Fleck needs to examine every facet of this program

BleedGopher

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Chip agrees with the GH tweet:

A season this underwhelming should compel Fleck to take a long, hard look at every facet of his program, starting with his own philosophical approach.


Go Gophers!!
 

short ornery norwegian

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I agree that Fleck has to examine every aspect of the program -
BUT
He has to conduct that examination with the clear understanding that MN is now in a very different situation than when Fleck was hired.

NIL
Transfer portal
18-team B1G with no divisions.

the circumstances have changed - and the program has to change to meet those new circumstances.

So, the $64,000 Question - is Fleck willing to change? Is he capable of Change?

My answer - probably not. I may be wrong - Fleck may surprise me. But he comes off to me as one stubborn SOB. and stubborn SOB's are typically not good at self-examination. take it from me - I went through drug and alcohol rehab 3 times before I was willing to admit that I had a problem.
 

MNVCGUY

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I agree that Fleck has to examine every aspect of the program -
BUT
He has to conduct that examination with the clear understanding that MN is now in a very different situation than when Fleck was hired.

NIL
Transfer portal
18-team B1G with no divisions.

the circumstances have changed - and the program has to change to meet those new circumstances.

So, the $64,000 Question - is Fleck willing to change? Is he capable of Change?

My answer - probably not. I may be wrong - Fleck may surprise me. But he comes off to me as one stubborn SOB. and stubborn SOB's are typically not good at self-examination. take it from me - I went through drug and alcohol rehab 3 times before I was willing to admit that I had a problem.
Here is the key though, failure to change may lead to him losing his job. That puts a whole different sense of urgency on things. He needs 2024 to be a bounce back year. If it isn’t he will find himself in danger of losing his job Or at the very least being on the hot seat.
 

Elevenseven

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The problem most every year has been the offense and to a lesser extent special teams. Low ceiling, low to middling floor.

The house (or boat) just might be on fire. Time to pull the plug on those coaches, approaches and start over from scratch and give the coordinators control. A house cleaning. Light a fire under enthusiasm, hope for the future. This regime looks lost and out of ideas. Perhaps time to do a walkabout, PJ.
Special units was the best unit this year by far. The offense and defense overall stunk. I thought the D-Line had all kinds of talent this year? They did not come close to making a QB pressure today. Was overrated the entire year.
 

GopherGod

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Relax. Next year will be better.

The team:
  • Athan will improve
  • The running backs will be healthier
  • The receivers will have a another year in the system
  • The LBs will be healthier
  • Harbaugh will understand how to do his job better.
The schedule
  • Minnesota starts the season with a four-game home stand
  • Minnesota's home opener against UNC won't feature Drake Maye. It will feature a first-time starter
  • Michigan will probably regress
  • USC will also have a first-time starter playing in Minneapolis
  • Fleck's entire coaching philosophy is designed to beat Chip Kelly @ UCLA
  • Minnesota has two bye weeks heading into two home games (Maryland and PSU)
This year was always going to be a down year. The Gophers will be better next year.
I’m pretty sure a lot of these same types of statements were made last offseason. Things like:
1. Athan will be so much better than Tanner and only improve.
2. Offense will improve without KC as offensive coordinator.

How did that work out
 


hello-world

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I’m pretty sure a lot of these same types of statements were made last offseason. Things like:
1. Athan will be so much better than Tanner and only improve.
2. Offense will improve without KC as offensive coordinator.

How did that work out
The difference is that intelligent people weren't saying those things.

All you have to believe for my "Gophers will be better" thesis is that they show up with basically the same team, because the schedule does get that much easier. If you believe that 19 y.o. kids learn things in a year of practice, then that's just bonus.

There was a strong contingent of people in here being super doom-and-gloomy last off-season. I'm not going to be exuberant about opportunities for next year, but this team will almost have to be better because they won't be playing the hardest schedule in the country with a Sophomore QB.
 

short ornery norwegian

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Oops - just thought of this:

as Fleck examines the program, he needs to look at the strength and conditioning program, the training staff and the medical staff. when a program has this many injuries, you have to examine what you are doing to see if there is any way to either prevent injuries, or improve the way that injuries are diagnosed and treated.
 

