Souhan: Fleck's overuse of Ibrahim in the past month doesn't represent one red flag — it represents a bouquet of them.

BleedGopher

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per Souhan:

The Gophers' P.J. Fleck has, like O'Connell, cultivated a reputation as a player-friendly coach. Saturday, he allowed his star senior running back, Mo Ibrahim, to carry the ball 39 times against a physical defense.

Ibrahim's carries in the last five games: 30, 36, 32, 36 and 39 — all in less than a month's time. Before this five-game stretch, Ibrahim had played in 33 games for the Gophers, and had totaled five games of 30 carries or more, and in only one game had he carried more than 33 times.

Ibrahim missed most of the 2021 season after suffering a ruptured Achilles tendon in the opener against Ohio State. He is a great college football player with a future in the NFL. Fleck is putting him at risk for injury, and could be damaging his ability to make a living carrying a football.

Unlike Darrisaw, Ibrahim does not have an agent (officially), a union or a life-changing income. He is at the mercy of one coach's decisions.

Fleck's overuse of Ibrahim in the past month doesn't represent one red flag — it represents a bouquet of them.

Fleck needed Ibrahim's greatness in an important game against Iowa, so Ibrahim carried the ball 39 times. That's too many carries for a college back with a physical running style, but if that game represented one impassioned attempt to steal a victory, perhaps it could be excused.

But Ibrahim carried 30 times in a 45-17 loss to Penn State, 36 times in a 31-0 victory over Rutgers and 36 times in a 31-3 victory over Northwestern. There was no reason for Ibrahim to be overworked in those games — particularly in blowout victories over terrible Rutgers and Northwestern teams.

Those rushing totals are an indictment of both Fleck's recruiting and offensive philosophy, as well as evidence of his willingness to put a player at risk.

This is Fleck's sixth year with the Gophers. Unlike in the outlier season of 2019, all of the players on the roster are his recruits. He was an NFL receiver who recruited Rashod Bateman, yet his receiving corps this season is so thin that an injury to Chris Autman-Bell destroyed his passing offense. His backfield is so thin that Ibrahim carries the ball even when games are out of hand.

Next year, Fleck will be without two of his security blankets — Tanner Morgan's leadership and Ibrahim's brilliance. Fleck is 25-26 in the Big Ten, including 13-11 since the 2019 season that was supposed to transform the program.

With a remarkably easy schedule and a team filled with sixth-year and other seniors, this was supposed to be the Gophers' year. They are 4-4 in the Big Ten.

Fleck is making 2019 look like an aberration aided by the previous regime's players.

Saturday, the Gophers play at Wisconsin. Ibrahim should be limited to 25 or so carries. If the Gophers can't win without overusing their star back, blame Fleck's recruiting.


Go Gophers!!
 


Ope3

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Stupid. I can almost guarantee you that Mo wants the carries. He has one chance to be among the elite of college running backs, and this is it...and he is.
Just because Mo wants the ball that often does not mean it's the right thing to do. Penn St it was done to keep the 100 yd streak going. I get it.

Rutgers & Northwestern, spreading out the carries especially after the leads were built is a justifiable statement for a few reasons. Such as keeping him fresher for the stretch and giving other capable runners an opportunity as well as develop them for the future.
 

Panthadad2

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Just because Mo wants the ball that often does not mean it's the right thing to do. Penn St it was done to keep the 100 yd streak going. I get it.

Rutgers & Northwestern, spreading out the carries especially after the leads were built is a justifiable statement for a few reasons. Such as keeping him fresher for the stretch and giving other capable runners an opportunity as well as develop them for the future.

Did those carries vs. Rutgers and Northwestern hurt Mo? I'll answer. No. He had 263 yards against Iowa.
 

Great Plains Gopher

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Fleck is too thin at QB and receivers for the sixth year of his program, plus his reserve QBs get little or no game experience even when Gophers are winning blowouts early in the season. Souhan has a point - Mo could be injured again and we've had a lot of injured running backs in recent years. The Gophers are again 119th in passing, though 9th in rushing. Not a balanced offense, as usual.
 


Replacement Gopher

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Did those carries vs. Rutgers and Northwestern hurt Mo? I'll answer. No. He had 263 yards against Iowa.
Fair.
Agree giving Mo all of those Carrie’s in those games hindered: A) developing a backup - maybe Evans - should something happen to Mo and B) developing a passing game if we tried to call a few passes?
 

