Sunday, December 30, 2007

Significance in recruiting

It's been a few weeks since I've posted anything, and clearly I haven't been keeping up with what has been going on in recruiting.

The good news is that for those of us that are Gopher Football fans, the days of having to scour the internet for information about recruiting are behind us. If there is new information about recruiting, you can be sure that you will find it somewhere in one of the local papers or their websites.

This is significant, and it tells us two things. First of all, it tells us that all of the lip-service that Coach Brewster has been giving to the importance of recruiting is starting to pay off. But secondly, and more importantly, they are reporting about it for a reason, and that reason is because what Coach Brewster is doing in the area of recruiting is incredibly significant.

For those, like me, living in the Twin Cities, when was the last time, prior to this year, when you can remember Gopher Football recruiting being discussed on the 10 o'clock news? In the papers? On local radio?

People who are much smarter, and much more plugged into recruiting than I am, have pointed out that if the Gophers are able to land all of the 4-star recruits that have verbally commited to the program at this point, they will have more 4-star recruits in this single season than the previous coaching regime was able to land in 10 years of recruiting. 10 YEARS!!! Two of those 4-star recruits, David Pittman and Traye Simmons, have already signed letters of intent and will enroll at the U next month.

As of today Minnesota is ranked by Rivals as having the 24th best recruiting class in all of college football, and the 4th best recruiting class in the Big10. Obviously these numbers are going to change, and probably significantly before National Signing Day on February 6th, 2008. But think back to the last few years, and could you even imagine the Gophers being mentioned in the Top 25 recruiting classes? Suddenly it's a possibility.

Two things happened on November 17th, 2007. First, I turned 30. But second, the 2007 Gopher Football season was finally put out of its misery. It was a painful season on the field, but we've got a lot to look forward to in the future.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Climbing the ranks

Check it out... as of today Minnesota is ranked at #22 in terms of verbal commitments by incoming recruits for next football season. If recruiting was the reason that Coach Brewster was brought in, he is doing an outstanding job making it a priority, putting it top-of-mind for coaches and fans, and in actually bringing in some quality talent.


to the Gold Country of Gopher Nation...

DAVID PITTMAN!!! 5'11", 195lbs., 4.6 sec 40 yard dash, duel threat quarterback from Pasedena, CA Community College.

As a quarterback for Pasedena this year, Pittman completed 66.9% of his passes for 35 touchdowns and just 10 interceptions. He also ran for 572 yards and 6 touchdowns. While Pittman may challenge Weber for the starting QB position, he is a superior athlete, and I wouldn't be surprised to see him play some D-back or WR if Weber maintains his job.

Any speculation from the readers as to where Pittman might make an impact?

EDIT: thank you to the commenter who corrected me on the first name... that was dumb of me.

Ladies & Gentlemen, your 2007 MVP... DOM BARBER

Dom Barber was named as the Golden Gopher's team MVP for 2007, and I think I speak for everyone when I say that there is clearly no more deserving player on this year's team.

Thinking back to the season, I can't even guess how many times I thought, or even said out loud, "Where would this team be without him?" Not that we won any games because of Dom, but can you imagine how much worse it might have been at times without Dom Barber. Several big-play saving tackles, coming out of nowhere to bring down a guy who looked like he on his way to an easy touchdown.

Dom Barber encapsulates everything that you want to see in a Golden Gopher: a local kid with heart, speed and athletic ability all day long.

Monday, December 10, 2007

New verbal commit

Welcome to the Gold Country of Gopher Nation Rex Sharpe...

Rex will be joining us as a JUCO transfer from Arizona Western Community College in Yuma, AZ. Rex is 6'3", 245lbs, and runs a 4.5 40 yard dash.

Big, fast, athletic...

SKI-U-MAH, Rex Sharpe! SKI-U-MAH!!!

Thursday, December 6, 2007

New verbal commit

Welcome to the Gold Country of Gopher Nation...

JUCO transfer Tramaine Brock. 6'0", 180lbs, 4.5 (or 4.37 depending on what site you read) 40 yard dash.

He has not been given a star-rating by Rivals, but Brock is obviously fast, and he did have a couple of other offers from SEC schools (South Carolina, Mississippi State, Ole Miss), as well as Louisville.

UPDATE:............ 12/7/07: Tramaine Brock has been given a 3-star rating from Rivals.

Friday, November 30, 2007

The rich get richer

Willie Mobley has made a verbal commitment to Ohio State. Not a big surprise, but this would have been a HUGE get for Brewster and the Gophers.

As of now this is the only link that I have to the info. If anyone else has another link please let me know.

UPDATE: Scoggins is all over it... here.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

"Tim Brewster gets the Dreaded Vote of Confidence"

I missed this quick article last week by Tom Fornelli on AOL Sports last week.

Because often times a coach gets fired even after hearing the words, it's very popular right now when an Athletic Director or owner of a team says they have confidence in their coach in the midst of a bad season, for the media to say that the AD or owner gave their coach the "dreaded" vote of confidence. Fornelli was obviously gravy-training on this trend because in his piece on Brewster he doesn't develop this any further. In fact, he goes as far as to say that Maturi is right, that Brewster does deserve more time to prove that he can build a program.

Fornelli's article is actually spot on, summed up by this...

"Say what you will about the Gophers performance on the field this season, but at the very least, they weren't lying down for anybody. They played hard in every game, they just didn't have the talent to compete."

And then there were two...

... schools that is. Two is the number of schools that stand-out Eden Prairie defensive lineman Willie Mobley has narrowed his list of places where he might play college football next year.

The good news is that one of them is the Gold Country of Gopher Nation's Minnesota Golden Gophers!

The bad news is that the other one is none other than THE Ohio State University.

Here are some of the reasons that it seems possible, or maybe even likely, that Mobley will stay home:

1. Playing close to friends and family.
2. Immediate playing time in the Big10. Big fish, small pond.
3. Academics.
4. The chance to be a stand-out on and off the field, to be beloved by Minnesotans everywhere, to step into a Big10 program where he is immediately THE man, and to be a celebrity in his own home town for the rest of his life.
5. The chance to be spoken forever as one of the premier names that helped turn Golden Gopher football around.

I think I speak for ALL of Gopher Nation when I say to Mr Willie Mobley: PLEASE STAY HOME AND BUILD OUR PROGRAM!!!

SKI-U-MAH, Willie Mobley, SKI-U-MAH!!!

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

One in, one out...

Chip Scoggins reported today that Offensive Lineman Matt DeGeest will not play for the Gophers next year, as he has decided to leave the program. He is the fourth scholarship player to leave the team this year. DeGeest was replaced mid-way through this season by red-shirt freshman Dominic Alford.

We can also welcome to the Gold Country of Gopher Nation Mr. Xzavian Brandon, a 4.4 second 40 yard dash wide receiver from Atlanta. Xzavian is 6'2" and 170lbs. Let's hope the training staff gets their hands on this speedster so that they get him up to Eric Decker's size.

A Lifelong Gopher fan...

If you have not yet read Jim Souhan's article about Gopher fan, and former Gopher basketball player, Joe Holewa, you should stop what you are doing and read it right now.

This is a great story of the will to live and devotion to family.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

BIG PLAY TRAYE!!!!!!!!!!!

Welcome Traye Simmons (4 Star CB recruit from College of the Sequoias) to Gopher Nation, or Gold Country, or whatever we are calling it today!!!

Also welcome DaJon McKnight (the third player from Skyline HS in Dallas and another D-back prospect) and Maurice Greer (RB from Garden City, KS Community College with 4.5 speed)!

The Handshake heard round the Midwest

Look, we all know Bret Bielema is a cocky guy. To some extent he has a right to be. But let's be honest, he won big last year with Alvarez's guys, and he's still doing it.

Below you will find the highlight video of Saturday's Border Battle from the Big Ten Network...

Two things... First, did anyone else think the refs calling the touchdown for Wiscy at the beginning of the 4th Quarter when the score was tied at 20 was questionable?

Second, and the reason for this post, have another look at Bielema's handshake with Brewster (if you can call it that) after the game... I'm going to go ahead and refrain from calling him any choice words... but let the record show that I certainly would like to!!!

"You want a rivalry...."

There is clearly no love lost between Bret Bielema and Coach Brewster. Bielema said after the Gopher/Badger game "You want a rivalry... you got one."


As if the Border Battle wasn't heated enough, Bielema just raised the stakes. I love it!!! Apparently Decker and CB Ikegwuonu were going at each other, not always above the belt, all game long. I love the fire!

I have to tell you, the Gophers had me fired up on Saturday. I don't ever remember seeing a Gopher defense as fired up as the one we saw on Saturday. I don't ever remember seeing guys flying around the ball and just generally sacrificing absolutely everything they had, leaving absolutely everything they had in them on the field before. It was fantastic to watch! The young guys are learning to play big time ball and they are learning to do so ON THE JOB.

That was one of the most entertaining games that I recall watching in a long time, and part of it was that I just wanted to Gophers to win that game so much, not for the fans, but for the players. They ABSOLUTELY deserved to win that game. They played their hearts out, and for the first time ever you could really, and truly, see it from the stands.

There are some great things to be excited about with the Gopher Football program!!!

Ski-U-Mah, my friends, SKI-U-MAH!!!

