An improved Nelson gives Gophers a shot

The Minnesota Gophers football team is going to need the Philip Nelson who showed up for Saturday's intra-squad scrimmage, to be the one who continually surfaces this coming season.

Nelson, a sophomore quarterback from Mankato West, had his moments a year ago as he started the second half of the season as a true freshman. But he had far more performances where he didn't connect with his receivers, leaving the Gophers' offense punchless.

Nelson seems to have the "it" factor. He carries himself with confidence, is smart and a solid athlete. He showed all of that good stuff in Saturday's scrimmage, connecting on his first six passes, including a touchdown strike.

If Nelson can upgrade his game considerably from a year ago — and he has a shot — then this team also has a shot to be considerably improved.

— Pat Ruff

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