MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Demry Croft wasted no time making a good impression, firing a bomb on the very first play of the spring game and leading two touchdown drives on his first two possessions.

“I thought he did a tremendous job marching down the field multiple times,” coach P.J. Fleck said.

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It’s clear that Croft will push Conor Rhoda this fall in the battle to be the Gophers starting quarterback. He was 8-of-13 for 109 yards. Rhoda was 8-of-12 for 70, but did not lead a scoring drive. Both had their moments this afternoon, but showed inexperience and inefficiency at times too.

(credit: CBS)

“We’ve got a long way to go at quarterback, I know that,” Fleck said. “I’ve been around a kid that went 1-11, and then turned himself into a 13-0 and 13-1 starter with 33 touchdowns and 3 picks in Zach Terrell, it takes a long time. It takes the time to develop a quarterback. It’s not like hey, here’s the system, here’s a quarterback, wow, voila, here we go. We’ve got to continue to develop them.

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“They have made tremendous progress, in just 14 practices, with a brand new system, and so I was pleased, though. I’m proud of those kids.”

Fleck won’t name a starter until sometime in the fall. Plenty of time left to make a good impression.

“It makes me hungry, really. Because, there’s no complacency even if they named a starter today, or tomorrow,” Croft said. “There’s still no complacency. You still have to be hungry each and every day and get better.”

“It’s awesome having somebody like Demry with his skill level to be able to push me and vice versa,” Rhoda said. “And I think we both had areas up here this spring and areas down here, and this summer’s obviously going to be huge, as far as both of us developing our leadership within the whole team, getting our timing down, and just taking where we were now at the end of spring and making sure when August 1st comes, that we’re even higher than we are right now.”

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Because the Gophers will go as far as their quarterback will take them.