It's no secret, the Gopher football team is just awful. Die hard Gopher fans know this, casual fans know this, people who couldn't even name one Gopher football player know this, and everyone in the Big 10 knows this. So, it begs the question, who is to blame for this travesty?
The players? I'm not going to sugarcoat things and say that we have a talented team that could go head to head with Wisconsin, or even NDSU. There is a lot of room for improvement, and there should be improvement over the next few years. Jerry Kill is playing a lot of young players, and they have a lot of learning to do - or as they call it "a teaching moment" every time they get reamed out on television. I'm not about to throw the players under the bus, they're just kids, kids that have lost any confidence and have experienced 5 losses in the past 6 weeks.
Tim Brewster? There is no doubt that "Coach Brew" as Gus Johnson kept calling him, did a lot of damage in his four years. Much more than I'm sure the public knows or has seen (including myself). At Jerry Kill's press conference last week, it was mentioned that Kill inherited 22 players that were academically ineligible. He handed over a team that he could only coach to one win last year, after 3 years of touting his excellent recruiting. He had no consistency, he went through more coordinators than I can even remember, and had no discipline with his team. The only thing he consistently did was over promise and under deliver. Quite honestly, I could write a 100 page blog about all the things that Brewster did wrong, but he is not the one that's mostly to blame for the state that we're in. All he did was accept a job he wasn't qualified for in the 1st place.
Jerry Kill? There's already a firejerrykill.com, people calling for his head on GopherHole.com, people that think he should resign after six games. To those people, I say - are you kidding me? Its six games. It has been a miserable six games – don’t get me wrong. A lot of this falls on his shoulders. A team that's well coached will lose to Michigan, not get blown out 58-0. A team that's well prepared will lose by a touchdown or two to Purdue, not 45-17 and have Purdue pick up almost twice as many yards as the Gophers. The bottom line is, coaching needs to improve, bottom line, but that's nothing that Kill doesn't know, and is working his tail on.
That leaves us with one common denominator, the person that was here during these coaches, and the last decade of Gopher football that has led to this – Joel Maturi. I don't know how anyone can put this entire situation on anyone else's shoulders but his. Everything he's done with the football program, he's handled incorrectly. From showing now support to Mason and not extending his contract until after the Music City bowl, to firing him one year later. He likes to do that, extend and then fire, as he did with Brewster, which means more money to pay out, and less money to give the next coach. Then he proceeded to replace Mason, who made the program respectable and competitive, with a coach that never been a coordinator, much less a head coach at the college or pro level. You simply don’t take a mediocre program to the next level by replacing an experienced coach with an unproven one. He said flat out that his neck was on the line with the Brewster hire, but it clearly wasn’t, as there were no ramifications for his choice. He then promised Gold Country that he would fill Brewster’s shoes with a “Tubby Smith” type of hire, meaning a well-known and proven coach with experience at a BCS school. Jerry Kill has certainly won over many of us, but he is not a “Tubby Smith” type of hire. He’s a coach that’s done well everywhere he’s gone, but he’s not the big name hire, and it was also known to Maturi that he experienced health problems. I’m not saying he shouldn’t have been hired because of them, that’s discriminatory, but it’s another things to worry about when you’re already taking a program that felt as if it had hit rock bottom. That seems to be the theme with Gopher fans, you keep on thinking you hit rock bottom, and it’s the lowest the program can go, but it always seems to get worse. Coaches have come and gone, but Maturi has stayed through them, and results don’t seem to be getting better, and I don’t see them getting better until he is replaced.