Gophers Coach Fleck Previews Saturday's Big Ten Opener vs. Maryland

September 18, 2018 04:26 PM

The Gophers hit the road for the first time this season, taking on Maryland at 11 a.m. Saturday in the Big Ten opener for both teams.

KSTP Sports was at Gophers coach P.J. Fleck's Tuesday news conference.

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***Click the video box above to hear from Fleck***

The Gophers are 1-0 in their lone trip to Maryland Stadium, as they topped the Terrapins 31-10 in 2016. Shannon Brooks, Emmit Carpenter, Rodney Smith and Antoine Winfield Jr., all scored in that win, but Brooks and Smith will miss this week's contest with injuries. Carpenter totaled seven points (1 FG, 4 PATs) and Winfield returned an interception 82 yards for a score as Minnesota triumphed.

Maryland's two wins against Minnesota came last year (31-24 in Minneapolis) and in the 1977 Hall of Fame Bowl (17-7).

Fleck knows Maryland is a dangerous team, and how tricky the first road game of the yea can be.

"We've got to look at it as another game," Fleck said. "We have to with these guys. They're going to go on the road. They're going to get on airplanes. Some of these kids, this will be their second airplane ever in their entire life. Most of them got on an airplane to come here and go through the recruiting process. That was their first. Now they're going to have another one.

But it's part of the game. You've got to be able to go some other places. We've got to be able to pick our culture up and put it over there. That's it. You're just playing a game. Football field is the same, 100 yards. The time is around the same of when we play. It's going to be the same sun we all play underneath, same clouds, same blue skies. They've got to look at it that way, and that's the way we want our program designed.

Remember, 60 out of the 113 guys on our team are freshmen. They're going through this the first time, especially a lot of them traveling. So whatever we set now is really the belief of then down the road, and I want our team to be able to play anywhere."

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KSTP Sports

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