Minnesota coach P.J. Fleck has goose decoys around the team's complex

Minnesota P.J. Fleck directs his team against Maryland in the fourth quarter of an NCAA college football game on Saturday, Sept. 30, 2017, in Minneapolis. Maryland defeated Minnesota 31-24.(AP Photo/Andy Clayton-King)

Perhaps P.J. Fleck will tell us if a goose can row a boat.

The Minnesota coach has a new motivational tactic he’s trying out with his team. And it involves goose decoys.

Fleck, who coined the “Row the Boat” motivational phrase to help get his players at Western Michigan to work together, has goose decoys around Minnesota’s football facilities to help remind players to take turns being leaders of the team.

Hell, there were even fake geese just to the left of Fleck during his press conference Tuesday. Here’s his explanation of why the fake geese are there and why it’s not because he’s a big hunting fan.


“Geese fly in a ‘V.’ And we’re talking about developing leadership. There’s a lot of people here that don’t have experience that are expected to lead. They haven’t done that led alone lead a Division One football program in the Big Ten. And so the goose at the front of the V, that’s the one that has to work the hardest. The geese to the sides are the ones that draft them. The loudest geese are the ones at the back because they’re encouraging everyone else to continue to fly. If one goose happens to leave the flock, another goose leaves with him. There’s no man or goose left behind.

“And so we talked about we’re going to take turns at the front leading this football team. And that’s what the geese are for. They’re around everywhere — sometimes they’re the only things I get to talk to.”

We’d make a Mighty Ducks “Flying V” reference right here but we don’t want to get ducks and geese confused and get angry emails from waterfowl aficionados.

Fleck’s team is rebounding from its first loss of the season. Minnesota was undefeated before losing to Maryland on Saturday. Maybe the Gophers could have distracted Maryland players with a few goose decoys around the field at TCF Bank Stadium? If that would give Fleck’s team a motivational edge, you can bet he’d think about doing it.

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Nick Bromberg is the editor of Dr. Saturday and From the Marbles on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at nickbromberg@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!