Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Maturi says Fisch is Going to Seattle

Still no official word from the Seahawks or Jedd Fisch, but in a Strib story published late last night, Gophers AD Joel Maturi says Fisch has already flown the coop:

"I believe he's gone," Maturi said. "I believe it will be official soon, that he will no longer be our offensive coordinator."

Asked if he's talked to head coach Tim Brewster about finding a replacement, Maturi had this to say:

"We have not chatted specifically about it, about names," Maturi said. "He's out recruiting hard right now. My comment to him was, 'Take a deep breath, do the right thing for the football team and for him. There is no need to hurry.'"

Um, Joel? I would disagree with your last sentence. There IS a need to hurry and get someone else in here ASAP to at least maintain the illusion of continuity. The Daily Gopher is saying that two more recruits, CB Allen Veazie and OT Josh Allen, are backing off their commitments, and WR Chris Hawkins is taking a visit to TCU. The last Gopher recruit to do that, Texas four star RB Josh Huff, ended up committing to the Horned Frogs.

We need a new OC in here to stop anymore commits from jumping ship. This is not an ideal situation, and losing his OC can't be blamed on Brewster. He's out there recruiting as hard as he can right now and trying to add to the recruits he has, and also keep the ones he's got. Fisch leaving is out of his control, but the fact Fisch is leaving is telling of just how dire the situation is in Dinkytown right now.

Think about it: Fisch is going to leave his post as an offensive coordinator at a Big Ten school to take a quarterbacks coach job in the NFL for comparable, or perhaps even less, pay. Anyway you slice it, that's not a lateral move, that's a step down. Why take a step down unless you're worried about your job security? Is Fisch concerned that his offense isn't going to get any better in 2010 and he'll be out on his can looking for work at this time next year?

It's the only rational explanation I can think of for wanting to take a demotion. Perhaps the recruits are seeing it too, which is why they're also leaving. Whether Maturi gets Brewster his extension or not, it's clear the word is out that Brewster's days seem to be numbered, and that even though Brew is back for 2010, he won't be around for 2011. As much talent as I believe is on the roster, you have to believe that if Brewster puts together another six win campaign and a crappy bowl trip, it's not going to be enough for him to keep his job. So if at least seven wins is the bar, I'm sorry, but I just don't see seven wins on the 2010 schedule. I just don't. They should win three of four non-conference games, but there are no gimmes in the Big Ten this year. Everybody looks like they should be as good or better than they were in 2009 (with the possible exception of Penn State, who should finish in the top four in the conference again, but won't be in the hunt for a BCS game), which means you can't look at the games against Northwestern, Purdue, and Illinois and say those are automatic wins. They're certainly not un-winnable, but they're not going to be easy. Neither will Michigan State or USC. And need I remind you that Brewster is o-fer against the remaining teams of Wisconsin, Iowa, Ohio State, and Penn State.

If ever there was a year for Brewster to break his Trophy Game drought, or just to pull an upset and beat a team they're not supposed to, 2010 will be it, because that's what it's going to take for him to keep his job.

This then raises the question of who Brewster can get to replace Fisch? You can cross off any of the big-name offensive coordinators at other schools, and any prime-time position coaches who have aspirations of being a head coach for two reasons: One is that nobody who has good potential and are in a good position are going to leave their current job to move to Minneapolis in what looks like a one-and-done situation. Somebody in the Strib comments section mentioned Major Applewhite as a possibility, but dream candidates like that aren't coming.

They're not coming because Brewster could very likely be in his last year as head coach, AND because of his assertion that he wants whomever the new coordinator is to keep the status quo and keep Fisch's offense intact. So you're coming to a one-and-done situation AND you have to keep the former guy's offense and terminology?!? Admit it, you'd have to be pretty desparate to take that job. It's why I think Brewster will end up promoting O-line coach Tim Davis. He's already here, he's been around the offense, and he'll certainly take the job. If Fisch took a step down from the Gophers to the Seahawks, maybe the new guy will leave a better situation for this one. It's about our only hope right now.

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