Darren "Doogie" Wolfson

Darren "Doogie" Wolfson has a passion for sports, but not a consistent forum in which he's allowed to spew his thoughts. Well, now he has one. Darren spent 12-plus years with KFAN Radio, wearing multiple hats - from producing and technically directing, to reporting and hosting. He spent a majority of his time working with Sid Hartman's son, Chad on the 'Chad Hartman Show.' Read more about Darren Wolfson.

Posts about Gophers spring football

Ski-U-Mah or Ski-U-Blah for Brewster's bunch this year?

Posted by: Darren "Doogie" Wolfson Updated: April 11, 2010 - 10:30 PM

Four months later, the thought of last season's Gopher football team executing a "drive for the ages" is even more comical than on the day it was written. Based on that statement, I would understand if KFAN's Dan Cole shut down his "Preposterous Statement of the Year" selection process right now.

While most offenses improve during the season, last year's Gophers managed to score just one offensive touchdown in their final 43 possessions. They also failed to score an offensive touchdown in 20 of their last 28 quarters. In three games, they scored just one offensive touchdown -- the one vs. Ohio State came against their second and third-stringers in garbage time -- and in three others failed to score any. The offense finished last in the Big Ten in points, touchdowns, total yards, and rushing yards. 

This year's offense should be better. While I have heard good things about new offensive coordinator Jeff Horton, quarterback Adam Weber will have to do more than "manage" the game, as Tim Brewster recently suggested. Weber will never have a "drive for the ages," but at some point he will have to make meaningful throws late in games. Will those passes end up in the other team's hands like they did far too often last year (13 TDs, 15 INTs)? In addition, one of Brewster's biggest dilemmas will be what to do with quarterback MarQueis Gray. He was brought here to run a spread offense. He is too good of an athlete to not use, but what will Brewster do with him? The bottom-line is he has to find a way to get him onto the field.

Losing the best receiver in the program's history -- Eric Decker -- creates what Brewster would call a "tremendous" hole. Who is the real Da'Jon McKnight? The one with no catches in the first eight games of 2009, or the one with 11 receptions for 187 yards in the final two games. Brewster also needs to find a starting running back (my guess is he is not on campus yet) and above-average left and right tackles.

Last year's defense had its moments, but has to replace all three linebackers. However, after finishing 10th in the Big Ten in sacks and tackles for a loss, improvement, especially with better athletes, should come. This year's defense is intriguing.  At Saturday's scrimmage, they looked to have their most athletic front-four in the past five years. The issue will be getting adequate pressure on opposing quarterbacks.  Redshirt freshman defensive end Ra'Shede Hageman looks the part, but has never taken a snap that matters on defense. He is a physical specimen, but may take a full year to develop, which could be too late for Brewster. Insiders tell me that right defensive end D.L. Wilhite is having a great spring, but will that translate when he has to go against the better left tackles in the Big Ten? If opposing quarterbacks have the same amount of time to throw as they did last year, they will complete 60 percent or better of their throws. None of it will matter if cornerbacks Ryan Collado and Michael Carter don't improve. Brewster needs to find a middle linebacker and also has to figure out if current outside linebacker Keanon Cooper fits better at safety. On Saturday, anytime he got near the line of scrimmage, his lack of size stood out.

After attempting to raise the bar -- although it set a dangerous precedent, which involves winning -- this should be the defining year for Brewster. If we see measurable progress and, more importantly, enough wins with a tough schedule, he might buy himself a few more years. On the other hand, lose and, with a minimal buyout, the Mike Leach to Minnesota rumors will begin in earnest by January. This year's schedule contains nine games against teams that went to a bowl game in 2009. The fanbase has no interest in a repeat of the Illinois and South Dakota State debacles from last year. Putting the wins and losses aside, if Brewster can deliver noticeable improvement, he deserves another year. But will his bosses and the boosters feel that way? He may need to win eight or more games, which would be a "season for the ages."

The Great Wall of Kentucky or Evan Almighty?

Posted by: Darren "Doogie" Wolfson Updated: March 27, 2010 - 11:44 PM

Back by popular demand; okay, for my Mom and Dad, we have again raided the Star Tribune mail room and dusted off letters sent to former long-time columnist Dan Barreiro:

Dear Dr. Dan: As an original Timberwolves season-ticket holder, I am contemplating not renewing my tickets for the first time. But I want to believe. I recently got a letter in the mail from grand poohbah David Kahn. In it, he says: We're seeing growth in young players such as Kevin Love and Jonny Flynn, both of whom were selected to play in the Rookie/Sophomore game at All-Star Weekend this year. We see validation by Al Jefferson's and Kevin Love's selection to Team USA a few weeks back. We also continue to make decisions that improve our team over the long haul --from the upcoming draft, where we may have up to three first-round picks, to clearing cap space so that we have maximum flexibility in this year's free agency market, to building a coaching staff that has collected 15 championship rings.The bandwagon has put on its left blinker and is leaving the curb. This is our way of demonstrating how much we want you on it. 

