PJ Fleck to Stick With Tanner Morgan as Gophers QB1

Photo: USA TODAY Sports

Since his record-setting 2019, Minnesota Gophers quarterback, Tanner Morgan, has been rather disappointing, which has led to a overly-cautious offensive game plan for two seasons. It’s something I’ve written about on this website over and over and over and over and over again.

That didn’t change this Saturday, at home, against the Illinois Fighting Illini. After an interception on his second throw of the day, Fleck and Sanford went into serious “let’s not let Tanner fuck this up” mode, and never passed again in the first quarter.

Down 14-0 at half, the Gophers came out and passed just FIVE times in the entire 3rd quarter. Morgan threw almost as many passes on Minnesota’s last two drives (12) as what he did for the three+ quarters before (16). He finished the game 15/28 for 180 YDS, 2 INT and 1 rush TD.

After the game, Fleck was asked to give his thoughts on Tanner’s performance. He opened with one word, “inconsistent”, before he continued.

Time for a change?

Most Gopher football fans or media members believe it’s time to switch something up at quarterback. That’s perfectly reasonable and hard to argue with, especially given another poor performance by Tanner this weekend.

Plus, they have a plethora of very good options behind him. Zack Annexstad (RS JR) started multiple games for the Gophers early in his college career, before an injury gave Morgan the job permanently. Both Cole Kramer (RS SO), who already plays Wildcat QB and threw a beautiful strike to Ko Kieft today, and one time 3-star recruit QB Jacob Clark are better than what many power-5 schools have as a QB2.

But PJ Fleck reiterated after Saturday’s loss that Tanner Morgan is his starter.

Too Important to Sit?

If you follow this team closely enough, that won’t surprise you. The current iteration of PJ Fleck’s “Row The Boat” culture revolves around Tanner Morgan. He is the unquestioned leader and embraces that role.

The 5th-year Senior is the first player we see during every media session and the only player who’s expected to take part in every player-led event. The other upperclassmen who are made available to media get rotated in and out. Not Tanner Morgan.

Fleck has just too much emotional stock built into the idea of Morgan as his unquestioned QB1 and on-field coach. So like it or not, the 2021 Minnesota Gophers are going to be led into battle by the Kentucky Kid. We may not agree with it, we may not always like it… but we’ll have no choice but to deal with it.

Eric Strack | Minnesota Sports Fan