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Continued: Brewster gets wish: U to play Longhorns

  • Article by: SID HARTMAN , Star Tribune
  • Last update: April 30, 2009 - 10:55 PM

Gophers football coach Tim Brewster wasn't kidding when he said he wanted to play Texas. So Gophers athletic director Joel Maturi has scheduled Texas on a home-and-home series with the dates to be set.

It's been a long time since powers such as Southern California and Texas have been on the Gophers' schedule.

The Gophers and Texas have met only once in football. In 1936, under coach Bernie Bierman, the Gophers defeated the Longhorns 47-19 in Minneapolis.

The Gophers will play USC in 2010. The teams have played only six times. The last time the two met was 1980, when the No. 5 Trojans defeated the Gophers 24-7 in Minneapolis. The previous year, the Gophers traveled to Los Angeles, where the top-ranked Trojans won 48-14.

Maturi is still looking for two opponents for next year's schedule, and they aren't easy to find. With the Trojans on the schedule, Maturi doesn't want to schedule two more strong opponents.

The big problem, according to Maturi, is that the cost of scheduling a team for one game has gone up so high, it's difficult to get opponents.

Quarterbacks improve

There has been a lot of conversation these past few days about Percy Harvin, the Vikings' No. 1 draft pick, and what a great receiver he is and how much better the all-around athlete from Florida will make the team's passing game.

Well, what about the ability of Sage Rosenfels, the new Vikings quarterback, and the two on the roster from last year, Tarvaris Jackson and John David Booty, who will have to throw the ball to Harvin?

Vikings quarterback coach Kevin Rogers is not only impressed by Rosenfels, but he is happy with the attitude and improvement of Jackson and how hard Booty has worked to be able to compete for a job.

About Rosenfels, Rogers says: "He's a guy that has really worked toward his craft. He has a vast knowledge of the game. He's throwing the ball pretty well right now and is really adapting to the offense. He's picking it up quickly."

Can you compare him to anybody?

"He's a little bit different. He's a nine-year guy, as opposed to some of those 15-year guys we've had in here before," said Rogers. "We really haven't had anybody quite like him in here. They have either been younger or older, not quite where he is.

"The age is different, and he's a guy who really should be in the prime of his career. He's still got some good movement skills. He still has some life in his legs and can move around some. Yet, he has pretty good knowledge of the game."

What about Jackson?

"He's doing a great job like he does every year," Rogers said. "He works hard and goes about his business. He tries to control what he can control."

Can you see improvement over last year?

"Yes. Every year there is going to be improvement," Rogers said. "He's one year more experienced. He's had that much more game time. He's had to deal with that many more things. For a guy that's been in the league for three years, he's seen a lot in a short time."

And Rogers likes what he has seen of Booty in the offseason.

"John David Booty is throwing the ball extremely well," said Rogers. "He's doing a real good job. It's night and day between last year at about this time and this year, as well it should be. He feels more comfortable and is throwing the ball well. He knows what to expect and is expected of him."

And from what Rogers has pointed out, some of the fans won't be pushing the Vikings to have Brett Favre make a comeback in a purple uniform.

Jottings

Regarding the ticket situation for the new Gophers football stadium, according to Garry Bowman of the Gophers athletic department, about 40 percent of the Gophers season ticket holders have selected their seats so far. Approximately 54 percent have chosen seats in the area that do not require a donation to the U in addition to the ticket price, while 46 per cent have selected seats in the preferred seating area (between the 20-yard lines) that require an annual per-seat donation of $100, $250 or $500, depending on their location. As of Thursday, about 15,000 seats have yet to have selected in non-preferred locations, including the 4,500 chair-back seats. Those seats are located between the goal line and the 20-yard line.

Brewster said Duane Bennett, the outstanding Gophers running back who suffered a serious knee injury in the second game last year -- an injury that hurt the Gophers plenty -- is 100 percent healthy. "Duane has got his acceleration and his speed back," Brewster said. "He's worked so hard with Ed Lochrie, our trainer, and they've done a great job with him, rehabbing the knee. ... He was full speed this spring, but we just didn't allow him to get hit. ... When we comes back to camp this summer, he'll be ready to go."

Doug Risebrough, the former Wild general manager, has made it clear that he doesn't have any interest in being a coach like he was in the past.

Quarterback Gus Frerotte, who did a great job for the Vikings last year, is still looking for a job. He is living in St. Louis and there was some talk of him joining the Rams, but it never worked out. ... The Wild was 12-9 overall against the NHL teams that currently remain in the 2009 Stanley Cup playoffs.

Frank Jirik, who worked in professional sports for about 40 years, died Thursday morning at his home in Lakeville. After starting out as a batboy with the Minneapolis Millers, he worked at Metropolitan Stadium for the Twins. He then went to work for Walter Bush, president and owner of the North Stars, running the Met Center for 24 years. After that, he worked for the San Jose Sharks, where he oversaw the planning and management of the HP Pavilion. He retired in 2000.

The Gophers football staff drew 107 high school coaches to a football clinic at New Ulm on Tuesday and expected even more for a clinic in St. Cloud on Thursday night, an indication of the great job this staff has done working with the state high school football coaches.

The cost of the new basketball floor at Williams Arena will be $600,000, not $6 million as I reported yesterday. ... Former Gopher Jeff Taffe is among the AHL's top scorers in the playoffs with three goals and four assists in five games after finishing 11th in AHL scoring with 25 goals and 50 assists in 75 games.

Sid Hartman can be heard weekdays on WCCO AM-830 at 6:40, 7:40 and 8:40 a.m. and on his Podcast once a week at www.startribune.com/sidcast. shartman@startribune.com

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