Sunday, September 30, 2007

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.

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