Monday, December 14, 2009

The Monday Musings

Minnesota football fans can officially breathe a sigh of relief after Kansas announced the hiring of former Buffalo coach and Nebraska QB great Turner Gill as their new head coach. Yes, those pesky rumors, who were definitely NOT started by anyone associated with Gophers coach Tim Brewster (at least according to him), can finally be put to rest and we can get on with concentrating on the Insight Bowl vs. Iowa State. I don't know about you, but I was fretting all last week about whether Brew's Crew and his 6-18 Big Ten record would be snapped up by another school who saw his obvious coaching prowess, but thankfully, it looks like he's all ours for the bowl game, and 2010. Phew!!!

Last Thursday, the day Brewster announced he was definitely not going to Kansas, he also mentioned that MarQueis Gray will be playing receiver in the Insight Bowl, but will still be part of an open competition for the starting quarterback job in the spring. Everyone I've heard and read has applauded the better-late-than-never decision to open up the quarterback competition in the spring, and is also fine with Gray getting into the Insight Bowl as a wideout since Brewster and o-coordinator Jed Fisch clearly had no intention of ever allowing him to play meaningful reps at quarterback this season.

Fine. It's the whole "let's find a way to get our best athletes on the field" ploy, even though your best athlete in Gray should have been allowed to play a series or more at quarterback because your current quarterback sucks. Let's also gloss over the fact Gray's season was officially wasted with this move (I mean really- we didn't redshirt the kid because we wanted to use him for one play a series to hand off or run up the gut- a play that by the fourth game of the season every defense knew was coming?), and ask the question no one seems to be asking:

What happens if MarQueis Gray is really good as a receiver? What happens if Gray lights up the Cyclones in Tempe for some big catches and a couple of scores? What happens if he's able to catch Adam Weber's passes that usually sail behind or five yards over the heads of his other receivers? What happens if Gray makes Weber look good in a bowl win over Iowa State? Do you think there's ANY chance Brewster will let him go back to quarterback in the spring? Any at all?

And even if he did, short of a Weber injury, do you really think Gray's going to be allowed to win the job from a fifth year senior when he was never allowed to win the job this season? If Gray goes out in the Insight Bowl and dominates, that not only means he's going to look good, but it means Weber's going to look good, and it's going to be very difficult to convince Brewster and Fisch, who by the way will be coaching for their jobs next seaon, to give Gray any real chance to fight for the starting QB spot.

Basically, we are setting Gray up to go from one of the most coveted dual-threat quarterbacks the school has ever had and turning him into a wide receiver without ever giving him a real opportunity to prove he could play quarterback in the Big Ten. And that would be an awful shame.

Furthermore, whether Gray gets a chance or not, based solely on what we've seen this season, as well as last off-season, why are we to take Brewster at his word and believe the quarterback job is really up for grabs? Unless Weber suffers a horrible injury, no matter how well Gray or Moses Alipate (the darkhorse candidate in all of this, as he's the laser-rocket armed pocket-passer Fisch's pro-style offense needs) plays in the spring, won't Weber win it anyway? I mean really, how awful could he possibly play in the spring to lose the job? Certainly no worse than he did during the regular season, yet he went completely unchallenged all season long.

Based on Brewster's track record, I'm not going to believe anyone other than Weber will be the quarterback for this team in 2010 because Brewster sat there and watched Weber stink it up for the entire 2009 and did nothing about it but make excuses for him. So why would it be any different in the spring or next year? The only thing Brewster has proven he can do is talk (and tweet) but we've yet to see him back it up with his team's performance on the field. I feel like I've been saying this all year (probably because I have) but I'd love to be proven wrong, starting with the Insight Bowl and a win over Iowa State.

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