MINNEAPOLIS (KMSP) - With his go-to quarterback named and another win under his belt, Gophers' Head Coach P.J. Fleck is turning his gaze to the team's next opponent: Middle Tennessee.
After last week's 48-14 blowout over Oregon State, little doubt remains about the team's bona-fides, but as Big Ten play looms Fleck says the team's still got a lot to prove.
The Fox 9 crew caught up with the man behind the headset to talk all things past, present and future in the Gopher football program.
ON SOPHMORE WIDE RECEIVER TYLER JOHNSON
"I think one of the main factors is we need to keep moving him around. We've got to over the years be able to surround him with more play makers as well ... it can't just be No. 6 all the time.
"We have really good running backs but now we need some of those young wide outs on the outside to emerge.
ON THE RUNNINGBACKS' PERFORMANCE
"It was really something special. We actually stopped practice the other day and had this celebratory teaching period on how to be able to push the pile, how to celebrate on the sidelines, how to ge the offense and defense to work together on the sideline, and I thought the players did a really tremendous job of carrying that forward.
ON HOW THE GOPHERS BEAT OREGON STATE DEFENSIVELY
"I think the biggest thing is we had to stop the run. That was one thing we knew they'd go back to eventually and start the game with. If we look back to the success Oregon State had last year it was their ground game that made them very successful.
"We held them to 80 yards total and we rushed for 253. We came into the game and we knew we had to run the ball, and we knew we had to stop them from running the ball on defense. That was the emphasis.
"You know, when you give these young men the emphasis and they go out and execute, they deserve all the credit."
ON DEMRY CROFT NOT SUITING UP THIS SATURDAY
"What I like to do is bring everything by our leadership council of our football team. We keep it very open within those four walls, and you have to trust your kids a lot to do that.
"They deserve to know what's going on with the players, and they also know that if you don't do the right things, you will not play--and it does not matter who you are. It's my job to uphold the culture all the time.
"This isn't just for our football program ... you've got to help that personal life more than you've got to win a game, because this is way bigger than football ... It's unfortunate, but we're getting him all the help he needs.
"It all depends [how much time he'll spend away from program]."
ON MIDDLE TENNESSEE
"I know this team very well, we played them two years ago when I was at Western Michigan. Their quarterback is the coach's son, he's probably the most efficient, elite passer we might face all year. He's also got two of the best receivers we might face in the first half of this season.
"They're very explosive--they put up a lot of numbers and a lot of points and they're not afraid of Power Five teams, but again it's not about them, it's about us. We've got to play our best football and be the best team we can be.
"When we're not at our best, any team can keep it close. We've certainly seen that in week one. When we are at our best it doesn't matter who we play, we can have success."
ON WHAT HE'S WORRIED ABOUT FROM MIDDLE TENNESSEE
"Everything. As a head coach, on Monday you shouldn't think you should beat anybody. Ask any coach in the country. [Middle Tennessee] does a lot of strange plays, strange formations, but it's creative.
"So on Monday, you don't think you can beat anybody. Then on Tuesday you get the guys out there and you clean up first and second down and you start going, 'Okay.' By Wednesday you're starting to feel okay with third down, and hopefully by Friday you think you can beat anybody.