Monday, December 8, 2008

Looking back...

I thought it would be interesting to have a look at my preseason predictions, and how far off I was. So let's take a look at my "Stream of consciousness breakdown..." post on August 25th and see how wrong I was.
"I'm expecting 5 wins. I think this would be a major improvement over last year..."

Hey, what do you know, I was wrong! But I don't mind being wrong on this one, obviously. 5 wins would have been an improvement, but knowing what we know now, not exactly a major improvement. 7 wins is big, but the way the season ended leaves a bad taste.

"I expect the Gopher's to be much faster on defense and much more in-sync on offense. I expect they will win 3 non-conference games (N. Illinois, Montana State & Florida Atlantic, all at home, losing to Bowling Green on the road), and two Big10 games (Indiana & NWestern both at home). The team is still inexperienced, so winning a game on the road will be tough, in addition to the fact that the Big10 road schedule is REALLY tough (OSU, Illinois, Purdue, Wisky)."
I would definitely say that the defense was faster, but I was WAY off about the offense being in-sync... BOY, was I off. I guessed right on 4 of the 5 wins that I predicted, and was obviously very happy to be wrong about Bowling Green, Illinois and Purdue... but that N'Western loss still stings me. Our inexperience didn't seem to hamper us on the road, as we won 3 games away from the Dome (BG, Illinois, Purdue).

"If all goes according to my prediction (and why wouldn't it?) the Gophers will go into the final week of the season, welcoming Iowa, with a 5-6 record. And that's the trump card. On paper, Iowa is a beatable team, especially at home in the Gophers final game at the Metrodome."

"For the season, I expect...
... Adam Weber to be a solid starter, and do more with his arm than his feet..."
I was actually pretty close on this one for the most part, in my opinion. Weber did way more with his arm than his feet early in the year, but his legs definitely were a huge help late in the season.

"... the offensive line to shuffle and struggle most of the year, so Weber will have to do more throwing on the run."
The o-line, as well-documented, was a big problem. It didn't lead to Weber throwing on the run quite as much as it lead to just overall chaos for the offense.

"... David Pittman to make an immediate impact at a couple of offensive positions."
Not so much.

"... the defense to be faster and improved, but still mistake prone."
The D was clearly faster and improved, and the mistakes that they were prone to make often seemed to come on long passing plays down the field, which became their nemesis. I also think that at the end of the season the defense just got tired because they spent so much time on the field, and this lead to a lot of mistakes in November.

"... Coach Brewster and his staff to do a better job of managing the game (i.e. no blunders like when your opponent (NDSU) is on offense, is still in the huddle, and has only 5 seconds on the play clock... and Minnesota calls a timeout.)"
I think the jury is out here. I was disappointed with some of Brewster's in-game decisions throughout the season. I thought that clock management at times was questionable, and I thought that Brewster struggled with when exactly to be aggressive.

"... Jay Thomas to lead the team in rushing."

"... Eric Decker to be in the top 3 in the Big10 in catches and recieving yards."
Decker ended up 2nd in the conference in yards and first in receptions.

"... Jack Simmons to be the top tight end in the Big10."
Simmons wasn't tapped nearly as much as I had thought, or as much as I would have liked to have seen. He had a decent year, but certainly not the kind of season I had hoped for.

"... Marcus Sherels & "Big Play" Trey Simmons to lead the team in interceptions."
They actually ended up 1st (BPT) & 3rd (Sherels) with 4 and 2 respectively. Pretty decent season for the Gophs in terms of turnovers, and these guys certainly were a big part of that.

"... Simoni Lawrence to lead the team in tackles."
Lee Campbell actually lead the team with 75 total tackles and Simoni was 4th with 64. Kyle Theret had the highest number of solo tackes with 54. Simoni Lawrence also came in 4th in this category.

"... IF the Gophers DO win 6 games and make it to a low-tier bowl game, Reusse will write an article saying that this accomplishment means nothing because Mason would have done the same thing."
He hasn't written this article yet, but he did write an article this past weekend, which we talked extensively about on the podcast this week, in which he took a shot at Brewster, even though there had been no Gopher news in days.

Overall... The defense was much improved and probably a huge reason why we were able to get to that 7 win mark. The offense took a huge step back this year, which is obviously a huge concern, but the line is still very young, and having Tim Davis to coach them should make improvement a certainty by next fall.

All-in-all the biggest thing is that the Gophers won 7 games and they are Insight Bowl bound.


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