WorkingMyTailOff

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Quick story of Fleck's tenure:
  • 2017: Doesn't have a QB
  • 2018: Starts season with Annexstad and tries to roll with him until Tanner forces the issue with a ridiculous comeback win against Indiana
  • 2019: Plays easiest schedule in country, but executes successfully
  • 2020: COVID and hires awful offensive coordinator
  • 2021: Gets beat by BGSU in part because of aforementioned awful offensive coordinator, losses Mo in very first game
  • 2022: QB gets injured halfway through season; transitions to a Freshman that hasn't played an organized football game at any level since before COVID
  • 2023: Plays toughest schedule in country, gets beat up pretty bad with a Sophomore QB
If I had to bet, next season will be better. He's either gonna pull someone from the portal or Athan will improve. Either way, the hill that they are trying to climb is not so steep next year.
I would add 2017 - Doesn't have an Oline or DLine.
Anyone remember that darn game against MSU here when MSU ran the same power sweep all night and MN could not stop it? He has improved those key position groups (O and D line) since coming here.
 

hello-world

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I would add 2017 - Doesn't have an Oline or DLine.
Anyone remember that darn game against MSU here when MSU ran the same power sweep all night and MN could not stop it? He has improved those key position groups (O and D line) since coming here.
A game made even more frustrating my multiple weather delays in freezing cold rain.
 



WorkingMyTailOff

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A game made even more frustrating my multiple weather delays in freezing cold rain.
That's right. I just looked up that game and I had forgotten that Croft threw three 4th quarter TDs and making the score 30-27. We almost Northwesterned MSU in 2017.
 

swelna

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Fire Harbaugh and Simon. There are more competent wr coaches, QB coaches, and OCs out there. Wenger also needs to be canned, maybe the TE coach too cause spann-ford took a step back this year. Rossi needs to get things back in order next year. Secondary sucked this year and that needs to change.
 

Great Plains Gopher

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Jerry Palm's Bowl Projections has only one 5-7 team in a bowl: Mississippi State.
 




USAF

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The difference is that intelligent people weren't saying those things.

All you have to believe for my "Gophers will be better" thesis is that they show up with basically the same team, because the schedule does get that much easier. If you believe that 19 y.o. kids learn things in a year of practice, then that's just bonus.

There was a strong contingent of people in here being super doom-and-gloomy last off-season. I'm not going to be exuberant about opportunities for next year, but this team will almost have to be better because they won't be playing the hardest schedule in the country with a Sophomore QB.
Playing the hardest schedule in the country?
This is the high comedy that keeps GH a barrel of laughs.

BTW, AK better not be the QB next year
 


MGGopher

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The sentiment is spot on, and I truly hope there’s significant changes next year. I’m doubtful, both because we know PJ is super stubborn and believes in his system AND because we lack significant resources/NIL, but here’s my wishlist:
  1. Demote Wenger and hire a proven ST coach. Make Iowa your aspirational unit and work the next 5 years to even get close to them. Teams with average talent need to be excellent on ST and MN has been far below average.
  2. Pay Taylor and Evans whatever it takes to keep them. Go door to door selling cookie dough if you need to.
  3. Commit to mixing in more pace on O and practice it all offseason. It doesn’t have to be every drive - just mix in no huddle and hurry up 2 or 3 times a game at random times to catch teams off guard. Athan is bad, but I perceive him as being slightly better when they play with pace and he’s not asked to think as much.
  4. Add SPEED in the portal. I don’t care how polished they are if they’re fast. This team was slow compared to years past. They especially need a WR who can pop the top like Bateman did. When you pass as little as MN does, you need to connect on explosive pass plays at a higher clip than other teams.
  5. Add a QB in the portal who can push Athan and is a threat to run. We already have a 50% passer who can occasionally complete a deep ball, so why not have one who will also occasionally keep a zone read and scramble for 10+ yards multiple times per game.
  6. Play more athletic young players early in their careers — even if they take a few reps from a veteran and aren’t perfect in practice. Unless Hoskins literally cannot field a kick, he needs to be back there instead of Redding. Guys like Brockington last year and Evans this year only cracked the lineup due to mounting injuries, but once they played, it was clear they had a ton of juice. Let’s sprinkle some of those tremendous athletes in earlier and see if they rise to the occasion.
 
