In 2019, his third season at the helm, Minnesota Golden Gophers head coach P.J. Fleck took the program to heights they had not seen in over a decade-and-a-half, finishing 11-2, their first time reaching double-digit victories since 2003, when Glen Mason was roaming the sideline.

Attempting to navigate the uncertainty created by coronavirus (COVID-19)-related opt-outs and limited practice time, the Golden Gophers took a step back in 2020, finishing 3-4 and choosing not to participate in a bowl game.

Speaking with the media on Monday, Fleck summarized the just completed campaign and offered a brief outlook on the 2021 team.

“This is the first year I’ve ever talked about two years at once,” he said, via

“It’s impossible not to. You have 30 kids out and then they are out three weeks and you are talking about one final game they get to play in, or two, or whatever it is. You better give hope (to players) for the future, especially with all these people going certain places, transferring, leaving, going here, going there.

“They better know you are going to be a really good football team next year, and I think we are going to be a really good football team next year.”

Tentatively, Minnesota is scheduled to begin their 2021 season at TCF Bank Stadium against the Ohio State Buckeyes on Thursday, September 2.

The team’s non-conference slate features home games against two Mid-American Conference (MAC) programs, the Miami (Ohio) RedHawks and Bowling Green Falcons, on September 11 and 25, respectively, and a trip to Boulder to battle the Pacific-12 Conference’s Colorado Buffaloes on September 18.