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Interesting article...

Here is an interesting article examining corporate naming rights for stadiums, and what happens when a naming sponsor gets bought out. Apparently there is a chance that TCF Bank will get purchased by another bank even prior to TCF Bank Stadium opening. The U says that this scenario was addressed in the naming contract for the stadium, but this is an interesting topic that hadn't crossed my mind prior to reading this.


I would like you to take a moment to read this article.

Written by a U of Wisconsin student and band member, I think that this article represents perfectly the smug attitude that Badger fans come into the Dome with this weekend. They like to make fun of our team and our stadium, and yet, every single year, without fail, they flock to the Metrodome.

I think this sums up what we can look forward to this weekend...

"...for some reason, Gopher fans get excited for this border battle game every year, no matter how slim their chances of winning.
Most of you will likely run into people on the streets of Minneapolis who will shout things at you or tell you how bad the Badgers are. All any Wisconsin fan will have to say to them after, however, is one word: scoreboard.
Don’t be too harsh on those Gophers, though. They’ve had a rough go at it this year. Their 1-10 record is haunting enough; they don’t need to be told how dismal their team’s season has been.
OK, who am I kidding? Go ahead and remind them."

Hopefully the Gopher football team has seen this article. If Coach Brewster's kids needed any bulletin board fodder to get them up for this game... Tyler Mason has delivered.

Gophs to play Air Force at first game in TCF Stadium

The speculation can now end... the Gophers WILL play Air Force on September 12, 2009 for the first ever game in TCF Bank Stadium.

The day will include a tribute to Minnesota veterans.


Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Bo Ryan dances...

I realize this is a football blog, but in looking for video leading up to this weekend's Border Battle, I found this little gem of Wisconsin Basketball Coach Bo Ryan dancing...

Recruits visiting this weekend

A few big recruits will be at the Dome this Saturday to watch the Gophers re-gain Axe-supremacy, and watch as we drink in the Wiscy...

According to Shooter...

"The Gophers football team this weekend will receive recruiting visits from running back Maurice Greer of Garden City (Kan.) junior college, wide receiver Broderick Smith of Garden City (Kan.) High School, wide receiver Vince Hill of Milford Prep (N.Y.) Academy, defensive lineman Willie Mobley of Eden Prairie and offensive lineman Matt C"arufel, who has committed after transferring from Notre Dame."

Two more recruits join the fold...

Spencer Reeves (6'1", 193lbs, LB, 4.5 second 40 yard dash) and Troy Stoudermire (5'10", 163lbs, Athlete, 4.5 second 40 yard dash) from Skyline Highschool in Dallas have both made verbal commitments to the Golden Gophers.

Reeves is a fast defensive player, likely LB for the Gophers as well, who will be a nice addition to what Coach Brewster is trying to build. Stoudemire, I believe (is someone knows otherwise please correct me) is an athletic quarterback at Skyline, who is a great runner. Athletes of his ability always have a spot on the team. Plus, as we learned from Lou Holtz, recruiting high school QB's is never a bad idea.

As if ice cream and Blizzards weren't enough

Well, Gopher fans, if delicious soft-serve ice cream and the various varieties of the signature Blizzard treat weren't reason enough to get you to visit your local Dairy Queen (March through September), now you've got another reason...

Support Gopher Football, Eat at Dairy Queen!!!!

(But don't tell my wife.)

Monday, November 12, 2007

Recruiting news...

Terrell Combs, 6'2", 252 lbs, from Lexington, KY has verbally committed to the Golden Gophers! Combs is a high school teammate of D.L. Wilhite, another Gopher verbal commitment, and is listed as an athlete. He apparently plays running back, wide receiver and some defense for his high school team.

From the Maysville, KY Ledger Independent, this article talks about Combs and Wilhite....

"Just a couple of examples of the tremendous size on the Bryan Station roster include junior fullback Roy "The Bear" Philon, who is listed as a 6-3, 267-pounder, along with University of Minnesota-bound running back D.J. Willhite [D.L. Wilhite], who is 6-4, 240. Another behemoth, junior offensive tackle Chase Blackburn anchors the offensive line at 6-7, 320.
The top Division I prospect is receiver Terrell Combs, who appears even bigger than his listed size of 6-3, 240. Combs is being recruited by Kentucky, Louisville, Michigan and other schools, reportedly possesses 4.5 speed and had five receptions for 155 yards and three touchdowns. Instead of avoiding possible tacklers, Combs prefers to stiff-arm defenders and run over opponents."

Speculation is that Combs will play DE or LB.

All this negativity...

After Rick Pitino left the Kentucky basketball program to try his luck in the NBA with the Boston Celtics, he had a rough go of it. He managed a record with the Celtics of 102 wins and 146 losses. Not exactly the winning ways he was used to, nor was it the akin with the storied history of the Celtics. For his lack of W's, Pitino was slaughtered in the Boston media at every turn. Well one day Pitino had had enough...

"Larry Bird is not walking through that door, fans. Kevin McHale is not walking through that door, and Robert Parish is not walking through that door. And if you expect them to walk through that door, they're going to be gray and old. What we are is young, exciting, hard-working, and we're going to improve. People don't realize that, and as soon as they realize those three guys are not coming through that door, the better this town will be for all of us because there are young guys in that (locker) room playing their asses off. I wish we had $90 million under the salary cap. I wish we could buy the world. We can't; the only thing we can do is work hard, and all the negativity that's in this town sucks. I've been around when Jim Rice was booed. I've been around when (Carl) Yastrzemski was booed. And it stinks. It makes the greatest town, greatest city in the world, lousy. The only thing that will turn this around is being upbeat and positive like we are in that locker room... and if you think I'm going to succumb to negativity, you're wrong. You've got the wrong guy leading this team."

This is sort of how I feel about Gopher football right now. I've been trying to be upbeat and positive, to keep my focus on the good things that are happening. But, to quote Pitino "all the negativity that's in this town sucks."

If you haven't noticed I haven't been posting as often as earlier in the season. It's not because my passion for Gopher football has dropped in any way. Instead what has happened is that there just isn't much out there to comment on that isn't completely negative. Of course this is a direct result of the fact that there hasn't been anything good to report on as far as the team's play.

So for someone like me, trying to create an outlet for people who are trying to be upbeat about the program, it's a difficult time. Outside of re-hashing the same old recruiting, developing young players, learning a new system topics, there isn't much out there. This also makes it difficult for me to plug away and try to come up with new commentary when it's sort of the same old, same old negativity that's out there.

So I ask you, readers, what is your opinion? I would really like to find out what you think there is to be optimistic about. We are all in this together, a small group of very loyal Gopher football fans, and we need to hold each other up. What am I missing? What is there to be excited about that I've missed? Let's continue to rail against the negativity.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

My biggest fear

All along it has looked the the Gophers losing ways on the field were not affecting recruiting in a negative way. But we'd have to be a bit crazy to not be at least worried that it was going to have a negative affect at some point.

Brendan Kelly, a 3-star defensive line recruit from Holy Angels had verbally committed to the Gophers, but planned to keep the rest of his official visits... can you say red flag?

Well, we've learned this morning, from Chip Scoggins, that Kelly has withdrawn his verbal commitment from the Golden Gophers and will pursue other options.

This has been my biggest fear all along, and now it's coming true. A recruit like Kelly withdrawing his commitment is bad for the Gophers football team on the field, and it doesn't bode well for other recruits either. These kids could very well start to wonder why he withdrew his commitment.

Kelly claims that it has nothing to do with the Gophers 1-9 record, and it only had to do with where he feels comfortable. Funny how he started feeling uncomfortable at Minnesota at precisely the time when things could not be going any worse on the field.

Monday, November 5, 2007

What now?

Well, look who has egg on his face again!!! I said that this was another winnable game, and here we are again on a Monday and the Gophers didn't win. Apparently my homer-bias outshines my logical nature late in the work week, but then my homer-bias is replaced by dejected reality.

Dejected reality coming...

A co-worker of mine made the observation today that even those high in spirit are subject to bouts of reality when your team takes so many losses. He's also the same co-worker who thought (and still thinks by the way) that the Gophers have another win in them. I've said this before, and I'll say it again: I hope he's right.

I was pretty pumped up for Saturday night, I figured the Gophers had every reason to be excited and ready to play this game.

But the Gophers simply did NOT show up for this game. There was not a single, solitary moment of Saturday's game that I felt like the Gophers were in it. It was embarrassing.

WARNING: Meltdown coming...

Illinois came in as a one-dimensional team. They can run the ball, and that's it. Juice Williams is not a pocket-passer, he's a run-first guy. Now, I will give you, they can run the ball exceptionally well, but you knew coming in that they weren't a passing team. They were NOT going to throw. They may as well have put a full-page add in the USA Today that they weren't going to throw the ball... And yet, we couldn't stop them! They ran all over us... and around us, and pretty much any place that a team can run, they ran, and then some. They ran the ball 50 times. 50 TIMES!!! And only threw 21 times. 70% of the plays that they ran were running plays. SEVENTY!!! They came up with 448 yards rushing. They averaged 9 yards/carry. They had a 200 yard AND a 100 yard rusher. They very nearly DOUBLED our offensive production. And get this: their time of possession was less than 1 minute more than ours, they had 1 more turnover than we had AND they had almost twice as many penalty yards than we had. Illinois was absolutely BEGGING us to get back in the game. We couldn't do anything.

