MINNEAPOLIS (KMSP) - Coming off a bye week, the Gopher football team is well-rested and ready to take on their first Big Ten opponent of the year, Maryland.
Over the weekend, the team had the opportunity to see a Vikings' game, an experience coach P.J. Fleck said was amazing for a good number of his players that have never seen an NFL game in person.
And while the Gophers football team may have been resting last Saturday, its mascot, Goldy Gopher, was trucking 7th graders at halftime of a game between St. Thomas and St. John's--creating a viral moment on social media for at least the next 24 hours.
Fleck joined Fox 9's Hobie Artigue and Ron Johnson to talk about all these things--and more--during the 6th installment of the P.J. Fleck Show.
ON GETTING HEALTHY DURING THE BYE WEEK
"It was a lot of work for [the training staff], and we have to get healthy. Just because you have a few days doesn't mean you get new guys or go on the waiver wire. You get your guys healthy as much as you can, if not physically but mentally.
"This is really the halfway point of the season--if you count from the start of training camp to the end of the season. I know we've only played three games but you have five weeks of training camp, so this is really week nine or 10, and we've got nine weeks left.
"I'd say we're back to 90 percent. We've got some guys banged up, some guys who are going to be out for the rest of the year, but other than that I'd say we're pretty healthy.'
ON DEVELOPMENT FROM WEEK ONE TO WEEK THREE
"We're developing. I don't think we're where we want to be just yet, but you'll never get to exactly to where you think you should be. There's always that carrot out in front of you.
"But when you evaluate those three games, it's not just that we won, it's how did we win. I never talk about the result, the only thing that matters is how you got that result. We took care of the ball and we got takeaways--we're plus-four on that. We're really good on third down, which means we took care of business on first and second down.
"When you start to look at games, that's how you win games. And you're going to have to do that at an even higher level in Big Ten play."
ON THE MINDSET AGAINST MARYLAND
"I think it's really hard to talk about worst, first, and statistical numbers after just three games, especially when they're nonconference play. What we need to start focusing on as we get into Big Ten ball, and we're playing teams that are just like us, where do those stats and those numbers fall?
"I know this--when you watch them on film, they don't look like the stat sheet shows, I know that. They have one of the best secondaries in the Big Ten, and a very tough front seven. So we have our work cut out for us.
"So we need to continue what we've been doing and give Conor Rhoda the opportunity to do what he does well, highlight his strengths and eliminate those weaknesses."
ON RHODA'S PLAY AT QUARTERBACK
"I don't know if we need to see a new level of play from him, it's not like because we're hitting Big Ten play he has to necessarily turn it on more, but we do need to get other people involved. We know we have two good runningbacks, I know we have our spare, but what other wideouts are going to step up? What about the tight ends? When are they going to step up?
"That's what we have to to come Saturday, and we'll continue to do that each week."