Gophers_4life

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I appreciate Bleed starting the thread, definitely.

But this isn't even clickbait.


It's Souhan cackling when he hit the Send button to his editor, for a job well done as head of the Troll the Gophers dept.

There are many STrib subscribers who very much like that content, and he serves them well.
 

Ope3

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Did those carries vs. Rutgers and Northwestern hurt Mo? I'll answer. No. He had 263 yards against Iowa.
I concur with Replacement's response.
Fair.
Agree giving Mo all of those Carrie’s in those games hindered: A) developing a backup - maybe Evans - should something happen to Mo and B) developing a passing game if we tried to call a few passes?
 

Panthadad2

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Fair.
Agree giving Mo all of those Carrie’s in those games hindered: A) developing a backup - maybe Evans - should something happen to Mo and B) developing a passing game if we tried to call a few passes?

You won't find me arguing against having a more balanced offense. In fact, I was prepping to post elsewhere about it. But that wasn't Souhan's point. His point implies that it's basically abuse (a player safety issue) for the coaching staff to keep handing the ball to Mo. That's a B.S. point in my mind. Especially when there are other running backs in the BG10 with a similar number of carries (Brown, Corum).
 



Gophers_4life

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The fact that Fleck sat Mo for the Purdue game, against Mo's wishes, entirely absolves Fleck of Souhan's trolling attempt.

Mo would've gutted it out, and we probably would've won. Who knows what his ankle would've looked like after that game.

/thread
 

MaxyJR1

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He leaves out it was 14-0 for 3/4 of Rutgers game and17-3 through 3/4 of Northwestern game. We put those games to rest pretty late.

I agree he should have been pulled in Penn State game.
 

cjbfbp

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I appreciate Bleed starting the thread, definitely.

But this isn't even clickbait.


It's Souhan cackling when he hit the Send button to his editor, for a job well done as head of the Troll the Gophers dept.

There are many STrib subscribers who very much like that content, and he serves them well.

I don't give a rat's ass about Souhan or any other sports writer these days but these are fair comments, not trolling at all.
 

Gophers_4life

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By the way, one logical conclusion from Souhan's rant is that it would be A-OK to "overuse" Mo in this manner, just so long as he had a player's union and was getting paid.

Souhan, the fount of morality.
 



Breakin' The Plane

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Fleck is too thin at QB and receivers for the sixth year of his program, plus his reserve QBs get little or no game experience even when Gophers are winning blowouts early in the season. Souhan has a point - Mo could be injured again and we've had a lot of injured running backs in recent years. The Gophers are again 119th in passing, though 9th in rushing. Not a balanced offense, as usual.
The amount of good offensive skill players that have committed here since 2017 is troubling. Of course there's younger players who could step up, but I can count on one hand the number of guys who I'd rate as being better than just "OK".
 

Crosby

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per Souhan:

The Gophers' P.J. Fleck has, like O'Connell, cultivated a reputation as a player-friendly coach. Saturday, he allowed his star senior running back, Mo Ibrahim, to carry the ball 39 times against a physical defense.

Ibrahim's carries in the last five games: 30, 36, 32, 36 and 39 — all in less than a month's time. Before this five-game stretch, Ibrahim had played in 33 games for the Gophers, and had totaled five games of 30 carries or more, and in only one game had he carried more than 33 times.

Ibrahim missed most of the 2021 season after suffering a ruptured Achilles tendon in the opener against Ohio State. He is a great college football player with a future in the NFL. Fleck is putting him at risk for injury, and could be damaging his ability to make a living carrying a football.

Unlike Darrisaw, Ibrahim does not have an agent (officially), a union or a life-changing income. He is at the mercy of one coach's decisions.

Fleck's overuse of Ibrahim in the past month doesn't represent one red flag — it represents a bouquet of them.

Fleck needed Ibrahim's greatness in an important game against Iowa, so Ibrahim carried the ball 39 times. That's too many carries for a college back with a physical running style, but if that game represented one impassioned attempt to steal a victory, perhaps it could be excused.

But Ibrahim carried 30 times in a 45-17 loss to Penn State, 36 times in a 31-0 victory over Rutgers and 36 times in a 31-3 victory over Northwestern. There was no reason for Ibrahim to be overworked in those games — particularly in blowout victories over terrible Rutgers and Northwestern teams.