Once again we were not mistake-ridden by any means, we just could not do anything significant with the football, or muster up anything close to resembling a defensive stand. They punted only 1 time.

Meltdown over.

Chances are very good that I'm still going to be VERY excited for this Saturday's game against Iowa. C'mon, it's Iowa for cryin' out loud! It's Floyd, it's outdoors, it's November... IT'S COLLEGE FOOTBALL PEOPLE!!!!!!!!!!

No matter what I think we can all agree on one thing...


(There... I feel better.)

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Playing catch up

Well, I've been very tired up with work the last couple of days and haven't had much time to write, so I've got some things to catch up on.

Illinois comes rolling into town this week and rolling they are. Ron Zook hit the recruiting trail a couple of years ago when he came to the Big 10 to lead Illinois. The Illini weren't supposed to do anything significant until next year, but Zook's efforts are already paying off. This is good news and bad news for Gopher fans. The bad news, of course, is that we have to play Illinois this week, and they are a good football team.

The good news for Gopher fans is that recruiting was Zook's #1 priority when he got to Illinois, as has been Coach Brewster's priority, and it has paid off for Zook, and it has paid off early.

The Illini started off their season by losing to a very good Missouri team, and then rattled off 5 wins in a row, including beating Penn State and Wisconsin, before dropping close games to Iowa and Michigan. They got back on the winning track last week with a W over Ball State, as they put up 324 yards rushing.

These guys can run. Rashard Mendenhall already has over 1,100 yards and 12 touchdowns, and Juice Williams has rushed for over 400 yards from under center. They are averaging 240 yards on the ground/game.

Until the NDSU game I thought that the Gophers defense was pretty good against the run, but obviously NDSU and Michigan absolutely SHATTERED that thinking. But this is a game (and I know, BELIEVE ME I KNOW, there have been a lot of times that I've said these words this year) that the Gophers can win.

There are some intangibles that make this game pretty interesting. First of all, it's homecoming for the Gophers, so the students and the players will be fired up. The fans could be absolutely NUTS for this game for that reason, and the fact that it's a 7 p.m. kickoff.

In addition Coach Brewster is coaching against his alma-mater and the school that did not interview him for their coaching vacancy a few years ago. Brewster says that his personal feelings on this game do not come into play... but we know Coach Brewster is a passionate man, so don't be surprised if he's a little fired up for this onen.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Coach Brewster with Sid & Dave

As with every Sunday, Coach Brewster joined Sid and Dave on 'CCO. You can find the link here.

-Sounds like Coach Brewster still has a lot of confidence in Weber, despite the fact that he is experiencing a difficult time right now. The passing game is out of rhythm. Hard to blame him as Weber has done a nice job of leading this offense through a tough season. He did, however, say that he would put the quarterback that gives them the best chance of winning, no matter who that is.

-A caller asked why Brewster never puts Tony Mortensen in the game. Brewster said he doesn't believe in pulling a guy who is struggling on the field out of the game, he wants to let Weber work through those times, and show confidence in him.

-Team morale, despite the tough W-L record, still seems to be good. Coach is happy with the players effort and morale, just wishes they could get some W's.

-Sounds like Brewster asked Lloyd Carr for an explanation of why on the last play of the game he ran a pass play when they were already up 24 points, but no response.

-Sid thinks that Coach Brewster is doing a great job and supports the job he is doing. YAY!

Groundhog Day?

If you have ever seen the movie "Groundhog Day," you know that Phil Connors, played by Bill Murray, becomes destined to relive a day in his life over and over and over again. As first Connors takes advantage of the situation, but eventually wants out.

If our Golden Gophers were perennial winners, I might feel more like Murray's character early in the movie. But I think it's accurate to say that most Gopher fans feel more like Phil Connors towards the end of the movie. Perpetually seeing the same results with no change in outcome we are desperate to get out of this monotony.

As I was driving away from the sports bar where I watched the Gophs take on Michigan on Saturday I started thinking to myself: "Crap, what am I going to write about THIS one?" It occurred to me that this one doesn't particularly sting any worse than the others.

Even going into the locker room at halftime down only 3 points, I was uneasy. The offense could not get ANYTHING going, and this was not going to bode well for the second half. Michigan has a good defense, but that didn't seem to be the issue on Saturday.

Weber was off, and he has been off for two weeks. Is he over-thinking things? Have the game plans that have been installed the last two weeks been more complicated? What is going on?

I really like Weber, I think he's got the tools and confidence to be a BIG TIME college quarterback. But he doesn't seem to be the free-wheeling youngster that we saw earlier this year. Maybe he's now so worried about turnovers that he can't "create" like he is used to?

I would be curious to see what the reader's opinions are...

Friday, October 26, 2007

Injury bug

There is just no way around it, the Golden Gopher football team has been bitten by the injury bug. The bug has been especially active on the defensive side of the ball, where we definitely do not need it.

As if this team is not talent-poor defense wasn't hurting enough, the injuries have made it even worse. And this doesn't seem to be an issue that anyone is really talking about.

Sure, a lot of the injuries have been minor, but important contributors have been missing playing time, sometimes significant amounts, and obviously the injuries don't help them out on the field when they aren't sitting.

Look at these players that have missed time on the field, or have been hampered by injury this season.
Jay Thomas
Amir Pinnix
Duane Bennett
Jack Simmons
D.J. Burris

Duran Cooley
Willie VanDeSteeg
Desi Steib
John Shevlin
Mike Sherels

Like I said, as if the team wasn't in enough trouble, injuries like these haven't helped. But I find it interesting that Coach Brewster hasn't offered this as an excuse. In fact, I don't see him offering a lot of excuses. This team has taken it on the chin all year long on Saturdays, then they take it on the chin in the media during the week. But Coach Brewster doesn't offer excuses or criticism, he is constantly saying that we need to do better here, here and here.

The next target: Willie Mobley

There's a great piece on today about Eden Prairie defensive lineman, and potential Gopher, Willie Mobley.

In addition to be a great player, it sounds like Mobley is a stand-up person as well. Just the kind of athletes that Coach Brewster wants to add to the Golden Gopher program. The article says that Mobley feels pressure to become a Gopher... let's hope so. And let's keep it up! Landing this kid would be HUGE for a defense that needs loads of help.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Michael Floyd with Mike Max

Mike Max interviewed Michael Floyd, who this week verbally committed to Notre Dame. You can hear the interview here.

Floyd says that the biggest reason he chose Notre Dame over the Gophers was that he enjoyed talked to the freshman at ND and is excited to be a part of re-building the program there with the young players that they have coming up.

I was surprised to hear Floyd say that he was not given very much access to the Golden Gopher freshman. It would be interesting to find out if other recruits feel the same way...

Or was Floyd going to join the Irish all along, and this is just the excuse he's using?

Fargo Flash eats crow... talks about NDSU loss

Justin Conzemius was back on the Power Trip morning show to say that he was wrong, and try to explain why the Gophers lost to NDSU.

Stepping down from the ledge

I decided to take a full day yesterday to cool off. I read nothing about the Gophers yesterday, I wrote nothing about the Gophers yesterday, and I avoided anything on the radio about the Gophers. On Tuesday I rested.

The first places I went this morning were my fellow Gopher bloggers, to see if someone else could shed some positivity on my glum mood right now. So I checked over at Gopher Nation, and they (he/she?) did not disappoint. So thank you to the Gopher Nation blog for talking me down from the ledge this morning with your words.

You really should read the post yourself, and read the Gopher Nation blog regularly, but here is the beginning of the post at Gopher Nation that began to calm me down this morning...

"Yesterday's loss was in no way a good thing. It was embarrassing and frustrating. The 1-7 record is a combination of having no talent on defense, players designed for Mason's systems being used in another system (square peg/round hole) and some maverick calls that simply didn't work in our favor.
To declare that coach Brewster is incapable of coaching at this point is just ridiculous. Maybe he will fall on his face. Maybe in 3 years everyone will tell me what an idiot I am/was. You can rip me then and I'll take it like a man (I'll probably beat you to it). But for now I think it is short-sighted and ignorant.
Brewster's biggest mistake has been coming in and building some excitement. He clearly over-promised and severely under-delivered. Here again, I wonder what the big deal is? So what that he came in and said he wants to win and he wants to win now? Who cares that he says being bowl eligible isn't enough he wants to win a championship? I want a coach who strives for more than mediocrity."

Monday, October 22, 2007

Silver lining?

The Gophers got two more verbal commitments for next year, and one of them is a biggie. Adding our second 4-star WR recruit to the mix in 2 weeks, Brandon Green said he wants to be a Gopher over the weekend after watching the Gophers get waxed by NDSU. Apparently the loss to the Bisin didn't scare Green, or perhaps it got his mouth watering.

Green's teammate, defensive back Johnny Johnson, also made a verbal commitment to the Gophers this weekend. Johnson has not yet been given a star-rating on Rivals.

The hardest part

In the words of the immortal Tom Petty: "You take it on faith, you take it to the heart... the waiting is the hardest part."

That pretty much sums up how I'm feeling about the Gophers football program right now. I believe things off the field are going in the right direction, but I take it pretty hard when they aren't going well on the field, and the waiting is the hardest part of the equation.

