First, Easter eggs. Now, air cannons. When it comes to awarding scholarships, Gophers football coach P.J. Fleck has creative ways of informing his players.
On Wednesday, Fleck released a video on Twitter (@Coach_Fleck) of how he informed senior place-kicker Justin Juenemann he had earned a scholarship.
Fleck, toting an air cannon at his side, brought in Kyle Tanner, a patient at the University of Minnesota Masonic Children’s Hospital, into the team’s meeting room. Kyle addressed the team, then Fleck asked him who was his favorite player.
“I remember seeing one particular person a lot,’’ Kyle said, referring to Gophers visiting him at the hospital. "That was Justin [Juenemann].’’
Fleck then spoke about how Kyle earlier was admiring the air cannon.
‘’We were sitting in my office and Kyle points to this and asks, ‘What is that?’
‘’ ‘That’s my new toy. Just came in.’
“ ‘Can I shoot it?’
"I said, ‘No, you can't shoot it.’ His mom’s like, ‘No, no, don’t let him shoot it.’
‘’But I’ll let you shoot it in here, though,’’ Fleck added in the team room, instructing Kyle to shoot the cannon, loaded with a T-shirt, toward his favorite player.
He did, and Juenemann caught it on the fly.
After a few moments, Juenemann read the writing on the T-shirt, which said, “Justin, congratulations on earning a scholarship!’’
Juenemann’s teammates erupted in cheers, much like they did when linebacker Blake Cashman received the news of his scholarship award via an Easter egg hunt.
"I’ve never seen anybody serve and give more than that guy, who is not a star player, who hasn’t played where his face is recognizable,’’ Fleck said of Juenemann, who is pursuing his master’s degree in Human Resources and Industrial Relations. “He could easily just not do it and nobody would say anything.’’