MINNEAPOLIS (AP) -

When Philip Nelson's hamstring strain forced him out of the game, Minnesota turned to redshirt freshman Mitch Leidner at quarterback.

Leidner started for the Gophers last week, too. He rushed for 151 yards and four touchdowns and tops the depth chart going into the Big Ten opener Saturday against Iowa.

Nelson, the sophomore who took over at midseason last year, has no guarantees of getting the job back.

This the way coach Jerry Kill and his staff have preferred to operate over their many years together. The same situation is in effect at running back. Junior Donnell Kirkwood, coming off a 926-yard season, sprained his ankle in the first game. Junior David Cobb and sophomore Rodrick Williams have taken over and thrived over the last three weeks.