Camp Blog Day 3: Looking at the Quarterback Position

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Throughout the course of fall camp, the Camp Blog will endeavor to look at each position group on the Gopher squad. We'll kick off with the quarterbacks.

While it's only Day 3 of camp, head coach Jerry Kill has already identified quarterback as one of the question marks for the Gophers. It isn't hard to see who the clear-cut front-runner for the No. 1 signal-caller job is - junior Marqueis Gray is poised to take hold of the reins of Matt Limegrover's offense.

"(MarQueis) is an amazing story,"head coach Jerry Kill said after practice Wednesday. More of that quote in a moment.

But there are even a few question marks when it comes to Gray, according to his head coach. He hasn't been a full-time starting quarterback since high school and Kill wants to see how his guy handles live, game action in a hostile environment.

The rest of Kill's comment after he called Gray an amazing story came after a brief pause ... "if he continues to go through the growth spurt. You've got to play on Saturday's before you evaluate anybody. We don't get preseason games like the National Football League. Our preseason is ... we gotta go to USC. Until he gets game experience, he'll learn and he'll have to be patient. He's gotta continue to progress."

Where it sounds like Coach Kill may have to be patient is when it comes to figuring out who will play behind Gray.

"We've got to find somebody that's going to be a good, solid backup ... a guy that can push him ..." Kill said. "That's why we're in camp. I don't know if we have any depth. We've got a lot of work to do in that area. That's one of the biggest concerns we have on our football team right now is the depth at quarterback. Numbers are deceiving. We've got to find somebody who's going to step up and play."

While Gray may be the leading candidate for the job of starting quarterback, he's not exactly counting his chickens.

"Any starting quarterback ... nobody's job is safe," Gray said. "I can mess up one game and Coach Kill might feel a certain way and put (freshman) Max (Shortell) in. I have to train every day and come out and compete every day like it's my last time playing. Competing makes everyone better."

Competing behind Gray are the aforementioned Shortell, red-shirt freshman Tom Parish, sophomore Moses Alipate, freshman Dexter Foreman and junior Adam Lueck.

While it has yet to be seen who will climb the quarterback depth chart enough to see the field, Coach Kill does know who he considers one of the most valuable players on the team.

""Nobody ever talks about Adam Lueck," Kill told the media recently. "Nobody ever talks about that kid. With the quarterbacks, he's like a coach out there. He knows our offense better than all the quarterbacks we have right now. He's made all our quarterbacks better. He's a story. Because he's an unselfish kid, a walk-on player, who is like having an extra coach on the field. He understands his role. Special kid."

>The Gophers put shoulder pads on for the first time Wednesday.
>One of the highlights of the day for the fans in attendance was a session of board drills early on in the practice. Board drills are one-on-one, man-on-man contests where players of similar size from the offense and defense work against one another to see who can get the upper hand.
> Thursday's practice will once again run from 3:45 p.m. until roughly 6 p.m. It will once again be open to the public.
>Thursday is Day 4 of the NCAA-mandated acclimation period, meaning the Gophers will be in shoulder pads and helmets once again. Full pads will be broken out on Friday.

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