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Gopherchase

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The sentiment is spot on, and I truly hope there’s significant changes next year. I’m doubtful, both because we know PJ is super stubborn and believes in his system AND because we lack significant resources/NIL, but here’s my wishlist:
  1. Demote Wenger and hire a proven ST coach. Make Iowa your aspirational unit and work the next 5 years to even get close to them. Teams with average talent need to be excellent on ST and MN has been far below average.
  2. Pay Taylor and Evans whatever it takes to keep them. Go door to door selling cookie dough if you need to.
  3. Commit to mixing in more pace on O and practice it all offseason. It doesn’t have to be every drive - just mix in no huddle and hurry up 2 or 3 times a game at random times to catch teams off guard. Athan is bad, but I perceive him as being slightly better when they play with pace and he’s not asked to think as much.
  4. Add SPEED in the portal. I don’t care how polished they are if they’re fast. This team was slow compared to years past. They especially need a WR who can pop the top like Bateman did. When you pass as little as MN does, you need to connect on explosive pass plays at a higher clip than other teams.
  5. Add a QB in the portal who can push Athan and is a threat to run. We already have a 50% passer who can occasionally complete a deep ball, so why not have one who will also occasionally keep a zone read and scramble for 10+ yards multiple times per game.
  6. Play more athletic young players early in their careers — even if they take a few reps from a veteran and aren’t perfect in practice. Unless Hoskins literally cannot field a kick, he needs to be back there instead of Redding. Guys like Brockington last year and Evans this year only cracked the lineup due to mounting injuries, but once they played, it was clear they had a ton of juice. Let’s sprinkle some of those tremendous athletes in earlier and see if they rise to the occasion.
Well said.
 

Whytetale

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Our APR is higher than them, so if a 5-7 team makes it, we will be first
MSU's own site says the same thing that they are only behind MN in APR, so they won't be going. They needed Cal to lose to UCLA. Side point what a shit show UCLA was in that game.
 

WHB Brewer

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The sentiment is spot on, and I truly hope there’s significant changes next year. I’m doubtful, both because we know PJ is super stubborn and believes in his system AND because we lack significant resources/NIL, but here’s my wishlist:
  1. Demote Wenger and hire a proven ST coach. Make Iowa your aspirational unit and work the next 5 years to even get close to them. Teams with average talent need to be excellent on ST and MN has been far below average.
  2. Pay Taylor and Evans whatever it takes to keep them. Go door to door selling cookie dough if you need to.
  3. Commit to mixing in more pace on O and practice it all offseason. It doesn’t have to be every drive - just mix in no huddle and hurry up 2 or 3 times a game at random times to catch teams off guard. Athan is bad, but I perceive him as being slightly better when they play with pace and he’s not asked to think as much.
  4. Add SPEED in the portal. I don’t care how polished they are if they’re fast. This team was slow compared to years past. They especially need a WR who can pop the top like Bateman did. When you pass as little as MN does, you need to connect on explosive pass plays at a higher clip than other teams.
  5. Add a QB in the portal who can push Athan and is a threat to run. We already have a 50% passer who can occasionally complete a deep ball, so why not have one who will also occasionally keep a zone read and scramble for 10+ yards multiple times per game.
  6. Play more athletic young players early in their careers — even if they take a few reps from a veteran and aren’t perfect in practice. Unless Hoskins literally cannot field a kick, he needs to be back there instead of Redding. Guys like Brockington last year and Evans this year only cracked the lineup due to mounting injuries, but once they played, it was clear they had a ton of juice. Let’s sprinkle some of those tremendous athletes in earlier and see if they rise to the occasion.
Good summary
especially #1 & #6. Once upon a time Special teams was an opportunity for players to learn and earn more playing time. Since we don’t try on ST, there is no chance to learn And see if kids can play.
 

Catechol

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“2023: Plays toughest schedule in country, gets beat up pretty bad with a Sophomore QB”

I’m confused, from various sites like Sagarin and Massey it appears Gophers SOS is in the 30-40 range. Doesn’t seem like it with having to play OSU and Mich in the same year but the west are all terrible and UNC ended up fading.
 

swelna

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I also wonder if he needs to change-up the Strength and conditioning coach. 2021 and 2023 had very similar shades with regards to RB injuries and there were a couple of injuries this year that seemed to linger.

I know sometimes the injury bug comes along, but I wonder if there's a root cause in the strength and conditioning regiments.
 

Dakota2

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Special units was the best unit this year by far. The offense and defense overall stunk. I thought the D-Line had all kinds of talent this year? They did not come close to making a QB pressure today. Was overrated the entire year.
Coaches decision, Rossi presumably. We rushed three against the pass all day. No hope for three against five or six blockers. If we rushed four it was because we were expecting run.
 

Dakota2

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I’m pretty sure a lot of these same types of statements were made last offseason. Things like:
1. Athan will be so much better than Tanner and only improve.
2. Offense will improve without KC as offensive coordinator.

