Minnesota Golden Gophers quarterback MarQueis Gray suffered a high ankle sprain Saturday against Western Michigan, and he's expected to miss a month or so. In that time, could backup Max Shortell give reason for the coaching staff to question who deserves the snaps when Gray is healthy?
Or, as Star Tribune columnist Chip Scoggins is arguing, could Shortell force the question of who deserves more snaps.
The Gophers have two quarterbacks with two different skill sets. They have different strengths, different weaknesses, different personalities.
Gray is a better runner and athlete, Max Shortell is a better passer. The offense relies on both facets, and the coaching staff trusts them in different situations.
So why not use both to maximize that position? It's worth considering to see if a tag-team approach provides some benefits.
Scoggins is basing his argument on one game, one which Shortell entered in the second quarter, against a defense not prepared for his style of play. But still, the point has its merits. Gray has only thrown for 398 yards in nine full quarters of play, and Shortell seems to be much more comfortable in the passing game.
Whatever the split is — and Scoggins explicitly stated he's not calling for a 50-50 split — it's an idea. And it's one Minnesota will be forced to confront in one way or another as Shortell handles the job on his own until Gray's ankle heals.
The Golden Gophers host the Syracuse Orange at 7 p.m. CT Saturday.