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Final perspective on Minnesota Football in 2017? Losing sucks, but give it time.

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The season is over and it’s time to let P.J. Fleck’s tenure play itself out.

Illinois v Minnesota Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images

Apparently I’m getting old. I say that because I’ve now been around the Gophers blogsphere long enough to see patterns and think that some of this sounds awfully familiar. We are all sitting through a frustrating season where the team isn’t quite meeting expectations that many of us had at the beginning of the season. And as a result there are two factions that develop in the fan base.

The first that likes to stake out the “reasonable” high ground and preach patience. I am in this camp and struggle not to sound preachy, condescending and Polly Ann-ish. And a second faction develops that is very doom and gloom. This group will identify reasons why the current new coaching staff will never succeed and we should move on as quickly as possible.

I’m here to continue to preach patience and remind you that the first year is always full of adjustments and it a year to get everyone on the same page. Is this process nearly as extensive as it was back in 2011? No, Jerry Kill inherited a far worse situation. But the fact that nothing goes smoothly in the first year of a coaching transition. There are ups and downs, improvement is not linear and the first year really is about getting everyone on the same page.

I go back to 2011 when there was a strong “fire Kill” crowd because he was clearly in over his head as a Big Ten coach and would never succeed. Looking back at some cherry-picked comments on TDG in 2011. Things were far more civil here than you found on places like GopherHole or recruiting site message boards.

There are a lot of reasonable fans that are looking at this situation and saying, “sure, give Kill his 3-5 years to turn it around, but I am incredibly discouraged by the coaching staff so far and skeptical that they can do it.” Is that helpful?

Following 58-0 loss at Michigan on October 1st, 2011. I’m particularly interested in the “I am tired of the “aw shucks” routine.” Kind of like people are tired of they hyperbole, acronyms and excitement from Fleck.

Kill and staff got their asses kicked as much or more than the players on the field. No more free pass for Kill from me. For nine months he has been telling the world that these players are not good enough, talented, fast, tough-enough, no heart, on and on. Well you know what, the players now believe him and they played like that.. Kill has lost this team—-he has sucked the life and fun out of these guys. I am tired of the “aw shucks” routine——I am tired of this worshipping of his coaching staff and their “continuity.” Tell me one player that is a better player today than last year? anyone We are talking one offseason conditioning period, a spring and fall camp and 5 games and I cannot ID one guy that looks better.

Following a 17-45 loss at Purdue the week after the Michigan loss...

If Kill was such a great coach he would have been coaching at a much better place than pigs-knuckle Illinois. The fact that not one other top college would look at his ass should also be a sign.

So im not predicting doom, Im watching it in live action. The problem with the MN program is the apologists and the flake fans that support that kind of crap.

We hired the wrong guy...

Jerry Kill would be coaching at a big conference school if he was so good. Why cant we look at the other side of the coin? Its the blind leading the blind in our athletic dept. Its as valid a position as saying Jerry was the only one we could find to take a shit job? Everyone keeps turning the blind eye to this because the want to support the program…what program? What are you supporting? Explain why we cant be Iowa or Wisconsin? just someone tell me what is holding us back from that?

And I’ll end with this doom and gloom that we’ll never be any good.

I’m tired, Just so you can understand. Since 1968, ZERO Conference Championships, 3 Little Brown Jugs, 8 coaches, 1 season of 9 or more wins, ZERO Rose Bowls, and endless ‘promises and patience’. This program doesn’t belong in the Big 10, We should join the Mid-America Conference and allow Notre Dame to take our place. No disrespect to the newest attempt at a coaching staff, but this is an unwinnable situation, We don’t have support of Administration, the support from alumni will start to dwindle as they all start to die off, and over 40 years of minimal success, majority of ‘why we can’ twin, and mediocre lukewarm aura around the program. There are no commitments to winning, no commitments to improving the ‘program’, just too many broken promises, too many losing seasons, and too many other teams to support. I’m done. I hope more join me so we can give this program a proper burial.

And the reply to that one?...

Don’t forget

the apologists. It will get better because we type it in a computer and post it…trust me, you have no business questioning a new coach ever……each and every hire is like a blessing from god himself and not giving each and every hire 4-5 years is just stupid. Nobody could ever know that someone is a failure before 4 years.

Even our own GoAUpher was trying to be reasonable...

I’ve had issues with folks who A) have given up on Kill (or at least are saying as much with their comments), B) are predicting nothing but doom and gloom for the rest of his tenure based on 6 games in the first season, or C) are focusing only/way too much on his public statements and are accusing him of dodging responsibility and doing nothing but make excuses (even as he takes responsibility with his public statements).

Anybody remember all that? Better yet, does any of that sound familiar? We all know how Jerry Kill did in fact get this program on better footing and had them competitive in the Big Ten West, going to bowl games his next three full seasons and laying the foundation for Tracy Claeys to win 9 games in his one full season. Turns out Jerry wasn’t in over his head, he knew what he was doing and he did a fine job setting this program on more solid ground than when he first arrived.

For various reasons he is no longer leading the program and his successor is also no longer here. Now the program belongs to PJ Fleck.

Year one (or year zero as Fleck terms it) has been one that’s been up (Nebraska win) and down (Northwestern loss). The season has ended with a 5-7 record. Nothing special, a little disappointing but not a complete embarrassment. Here’s the deal though. This Gopher team was going to have issues this season regardless of who was coaching it. Breaking in a new, inexperienced quarterback and a decimated secondary are just the two most glaring issues.

And secondly, PJ Fleck wants to run a program differently than the last staff. It takes time to get all 105 guys on the same page and able to execute what this staff wants them to execute at high speeds. Nothing, I really mean NOTHING, that we have seen in year one should indicate that this staff is incapable of winning here. This needs to play out.

The point is that nobody knows whether or not Jerry Kill PJ Fleck is going to be successful and we should quit trying to ascertain the answer to this question when we are just six 12 games into the process. Don't take pride in being the first one to say Kill Fleck will fail and do not cling to false hope that he is guaranteed to take us beyond what mediocre-Mason previous staffs was were able to do. Let the process play out.

Which is exactly what I wrote about Kill 6 years ago. Give it time, we’ve been here before and it just may all play out just fine.