I was thinking about it yesterday, and while the waiting is going on, I can't decide what is more difficult about being a Gopher fan right now: the losing week after week, or the fact that I have no confidence in our team to be able to make a play when it's needed.

Of course the losses hurt. But sitting in the Dome on Saturday, watching the game, it was shocking to me how much throughout the game I just didn't believe that this team could make the play needed at any given time. If it was 3rd down for the Bison, I had no confidence (with good reason) that our defense could hold them. If it was 3rd down for the Gophers, I had no confidence that they could complete a pass or run for the yardage needed for a first down.

And THAT might be the most difficult part for me right now. Like I said, of course the loss hurts, but what is even a little bit harder, for me anyway, is that I just don't even have the hope and confidence that I usually do that we might be able to pull out a win on any given Saturday.

A friend of mine, and Bison fan, told me that he still thinks the Gophers have another win in them this season. Well, I hope he's right, cause I'll be honest, this is as low as I've felt since I became serious as a Gopher fan.

Dark days...

Well, before I get to an over-emotional response to the NDSU game (as if that wasn't bad enough) we have learned today that Michael Floyd, WR recruit from Cretin-Durham Hall has made a verbal commitment to Notre Dame. This is definitely a blow to Coach Brewster's recruiting momentum, but let's be honest, we all knew it was probably going to be Notre Dame or OSU. On the bright side, at least we, most likely, won't have to play against him in the coming years.

Now, on to NDSU...

As expected, the Bison are a very good football team, and they brought every ounce of hard work and energy they had, along with about 20,000 fans to the Metrodome on Saturday. They played a very good game against the Gophers and absolutely deserved to win the game.

As I was thinking about the game later in the day on Saturday, it really started to sink in how difficult this season is. I've really been trying to stay positive and focus on the things that are going well, like recruiting and the development of some of the younger players. But on Saturday it was very hard to be positive, and with the news of Floyd, today is even tougher.

Here's what's chapping my proverbial ass today. In my opinion, the Gophers did not play poorly on Saturday. They didn't make a ton of mistakes, they didn't turn the ball over a bunch of times. The only thing the Gophers did to really shoot themselves in the foot was a few dropped passes. But they simply did not do anything to win this game. It seemed as though they were able to do what they needed to hang close the the Bison, but never enough to get over the hump.

A couple of Bison fans have admitted to me that when they were up by only 3 at halftime, they thought the Bison were in trouble. And I will admit that I did too. As poorly as we had played, we were only 3 points down, and I was starting to wonder if we might be wearing them down. We have also been a good second half team this year, and I just wondered if we were going to get it going in the second. But we just couldn't get anything worthwhile going offensively. The run wasn't working, the pass wasn't working, the Bison clearly figured out Weber's draw in the second half.

But with under two minutes left in the game, there we were with a chance to win. Brewster called for the punt block, which I think is an aggressive, but good call, because our offense was completely stagnant at that point, and there was really no reason to think they were going to step out of that funk with 1:30 left in the game.

The aggressive call bit us in the ass...

...and that's a little bit how the entire season has gone for the Gophers.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Fargo Flash predicts 42-39 Gophers win

I don't know how much of an expert I'd call Justin Conzemius, but he does know football pretty well. He had a nice breakdown this morning of this weekend's game against NDSU, and is predicting a Gopher win in a shootout, 42-39.

I agree with his assessment that there's no chance this is another 10-9 game. We don't have the defense to hold ANYONE to 9 points, and we don't have an offense that is going to be held to 10.

I'd love to see it, LOVE IT!!!


Veteran and Gopher

If you haven't seen the article in this week's Strib on Gopher back up Tyler Johnson, you absolutely must give it a read.

We can be proud as Gopher fans to have someone like Johnson on our squad that put his life on the line for our country and is now willing to put his body on the line to play football. As he points out, he's having fun. I would imagine that playing football is quite a bit more fun than taking part in a war.

To play, or not to play NDSU, that is the question

Early in his time as Gopher's head coach, Brewster made a comment about how the U should not be playing teams like NDSU. Saying that it doesn't help recruiting, and therefore, it wasn't worth putting them on the non-conference schedule.

Again yesterday, in the Pioneer Press, Brewster was quoted as saying "Is North Dakota an area we identify as a place where we're going to go and spend a great deal of time recruiting? I don't think so."

While I agree with Coach Brewster that he's probably not going to spend a lot of time recruiting in North Dakota, I still do not agree with his assessment that the Gophers should not play NDSU.

This has the chance to become a great rivalry for the Gophers, and while recruiting North Dakota may not be a priority for Coach Brewster, and rightfully so, he has said numerous times that recruiting ALL of Minnesota's high school players is. I'm not quite sure that Coach Brewster understands how much NDSU/UND are a part of the culture in northwestern Minnesota. Playing NDSU gives further exposure to the Golden Gophers to the players in northern Minnesota. In addition it gives the folks in northern Minnesota an additional reason to travel to the Twin Cities for a Gopher game.

I agree with Joel Maturi: "I agree with coach Brewster in that we want to upgrade our schedule and also schedule such that it will help recruiting. If we continue to play FCS teams, we will do so regionally. It makes economic sense for them and for us."

Playing NDSU every other year at least makes good sense for the Gopher football program.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Edit: Craig Bohl on KFAN

You can find the link to P.A. & Dubay's interview of NDSU Head Coach Craig Bohl here.

A really good interview. Bohl seems to be a guy who is down to earth and understands that "we are going to need to play really well to have an opportunity to win."

P.A. makes a good point in asking Bohl if there might be more pressure on the Bison than the Gophers going into this game. That's an interesting thought. With how fired up the Bison fans are, talking about taking over the Dome and dominating the game, it's an interesting turn-around to consider that maybe there's more pressure right now on the Bison to perform in this game than the Gophers.

I think to a person most people would admit that if Vegas was laying down a spread for this game that the Bison would be favored, or at least the spread would be very small. There's no way to know for sure. As a co-worker of mine (Bison fan) and I have have talked about ad nauseam this week, there is really no way to compare these teams with no common opponents and playing against completely different competition. Obviously the Bison are 6-0, they have dominated their competition, and the Gophers are 1-5 and have played poorly for the most part. But the Gophers haven't been playing Division I-AA (or whatever it's being called this week) teams, and the Bison haven't been playing Big10 teams. In addition the Gophers are a completely different team than they were last year, and the Bison are a year older. There is just basis for comparison coming into this game.

It's going to be exciting, and I can't wait!

Go Gophers!!!

Bison smack talk on P.A. & Dubay

If you didn't catch it, please take a few moments to listen to Gopher/Bison talk on KFAN's P.A. & Dubay show yesterday.

The Bison fans have some swagger coming into this weekend's game with the Gophers, as they should, with the longest winning streak in Division I football right now. But over in the first quarter? The first half? Really? The Bison fans seem to think that the Bison can get more high caliber recruits than the Gophers too.

I have to tell you, I know a TON of NDSU Bison fans right now. They are coming out of the woodwork and suddenly they want to talk smack. They're talking a big game coming into this game. Bison are comin'-this, we're gonna roll over the Gophers-that, recruits would rather play in the Fargo Dome than the Metrodome-this, the Gophers suck-that.

Look, I gotta agree with Dubay on this one. It makes perfect sense for the NDSU fans to be confident, and to think they can win this game, because they absolutely can win this game, and they absolutely played the Gophers incredibly tough last year. But if Bison fans think that the Gophers are going to roll over in this game, that it's going to be an easy win for the Bison, well they just haven't been paying attention to the Gophers.

I have been saying for weeks that I will not engage in smack talk with people about the Gophers this season. I love the Gophs, and I believe that everything going incredibly well as far as building this program for the future. But as long as we have to go into football games with the kind of defense we have, I just don't have confidence in our team to win football games.

But if the Bison smack talk keeps on comin', and tailgating will most certainly be in effect this Saturday morning behind the Depot, and I get a couple of barely pops in me... well, let's just say all bets are off.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Offensive line help

From Shooter's "Don't Print That" section today, see below. This could obviously be big news in two years for the Gophers, filling an important role with a team that will still be establishing its identity.

"As expected, Matt Carufel, who started three games as a sophomore offensive guard for Notre Dame this season, on Monday formally requested that his football tender be sent from Notre Dame to the universities of Minnesota and Iowa for consideration.
As soon as the salivating Gophers and Hawkeyes receive copies of the tender, they can begin recruiting the 6-foot-5, 295-pound CretinDerham Hall grad as if he were a high school senior. Carufel, who two years ago was the state's top recruiting prospect, will not return to Notre Dame for classes this year and will assist his alma mater's B-squad football team as a coach for the remaining two weeks of the season.
Carufel will consider the Gophers and Hawkeyes with plans for a decision within a month. He would enroll in classes in January and have to sit out a transfer season, but he could participate in workouts next spring.
If Carufel chooses the Gophers, he would become eligible for Minnesota's first season in its campus stadium in 2009.
Carufel has a former Cretin-Derham Hall teammate, Rafael Eubanks, starting at center as a sophomore for Iowa. Another former Raiders teammate, Ned Tavale, has started part time at right guard as a sophomore for the Gophers this season. "

Startin' 'em young!

