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.