A lot of stories I’ve been tracking in college football came to a head recently. I did a profile on Fleck at SB Nation just a few weeks ago, detailing the program building job and offensive strategies he’d shown at Western Michigan.
I didn’t think Minnesota was the kind of job he’d end up with and I didn’t think Minnesota would come open in this fashion.
My guesswork led me to believe that Jerry Kill was truly done with coaching but might take on a sort of Barry Alvarez role at Kansas State and help ease the transition from Bill Snyder. What’s more, I thought perhaps his first act as AD might be to hire Tracy Claeys away from Minnesota to replace Snyder whenever he retired.
Instead Kill found a healthier rhythm and took the OC job at Rutgers and Tracy Claeys was fired from Minnesota after siding with his players in a planned bowl game boycott over the fate of 10 of their teammates. The ongoing saga and problem of sexual assault within the football world has been horrible and seems to be dealt with terribly on every single occasion.
Now Snyder seems poised to remain at K-State forever with no clear succession plan while Claeys is out of work. We’ll probably be able to tell how much of Claeys’ firing was due to a perception of negligence by the admin on his part regarding the sexual assaults or behavior and makeup of his team by what kind of job he lands next. If the admin was just annoyed he sided against them then he’ll probably land a pretty good job next because he was doing a good job at Minnesota, particularly with their defense.
If they have undisclosed evidence that he was welcoming violent criminals onto the team or failing to exercise control or discipline over his squad then perhaps his next stop will seem beneath what his resume should garner.
Finally there’s the question of Minnesota, an interesting program and state in its own right. The rise of the Bison dynasty at North Dakota State was in part achieved due to the hire of recruiting ace Tim Brewster, who tried to restock the Gopher roster with kids from Texas and Florida while ignoring many of the local talents. Those kids were then drawn to North Dakota State and formed the foundation of their dynasty.
Jerry Kill replaced Brewster and decreased the number of kids that the Bison could garner but by then they had enough momentum to poach kids from all sorts of programs with the allure of playing for annual championships in Fargo. The state is filled with the descendants of vikings, big, brawny kids who aren’t the fastest athletes but who can excel in the more violence-driven elements of the sport.
Fleck’s offense is a zone run game, bellcow game planning, and spread RPO system but at Western Michigan he recruited the local areas rather than chasing athletes from South Florida. How he’ll translate at Minnesota with their viking talent base will be interesting to watch.