I do not have any children, but I often think about how I would go about rearing a child of my own. Often sports comes into my thinking on this topic. Would I raise my children, when it comes to sports, in the way that I have learned? To be passionate, to be loyal, to care more than seems reasonable to lesser men? Or would I spare them some of the pain and suffering that I have had to endure by becoming a fan of all things Minnesota sports? Mostly, would I instill in them the excitement for Gopher football that I have deeply ingrained in my being? It is clear that it takes an amazing intestinal fortitude, resolve and willingness to look naysayers in the face and spit on their inability to commit to something to beautiful, to be a Gopher football fan.

This is why I love Coach Brewster. I have a feeling that if he was able to say what he really thinks about someone like, oh, I don't know, say, Pat Reusse, I would enjoy those words immensely. But I digress.

You see, at the root of my problem is this: I do not have the ability to be a passive observer... I must be an active participant in order to be a part of anything. Which is why I have a blog. I know that I will likely, whether I do so purposely or not, instill these same passions in my children. Children often take on the personalities, likes (cheese bratwurst) and dislikes (Iowa) of their parents. Like Ron Burgundy says in Anchorman... "It's science."

A close friend of mine has also obviously had these same inner-struggles that I have. However, he DOES have a child... and a masculine one at that! He has chosen correctly for his masculine child, as you can see.

Gary Tinsley verbal commitment

I know I'm a little bit behind here, but I'm trying to get caught up...

Gopher Illustrated reported that Gary Tinsley, from Jacksonville, FL verbally committed to the Gophers on Sunday night.

Tinsley is a 6'1", 220 lb linebacker, who also plays defensive end, with 4.6 speed. Another nice 3-star addition to the defensive side of the ball for Coach Brewster.

This now makes 14 solid verbal commitments for the Gophers, with 8 of them on the defensive side of the ball.

Going for Two

My apologies for taking so long to post a reaction the Northwestern game. I was recovering from the loss, then enjoying the Vikings win, then fighting off some flu like symptoms.

Alright, you know the stats on the game, you've heard it all. Opinion time.

I didn't have a problem with going for the 2-pointer in the second OT. Northwestern had not had much success stopping us throughout the day, and it was a long game. I don't have a problem going for the win at that point.

What I DO have a small problem with is the play that was called. With Weber's scrambling ability, the big day that Wheelwright was having, and Weber's confidence in Decker, I just don't think that on that play the coaches game Adam Weber the right options. Rolling Weber to this right took Wheelwright, who lined up wide left, out of the play. Of the three receivers on the right side, the outside two ran to the middle and crossed, while the center one ran strait into the end zone and ran an out, which effectively sent two WR's on the same route, bunching up the coverage. Jay Thomas was sent out to the right as well, perhaps as a decoy to make it look like a potential option, as the touchdown had been, but ended up having to block immediately, taking him out of the play. I just think sending three receivers and a back to the same side, while having Weber roll that way as well, gave him to many options, while bunching up the coverage, plus, it sent all of the defensive linemen that way as well, which is what got to Weber in the end.

In my opinion allowing Decker and/or Wheelwright to beat their men one-on-one would have been a better option.

Now, we can question the decision to go for two, and we can question the play call all we want. The fact of the matter is that the Gophers played well enough to win this game. The offense moved the ball all day long and looked nearly unstoppable for two quarters. The problem is that while our offense couldn't be stopped, neither could theirs. The Gophers played well enough to win this game, but they also made just enough mistakes to give it away, which is exactly what they did. It never should have come down a 2-point conversion in OT.

Weber had a big day, but man, those two INT's really hurt. He's growing, he's close, and he's putting up big numbers. But the turnovers need to stop.

Friday, October 12, 2007

4-Star WR verbal commitment

There are a lot of people who follow Gopher recruiting far more closely than I do, but it sounds like nobody saw this coming.

Today 4-star wide receiver recruit Vincent Hill from Milford Academy in New Berlin, NY has made a verbal commitment to the Gophers, according to, and Rivals.

Rumor on GopherHole has it that Hill has verbally committed to Virginia and/or Akron in the past. We'll see if this one holds up, but this could be a nice addition.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Beating Northwestern

I know I said this about Indiana, but Northwestern is a beatable team. Sure they throw the ball a lot (41x/game), sure they run the spread offense, and sure CJ Bacher threw for 520 yards and 5 touchdowns against Michigan State... okay, kind of wish I hadn't mentioned that last one.

Okay, so here's the good news: Northwestern is giving up 392 yards/game, including 160 yards/game on the ground.

In my opinion, the key to beating Northwestern is going to be for us to establish a ground game. Clearly this is easier said than done, considering Pinnix and Bennett are both injured and will probably see limited playing time. But Jay Thomas is a capable back, and he hasn't gotten an opportunity to get his legs under him yet this season.

Coach Brewster has said from day one that it was going to be important for this team to establish a running presence in the spread offense, but because the team has been playing from behind every week, we haven't really gotten the chance to do that. But this week it needs to be established. The key to beating Northwestern is to keep their offense off the field. Bacher can't throw touchdown passes from the bench (Or can he? 520 yards and 5 touchdowns? MY GOODNESS!!!) In addition, our defense can't give up points if they are on the bench.

The best defense for the Gophers this season is to have a good offense that can chew up a lot of clock time, and give the defense a chance to rest, and the opposing offense a chance to get out of rhythm.

Of course the other part of this equation is that the Gophers have to take care of the ball, and it HAS to start with Adam Weber, who has almost as many interceptions thrown this season (12) as he has TD's thrown (13, while also running for 3).

On the other side of the ball Bacher is beatable, and might do so to himself. He has thrown 7 interceptions this season to 9 TD passes (while running for 2), and don't forget about the fact that going into the Michigan state game he had already thrown all 7 of those interceptions, but only 4 touchdowns.

While Bacher can be contained, we don't want to give him the chance to run wild, as so many Northwestern QB's have done to us in the past, and as he himself did last week.

To close, establishing a running game does 3 important things for the Gophers:
1) Keeps NW offense off the field
2) Keeps MN defense off the field
3) Takes Northwestern's fans, celebrating their homecoming, out of the game by slowing down the pace

Go Gophs!!! Beat Northwestern!!!

Anonymous speaks!!!

Well, this is what I've been waiting for. I've been waiting for our good ol' friend Anonymous to come out of the woodwork and tell me... well, I'm not sure who he is telling, I would presume he's telling me... that firing Glen Mason was a mistake. I've been wondering where he was, and he finally showed his face by replying to my last post...

"I told you all messed up in running Mason out of you get to enjoy 3 years of fun until you change again!"

Ouch, Anonymous, that hurt. That cuts deep.

I'm not exactly sure when you told me so, but I'm guessing that what you claim that you already told me is that we all (sorry to the readers that Anonymous has dragged you into this) messed up driving Mason out of town. Because clearly we drove him out of town. Obviously Joel Maturi and Robert Bruinicks were reading the blogs and websites and media members who were calling for Mason's head and used those opinions as basis to fire Glen Mason. It definitely had nothing to do with alienating the student fan base, never feeling like we could recruit good players, having no belief that we could win a championship, multiple second half collapses, perpetually finishing in the bottom half of the Big10, and forever forcing fans to sweat it out: El Paso or Detroit?

Apparently Anonymous hasn't actually been reading this blog. This is fine, because as we all know, Anonymous likes to hurl idle insults in the direction of people who seem ripe for the picking, and clearly actually understanding the basis of this blog and the direction that I've tried to take it would make it difficult for those insults to be idle.

If Anonymous had actually been reading THIS blog, he would have noticed that I am actually excited about the direction that the Gopher football program is taking for the future, despite the poor showing on the field thus far. He might have noticed that I actually like Coach Brewster and the changes that he is trying to make. He might have noticed that Coach Brewster's positive attitude and "we can win here" moxie has actually caught on with me. He might have noticed that Coach Brewster is doing a great job in recruiting and getting the students excited about the team.

Hey, Anonymous, I gotta hand it to you, it was a valiant effort, but I (and I think I can speak for the collective "we" here) like the changes that Coach Brewster is making, and we think that his changes are going to make for some big changes in the future!

And I've got news for you: despite the 1-5 start, I DON'T MISS GLEN MASON!

So thanks for trying to change up the pace around here, Anonymous. Thanks for trying to insert your particular brand of negativity into an exciting time for Gopher Football. I would invite you to stick around, Anonymous. Perhaps actually READ what you are commenting on.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Tom Powers... Welcome to Gopher Nation

If anyone was reserving a spot on the Gopher Nation bandwagon for Pat Reusse, I would kindly suggest that you give that spot up, in favor of Mr. Tom Powers.

Powers had the opportunity to sit down with Coach Brewster recently, and while he noted that he looks a little more tired than he did a few months ago, and doesn't smile quite as much, Brewster still has the upbeat attitude that the U of M can produce a winning football program. According to Powers, he even has that kind of bravado off the record.

Here are some quotes from the article from Coach Brewster that show his resolve, conviction and commitment to winning here.

"Never in a million years am I dumb enough to say, 'Hey, this season we're going to the Rose Bowl,' " Brewster said Tuesday. "You never heard me say that. But your goal has to be to win a championship. I'm trying to change the mind-set here.
The goal is not to go to a bowl. It's not to win six games. The goal is to win a championship.
It's been 40 years. Forty years."