Those rushing totals are an indictment of both Fleck's recruiting and offensive philosophy, as well as evidence of his willingness to put a player at risk.

This is Fleck's sixth year with the Gophers. Unlike in the outlier season of 2019, all of the players on the roster are his recruits. He was an NFL receiver who recruited Rashod Bateman, yet his receiving corps this season is so thin that an injury to Chris Autman-Bell destroyed his passing offense. His backfield is so thin that Ibrahim carries the ball even when games are out of hand.

Next year, Fleck will be without two of his security blankets — Tanner Morgan's leadership and Ibrahim's brilliance. Fleck is 25-26 in the Big Ten, including 13-11 since the 2019 season that was supposed to transform the program.

With a remarkably easy schedule and a team filled with sixth-year and other seniors, this was supposed to be the Gophers' year. They are 4-4 in the Big Ten.

Fleck is making 2019 look like an aberration aided by the previous regime's players.

Saturday, the Gophers play at Wisconsin. Ibrahim should be limited to 25 or so carries. If the Gophers can't win without overusing their star back, blame Fleck's recruiting.


Go Gophers!!
So... the brilliant coach Souhan would limit our best player to a certain number of carries against WI, no matter how the game is going. Makes complete sense. Not.

Anyone remember the scene in Hoosiers when they were getting blown out at the start of the state title game? Coach calls a time out. One of the players says "I think Jimmy can take the guy who is guarding him." This seems to be a big revelation for Coach Dale, who thinks. "Hey... yeah, let's give it to our best guy. A lot. That might just work."

Yes, I know it's a movie but you get my point. If Mo has 50 caries, and we win, I think that will be just fine.
 

MaxyJR1

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And Mo will be a serviceable back-up running back in the NFL. Hope he plays as long as he can, but he's not going to have a long career. He is not NFL fast.
 


MNVCGUY

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The amount of good offensive skill players that have committed here since 2017 is troubling. Of course there's younger players who could step up, but I can count on one hand the number of guys who I'd rate as being better than just "OK".
Recruiting quality skill players to Minnesota has always been a challenge. I would actually contend that Fleck has done better than most of his predecessors considering he recruited perhaps the greatest RB ever to play at the U in Ibrahim, one of the top receivers in program history in Bateman and one of the top QBs in program history in Morgan. Not to mention the fact that Fleck and his staff played a massive role in developing TJ into a great receiver.
 

MNVCGUY

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So... the brilliant coach Souhan would limit our best player to a certain number of carries against WI, no matter how the game is going. Makes complete sense. Not.

Anyone remember the scene in Hoosiers when they were getting blown out at the start of the state title game? Coach calls a time out. One of the players says "I think Jimmy can take the guy who is guarding him." This seems to be a big revelation for Coach Dale, who thinks. "Hey... yeah, let's give it to our best guy. A lot. That might just work."

Yes, I know it's a movie but you get my point. If Mo has 50 caries, and we win, I think that will be just fine.
If the fumble doesn't happen, we punch the ball in and win the game this "article" never gets written.
 

Tommyboy

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Recruiting quality skill players to Minnesota has always been a challenge. I would actually contend that Fleck has done better than most of his predecessors considering he recruited perhaps the greatest RB ever to play at the U in Ibrahim, one of the top receivers in program history in Bateman and one of the top QBs in program history in Morgan. Not to mention the fact that Fleck and his staff played a massive role in developing TJ into a great receiver.
The coaches before him recruiting all the players for his 2019 team, and most were local guys. The RB has been playing for 6 years. Most RB in the NFL last 2-3 years, his career would almost be over in the NFL. If Anex would have stayed healthy, you probably would never of heard of Morgan. Kill and his coaches were on a upward trend before Fleck presented. Fleck has done a nice job, but anyone earning 4-5 million dollars per year to coach 11 games per year should.
 

Some guy

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Fleck is too thin at QB and receivers for the sixth year of his program, plus his reserve QBs get little or no game experience even when Gophers are winning blowouts early in the season. Souhan has a point - Mo could be injured again and we've had a lot of injured running backs in recent years. The Gophers are again 119th in passing, though 9th in rushing. Not a balanced offense, as usual.
I’ll agree on WR
But we saw backup QBs more early this year than we typically do. No non helmet school is deep at QB. Many don’t even have 1
 

Gold Rush

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If the fumble doesn't happen, we punch the ball in and win the game this "article" never gets written.
Unfortunately, Mo ran the ball about 14 times in a row and was probably near exhaustion at that point.
 

