I’m just a little stunned at what I’m reading around the Minnesota inter-webs, on the Gophers’ loss to Wisconsin. Wait…rewind. Let me rephrase that:
I’m a little stunned at all the finger-pointing and yelling at PJ Fleck… there that sums it up much better.
Let’s remember this season’s failures aren’t Fleck’s fault. NONE.
0% of our anger belongs on PJ Fleck’s shoulders. He is here to fix the problems that have unravelled themselves over the last 50 years. Even more, he’s here to fix the problems the Kill/Claeys regime let fester over the last few years. You can’t win without decent QB and WR recruits.
We can start judging Fleck next year (2018). 2019 will be his key year, where he needs to make huge jumps. By 2020, with 3 years still remaining on his new deal, I expect Fleck to be battling for Big Ten Championships. If he isn’t, I’ll be here to listen to you tell me how wrong I am.
P.S. That won’t happen.
I guess it’s what he asked for. Every time he talks, I hear him tell us that the problems with this team fall back on him. So, all the finger-pointing back to him, is probably his fault too. What the hell have we become, Minnesota? I’m talking to you, Chip Scoggins… What in the hell is this garbage?
— Star Tribune Sports (@StribSports) November 26, 2017
“Fleck’s reputation is that of a recruiting whiz, and he better be, because the gap between his program and the Badgers is wider than the Grand Canyon.”
“The Gophers lag so far behind Wisconsin as a program that all they can see is dust swirling in the air. The Badgers represent the gold standard in the Big Ten West because they operate with assembly-line efficiency and consistency. They have perfected their formula, especially on offense, and they don’t deviate from it.
The Gophers offensive identity is … what exactly? Hope Rodney Smith is sturdy enough to put 10 teammates on his back without breaking down?”
Chip has been covering college football long enough to know that’s not true. If Fleck is the coach we brought him in to be…. Also, if we wouldn’t have offered the job to Fleck, and he waited 1 more season to leave Western Michigan, he’d be at Florida, UCLA, Tennessee, Arkansas, or Texas A&M for next year. Those are the schools looking for new coaches in 2018. But, we did offer him the job. And, by golly, the fastest rising coach in all of NCAA Football Minnesota. He chose the FUCKING Gophers. And now you are yelling at him for a team that he walked into? Players he didn’t recruit? Fleck walked into a dark room full of cob-webs and rusty parts in the QB and WR rooms. This team would have struggled with the old coaching staff AND a scheme that was designed around these players. Instead, Fleck and his staff spent the entire season trying to change what they want to do, to fit a team that they didn’t recruit.
“Croft likely isn’t the long-term answer at quarterback but he’s not even their biggest problem. The Gophers have only one receiver with legitimate Big Ten talent — Tyler Johnson, who missed the final two games because of an injury.”
This statement might hold true for this season… Tyler Johnson is going to be a freak. But, there are also young receivers on this team that definitely show Big Ten potential. Before their 2016 recruiting class, the Kill/Claeys regime must’ve GIVEN up on recruiting wide-receivers. I don’t know if their luck was just bad or if they just thought they wouldn’t need QB’s or WR’s to win. If that’s the case, good luck to Rutgers…….. Finally, in 2016 (his last season) Claeys got a couple of guys that were labeled as “Athletes”, who caught on at WR and may have a bright future.
And Fleck, on the other hand? He got a VERY late start on 2017 recruits and was still able to pull in a WR class that was better than all of Kill’s outside of 2016. He had to flip Douglas from CB to WR but that looks like it could work. Douglas showed a nice spark before he also got hurt.
In 2018 things are getting better…
BUT, WR’s don’t want to come to Minnesota when their isn’t anyone to throw to them. Fleck hopes to patch that for 2018, but is unlikely to find a long-term answer. HOWEVER, 2019 is the year Fleck wants his “Franchise” Quarterback. And he has HIGH targets in mind. HIGHER than any QB recruit we have seen in these parts. And he is VERY confident he will get his guy.
Listen to our guy, Alex Reigelsperger (Number 1 Gopher recruit for 2018) as he warns Wisconsin about how close their reign, over the axe, is to ending. Row on, Alex. We all know Johnny Minnesota rows harder than anyone. More tweets like this from Alex, might cause serious injury …
OUR CLASS NOT GOING FOR ANY OF THAT SO ENJOY IT NOW.
— Alex Reigelsperger☃ (@a_reigelsperger) November 25, 2017
**immediately attempts to run through a wall** https://t.co/DjejBO2tpv
— Johnny Minnesota (@MNsportsNstuff) November 25, 2017
Fleck’s boat is rock solid. No leaks to be found. So, you can stay and grab your oar, or you can jump ship and be the dumbass who blamed all of the “Gopher Ghosts of Nightmares Past”, on the new coach, who ended up finally fixing the program and finally brings us back to a Big Ten Title.
*By the way, I was so upset when I wrote this that I made multiple mistakes I had to come back to fix AND I swore… which my dad (I’m 28) HATES.
Photo: Ben Blair / Special to the Pioneer Press