"...recruiting is going outstandingly well. It's truly amazing. This is just a great sell. The only thing that matters to me is the Minnesota Golden Gophers winning. Holdovers, leftovers, newcomers, I'll play anybody who I think gives us the best chance of winning. End of story."

Leaving the program

In the past week the Gophers have lost 3 players who have decided to leave the program. Mike Chambers left last week, followed this week by Tommy Becker and Sean McWirter. While McWirter hasn't given an official reason, Chambers was unhappy with his playing time, and the feeling that he wasn't getting a fair shot at more of it, and Becker didn't like the fact that he had been moved to the offensive side of the ball.

It shouldn't come as a huge surprise to anyone that there is a bit of attrition happening right now. Coach Brewster and his staff are dealing with recruits that were brought in by Coach Mason, and I'm sure that some of these players were promised certain things by the old regime that the new coaching staff is not obligated to uphold. If these players feel that they are not having the experience or opportunities that they felt they would have had with Coach Mason, they are entitled to leave the program, and nobody can fault them for this.

In addition, nobody should fault Coach Brewster for this. He was hired to do a job, and right now he's trying to make the most of that job with tools that he didn't pick, and, truthfully, are probably the wrong tools for the job altogether.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

As if we didn't know Reusse was a hater

I'm not a fan of Pat Reusse. If that fact hasn't come out yet, it probably will.

I probably shouldn't read his columns, I probably shouldn't listen to anything he has to say when he is on AM 1500, and I probably shouldn't try to make myself stay up late enough to catch him and Sid on The Sports Show on channel 23 on Sunday nights. I should probably just ignore the fact that he has opinions about sports all-together. But Reusse is just like Sid: he's everywhere. Reusse is like that co-worker that gets under your skin, sometimes it seems like he doesn't know he's doing it, other times it feels like he knows exactly the right buttons to push.

The reason I'm not a fan of Reusse is that, to me, he tends toward negativity just for the sake of being negative. He's a sour, biter old man that has enjoyed a very nice career thanks to the local sports community, and you'd think he'd find it in his heart to not be such a curmudgeon. He doesn't.

Generally he spends an entire column bashing one person, or team. But on Saturday, Reusse decided to bash Tim Brewster, Zygi Wilf and Brad Childress, all in one column, while somehow finding a back-handed way to praise Kevin McHale (... and don't even get me started on McHale).

As Reusse points out, five weeks ago he suggested that Brewster "shut up and coach," and much to Pat's chagrin, Coach Brewster has not done that. I'm glad he hasn't. I'm also glad that Pat isn't a Gopher fan. We don't need him.

In a few years, on September 12, 2009, when the new stadium opens and the team is building a future in the Big10, Pat Reusse will be at the first game in TCF Stadium. He'll probably find a way to bash Coach Brewster even then. But if, by some miracle, he DOES jump on the Gopher bandwagon, let's all remember what he was like this year.

Strib story on Gopher recruit Roszell Gayden

There's an interesting piece on the Strib this morning about Gopher recruit Roszell Gayden, who has made a solid verbal commitment to the U of M, and his twin brother Rashad.

While Rashad is much smaller than Roszell, it sounds like he has the kind of motor, or "twitch" as Coach Brewster would call it, that the Gophers are looking for, but perhaps is a little bit small (6'2", 235lbs) and slow in the 40 (4.85 sec). According to their father, Rashad is the harder worker and the more dedicated weight lifter (he put on 20 pounds of solid muscle in the off-season). But football is definitely a game of inches, considering that 4-star recruit Sam Maresh is nearly the same size and speed (6'2", 240, 4.7 sec forty).

This is strictly an opinion, but as Coach Brewster looks to add play-makers with "twitch," I would be surprised to see a guy like Rashad Gayden get an invitation to walk-on with the Gophers.

Monday, October 8, 2007


Because of a funeral, and the lack of establishments in my hometown that have the Big Ten Network, I was not able to watch a single play of the Gophers loss to Indiana on Saturday. It sounds like this may not have been such a bad thing.
The first score I heard following the funeral was on 'CCO at halftime: 27-14, Indiana on top. It didn't get any better after that.
So now, all I have to go on is the numbers, and what I read.

As per usual, turnovers were a huge stat to the Gophers detriment as Web threw two more picks. Have you heard the stat that the Gophers have now given up 30 points in 7 consecutive games dating back to the Insight Bowl?

This one is not good, not by any stretch of the imagination. After playing better against Purdue and Ohio State, I think a lot of us were believing that this team had turned a corner. Not so.

If Purdue and Ohio State were two steps forward, losing to Indiana was definitely one step back. Judging from the numbers, there's not much we can take away from this game to build on. The two numbers that stood out to me were these:
1. The Hoosiers did well through the air, but they didn't kill us like I was expecting. Their production on the ground and throwing were very balanced.
2. Doesn't look like the Gophs were able to establish a ground game. 112 yards on the ground isn't going to do much toward helping a team open up its passing game.

Despite the high number of turnovers, Coach Brewster says he's going to stick with Web at quarterback. I think this is a good call. He's a freshman, and although he is responsible for a good number of the Gophers turnovers, he's also responsible for the majority of the offensive production this season, either through the air or on the ground, as our running game has been mediocre at best.

I would welcome the thoughts of anyone who was at the game, or who saw the game.

Friday, October 5, 2007

I have scoured the internet...

...for some video pertaining to past Minnesota/Indiana football games, and this is all I could come up with.

I do not condone this type of behavior (as far as you know). This type of behavior might be why the people who live near the Metrodome don't like tailgating Gopher fans. But I say... SCREW 'EM!!!

Strib article on Kellen Lewis

Scary piece in today's Strib on Hoosier's QB Kellen Lewis. Myron Medcalf (who I am not familiar with, does anyone know, is this going to be the new guy to cover Gopher hoops?) does a nice job painting the picture of just how talented Lewis is, leading the Big10 in total offense, and how important he is to the Hoosiers.

Looks like this would be a great week for the Gopher defensive line to step up and give Lewis a couple solid hits in the chin early.

Two quick things of note, going into the Big10 weekend that are strange. Indiana favored by 14 points to beat the Gophers and Illinois is favored to beat #5 Wisconsin.

Bossom buddies

Shooter points out in his column today that Coach Brewster speaks frequently with Vikings head coach Brad Childress, and that the two go back to Brewster's playing days at Illinois.
As a passionate Gopher fan who is also a lifelong Vikings fan, I find it interesting that these two are friends. Could any two coaches be more opposite?
Childress is mild-mannered, doesn't like to talk to the media, has the most vanilla play-calling in all of football, and is generally (in my opinion) a non-likable person.
Brewster on the other hand is boisterous, over-the-top, loud, in your face, aggressive and (in my opinion) a likable kind of guy.
While the Vikings continue to struggle and show absolutely no signs of life, the Gophers are improving week by week.
But perhaps Coach Childress is beginning to take a page out of Coach Brewster's notebook. Flip over to Sid's column today, and he is reporting that, despite what all the fans see on the field as the same-old-same-old, Childress is claiming to see "a ton of good things" from his Vikings squad.
I'm not going to spend time here breaking down everything that is wrong with the Vikings (even though I'd like to), but I do wonder if Childress' new-found upbeat outlook has something to do with what he has seen from Brewster and the positive response that he has gotten from Gopher Nation.
Unfortunately for Childress he doesn't have the personality, or the history, to be able to back up this type of attitude.
The attitude and "we can win here" moxie that Coach Brewster shows seems genuine. It's the same hyperbole that he's been spewing since day one, and even when the going has been tough for the Gopher's on the field, he hasn't let down in his quest and his belief that the Gophers can be contenders. He has always wanted the fans to be a part of the Gophers success.
Childress, on the other hand, started out his time with the Vikings keeping everything close to the vest, no emotion, revealing nothing to the fans and everything is still vanilla, vanilla, vanilla.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Mixed signals

Looks like the Indiana defense is having trouble deciding if they are excited to face the Gophers new spread offense. According to the Indiana Daily Student today, even though the Hoosiers didn't fare well against Glen Mason's smash mouth style of offense, they aren't much good against the spread either... an offense they face everyday in practice.

Weber has to be licking his chops this week looking forward to facing a team that has given up 21 pts/game to some average teams, and who is giving up 228 yards/game through the air, and 161 yards/game on the ground. An interesting match-up should be the quick Indiana D-line vs. the Gophers O-line and Weber. Indiana is averaging 5.4 sacks/game (27 total) to lead the nation in that category. By contrast, Minnesota has only given up 3 sacks all season, largely because of Weber's ability to get rid of the ball quickly.

The defense might be a different story. Last week's Big 10 Player of the Week, Hoosier Quarterback Kellen Lewis is a huge threat. He's averaging 245 yards/game through the air and, at 74 yards/game, is the Hoosiers leading rusher. With Lewis running crazy and throwing to their leading receiver James Hardy, their offense could be fun to deal with... and when I say fun I mean "fun" like, "Geez, this root canal should be fun."

