By Mike Max

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — The Gophers are no different than the Vikings. Yes, they need everyone to play well.

But it really helps if your quarterback is good. Mitch Leidner is now a seasoned veteran preparing for another shot at TCU, motivated by the memories of a year ago.

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Leidner remembers it well, the nightmare afternoon at TCU last fall.

“Definitely. I think turnovers kill you there. But now going into this year I think we have a better idea of what’s going to happen, what to expect and we’ve prepared really hard,” Leidner said.

So he’s taken to some new training methods, like visualization.

“A big thing I think a lot of people talk about is visualization. You can play the game over in your head 100 times before the game and then you go out there and you kind of know what to expect. Your heart isn’t racing as fast because you know you can get it up on your own as well,” Leidner said.

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And he attended summer camp. Only this one was hosted by NFL quarterbacks Eli and Peyton Manning, for college quarterbacks only.

“Yeah it was good for me to be able to get with some other college quarterbacks and be able to talk and throw with those guys. And you know, learn from two of the best with Eli and Peyton as well so it was definitely a positive experience for me,” Leidner said.

And what he has become is the focal point, the leader. The one who has to perform at a certain level to make the machine run.

“He’s so much more comfortable in everything that he is doing and that’s a real positive for our entire offense,” Offensive Coordinator Matt Limegrover said. “Because I think that everybody knows as he goes, we’ll go as an offense.”

He’s proven he can, now he’s proving he can prepare for an important season.

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“I feel really good. Like I said about the preparation, you get here as early as you can every day and prepare and work hard, and I think that’s the biggest thing that’s helped me out so far,” Leidner said.

Mike Max