Sunday, November 18, 2007

Minnesota football: A program in shambles under Tim Brewster

Conversely, if you're a Gopher football fan, there's not much to be excited about, even after a spirited effort by an overmatched group on Saturday. In his first year as coach, Tim Brewster has led Minnesota to a giant step backward, turning a program that was competitive and excellent in many areas under Glen Mason into something resembling other big-city sports "entertainment" where the game is secondary to the hoopla surrounding it. They also played with a lack of maturity and discipline resembling Miami's late '80s teams, only with 5% of the talent.

To that end, let's take two examples that were well detailed in Jim Polzin's Capital Times story last night.

-... UW senior kicker Taylor Mehlhaff was heading over to congratulate Minnesota counterpart Joel Monroe on a great game when he was approached by Clint Brewster (right), the son of the Gophers coach and a freshman quarterback on the team.

According to Mehlhaff, Clint Brewster said: "You guys are terrible. … We're 1-10 and we should have beat you.''

"I just couldn't believe he said that,'' added Mehlhaff, who made two field goals Saturday but missed as many (two) as he had all season. "I was giving their guys high-fives … and telling them good game. I just couldn't believe anyone would come up and be like that.

"And then he said, 'How many kicks did you miss today?' That's pretty bold. I just said, 'I've got to go celebrate (with) the axe.' ''

Very classy, Clint. I remember two years ago, after the Gophers' gut-wrenching loss to UW in the dome, Laurence Maroney warmly embracing Brandon Williams (both St. Louis guys). That was how this rivalry should play out - fight hard, then a big hug. Our schools and states are pretty similar, records aside, and this should be one of those mutual respect deals. We'll see if the Brewsters can learn that.

-Another thing players that mutually respect one another don't do is punch their opponents in the testicles. From Jim's story:

Bielema revealed the Mehlhaff/Clint Brewster exchange during his postgame news conference and also said he was bothered by an incident between Minnesota wide receiver Eric Decker and UW cornerback Jack Ikegwuonu during the game. In the second quarter, Decker appeared to punch Ikegwuonu in the groin area while blocking him, causing Ikegwuonu to leave the game for a play.

Thing is, Decker (above) played really well Saturday, clearly getting the best of Ike, and this totally wipes that out. The Minnesota papers made a big deal out of the fact that Ike head-butted Decker at another juncture. Well, let me tell you, getting punched in the balls hurts more.

-The dome atmosphere resembled a Mike Veeck production. Fireworks. Loud piped-in music. A tire race in the end zone, the winner getting a 6-inch sub! Two drunks running through tackling dummies and doing end zone dances. People throwing Nerf footballs from the upper deck and end zone targets. Apparently, Brewster has decided the residents of Gopher Nation don't want Big Ten football, they want minor league baseball.

-And that's another thing - Gopher Nation? They can't even sell out the dome for the Wisconsin game! Most Minnesota fans left after we went up 41-27, and missed a really excited long touchdown pass. They still had a chance with a minute left. Gotta beat the traffic though. Gopher Nation? Better work on convincing the Twin Cities first, Timmy.

-One thing that stood out during the pregame festivities was the number of aggressively anti-UW shirts worn by Gopher fans. "Better dead than red." "Bucky Badger is a whore." "Buck the Fadgers." Now, I realize that similar anti-UM shirts for Badger fans probably exist, but I didn't see any Saturday, the logical time to wear them.

You know what those shirts are the sign of? An inferiority complex. You know how I know? Because those are exactly the kind of shirts we've worn (okay, I've worn) to denigrate Michigan, as they've beaten us year after year. So yeah, it's a rivalry, but it's so one-sided that the perennial loser resorts to conjuring up images of death, sexual indiscretion, and implied cuss words.

Last night when I first heard about all this crap the Gophers pulled during game, I was madder than a wet hen. Eric Decker punched Jack Ikegwuonu in the nuts!

This morning, though, with the emotions of the day worn off and a little perspective, I just feel bad for Gopher fans. Brewster could end up being a good coach, and I'm not writing him off yet. But the scene we witnessed yesterday indicated that even if he brings in some of those four-star recruits that fans are hyperventilating about, Brewster has a lot to learn about controlling his players, creating a college football environment, and winning ballgames.


Anonymous said...

So - what's the speculation on bowl games for the "travels well" Badgers?

mjschwal said...

Looks like some regulars at Buckyville are paying attention:

Anonymous said...

Brewster needs to control his players? Do we seriously need to talk about X-Box and your back up RB? X-Box head butts a guy, I would expect him to comeback and do some damage.

Where was your back up RB? Oh yeah only road games LOL.

Big Enema needs to control himself. Nice classy move jumping into a rival coaches face after a victory. High class.

Les Miles to the Blue, and Becky won't see a victory in a long time.

Anonymous said...

Decker "appeared" to punch him in the groin. He did not actually do it. Ike lost his jock trying to cover Decker and had to leave the game to go find it.

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