Gophers football coach PJ Fleck agrees with Big Ten decision to cancel fall sports

WCCO Radio Newsroom
August 14, 2020 - 11:29 am

PJ Fleck has his own “30 for 30” when it comes to the Big Ten’s decision to call off the football season.

“Every single person I’ve talked to, 30 for 30, just like the ESPN show, every player said the Big Ten made the right decision,” said Fleck, who is about one-third of the way through meeting with every player on the Gopher roster.

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Fleck said it appears everyone knows safety and good health are the most important factors when approaching the next Gopher football season.

“Were they disappointed that they didn’t play? Sure, everybody wants to play,” Fleck said.

The decision announced earlier in the week came as Fleck and his staff were slowly ramping up preseason practice. Among other things, they were testing out new equipment, with no plans for contact drills for another week.

“We people said we had to go back, we didn’t have to go anywhere,” he said. “We were already in that stage.”

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There are no games on the schedule for now, but Fleck said everyone with the team is still putting out their best effort when they meet. He knows when the Big Ten gives the go-ahead, how they deal with the concerns of the pandemic during the interim will make them stronger on the field. That could mean not playing in the spring, which is what the Big Ten is considering.

“It truly is up to the medical staff, period,” said Fleck. “The health and safety of our players is the number one thing in everybody’s mind right now, period. And I think our players would tell you the same thing.”

The disruption comes following an 11-2 season with a New Year’s Day bowl win over highly-regarded Auburn. Not that the success of 2019 means another strong run.

“We don’t believe in momentum,” Fleck said. “It’s kind of make-believe. Pixie dust. The more time we have to build this football team, the better we’re going to be.”

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