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Kirk Ciarocca returning to Gophers as offensive coordinator

The architect of the 2019 offense will look to revive the Gophers.
P.J. Fleck, Gophers football

The Minnesota Gophers made it official on Monday night when they announced that Kirk Ciarocca will return as the team's offensive coordinator.

Ciarocca served on P.J. Fleck's staff dating back to his days at Western Michigan and came over to Minnesota upon Fleck's hiring in 2017. As the offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach, Ciarocca oversaw the 2019 offense, who went 11-2 and picked up a victory in the Outback Bowl.

After a year with Penn State as its offensive coordinator, Ciarocca was an offensive analyst at West Virginia last season.

“We are excited to welcome Kirk back to Minnesota,” Fleck said in a statement. “Kirk is one of the best offensive coordinators in the game, but he is also a tremendous person. We have a long professional history of working together, and I look forward to reuniting with him.”

In his second stint with Minnesota, his top priority will be reviving the career of Tanner Morgan. The Gophers quarterback was one of most efficient in the nation in 2019, with a efficiency rating that rivaled current NFL quarterbacks Joe Burrow, Trey Lance and Jalen Hurts. 

But Morgan regressed mightily under Mike Sanford Jr. and the Gopher offense went from 21st in points per game in 2019 to 84th this season.

After finishing this year 8-4, the Gophers will play West Virginia in the Guaranteed Rate Bowl next month but Ciarrocca will not coach due to his previous ties with the school.

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