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Offensive coordinator to follow Fleck to Minnesota

MINNEAPOLIS -- New Gophers coach P.J. Fleck will bring his offensive coordinator, Kirk Ciarrocca, with him from Western Michigan, a source confirmed Tuesday.

Nov 7, 2015; Columbus, OH, USA; A Minnesota Golden Gophers helmet sits on the sidelines before the game against the Ohio State Buckeyes at Ohio Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Greg Bartram-USA TODAY Sports
Nov 7, 2015; Columbus, OH, USA; A Minnesota Golden Gophers helmet sits on the sidelines before the game against the Ohio State Buckeyes at Ohio Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Greg Bartram-USA TODAY Sports

MINNEAPOLIS - New Gophers coach P.J. Fleck will bring his offensive coordinator, Kirk Ciarrocca, with him from Western Michigan, a source confirmed Tuesday.

Under Fleck, Ciarrocca's offense was ninth in the nation in scoring at 41 points per game and 19th in total offense at 481 yards per game during a 13-1 season that ended with an appearance in the Cotton Bowl.

Before Fleck hired Ciarrocca at Western Michigan in 2013, Ciarrocca was co-offensive coordinator at Rutgers when Fleck became wide receivers coach in 2010.

Ciarrocca was offensive coordinator at Delaware from 2002-07, which included Joe Flacco's era as quarterback. Ciarrocca, Flacco and the Blue Hens made an appearance at the Football Championship Subdivision title game in 2007. Flacco became a 2008 NFL first-round draft pick and Super Bowl MVP with the Baltimore Ravens.

Ciarrocca also served as quarterbacks coach during the transformation of Fleck's Western Michigan team from 1-11 in 2013 to 13-1 a season ago.

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Warinner to coach offensive line

Fleck also will hire Ed Warinner to be Minnesota's offensive line coach, a source confirmed.

Warinner was offensive coordinator and tight ends coach at Ohio State last season, when the Buckeyes went 11-2 and lost to eventual national champion Clemson 31-0 in a College Football Playoff semifinal on Dec. 31. The Buckeyes were 11th in the nation with 245 rushing yards per game and 13th in scoring offense with 39 points per game in 2016.

Warinner was the co-offensive coordinator/offensive line coach at Ohio State from 2012-14 and became offensive coordinator/offensive line coach in 2015. His rรฉsumรฉ includes stops at Notre Dame, Kansas, Illinois, Air Force, Army and Michigan State.

Ohio State announced Tuesday that former Indiana coach Kevin Wilson will be the Buckeyes' new offensive coordinator.

At Minnesota, Warinner replaces Bart Miller, who was fired alongside head coach Tracy Claeys and the majority of the assistant coaches last week. Miller was hired in December 2015 after two seasons as offensive line coach at Florida Atlantic.

Sawvel won't return

Jay Sawvel, the Gophers' defensive coordinator who also was fired Jan. 3, will not return under Fleck, a source confirmed.

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On Monday, ESPN reported the Gophers are in the process of hiring Arkansas defensive coordinator Robb Smith to fill the same role in Minnesota.

After a strong season in his only year as defensive coordinator, Sawvel is said to be mulling offers from three schools in Power Five conferences, the source said.

Claeys was promoted from defensive coordinator to head coach when Jerry Kill stepped down for health reasons in October 2015; that's when Sawvel was promoted from secondary coach to defensive coordinator. The Gophers ranked was 21st in the nation in scoring defense, giving up an average of 22.1 points.

Without four of its top six defensive backs, Minnesota held Washington State's pass-happy offense in check during the Holiday Bowl. After averaging 40 points and 370 passing yards during the regular season, the Cougars passed for only 264 in their 17-12 loss to Minnesota.

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