What size battery does it take to beat Tim Brewster's team? Answer: I-AA
Congratulations, Coach. In four years, you have managed to guide the Gophers to the three worst losses in school history: 55-0 to Iowa, 27-21 to 1-AA North Dakota State, and now Saturday's 41-38 loss to 1-AA South Dakota. Memo to Joel Maturi: enough is enough. Nothing can happen the rest of this season to make-up for another loss to a middle-tier FCS team. Remember the Jeremy Foley theory: what should be done eventually should happen immediately. Nobody wants their work criticized, especially in public. But the nice monetary buyout Brewster would receive offsets that problem.
Most of Brewster's coaches are capable of finding work elsewhere. Defensive coordinator Kevin Cosgrove? Not so much. It is obvious now why he was a coaching free-agent for an entire season. It is also obvious now why Nebraska ran him out of town. Where was the press-coverage on the pivotal 3rd-and-4 at the end of the game? It was very clear that South Dakota was either calling for a slant pass or a quarterback keeper. Brewster went hard at the defense in his postgame interview on the Big Ten Network. While correct, let's not forget that he let Eric Ellestad, who couldn't make a 40-yard field goal all of last year, and missed two against Middle Tennessee State, try a 48-yard field goal. Predictably, the kick wasn't even close. The reason Brewster had only one timeout late was because they wasted one on offense. What was the 4th-and-2 pitch-back play call? Why not try an onside kick at the end? Realistically, what were the chances that the defense could force a three-and-out? Although, what were the chances that Ellestad would have executed the kick?
Here's what's hard to comprehend: Brewster had his team thoroughly prepared for the Middle Tennessee State game. What changed? I believe that the talent-level has increased the last few years. But there is zero evidence to suggest that Brewster knows how to coach that talent. Have they spent too much time game-planning for USC? Since they've been working on next week's game for a while, maybe so, but to not have the team then ready for South Dakota is on the coach.
Here is a portion of a blog I wrote in November after the loss to Iowa:
30 straight possessions without scoring a touchdown to end the regular season is not a punchline. It's reality. They have failed to score an offensive touchdown in 17 of the last 24 quarters. If not for a garbage-time score against Ohio State third-teamers, Brew's bunch would've gone four games (Ohio State, Penn State, South Dakota St., and Iowa) without an offensive touchdown. Offense reigns supreme in college football. A 3rd-and-10 is a toss-up. Yet, the Gophers make this year's Cleveland Browns seem like the 1998 Vikings. Does a Tom Emanski-like offensive football video exist? If so, the Gophers should have watched it on their bus ride home from Iowa City. Brewster's motto all year was "Pound the Rock", but they will finish last in the Big Ten and among the worst in the country in running the ball. Calling back-to-back timeouts in the 11th game of the year is unacceptable. Asking for a fade pass for 5'8'' receiver Troy Stoudermire on third-and-goal from the 2-yard line is mind-boggling.
Brewster is now 0-9 in trophy games; 0-8 in games vs. ranked opponents. He also has yet to win a conference game in November and lacks a signature victory 37-games into his tenure. For a second consecutive year, his team will lead the Big Ten in penalties. Only twice all year did the Gophers not commit a personal foul penalty in a game. ESPN analyst Bob Griese used the word "undisciplined" when talking about the Gophers no fewer than five times today. That is embarrassing. Being the butt of jokes by Badgers and Hawkeyes fans has been getting old the last three years.
Tony Dungy isn't walking through that door. Leslie Frazier isn't either. Nor is Boise State coach Chris Peterson or former Texas Tech coach Mike Leach. Side note: I am all-in for Leach, but fully realize that the "U" administration for myriad reasons would never, ever hire him.
Realistic options include Vikings offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell (knows Joel Maturi from their days together in Madison), Houston coach Kevin Sumlin (former "U" assistant), and Air Force coach Troy Calhoun.
When your players skip out on "Hail Minnesota" at the end of the game; when the TCF Bank Stadium crowd for three straight appearances -- remember the vitriol from the Illinois & South Dakota State games -- turns extremely ugly on the coach and the program; when some of Brewster's biggest supporters on the local rivals.com
site and gopherhole.com
turn on him; when it's hard to figure out if the team is any better today compared to when Brewster took over; when Brewster said the program was "light-years" ahead of when he took it over; and when Brewster called this his most athletic team to date, it's time for a change.
Off-the-field incidents? They can be sort-of excused. Recruiting violations? The same. But a loss to South Dakota is inexcusable.