Imagine with me now, for a moment, that Coach Brewster is talking right now. Imagine words like "tremendous" and "fantastic" and "opportunity." In talking about turnovers, I imagine Coach Brewster would say something like "It is tremendously important that we take care of the ball this week. We have a fantastic opportunity against a fantastic defensive line to show some tremendous improvement." The Hoosiers are enjoying a +5 turnover margin through 5 games, while the Gophers are at a lowly -13. This game can get out of hand quickly in the wrong direction if the Gophers start coughing up the ball.

After losing their head coach Terry Heoppner in June, the Hoosiers are playing this season on emotion. While Indiana has been a doormat in the Big10 in the past, they are 4-1 coming into this game and they are hungry for a bowl berth this season.

I think this is a tremendously win-able game for the Gophers, as we don't quite know yet what we've got with an Indian team that lost to Illinois, but beat Iowa. (And honestly, can anyone tell me what is going on with Iowa? What team are they going to be this year?) But Indiana also has a fantastic opportunity to make a statement that they can win the games that they are supposed to win in the conference.

Dandridge commits!!!

The Minnesota Daily is reporting this morning that Jonathan Dandridge (6'1", 175#, 4.4 forty), CB from the Detroit area made a verbal commitment to the Golden Gophers last night!!!

Dandridge told Gopher Illustrated "I just did it, I am now a Golden Gopher. I really feel relieved right now and I really happy because I know that I made the right choice. My entire family is very excited about my decision and are thrilled that I made the best decision for me."

Nicely done Coach Brewster!!! Thank you for recruiting defense!

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Bob Davie on recruiting

As I was at the game on Saturday I didn't catch this one...

From the Star Tribune's Dean Spiros column "Dean's List" today, regarding Satruday's ESPN 2 broadcast of the Gophs/Buckeyes game:
"Play-by-play man Mark Jones pointed out how the new Gophers coaching staff managed to visit every high school in the state before the start of the season. Davie suggested it might not have been the best use of the coaches' time since there are only 10 Big Ten-caliber players coming out of Minnesota each year."

Clearly Davie has no earthly clue how starved the high schools of this state have been for attention from the Gopher Football program. In addition, what Davie doesn't understand is that even if there are only ten Big10 caliber players coming out of Minnesota each year, which I'm guessing is a low number, traditionally we've been lucky to get one or two of those guys to stay home and become a Gopher. What if we could get half of those guys to stay home, or more? What would our defense look like right now with James Laurenitis in the middle? Or Broderick Binns at D-End? Think one of the 7 Badgers or 5 Hawkeyes from Minnesota would be of any help this year?

Monday, October 1, 2007

P/K Brad Nortman changes his mind, but...

In light of the recent kicking troubles it was too bad to read tonight that Brad Nortman, of Brookfield Central in Milwaukee, has decided to de-commit from the Gopher Football program. Rivals is listing him as a "soft verbal" commitment to Wisconsin. Not a big surprise.

But there is some potential good news on the recruiting horizon. With a dozen or so recruits in town to see the Gophs take on OSU, there have been some rumblings since Saturday night's game of potential verbal commitments coming.

Jonathan Dandridge, CB, from the Detroit area looks like he could be making a verbal to the Golden Gophers within the next few days.

"Big Play" Traye Simmons, CB, juco transfer from College of the Sequoias, was supposed to visit Florida this past weekend, but was in Minneapolis to see the Gophers play.

Gary Tinsley, LB, from Jacksonville, looks like he might have more interest in the Gophers as of late.

Keanon Cooper, CB, from Dallas Skyline HS, one of several Skyline players to visit the Dome on Saturday night, has some new interest in Minnesota as well.

Jewhan Edwards, DT, from Philly (who, OH BY THE WAY, is 6'1", 338lbs, and is an absolute BEAST) looks like he might be leaning toward the Gophers as well. Can you imagine having guy this big in the middle of our D line, gobbling up Big10 running backs?!?!?! I just watched his spotlight video on Rivals, and this kid just runs people over and is a violent tackler... I think I just wet my pants a little bit!

Of course this is a lot of speculation. Speculation I don't mind adding to because it is dang exciting to start to thinking about some of these guys in Maroon & Gold. As I mentioned in a previous post, we haven't seen this kind of excitement around recruiting at this time of year, maybe ever, and it's a lot of fun.

And do you see a trend here? Defense, baby, DEFENSE!!!

Coach Brewster talks with...

If you can stomach listening to Sid's gargling-molten-lava voice, you can check out his WCCO interview with Coach Brewster here.

Nice to see that our coach isn't afraid to take calls from the fans, and doesn't dodge the tough questions. Also nice to see that Brew isn't afraid to correct Sid.

Coach Brewster was also on KFAN this morning with Jeff Dubay. I have not gotten an opportunity to listen to this one yet, but you can access it here.

Sunday, September 30, 2007

Mike Max interview with Michael Floyd

Gopher recruit Michael Floyd was interviewed by Maxie on his WCCO radio show on Thursday night. You can listen to it here.

Thoughts after losing to OSU...

Some random observations about our Golden Gophers loss to Ohio State...

*Adam Weber. You have to continue to be impressed with the freshman QB. Going into Saturday, Ohio State had given up 481 yards passing in 4 games (120 yds/game). Adam Weber threw for 232 on Saturday. Perhaps the most impressive thing about Weber, in my opinion, is his willingness to stay in the pocket and take some violent hits. We were reminded time and time again of his toughness as Webber would hold his ground in the pocket and make solid throws, while OSU linebackers barreled down on him. Another sign of his maturity: he absolutely SOLD the play fake on the 4th & 1 play from OSU's 9 yard line.

*Defense. Although the defense gave up 30 points, the amount of improvement that they have shown since the Bowling Green game is staggering. They were actually in position to make plays in this game, but it seemed like they were a half step behind Ohio State. Still, this is a huge improvement over several weeks ago when the Gophs were regularly 4 steps (or more)behind their opponents, if they knew what position they were supposed to be in at all.

*Coaching. I liked Coach Brewster's confidence in his offense (or maybe it was mistrust of his kicker) in calling for the team to go for it on 4th & 1 from OSU's 9 yard line in the 2nd Quarter. I would have liked to see him make the same call on the opening drive of the game on 4th & 5 from OSU's 25. A first down, and potential touchdown, on the opening drive against an incredible Ohio State defense would have been a major statement.

*Mistakes. At halftime, how close were we to a 14-14 game? Or, perhaps, a 17-14 Gopher lead? A missed field goal, an interception in the red-zone, and a blown coverage play... think about flipping the outcome of those plays and it leaves a bitter taste in your mouth how different things could have felt going into the locker room. Turnovers, although only 2 on Saturday, are still killing this young team.

*All in all, the Gophers played a good game against a VERY good Ohio State team. The Gophs gave OSU everything they could handle for the first quarter and a half of Saturday night's game. Victories on the field are certainly important, and everyone wants to see their team win, but this Gopher squad is making some big improvements against some much better competition.

If you are a die-hard Gopher fan and believe in what Tim Brewster is doing at the U of M, despite the win/loss record, there is a lot to be optimistic about.

Saturday, September 29, 2007


As one of the only die-hard Gopher Football fans within my circle of friends I heard the question often this past summer... "How do you think the Gophers are going to do this year?"
I made sure to tread very lightly when answering this question. I've been a Minnesota sports fan long enough to know that anything can happen. I was excited about what Coach Brewster was bringing to Gopher Football. I was excited that he had a positive attitude about what Minnesota could do in the Big 10.
But with all of the excitement, there was also a lot of trepidation.
It seemed like for every positive there was a potential negative. Brewster wanted to recruit the best players in the state and get them to stay home... but he was going to have to play this season with Coach Mason's players. It was exciting that the defense was going to be designed to be more aggressive... but could they pull it off this year with the players they had? Coach Brewster wants to take Gopher Nation to a Rose Bowl... but are we getting set up for more disappointment?
I was careful to not make any predictions as far as our record, there were just too many unknowns. And when the team finished the "pre-season" with just one win and two losses... all bets were off.
When I started this blog, just 9 days ago, I was curious what other people thought. So I posted a poll asking how many wins people think the Gophers will muster this year. Of the 26 voters, most people seem to agree that the Gophers are going to be in the 3 or 4 (or more) win category.
And I have to tell you, I don't disagree.
Keep in mind that I'm a complete "homer" when it comes to Gopher Football, but this team has shown some glimpses of being really good. If they can limit the turnovers, and begin to play more like that really good team they've shown they can be, coupled with the fact that they've got some very beatable opponents (Indiana, Northwestern, and (ahem) NDSU), I think this team can be a 4 win team. And after the start that they have had, that, in my opinion, would be a successful season.
So what is my prediction for the OSU tilt tonight?
Nice try.

Gopher Nation Celebration

On Thursday the Gopher Football program hosted a Gopher Nation Celebration. I would encourage you to read about the experience, written by Erin McGillivray, on the Gophers Big Ten Network blog.

It sounds like it was a great time, and it's really exciting to see what Coach Brewster is doing to get U of M students excited about Gopher Football.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Victory Walk!

