Patrick Reusse: There's a Gopher Nation? If so, it's a dinky one

  • Article by: PATRICK REUSSE , Star Tribune
  • Updated: January 17, 2007 - 10:58 PM

We know the new coach is extremely, extremely excited to be here, but the team's dwindled fan base is numb after four decades of being Big Ten also-rans.

Tim Brewster had been rolling for more than 20 minutes through the introductory pep fest that was masquerading as a news conference Wednesday afternoon. The university officials and the loyalists in attendance were hanging starry-eyed on his every word, and even the media types seemed to be dazzled by his gift for football jargon.

He promised passion, relentless effort, soaring graduation rates and Big Ten championships.

He had the entire audience in the McNamara Alumni Center's big hall in the palms of his pass catcher's hands, and then he was asked a question about Brad Childress.

The questioner could not have made the audience more uncomfortable if he had asked Brewster how much he enjoyed the naked wrestling scene in "Borat."

Brewster recalled their time (early '80s) in the Illinois program -- him as a starting tight end, Childress as an assistant coach -- and said:

"He's been a valuable friend of mine. I believe very strongly in Brad. I think together, myself here and him with the Vikings ... we can really make some things happen in this town.

"And I think we're going to. He's a great football coach, he really is. Outstanding guy, outstanding football coach. He's a very, very good friend."

One of the old-timers in a maroon sweater muttered, "Ohhhh, he admires Chilly as a coach," then clutched his chest and slumped to his knees.

There was an urge to follow up with this question -- "You're not going to run a West Coast offense and call your own plays, are you?" -- but I didn't have the heart.

If Brewster had answered "Yes," that might have been the end of that old boy in his Gophers sweater.

Suggesting that he hoped to duplicate the accomplishments of Childress was not Brewster's lone gaffe. He also said he planned to take "the Gopher Nation" to a Rose Bowl.

You should know this, Coach: The Red Sox have a Nation. The Buckeyes have a Nation.

What we have here, Tim, is Dinkytown. It's both an on-campus business district and an apt description for the number of people who care intensely about Gophers football after four decades of nothingness.

One convenient truth: It took only this introductory session for Brewster to provide a catchy nickname. Are you ready?

Timmy Two Times.

Much like Jimmy Two Times, the character in "Goodfellas" who would say, "I'm going to get the paper ... get the paper," Brewster likes to say things twice.

"We're going to win; we're going to win," he said. "We're going to win the Big Ten championship ..."

You don't get "very" from Brewster, you get "very, very." He even offered an "extremely, extremely" when describing his excitement level.

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