As Gophers open spring workouts, Tennessee shows interest in P.J. Fleck

MINNEAPOLIS, MN - NOVEMBER 09: Head coach P.J. Fleck of the Minnesota Golden Gophers in the second quarter against the Penn State Nittany Lions at TCFBank Stadium on November 9, 2019 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. (Photo by Adam Bettcher/Getty Images)

It’s not an offseason for the University of Minnesota football season without a rumor of P.J. Fleck potentially departing the Twin Cities.

Back in December, there were reports that at least a few NFL teams had interest in talking to Fleck about their head coaching vacancies. In the latest reports that have diehard Gophers fans stressed out, Fleck is reportedly hearing from one SEC school.

A search firm hired by the University of Tennessee reportedly vetted Fleck as a potential candidate to be the next head coach for the Volunteers. The school fired coach Jeremy Pruitt for cause last week after an investigation revealed multiple NCAA violations within the program.

Meanwhile, all is quiet from Fleck and the University of Minnesota football team.

With students coming back to campus for the spring semester on Monday, though most classes are exclusively online due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Gophers started their spring football workouts. It should be no surprise to hear that another major college football program has interest in Fleck. It’s happened virtually every offseason since he arrived to Minnesota.

Fleck is known for rebuilding programs, which he did at Western Michigan and is still in the process of doing at Minnesota. He led the Gophers to an 11-2 season in 2019, which ended with a win over Auburn in the Outback Bowl. Minnesota went 3-4 this season and had two games canceled due to COVID-19 issues within the program.

Fleck went to Twitter on Sunday to wish former Gophers players Antoine Winfield Jr., Tyler Johnson, Kamal Martin and Damien Wilson luck in their conference title games. Winfield, Johnson and Wilson all will play in the Super Bowl in Tampa Bay.

He also released a video on Monday of the Gophers’ first spring workout, which revealed a couple positive signs. Offensive lineman Daniel Fa’alele, who did not play in the 2020 season, was back at practice. Also spotted at practice were linebacker Braelin Oliver, who missed the 2020 season with an injury suffered last spring, and defensive lineman Micah Dew-Treadway, who it appears will be back for a seventh college season.