Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Withers leaving the Gophers

My blackberry first starting buzzing early Monday morning with articles saying that Everett Withers was leaving the Gophers to become the Defensive Coordinator at the University of North Carolina. Part of me was hoping that these reports were wrong.

But apparently they were not, and it's true, Withers is on his way to UNC.

I have mixed feelings about this. First of all, it disappoints me that we are, yet again, losing a defensive coach. As the Start Tribune article mentions, the new defensive coordinator will be the sixth new defensive coordinator since 2000. In addition, Brewster absolutely sang the praises of Withers and his ability in the recruiting game at the Signing Day 'Sota Social just a few weeks ago. If recruiting is what builds a winner in college football, if solid defense is what is needed to win in the Big10, and if Withers was a defensive recruiting genius... then this is a tough loss.

On the other side of the coin, also in this Star Tribune article Withers admits that he felt defeated before his defense even took the field, and that he didn't have the players he needed to run his scheme. He's right, he didn't have the right players to run his scheme... so should he have been more flexible in his scheme in the first couple of years? And as a competitive individual, wouldn't you want the chance to fix what was clearly a complete disaster in 2007?

Having said that, I do understand the quality of life issue, and that Withers grew up in North Carolina and that he'd like to raise his family there. I understand that people grow up with dreams to play or coach for a certain team. And I understand that this is Withers' chance to reconcile all of that with one lateral move to UNC.

So good luck to Everett Withers. I guess someone else will have their name next to the phrase "turned the Gopher defense around" next to their name.

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