Monday, October 26, 2009

MarQueis "Silver Lining" Gray

I think "Silver Lining" might be the new nickname for Gophers quarterback MarQueis Gray because honestly, what other positive thing can you take away from Saturday's 38-7 loss to Ohio State besides the play of Gray? 5 of 6 passing for 51 yards and Minnesota's only touchdown (and yes, I'm well aware it came against Ohio State's second team D. More on that in a minute), and was also basically the team's entire ground game, rushing 11 times for 81 yards (7.4 yards per carry). It's fascinating/frustrating/baffling to me that Wonderboy Fisch realized that the only way Minnesota could gain yards on the ground was with Gray at quarterback so they made the adjustment, yet Brewster still said after the game that his most effective player- Gray- won't be starting, and his least effective player-Adam Weber-will be. Anyone who still thinks Weber deserves to start for this team is either an idiot, or Weber has compromising pictures of them he'll release if anyone speaks out against him.

There's no logical reason why Weber should start again based on his play Saturday and the entire season. None. Zero. Please, give me the reasons why we're a better team, and offense, with Weber under center. There is no evidence to support it. Yep, he had some receivers drop some passes on Saturday, but he also was still missing guys when they were open and/or throwing behind them far too often, and he committed three more turnovers on the day. As I've been saying for three weeks now- stop making excuses for Adam Weber. He sucks, he has sucked for eight games now, neither he nor the offense will get any better with him starting, and unless he has compromising pictures of you that he'll release if you speak out against him, you're an idiot if you think otherwise. There is simpy no logical explanation on why he should continue starting. And yet he will. Welcome to Brew's Crew I guess.

I am still not calling for Brewster's head yet, but I am becoming more and more frustrated with him. Say what you will about the conservative Sweater Vest Jim Tressel at Ohio State, but once again Saturday he showed he's willing to make changes for the betterment of the team, even if it goes against what he had tried in previous weeks. Last year Tressel showed the stones to yank fifth year senior Todd Boeckman in favor of Pryor- and this was with a team that had Big Ten title aspirations!!! This season, sure, it took him seven games to realize that what they were asking Pryor to do just wasn't working, but give him credit for finally unleashing Pryor's rushing ability. We did not see any option plays with him (which makes no sense, but still), but we DID see him tuck and go more against the Gophers than the rest of the season combined almost, rushing 15 times for 104 yards (6.9 YPC) and a score.

I don't know what exactly Tressel told him, but it worked. Pryor obviously felt more comfortable than he had all season and looked to have the freedom to run that he hadn't previously been given, and the result was the Terrelle Pryor we all expected to see when the season started. Honestly, if you had somehow missed Ohio State's first seven games this season and the last time you saw Pryor was the Fiesta Bowl against Texas last year (maybe because you had been in a cave, or living under a rock, or hiding in a closet faking that you were in a hot air balloon?), when you watched the game Saturday, isn't that how you would have expected him to play? Wasn't his performance about where you'd expect him to be in his second year after all the promise he showed in his first year? After all the struggles he went through leading up to Saturday, Pryor looked right back on track to become The Next Vince Young of college football. Sure, he's going to need to do what he did to the Gophers in every game the rest of the year, but IF Pryor is back and plays like that, Ohio State becomes the favorites to grab their fifth straight Big Ten Title. Sorry Iowa and Penn State, but it's true. Of course the great thing is, we're going to get to find out on the field, as the Buckeyes play both squads in the next month.

ANYWAY, I point all of that out because despite Tressel's reputation as conservative, he's showed he CAN adapt and make necessary changes to help his football team and his offense, even if it might reflect poorly on him by admitting he was wrong. But Coach Brewster? Mr. Positivity, Mr. "My kids are the greatest and most talented and dangerous and the best in the history of the universe?" He can't see what even his own offensive coordinator can see, which is that right now MarQueis Gray gives this offense, and this team, the best chance to win. Yes, he carved up Ohio State's second team defense on the way to Minnesota's only score of the afternoon, but he did it with good passes where he led receivers and hit them in stride. He wasn't firing the ball behind or below or over his receivers- he was putting the ball where it had to be. It can be nothing but an encouraging sign that Gray CAN indeed throw and complete passes. Couple that with the fact he's such a running threat at quarterback, and with a tough Michigan State team coming to town, and the Gophs possibly without Eric Decker, Gray is the only hope they have of moving the ball. Yet he's not going to start.

With Weber starting, I'm sorry to say it, but we're going to had a VERY tough time beating the Spartans. I'm certainly not going to say that Weber is the only problem, as penalties and our defense's complete inability to get off the field on third down is absolutely KILLING us right now, but without Eric Decker, and with Adam Weber as the starter and primary quarterback, I'm not sure how we move the ball. So perhaps another silver lining, perhaps the only positive to come from Weber starting again Saturday, will be that after another assuredly ugly performance from our offense, maybe finally Brewster will be forced to see the light, and MarQueis will start Nov. 7th against Illinois. Then again, if Brew hasn't seen it now, maybe he never will.

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