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Sports Illustrated's Pete Thamel reports that Minnesota has hired Northern Iowa DL coach Bryce Paup to serve in the same capacity.

Paup has served as defensive line coach on Northern Illinois' sideline for each of the past four seasons. He had himself some legitimate time in the NFL sun back in the mid-90's, making the Pro Bowl four times as a linebacker (he played his college ball at Northern Iowa) and earning Defensive Player of the Year honors in 1995.
Jan 13 - 4:54 PM

Sports Illustrated's Pete Thamel is reporting that Ohio State co-offensive coordinator Ed Warinner will be hired as Minnesota's OL coach.

Earlier on Tuesday, Football Scoop reported that Warinner's move to Minnesota to join HC P.J. Fleck's staff was "not expected to come together," but multiple outlets are now reporting that he will be leaving Columbus for the Twin Cities. In a text message to Eleven Warriors, Warinner said, "It was time to try a new challenge." Warinner initially joined Ohio State's staff in 2012. At the time, he was working as OL coach and co-offensive coordinator. He took over as offensive coordinator after Tom Herman left for Houston in the 2014 offseason. Given his experience in the Big Ten, this is a strong hire for new Gophers HC P.J. Fleck. As for the Ohio State side of things, former Indiana HC Kevin Wilson has been tabbed as offensive coordinator.
Jan 10 - 4:27 PM

Football Scoop reports that it is unlikely that Ohio State co-offensive coordinator Ed Warinner will join P.J. Fleck's staff at Minnesota.

Football Scoop had been hearing rumblings on Monday that Warinner could be heading over to Minnesota, but on Tuesday relayed that "the move is not expected to come together." This is a good beat for the Buckeyes, as they had already lost QB coach Tim Beck to Texas. Former Indiana HC Kevin Wilson has been reportedly drawn in as new Ohio State offensive coordinator, though that move has not yet been made official.
Jan 10 - 1:51 PM

Minnesota hired Arkansas DC Robb Smith as defensive coordinator.

Smith may have been on the outs with Arkansas following a down season on defense. He was previously mentioned as a DC candidate at Wake Forest but instead joins new Minnesota coach P.J. Fleck's first staff. Smith was previously defensive coordinator at Rutgers and Maine. Fleck hopes to have hire staff hirings done by Thursday.
Source: ESPN
Jan 9 - 3:07 PM

Minnesota's recruiting class surged from 77th in the nation to 49th after new HC P.J. Fleck flipped six recruits from Western Michigan to the Gophers following his hiring.

That didn't take long. Per Rivals, Fleck flipped the following six recruits to Minnesota in the hours after his hiring: three-star wide receiver Christopher Bell, three-star linebacker Trenton Guthrie, three-star quarterback Tanner Morgan, three-star offensive lineman John Michael Schmitz, two-star defensive end Noah Hickcox, and two-star defensive end Esezi Otomewo. "Coach Fleck is a very dynamic recruiter," Guthrie added. "And he expects his recruits to also recruit. I’ll be calling around. And I definitely expect a few more guys to flip." Morgan, the quarterback, has graduated and plans to enroll early.
Jan 7 - 1:26 PM

Minnesota redshirt junior QB Conor Rhoda will remain with the team.

Score one for new Gophers HC P.J. Fleck, who convinced Rhoda to stay after the fourth-year junior considered transferring as a graduate. Gophers assistant coaches Mike Sherels and Dan O’Brien spoke to Fleck about recruiting Rhoda back into the fold immediately after Fleck's hiring. With starter Mitch Leidner having graduated, Rhoda will compete for the starting job next season.
Jan 7 - 12:47 PM

Western Michigan head coach P.J. Fleck is expected to take the same job at Minnesota.

Bruce Feldman reports a contract should be finalized in the 24 hours. Fleck was mentioned during the first wave of the coaching carousel with big programs like Oregon, and the assumption was he would stay at Western Michigan for another year. Then Minnesota's head job opened up, and Fleck seemed to be the target all along. Fleck's offense at Western Michigan was one of the best in the country over the last two years and produced a handful of NFL players. The Broncos went undefeated in the regular season in 2016.
Jan 6 - 9:08 AM

Huge Show, a Michigan radio show, is reporting that Minnesota is close to a deal with Western Michigan coach P.J. Fleck.

Fleck has reportedly been Minnesota's No. 1 candidate from the moment they fired Tracy Claeys (and, probably, before). While the job appears to be there for Fleck's taking, Minnesota is working on contingency plans. Football Scoop reported Thursday that the Gophers have reached out to Navy head coach Ken Niumatalolo. Further, Football Scoop reported that Minnesota offered Niumatalolo the HC gig back when they hired Jerry Kill. Fleck and Niumatalolo would both be grand slam hires. We'd love to see the triple-option run in the Big 10 and think it would be successful for a program like Minnesota, so we're pulling for Niumatalolo if Fleck turns down the gig.
Jan 5 - 2:23 PM

ESPN's Adam Rittenberg reports that Minnesota's "initial preference" to replace former HC Tracy Claeys is Western Michigan coach P.J. Fleck.