MNVCGUY

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The coaches before him recruiting all the players for his 2019 team, and most were local guys. The RB has been playing for 6 years. Most RB in the NFL last 2-3 years, his career would almost be over in the NFL. If Anex would have stayed healthy, you probably would never of heard of Morgan. Kill and his coaches were on a upward trend before Fleck presented. Fleck has done a nice job, but anyone earning 4-5 million dollars per year to coach 11 games per year should.
Come on man you're better than this. The 2019 defense was mostly recruited by the previous staff the offense wasn't. And as for most being local guys....that simply isn't true. Renner, Coughlin, Barber, and Martin were all local guys playing on D. DeLattiboudere, Thomas, Durr, Winfield, Howden, MDT, St. Juste....were all out of state guys. On offense most of the skill guys came from Fleck and were not from Minnesota.

2016 was an incredibly deep class for the state of Minnesota. It is far from the norm though.
 

MNVCGUY

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Unfortunately, Mo ran the ball about 14 times in a row and was probably near exhaustion at that point.
so in your infinite wisdom....put everything else aside....on that drive where Mo was destroying the Iowa defense and driving the team straight down the field for the winning score....would you have given it to anyone other than #24?
 

Gold Rush

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so in your infinite wisdom....put everything else aside....on that drive where Mo was destroying the Iowa defense and driving the team straight down the field for the winning score....would you have given it to anyone other than #24?
nice sarcasm.....as nice as it is to keep rolling with him, you have got to give him a breather. I don't blame that fumble on an exhausted RB - I blame it on a coach that didn't give him a break and wore him down too far.
 

MaxyJR1

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Come on man you're better than this. The 2019 defense was mostly recruited by the previous staff the offense wasn't. And as for most being local guys....that simply isn't true. Renner, Coughlin, Barber, and Martin were all local guys playing on D. DeLattiboudere, Thomas, Durr, Winfield, Howden, MDT, St. Juste....were all out of state guys. On offense most of the skill guys came from Fleck and were not from Minnesota.

2016 was an incredibly deep class for the state of Minnesota. It is far from the norm though.
Correct. Fleck has probably brought in the best out of state talent in a long time. Fleck has continued what Kill/Claeys started, by having a really good defense. Offense is going to be a struggle to recruit in B1G country, but he got Ky Thomas and Bucky Irving. Those guys are likely still here if COVID didn't turn things on its head. OL has been good and he was able to fill holes in the portal. He has 4 more signing this month. I believe Fleck is doing really well developing and filling the roster in the COVID/Portal/NIL's era. Portal opens on Dec. 5th and Signing is on the 21st!
 

PMWinSTP

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Stupid. I can almost guarantee you that Mo wants the carries. He has one chance to be among the elite of college running backs, and this is it...and he is.
That's not a reason to do it, and not the point of the article, whether you agree with it or don't.
 

mngolf

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Fleck is too thin at QB and receivers for the sixth year of his program, plus his reserve QBs get little or no game experience even when Gophers are winning blowouts early in the season. Souhan has a point - Mo could be injured again and we've had a lot of injured running backs in recent years. The Gophers are again 119th in passing, though 9th in rushing. Not a balanced offense, as usual.
Your statement though sounds like you just want to be balanced for the sake of being balanced. How about doing what he thinks gives his team the best chance to win?
 

gopherjay

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Monday morning coaching going on here. Mo slams it in on carry 16 or 17 and he is heralded as the stud of the century. A fumble made it Flecks fault he carried the ball too many times. The only blame from me on Fleck is that we have no other options to move the ball. Year 6 and we need to bring guys back for 5 and 6 years. Fleck is a poor coach in this regard, no options, no backup plan or development. Next year we move into a completely new crew on offense, we will hear "rebuild". We should be reloading.
 

mngolf

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nice sarcasm.....as nice as it is to keep rolling with him, you have got to give him a breather. I don't blame that fumble on an exhausted RB - I blame it on a coach that didn't give him a break and wore him down too far.
Mo would have refused to come out in a game winning situation for a breather. Cmon.
 




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