The debate has raged all holiday weekend. How many of the inside runs we saw against Buffalo last Thursday night were the result of simply handing the ball off to Run Up The Middle and how many were the dive read in the new Run Pass Option scheme? Coach Fleck had the answer in today’s press conference:
P.J. on run game: "We were very basic. We ran inside zone 31 times. We wanted to put ourselves in the best position to be successful."— Minnesota Football (@GopherFootball) September 5, 2017
That’s right friends, the Gophers chose to hand the ball off for inside runs on 66% of the run playcalls in Week 1. It may not have made for the most interesting second half, but the move was completely defensible in context (see Randy Johnson’s excellent “Surgeon Not Showman” piece in the STrib for more). The combination of this stat plus Fleck’s admission they went extra vanilla in the 2nd half once the defense had Buffalo locked down led to the perfect response from IowaGopher in our Slack chat:
Call it the Kent State Protocol
Done! From now on, actively choosing to RUTM to win ugly on the back of your defense because the other team is completely over-matched will be known as the Kent State Protocol™ here at TDG. Please update your commenting style guides accordingly.
Will we see that much inside zone handoff action moving forward? Honestly, well, yea...maybe! The coaches want to expand what the team does but given that we’re in YEAR 1 I wouldn’t be shocked to see them buckle down and let the defense carry them through against Oregon State this week or MTSU the week after (assuming the secondary is holding up). Heck, if Fleck broke out the Kent State Protocol™ against Purdue I’d understand.
Other presser notes
- West coast games are all about timing in terms of arrival, departure, and sleep schedule.
P.J. on West Coast trip: "The ability to get in and get out is key. We will adjust the time sheets on when to go to bed."— Minnesota Football (@GopherFootball) September 5, 2017
- They’re also about not letting the things you can’t control dictate your responses.
P.J. on travel, heat and wildfires: "Those are all things when you go on the road. So what. No circumstance will dictate our behavior."— Minnesota Football (@GopherFootball) September 5, 2017
- The team started morning practices today with the start of school (something P.J. used at WMU and STRONGLY prefers).
P.J. on practice today: "First morning practice. First day of school. These guys had their best practice. I found out a lot about our team."— Minnesota Football (@GopherFootball) September 5, 2017
- #QBGAZE17 thoughts:
P.J. on QBs: "I don't think it is about leaning towards the younger guy. I want to lean to whoever demands and leads this program."— Minnesota Football (@GopherFootball) September 5, 2017