Should I leave the curb with them?

B. Beise, Minneapolis

Dear Mr. Beise: Dr. Dan is enjoying a quiet weekend with his wonderful wife and a big bowl of Bruegger's Chicken Spaetzle Soup, so Dr. Darren is filling in.

Even though we've seen enough of the Kahn commercials, and he uses too many big words for our liking, he has a chance to make the Wolves a playoff contender in two seasons. We're not sure that citing Flynn in his letter was the right move given Flynn's plus-minus rating of minus 572, the worst on the team by over 100 points. He is miscast in the triangle offense, even though he can clearly do some good things with the ball. Even more troubling, though, is his defense. Kahn said last summer that Flynn had all-defensive team skills. That is certainly not the case.

If the Wolves get lucky in the draft lottery and land the first or second overall pick, the plan will become more clear. Kentucky's John Wall reminds me of Dwyane Wade and Ohio State's Evan Turner reminds me of Brandon Roy. Of the two, Wall will be the better pro, but, like Flynn, is not made for the Triangle offense.

The $13 million of cap space is intriguing, but will any meaningful free agent have an interest in coming here? It may be used in a trade. One way or another, it has to be used somehow to bring in someone uber-talented (Rudy Gay?). So go ahead and leave the curb with them for now, but re-evaluate post-July.

Dear Dr. Dan: My wife would rather be somewhere else, the practice facility that I so richly deserve, and was promised to me, is at best two years from becoming a reality, and Nike head-honcho Phil Knight is willing to give me a Brinks truck to come to Oregon. Should I go? And while we have your attention, should I allow Royce White back onto the team if he wants to play?

O. Smith, Minneapolis

Dear Mr. Smith: At 58-years-old, your next landing spot will likely be your last job. Even with a brand-new arena, do you want that to be in Eugene, Oregon? Really, we see you at North Carolina State a year from now after former Timberwolves coach Sidney Lowe is dismissed. Between you and your wife, you have family in Maryland, Virginia, and North Carolina.  With your dream job, Maryland, not opening anytime soon, the Wolfpack makes the most sense to us.

As for White, do you really want to welcome back someone who quit on you? That being said, you lack a go-to scorer and a good individual rebounder, two areas where White could excel. Our society constantly grants second chances (heck, even Elin appears to be giving Tiger a second chance) so, yes, for the sake of winning an NCAA tournament game before you leave, take him back.

Dear Dr. Dan: Not that I can relate, but how much equity did Gophers hockey coach Don Lucia build from winning those back-to-back national titles?

D. Woog, South St. Paul

Dear Mr. Woog: Next year, the Frozen Four is in St. Paul. The pressure will be immense to not miss the NCAA tournament for a third straight year. If Lucia does, even with one year remaining on his contract, athletic director Joel Maturi will be forced to make a move. At that point, former Gophers player and assistant Dean Blais can take over.

Dear Dr. Dan: I was given a contract extension but, after looking it over, it means nothing. My job is on the line this season. Spring practice is underway. Who should be my starting quarterback?

T. Brewster, Shorewood

Dear Mr. Brewster: You were last in the Big Ten in yards, points per game, and touchdowns last year, but we are advising you to stick with the incumbent, Adam Weber. Last fall, Weber had almost as many incompletions as completions, and threw more interceptions (15) than touchdowns (13), but new offensive coordinator Jeff Horton, with a good track record of developing quarterbacks, should help. The first move for Horton should be to allow Weber to go back to his old throwing motion. If Weber doesn't play well early, the job is wide open.

Dear Dr. Dan: Deep-down, I still bleed New York Giant blue, so I can't eventually allow a former Philadelphia Eagle onto my team, can I?

Z. Wilf, Short Hills, N.J.

Dear Mr. Wilf: It seems that it is a matter of when, not if, quarterback Brett Favre will announce that he is coming back for one more season. But then what? You don't believe that your in quarterback in 2011 (assuming there isn't a lockout) is currently on your roster, do you? 

Donovan McNabb will be traded somewhere in the next few weeks; maybe to Oakland, who apparently is willing to take him without a contract extension in place. McNabb is a free agent after the season. He plays for the Raiders and, like all superstar players, will then control his own situation. He wants to play for you, coach Brad Childress and quarterbacks coach Kevin Rogers, so why not let it happen? You can sign him as a free agent, or trade a middle-round pick if the Raiders attempt to use the franchise tag, and have your quarterback for at least three seasons. 



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