The premiere episode of the P.J. Fleck Show was recorded at the Fox 9 Stage on Day 1 of the Minnesota State Fair. Watch LIVE episodes of the P.J. Fleck Show, with Coach Fleck, Fox 9’s Hobie Artigue, former Gophers wide receiver Ron Johnson and KFAN’s Justin Gaard at 6:30 p.m. on Wednesday nights.
Fleck: “The thing about expectations is a lot of people on the outside set expectations that aren’t necessarily internal expectations that we have. We want to continue to change our best everyday, become the best football team we can possibly be, and have that holistic approach – academically, athletically, socially, spiritually, and become elite men. If they’re better men in their day-to-day lives in all four areas, we will become a better football team as we continue to grow.”
Fleck: “One of the biggest comments I get all the time is, Coach, Coach, listen. We gotta win a Rose Bowl and a championship before I die. My next question to them is, well how old are you? Can I see your health charts, your medical records? That shows me we have such a passionate fan base. And when you haven’t done something is over a half a century, people start to wonder what is it like, what’s it going to look like and what’s the process of becoming a champion again? As football players, you have to have people be able to lay that out to you. And it’s not just the coaches, the players, but it’s the entire community. It’s our entire state of Minnesota. We all have to think differently, act differently, walk differently, talk differently, because what we do and how we say it, not just as coaches but as a community, affects future recruit, affects our players about how they go to their day-to-day-life. We want them thinking like champions.”
WHAT WILL FANS NOTICE WHEN THESE GOPHERS TAKE THE FIELD?
Fleck: “I wasn’t here in years past, so I don’t know what to compare it to. When you talk about our offense, our defense, our special teams, we talk about the How all the time. I want how our players play the game, I want how our players substitute, I want how our players interact with each other, how they motivate each other, how they don’t let the circumstance dictate their behavior, motivate all of our fans…You’re going to see a lot of different things. If we have to run the ball, we’ll run the ball. If we have to throw the ball to win, we’re going to throw the ball.”
Fleck: “We have a lot of quarterbacks that I think are capable of playing. They all have done a tremendous job in training camp. But for us, to be able to pick one with Conor and Demry, I’d be guessing. You just don’t know how they’re going to play in the game. They both have done a tremendous job of one outperforming the other, the next day the one outperforming the other guy, and they’ve continued to get better. All five quarterback have continued to get better. At some point you want someone to separate themselves, but if somebody doesn’t separate themselves that’s not necessarily a bad thing. It’s a good thing. It’s good thing because they’re getting better.”
THE RUNNING GAME
Fleck: “We’re relying on [Rodney Smith and Shannon Brooks] because they’re phenomenal football players, but if we just think those two are going to do it all for us, there’s ways to stop them if you don’t have other threats…If you think it’s just going to be those two, then we’re not going to be very good.”
Fleck: “We’re a 4-3 defense. We’re a little thin at the defensive line, so what we have to be able to do is create that depth with our 7-deep linebacker position. So what we’re going to do, you’re going to see Carter Coughlin playing in the R, the defensive end position. You’re going to see multiple different packages on defense where you could see six linebackers on the field at one time.”
Jay from Prior Lake: “We haven’t had the Axe since I was five years old, and I’m now a sophomore at the U of M. I’m wondering what your plan is to finally bring it home.”
Fleck: “I can’t say the, ‘How old are you?’ excuse because you look like a young man. I think the biggest thing is our players have to keep changing their best. We have to get better. That’s the only thing we can focus on. It sounds boring, it sounds like a broken record, but that’s how champions are made.”
The P.J. Fleck Show airs LIVE every Wednesday at 6:30 p.m. on Fox 9. Submit your questions for Coach Fleck on Twitter using the hashtag #PJFleckShow.