Coach Brewster has said that one of the most important things that fans can do to show support for the program and for recruits is to show up and cheer for the team at the Gopher Victory Walk, which happens two hours prior to the kickoff of each Golden Gopher home football game.
Coach has been reminding the beat writers each week to remind the fans of the Victory Walk.
Well, I'm certainly no beat writer. I'm just a hack blogger with an emotional, and often irrational, passion for Gopher Football, but I put a reminder on the right side of the page about the Gopher Victory Walk and will plan on updating this for each game.
See you at the walk!


One of the reasons that I've been so excited about Brewster as a head coach is that he's talked about recruiting and the importance of recruiting since day one... something that the previous coaching staff rarely mentioned. Specifically he's mentioned keeping in-state talent home, and he put his money where his mouth is early on with a strong verbal commitment from Champlin Park Senior Sam Maresh, a 4-star defensive prospect.

Today Sid has some comments from Brew in regards to recruiting. Showing again that recruiting is constantly on his mind, Brewster talks about the response to recruiting, and a little bit about the start that Mac Brown had at North Carolina, starting out 2-20 in his first two seasons.

I don't remember there ever being this kind of excitement and hype regarding recruiting at Minnesota. It's a year round process at most schools. It is part of the culture of football to bring in prospects all year and sell them on your program. Brewster is doing a great job of this... despite a poor season on the field.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Darrell Thompson on

Be sure to check out the Darrell Thompson interview on

I liked his take on Brewster seeming to be able to get performance thus far out of players that haven't performed at a Big Ten level so far in their careers.

Darrell also talks a bit about recruiting and making a commitment to defense by possibly taking high school running backs and turning them into a safety or a cornerback. This is an interesting thought. I recall that Lou Holtz would recruit high school quarterbacks like crazy because they are generally the best athletes on their high school teams. You could say similar things about running backs I'm sure.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Scoggins on Mike Gundy...

If you don't already read Chip Scoggins' blog on, you should. I think Chip covers Gopher football with an incredibly level head, and he isn't afraid to call it like it is. He writes great in-depth columns about the Gophers, and saves most of his opinions for the blog.

Scoggins commented yesterday on Oklahoma State coach Mike Gundy's tirade last weekend. You can read the article that Gundy was referring to in his angry comments here.

Scoggins said that "It was an absolute bush-league move by Gundy and if OSU officials had any guts they would discipline him. The column by the Daily Oklahoman’s Jenni Carlson focused on possible reasons behind a quarterback switch and hardly warranted Gundy’s attack."

I have to disagree with Chip on this one. Jenni Carlson wrote an entire article focusing on the negative aspects of one player, questioning his character and competitive drive, and the majority of the article is based on rumor and hearsay. To quote her article, "If you believe the rumors and the rumblings, Reid has been pushing coaches that way for quite some time... Reid is the most talented quarterback in Payne County, but he hasn't proven that he's the toughest. If you listen to the rumblings and the rumors, Cowboy coaches simply grew weary of it."

Chip Scoggins does not write articles like this. He writes factual stories focusing on the team, rarely on a single player, and never negatively on a single player. If he says anything negative about an individual player, he says it very quickly and factually.

While Gundy's tirade is a bit animated and over-the-top, you have to respect his desire to protect his players. I would hope that Coach Brewster would be similarly protective if one of his players was called out in this way.

This is the video of Gundy's reaction...

This video is a report from Good Morning America, where Jenni Carlson briefly responds...

Harris fumble...

Following is the highlight film from the Big Ten Network. Specifically I had to re-watch Harris' fumble a couple of times (at the 1:32 mark). Absolutely unreal. We'll never know if he was actually changing hands in order to begin celebrating, but in any case, this is absolutely inexcusable. A touchdown on that play could have completely changed the momentum of the game.

Coach Brewster has said that players that do not protect the ball will not play. Well Harris cost us 6 on this play, and also dropped an interception against Purdue...

You're move coach.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

As much as it pains me to say it...

...Reusse was right today when he said that "The only way this Minnesota team is going to win games is with its offense. And three ugly first halves by that unit have added up to three losses."

There's a bit of a "chicken or the egg" debate to be had here. Certainly the defense has been giving up more than it's fair share of yards and points, but everyone in the country knows that the Gophers defense is our biggest weakness. In my opinion, the coaching staff should be calling an aggressive game plan off the bat, knowing that scoring early and often is the only way that the defense is going to stay in the game. We already know that teams are going to pass their quarterback's arms off on us, why not force them to be doing it from behind.

With our defense the offense is going to be in a fight every week to put up as many points as possible. And discounting all of the turnovers, this offense has shown that it's got enough horses to run that kind of race.

Joe Tiller, who knows a thing or two about offense had this to say about the Gophers offense: "They got hot, which they are going to do. I like their offense. I like their quarterback. They have the talent to score a lot of points on people. When you get into a track meet with them, you better match their scores, which we were able to do for the most part."

Unfortunately, as Reusse pointed out, it doesn't seem like we've yet shown the ability to get out of the gate quickly enough to give ourselves a chance.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Shooter's little birdie...

Charley Walters offered this speculation today...

"The Gophers football team is close to agreement for its opening opponent in its on-campus stadium in 2009, but the opponent first has to get out of a deal with another school. Don't be surprised if it's San Diego State, where former Gophers associate athletics director Jeff Schemmel is AD."

San Diego State isn't quite the big name competition that it seemed like Maturi was shooting for. Having said that, at least it's not University of Louisiana-Monroe.

Shooter also mentions that Glen Mason would be considered for the Michigan job should it be open at the end of this year. Not sure I buy that one.

Mason on Barreiro 9/20/07

In case you missed it, and if you are interested, Coach Mason has been joining Dan Barreiro from time to time on his KFAN show. Last night's discussion was focused around the Big 10, and Mase responded to what James Laurinaitis' mom had to say about his recruiting prowess.

Click here to go to Barreiro's podcast page.

Looking at Purdue...

Let's call a spade a spade here: Joe Tiller knows how to put together an offense. Can you imagine how he recruits quarterbacks?
"Hey kid, wanna throw the ball 50 times per game to a dozen different receivers and have the chance to absolutely shatter every Purdue throwing record that ever existed...?"
Sounds pretty good?
So Purdue hasn't played any big name teams yet, but Painter has already thrown the ball 118 times, completed 81, for 952 yards and 13 touchdowns... with no interceptions. That's 319 passing yards per game. And in case you weren't keeping track, the Gophers are currently giving up over 430 passing yards per game.

Brewster has said that they are planning to simplify the defense starting this week and get back to the basics of tackling. Let's hope that this adjustment proves helpful.
Seems like Brewster is a little bit stuck between a rock and a hard place. On the one hand, he's inherited some inferior talent (I'm not blaming Mason, it's just a fact that the talent on this team, especially defensively is not up to Big 10 snuff) that can't compete running the schemes that he wants to run. On the other hand, he has probably gotten a little bit ahead of himself in installing these schemes. Seems like he is pulling back the reins now and adjusting to his personnel now.
Go Gophers!!!

Thursday, September 20, 2007

If you've got a spare 10 minutes, this is a pretty cool video from YouTube dedicated to Gopher Football, tailgating, and one tailgate dream in particular.

A Gopher Football Blog... Now?

As the guy who ran the Fire Glen Mason blog, I found there were a lot of supporters.
But the truth is that I caught a lot of heat for that blog. A lot of people felt that I couldn't possibly be a good Gopher Football fan if I was calling for the firing of our head coach at the time. The truth is I was uneasy about starting that blog in the first place for that very reason. But I talked with Gopher fans at games that felt the same as I did, and I thought there needed to be a sounding board. I argued my point until I was blue in the face, but it was an emotional issue, and I heard often from those who disagreed with me. But up until the time that I shut down that blog, it was still getting over 50 hits per week... even though I hadn't updated it since mid-January.
I guess I could have started this blog and never admitted to being a part of the Fire Glen Mason blog, but in the spirit of full-disclosure... this is who I am. I see Gopher Football as an emotional attachment. The people like me, who are die-hard fans, despite co-worker, friend, and sometimes family ridicule, are fans for a reason. You can't suffer through some of the seasons and types of losses that we've had to endure and come out a fan on the other side unless there is something deeply rooted in you to keep you coming back. (Actually, it could be masochism, but that's another question for another time.)
Three games into our first season under Tim Brewster, with a record of 1-2, that could have just as easily been 0-3, I still think moving on from Glen Mason was the right thing to do. And 10 months after the firing of Coach Mason I was still getting negative comments about the blog. I finally deleted it.
The people who argue that if Coach Mason was still at the helm of the program today we would be 3-0 are probably right. We might be 3-0 with Mason right now. But I would still contend that at the end of this season we would still be a game one one side or the other of .500, we would be flirting with another trip to El Paso, and we could expect the same thing for years to come.
Howard Hoffman said "If you always do what you always did, you'll always get what you always got." The people who believed that Gopher Football could be more were ready for some new blood. The people who were okay with always being .500 and going to a mediocre bowl game wish we were 3-0 with Mason right now.
1-2 sucks, I admit it. And the the way we "won" that one game wasn't pretty.
But what about next year? And the year after that?
What about when Brewster is coaching his own recruits running the offense and defense that he recruited them to play? What will Gopher Football be like then?
And that's why I'm starting a Gopher Football Blog now. Even though the team looks fugly right now, and a 1-11 season is not out of the question, there are things to look forward to with this program in the future that we would never have been excited about with Mase.