offensive system, after playing his previous two seasons in a shotgun oriented spread offense, expect Weber to decrease his turnovers, improve his efficiency, and make better decisions this upcoming season, after spending a year immersed in the new scheme.
Projected Top Reserves: Sophomore MarQueis Gray played in all 13 games last season where he not only lined up at QB, but in certain packages played WR. He accounted for 397 total yards of offense and 2 touchdowns throwing, running, and catching the football. Gray, who was recruited to run the spread offense, is an incredible athlete who is more adept at running during this point in his career and must become more comfortable dropping back from under center. While he continues to refine his passing skills, the Golden Gopher coaches will devise creative ways to get the 6-foot-4 222-pound Gray on the field in situations where his athleticism can generate mismatches and ignite big plays.
Moses Alipate, the 6-foot-5 230-pound redshirt freshman possesses impressive athleticism and displays the arm strength and touch to deliver accurate intermediate and deep passes. He needs to tighten up his mechanics and footwork to improve his consistency passing the ball, but with another year to develop he should challenge Gray for the starting spot next season.
Incoming Freshman: Minnesota landed two quarterbacks for the 2010 class, Tom Parish and J.D. Pride. Parish, the more heralded of the two, stands roughly 6-foot-4 and weighs 200 pounds. He doesn't possess the strongest arm, but can pick apart a defense with his accuracy. Parish played in a pro-style offense in high school, so he is comfortable dropping back from under center which should help his transition into the Golden Gopher offense. He displays good field vision and is athletic enough to extend plays with his legs if the pocket collapses.
Pride is an athlete playing quarterback who has very raw passing skills. He is a project that will need a lot of development time. Expect both players to redshirt the 2010 season and don't be surprised if Pride switches positions to accelerate his path to playing time.
Gopher Football Preview: Quarterbacks
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