ALLEN PARK, MICH. ‑ It remains unclear how many players and which players from the Gophers’ football team will be suspended for the upcoming Quick Lane Bowl in Detroit.
Speaking to reporters after the team’s first full practice at the Detroit Lions practice facility on Sunday morning, Minnesota head coach P.J. Fleck was mum about any specifics regarding possible suspensions.
“I already answered all the questions about that,” Fleck said.
Last Wednesday, Fleck said “a player or players” would miss the bowl game, believed to be stemming from a team rules violation following a 37-15 win at Wisconsin on Nov. 24.
Minnesota starting quarterback Tanner Morgan said the talk surrounding any possible suspensions hasn’t been a distraction in the days leading up to Wednesday’s bowl game against Georgia Tech.
“Our guys have been really focused on this event and this opportunity we have,” Morgan said. “We are really excited to play.”
A whole new defense
In preparing for Georgia Tech’s unusual triple-option attack, the Gophers’ defense has essentially had to scrap every concept Fleck and his staff have tried to instill over the past two seasons and start over.
“We changed our complete defense,” Fleck said. “We have DB’s playing linebacker and D-lineman playing linebackers. Who are the best tacklers and the smartest players that you have? It rearranges positions. You can’t have your normal defenses out there. The whole slogan in the secondary has been ‘boring is good.’ If you are bored, you are doing a great job.”
Another history lesson
Throughout the season, Fleck has tried to highlight significant historical figures to his team and talk about their lives.
With the team arriving in Detroit on Saturday, the latest figure to highlight was Henry Ford, especially since the team got a tour of the Henry Ford museum in nearby Dearborn.
“We use history with our players all the time,” Fleck said. “We’ve studied Abe Lincoln, we’ve studied Rosa Parks this year. Each week there has been a new leader in world history. This week it’s Henry Ford.
“We had a chance to study Henry Ford coming out here and they got to see the whole museum. They got to see Abraham Lincoln’s chair where he got assassinated, we got to see John F. Kennedy’s motorcade and Rosa Parks’ bus. We had lot of people (sit in Parks’ chair on the bus) and had a lot of our families do that. It was very special. Those are the things you remember.”
The Gophers practiced early Sunday morning and then left the facility for an active day in Detroit.
The Gophers as a team had tickets to the Vikings-Lions game and after practice were gearing up to head to Ford Field for the game.
On Sunday night, a fowling event was planned between the Gophers and Georgia Tech at a local fowling warehouse.
Fowling is a combination of football and bowling, where the object is to knock down 10 pins before your opponent by throwing a football from a distance.