How did that work out
No. 1 was a near-unanimous belief. No. 2 was believed because we thought the receiving corps had been greatly improved. Fleck was quoted as saying we won't recognize the offense with the new passing attack.
 


FredCoxRocks

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IMHO, I don't think there are many highly experienced coordinators, assistants, QB coaches, etc. that would be willing to work for PJ Fleck and his personality. It takes a special person to "row the boat" and I imagine at their age that's a little too much for them. This is why PJ will always get younger, less-experienced guys...this is their shot at P5 football and the door just opened.
 

Taji34

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IMHO, I don't think there are many highly experienced coordinators, assistants, QB coaches, etc. that would be willing to work for PJ Fleck and his personality. It takes a special person to "row the boat" and I imagine at their age that's a little too much for them. This is why PJ will always get younger, less-experienced guys...this is their shot at P5 football and the door just opened.
Agreed, but I think there is a balance to strike that he isn't quite hitting right.

Like, you can find up and coming, young, less experienced guys who still have a promising (albeit short) track record at a given position. Like my pick for OC/QB coach that I made a thread about.

There's a difference between finding someone with a little experience coaching a position, and someone who has no experience at coaching a position (but has experience tangential to the position which is what I would say Harbaugh Jr. 's previous experience is).
 

gopherdudepart2

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Per Ryan Burns, PJ elected to not use roughly $700k worth of assistant salary available to him. The fact that he went out and hired Harbaugh with no experience as a OC/QB coach when he had enough money to hire a legit, proven OC is absolutely criminal.

https://247sports.com/college/minne...hing-contract-details-for-2023-203600417/amp/
Elected my butt. Those types of decision's always come from higher management. This means the AD and department strongly hinted or suggested to not spend this money. That is not a PJ decision that is a Coyle and above decision from the U of M. I doubt Fleck if he was given an increased pool to pay assistants, that he would willfully choose not to use it.
 
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forever a gopher

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Elected my butt. Those types of decision's always come from higher management. This means the AD and department strongly hinted or suggested to not spend this money. That is not a PJ decision that is a Coyle and above decision from the U of M. I doubt Fleck if he was given an increased pool to pay assistants, that he would willfully choose not to use it.
The assistant coach salary pool is negotiated in Fleck's contract. So you're suggesting that the University signed this legally-binding contract with Fleck and then told him "wink-wink-nudge-nudge, don't actually spend it all"? And you're aware Fleck could sue the University for breach of contract if that were to happen?

https://www.startribune.com/minneso...llion-to-his-assistant-salary-pool/600234303/

Per the Strib link, referenced above:
* On Feb. 1, 2023, the university will make an additional $1 million available to the salary pool for assistant coaches and staff. Last year, the university added $350,000 to that assistant coaching/staff pool. The 2022 assistant coaches salary pool was roughly $4.5 million.
 

swede2

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IMHO, I don't think there are many highly experienced coordinators, assistants, QB coaches, etc. that would be willing to work for PJ Fleck and his personality. It takes a special person to "row the boat" and I imagine at their age that's a little too much for them. This is why PJ will always get younger, less-experienced guys...this is their shot at P5 football and the door just opened.
I agree with this. I've long suspected that Fleck neither wants strong, experienced coordinators; nor do they want to work for Fleck. There's certainly the corporate/motivational speaker aspect of Fleck's persona (or "oily sloganeering" as someone called Murphy recently described it) piece that I doubt many assistants would buy into. But there's increasing evidence that PJ doesn't let his coordinators run their department.

There's plenty of talk on here about how attractive this place is to potential player talent. How attractive is it to potential coaching talent? Let's say in some fantasy world Paul Cryst was willing to come to Minnesota. Would PJ hire him? Or maybe a more realistic scenario: Brent Vigen, current H.C. at Montana State and former NDSU OC/QB coach. Would he coach for PJ? Would PJ want a guy that's been a head coach?
 

RememberMurray

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Should Fleck re-evaluate? Yes. Certainly. Heck, I imagine he re-evaluates after every season, win or lose.

Should he consider changes on the staff, specifically on offense? Yep. Offense needs serious attention, especially the passing game.

Should Fleck, or any coach, alter his entire philosophy, developed over years coming up through the coaching ranks, because of one 5-7 season?

Hmmmmm...

Would you? If you started as a grad assistant, paid some dues, learned and absorbed as much as you could from experienced coaches, got one and then two head coaching opportunities and had some pretty decent successes at both stops...

... would you make dramatic changes to your hard-won, carefully-developed core coaching philosophy because of one 5-7 season?
 




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