"Less is more" is never the case with P.J. Fleck — except when it comes to his starting quarterbacks. He wants one starting quarterback, not two.
Six weeks later, senior Conor Rhoda and sophomore Demry Croft split reps in their season opener against Buffalo. Fleck was pleased with both of their performances and how they handled themselves, but he's not pleased with having two starting quarterbacks.
"I wish we would have one starting quarterback right now," he told HERO Sports this week. "I wish we did have returning starters you could play. I wish we did have a plethora of recruits that could pull from. We don't have that, and these are the best guys we have. I believe in these two and neither one of these guys have separated themselves from each other."
Rhoda, a former walk-on, started the game, played the first three series and finished 11-for-21 for 176 yards, one touchdown and one atrocious interception in the end zone. Croft, meanwhile, attempted about half as many passes (7-for-11 for 63 yards, zero touchdowns and zero interceptions) but had six carries (for 32 yards) to Rhoda's none. They rotated in and out throughout the entire game.
"I thought they handled themselves in a very mature way, in a very professional way," Fleck said. "We've talked all [fall] camp about possibly doing this. I did let them know in terms of how the reps were going to be distributed right off the bat. But then . . . they just play football. They're not necessarily saying 'hey I'm going to get the 11th rep of the game and I'm going to focus on that 11th rep."
Fleck said they're still trying to reach a point of naming one guy the starter and letting him run with the job. The problem is neither one is actually running with the job, and like his conservative decision-making in a stale Week 1 win (after which he said, "We had to do what we had to do to win the football game") he's not going force something that's not there.
"I don't know how close I am to doing that," he said of picking one starter. "That's really up to the quarterbacks. That's really up to the performance. That's really up to the leadership and the preparation . . . and who really controls and demands the respect of the football team."
He did not say if Rhoda will get the start again and whether the pair will split the reps similarly again this week, when the Gophers visit Oregon State for the first Power Five game of the P.J. Fleck era.