That said, Rittenberg went on to write that "a source close to Fleck told ESPN there has not been any contact between the school and the coach." Multiple media outlets have also reported that former LSU and Oklahoma State coach Les Miles and Boise State's Bryan Harsin are candidates to replace Claeys. Harsin was hired at Boise by Gophers athletic director Mark Coyle. Per Rittenberg, Minnesota's interest has also been piqued by Penn State offensive coordinator Joe Moorhead and North Dakota State coach Chris Klieman. The Gophers went 9-4 with a win over Washington State in the National Funding Holiday Bowl this season. The nine wins were the school's second-highest win total since 1905.
Source: ESPN
Jan 4 - 12:47 PM

Minnesota redshirt senior QB Mitch Leidner lashed the program for firing HC Tracy Claeys, saying, "I don't know who would want to be part of this program at this time."

"This is terrible decision by the administration. This is a pretty sad day for Gopher football," Leidner said. Claeys was terminated on Tuesday following a turbulent last month for Minnesota, one which saw 10 players suspended due to an alleged sexual assault. The team infamously threatened to boycott the Holiday Bowl following those suspensions, with Claeys tweeting out his support for his players and the concept of due process. This tweet drew ire from the community and AD Mark Coyle specifically referenced it after Claeys' termination, saying, "Let me be clear: this was the right thing to do. [His] tweet was not helpful." Minnesota went 9-4 under Claeys' watchful eyes this past season. Very real fallout could follow from this firing, as ESPN's Brett McMurphy relayed that an undergraduate Gophers player has said, "Doesn’t matter who coach is, we don’t want to play for [the] administration. Countless people will transfer if possible."
Jan 3 - 6:40 PM

Multiple outlets are reporting that Minnesota has fired HC Tracy Claeys.

While Claeys and the Gophers did post a 9-4 record this past season -- including a Holiday Bowl win over Washington State -- the campaign was not without high-profile controversy. At the beginning of December, Minnesota players threatened to boycott the aforementioned Holiday Bowl in support of 10 suspended teammates who were connected to an alleged sexual assault (no charges were filed in that case). Claeys subsequently took to Twitter to write that he supported the boycott, which drew the ire of many a Minnesota citizen due to his not mentioning the victim of the alleged incident in his tweet. A petition for Claeys' firing is currently circulating, though how much that petition actually had an effect on Minnesota's termination decision is impossible to tell. 247Sports' Travis Haney reported on Monday that P.J. Fleck was one candidate to replace Claeys. That could gain some traction now that the Gophers have gone through with ripping off the coaching bandaid.
Jan 3 - 5:09 PM

Following their loss to Wisconsin in the Cotton Bowl, Western Michigan HC P.J. Fleck shrugged off his name being attached to other opportunities.

"I love where I'm at, period," Fleck said. "It's as simple as that. We're heading back to Kalamazoo." Earlier on Monday, 247Sports' Travis Haney reported that Minnesota would strongly consider hiring Fleck to replace HC Tracy Claeys should the Gophers decide not to retain him. Per Haney, Fleck has not been contacted about that job as of yet, but would have interest in it. Should he not take another job, an extension with Western Michigan is likely. In early December, it was reported that Fleck and the Broncos were close to an extension agreement.
Source: ESPN.com
Jan 2 - 5:28 PM

247Sports' Travis Haney reports that Minnesota is torn on whether or not to retain HC Tracy Claeys.

Per Haney's little birdies, no decision has been made on Claeys as of yet and "they can see the school going in either direction." As for who Minnesota would turn to if they let Claeys go, Haney hears that Western Michigan HC P.J. Fleck would be a leading candidate. Fleck agreed to an extension with the Broncos earlier this offseason, but according to Haney, that extension has not been finalized as of yet.
Source: 247Sports
Jan 2 - 1:52 PM

No charges will be filed against the 10 Minnesota players suspended in relation to an alleged September sexual assault.

Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman said that after looking over the information unearthed in Minnesota's investigation of the incident (which occurred on September 2), there remains too little information to make a criminal complaint. Freeman's office had previously declined to press charges in October. There is currently a petition for Minnesota HC Tracy Claeys' firing due to his initial support of his players' threat to boycott the Holiday Bowl, but given that no criminal charges will be coming down the pike, no tangible action is likely to come from that petition.
Source: ESPN.com
Fri, Dec 30, 2016 07:14:00 PM

Minnesota redshirt sophomore RB Rodney Smith rushed for 74 yards and a touchdown on 17 carries in Tuesday's 17-12 win over Washington State in the National Funding Holiday Bowl.

Smith led the Golden Gophs in rushing with his 74 yards and helped fortify a 10-6 fourth-quarter lead with an icer of a five-yard touchdown run with just over two minutes remaining in the game. The 5-foot-11, 200-pound redshirt sophomore finishes up the 2016 campaign having rushed for 1,158 yards and 16 touchdowns over the course of 13 games played. He and Shannon Brooks make for one of the more underrated running back combos in the country.
Wed, Dec 28, 2016 03:00:00 PM


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