PJ Fleck Relying on Trust, Communication and RTB to Lead Gophers Through Uncharted Waters

Photo: Elizabeth Flores/Minneapolis Star Tribune/TNS

Minnesota Gophers Head Football Coach, PJ Fleck did a zoom conference call Friday with media. During the interview, he answered a variety of questions, most of which were related to the announcement earlier this week, that Big Ten fall sports were postponed.

There is a lot happening around college football. Three Power-5 conferences are still scheduled to have a fall season, while the Big Ten and PAC-12 no longer will. There have been a couple of outspoken coaches inside the Big Ten, who are trying to get back on the field as quickly as possible.

Scott Frost (Nebraska) spoke out immediately (and strongly) against fall sport cancellations. Both Ryan Day (Ohio State) and Jeff Brohm (Purdue) have made mock schedules for seasons that would start in the winter and fall, respectively. While those coaches play doctor and/or scheduling guru, PJ Fleck has turned his focus to inside his own locker room.

He tries not to worry about things he can’t control. That includes what happens months from now, weeks from now… or even days from now. Future predictions aren’t a luxury we are afforded in 2020.

For PJ and the Minnesota Gophers, getting through this pandemic is just another life challenge. The best teams will do it the right way and they’ll do it together. What’s the right way? According to Fleck, it’s a lot of communication, a lot of trust and a lot of “focusing on the now” (AKA: RTB).

Rowing Together

PJ also said that he has met with about 30 of his 90 players and plans to meet with all of them individually, ASAP. Clearly, PJ Fleck believes the Big Ten made the right decision, in postponing fall sports (and he says all of those 30 players feel the same). You don’t have to agree with that. What’s most important though, is that PJ is on the same page as his players. I could care less whether or not he agrees with me.

Look no farther than what is happening over at the ACC. Both Syracuse and Florida State players have expressed a worry with how practices and testing protocols are being handled. Games or no games, it’s hard to see that sort of thing going down with this Gophers team.

Before they can start wondering about things outwardly, PJ pulls them back into “their culture” and converses with them until both sides feel satisfied. That type of communication clearly isn’t happening everywhere else.

Good football teams look a lot like big families. You might not like everyone and you certainly don’t always agree on everything… but love comes before all else and the only way to procure love… is through trust, communication and hard work.

As long as Fleck is in town, the Gophers will always bring those three team pillars to the table.

Eric Strack | Minnesota Sports Fan

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