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Continued: Is coaching the flaw? Recruiting? Either way it's Brewster's fault

  • Article by: JIM SOUHAN , Star Tribune
  • Last update: September 12, 2010 - 9:44 AM

That's it. No more Dakotas for Tim Brewster. North Dakota State beat him in 2007. He barely survived South Dakota State last year. Saturday, South Dakota won 41-38 at TCF Bank Stadium.

From now on, all Dakotas will be considered mismatches for our proud rodents, including Dakota County Technical College and Dakota Fanning.

To be fair, South Dakota is one of the better teams you'll find in Vermillion.

Brewster kept saying his program was light years ahead of the one he inherited from Glen Mason, but I think we misquoted him. I think he meant "lite years.'' As in, "less-filling.''

Moments after the Gophers made South Dakota quarterback Dante Warren, in his second collegiate start, look like Terrelle Pryor, the Big Ten Network asked Mason for his analysis of the game. The sound was turned down at the stadium, but he was so happy he looked like he was doing a Crest commercial.

The problem for Brewster is that his bluster has backed him into a corner. He promised big things. He bragged about his recruiting. At this point in his tenure, having had four years to recruit and yet having suffered embarrassing loss after embarrassing loss, he has to choose between these realities:

Either A) his recruits aren't that good or B) he can't coach them.

Brewster leaned toward the latter. "I should have did a better job today,'' he said in one of his more frank postgame interviews. At another point, he said, "I just didn't get the job done.''

He is a wonderful recruiter in one respect. Nobody has done more to attract good football players to North and South Dakota.

This was a remarkable and meaningful loss for a number of reasons:

1. Last week, South Dakota lost to Central Florida, a program without the benefit of Brewster's recruiting, 38-7. The Coyotes gained 220 yards in that game.

Saturday, the Coyotes gained 444, tricking the Gophers with such subterfuge as slant patterns and bootlegs.

2. The Gophers just blew one of the few likely victories on their schedule. This may be the loss that dooms them to a two- or three-win season, which would mark the end of Brewball in Minnesota.

3. If Brewball gets fired, that could signal an entire regime change. Would athletic director Joel Maturi be allowed to hire another football coach after botching the last hiring so badly?

4. Saturday's loss provided evidence that if star Middle Tennessee quarterback Dwight Dasher had been eligible for the Gophers' opener, the Gophs would be 0-2, facing the possibility of a zero or one-win season.

Dasher is a far superior player to Warren, and Warren threw for 352 yards and three touchdowns and ran for 81 yards and two touchdowns.

5. If you can't beat USD, how are you going to beat USC? The Trojans come to town Saturday, and their only foe will be virulent overconfidence.

6. TCF Bank Stadium emptied faster than a colander Saturday. And it wasn't full to begin with.

One home game into the second season in the attractive semicircle, The Bank needs a stimulus package that Brewster isn't providing.

7. There remains no tangible evidence that Brewster's recruiting is better than Mason's, despite the bouquets tossed at him by so-called national recruiting experts.

Mason recruited Laurence Maroney, Marion Barber, Eric Decker, Outland Trophy winner Greg Eslinger, Mark Setterstrom, Adam Weber and Mackey Award winner Matt Spaeth.

Brewster has recruited one player with notable talent -- quarterback Marqueis Gray, who, as a redshirt sophomore, could become a quality Big Ten receiver.

Brewster noted that his team missed three injured or suspended starters -- offensive lineman Dom Alford and safeties Kyle Theret and Kim Royston.

That would be a weak excuse even against a Big Ten opponent. Against a team whose talent should be far inferior to the Gophers, that excuse should be neither thought nor uttered.

This was a Coyote-ugly loss.

The Gophers supposedly had every advantage: home field, recruiting, facilities, size and speed.

What's wonderful about football is that so often decision-making trumps brute force, coaching trumps quickness.

South Dakota played a defensive end who weighed 240, just a little heavier than Weber, the Gophers' quarterback. South Dakota won by finding huge openings in a defense filled with Brewster recruits.

In summation, Brewster got outcoached and lost to a small school from the Dakotas.

Ugly? Yes. Unusual? Hardly.

Jim Souhan can be heard at 10-noon Sunday on 1500ESPN. His Twitter name is SouhanStrib. • jsouhan@startribune.com

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