Jim Souhan: Combo platter of big-time football isn't filling

  • Article by: JIM SOUHAN , Star Tribune
  • Updated: October 6, 2007 - 8:46 PM

The Gophers and Vikings are both pushing patience and optimism, while spiraling toward a dismally low win total.

BLOOMINGTON, IND. - Randy Taylor is director of football operations for the Gophers football team. During games, this means taking charge of morale.

Saturday, during the 40-20 loss at Indiana, he greeted deflated players with hand slaps and encouragement as they came to the sideline, displaying such resolute enthusiasm that it's time to expand his duties.

Taylor should be stationed at the exits of Gophers and Vikings games the rest of the season. The way our teams are performing, Twin Cities football fans could all use a hug.

Six weeks after the season started with a Gophers loss to Bowling Green, our primary teams aren't just unsightly; they're threatening to make the wrong kind of history.

The Gophers are 1-5, with two possible-but-not-certain victories ahead on the schedule -- Northwestern and North Dakota State. We could be looking at the Gophers' first two-victory season since 1992, perhaps their first one-victory season since 1983.

The Vikings are 1-3 and facing Chicago, Dallas, Philadelphia, San Diego and Green Bay the next five weeks. An optimist might see a 6-10 finish; a pessimist sees the first three-victory season since 1984.

The Gophers and Vikings have coexisted since 1961. Their lowest combined victory total is seven, in 1984, back when Lou Holtz was just starting to spray spittle all over Dinkytown and Les Steckel was foreshadowing Brad Childress.

In 1984, the Orwellian year of Big Brother, our football teams played like weak sisters.

Holtz won four games. Steckel won three. Holtz, like Tim Brewster, focused on recruiting talent and inflaming the tempered passions of Gophers fans. Steckel, like Childress, tried to prove that sternness and coaching were synonymous.

Since 1984, the lowest total of combined victories for the Gophers and Vikings is nine, in 2001, when Glen Mason and Dennis Green had uncharacteristically poor seasons.

The performances by the Gophers and Vikings this season are more alarming because of the optimism offered by the coaches when they arrived. Childress inherited a 9-7 team and promised better times; Brewster had his teams chant "Rose Bowl" at the end of every practice.

"No one expected this," linebacker Deon Hightower said. "We all had our dreams of winning the Big Ten and the Rose Bowl. We really believed that. That wasn't just talk. We're definitely surprised to be 1-5.

"It's like Coach said -- you have to learn how to win."

First, they need to learn how to tackle. Indiana produced 274 yards and 27 points in the first half. Brewster noted that often his players were in position and still let the ball or a ball carrier slip through their hands.

"We have to stay positive," Brewster said, his legs bouncing in frustration as he sat through his postgame interview.

Defensive end Willie VanDeSteeg said he was "very shocked" to be 1-5. "We expected our record to be a lot different," he said. "We expected to come in 3-0 with three nonconference wins. It didn't happen that way. We're making mental mistakes everywhere."

As they streamed off the field after a steamy, frustrating Saturday afternoon in Bloomington, a handful of Gophers players were limping, and they all looked overheated, and perhaps a bit overwhelmed.

Who could blame them? Minnesota fans have survived Joe Salem, John Gutekunst, Jim Wacker, Spergon Wynn, Les Steckel and the Herschel Walker trade, and yet this might become the worst football season in Twin Cities history.

Jim Souhan can be heard Sundays from 10 a.m.-noon on AM-1500 KSTP. • jsouhan@startribune.com

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Minnesota 35 FINAL
Miami 37
Baltimore 13 FINAL
Houston 25
Detroit 20 FINAL
Chicago 14
Cleveland 13 FINAL
Carolina 17
Atlanta 30 FINAL
New Orleans 14
Green Bay 20 FINAL
Tampa Bay 3
Kansas City 12 FINAL
Pittsburgh 20
New England 17 FINAL
NY Jets 16
NY Giants 37 FINAL
St. Louis 27
Buffalo 24 FINAL
Oakland 26
Indianapolis 7 FINAL
Dallas 42
Seattle 35 FINAL
Arizona 6
Denver 7:30 PM
Denver 6:00 PM
Portland 7:00 PM
Utah 7:00 PM
Toronto 7:00 PM
Atlanta 7:30 PM
LA Clippers 7:30 PM
San Antonio
Sacramento 9:30 PM
Golden State
Ottawa 6:00 PM
Nashville 6:00 PM
Pittsburgh 6:30 PM
Arizona 9:00 PM
San Jose 9:00 PM
Calgary 9:30 PM
Los Angeles
Ark-Little Rock 1:00 PM
Brown 1:00 PM
Central Conn St
Stetson 1:00 PM
Florida State
Ill-Chicago 1:00 PM
Ohio 1:30 PM
George Washington
Southern Utah 2:00 PM
Ark-Pine Bluff
Elon 2:00 PM
Kennesaw St
Dartmouth 3:00 PM
Penn State
Green Bay 3:30 PM
UC Irvine
DePaul 3:30 PM
Lewis & Clark 4:00 PM
SC State 4:30 PM
Abilene Christian
Manhattan 5:00 PM
Truett-McConnell 5:00 PM
Ga Southern
Citadel 5:00 PM
Michigan State
Miami-Ohio 5:00 PM
Ohio State
Gardner-Webb 5:00 PM
Idaho 5:00 PM
Northern Ky
Fairfield 6:00 PM
North Dakota St 6:00 PM
Alcorn State
UT Martin 6:00 PM
SE Louisiana 6:00 PM
Oakland 6:00 PM
Florida A&M 6:00 PM
East Carolina
Eastern Ky 6:00 PM
Fla Atlantic
IUPU-Ft Wayne 6:00 PM
Illinois State
Norfolk State 6:00 PM
James Madison
Binghamton 6:00 PM
Mount St Marys
Towson 6:00 PM
Long Island 6:00 PM
New Hampshire
Northern Ill 6:00 PM
Notre Dame
William & Mary 6:00 PM
Old Dominion
Liberty 6:00 PM
Delaware 6:00 PM
Robert Morris
MD-Eastern Shore 6:00 PM
St Bonaventure
Colgate 6:00 PM
Kansas 6:00 PM
Mercer 6:00 PM
East Tenn St 6:00 PM
VA Commonwealth
Va Military 6:00 PM
Virginia Tech
Bucknell 6:00 PM
Wake Forest
Alabama A&M 6:00 PM
Western Mich
New Orleans 6:05 PM
Columbia 6:30 PM
Long Beach State 6:30 PM
St Johns
Wofford 6:30 PM
West Virginia
Southern U 7:00 PM
UAB 7:00 PM
Char Southern 7:00 PM
Colorado State
North Florida 7:00 PM
NC Central 7:00 PM
Jackson State
Rice 7:00 PM
Central Mich 7:00 PM
McNeese State
Coppin State 7:00 PM
Furman 7:00 PM
SE Missouri St 7:00 PM
Ole Miss
Weber State 7:00 PM
Grambling St 7:00 PM
Loyola-Chicago 7:00 PM
Texas Tech
Incarnate Word 7:00 PM
Penn 7:00 PM
Chicago State 7:00 PM
SIU Edwardsville
Simpson 7:05 PM
Tenn Tech 7:05 PM
Murray State 7:05 PM
Southern Ill
Oral Roberts 7:05 PM
Missouri State
Jacksonville St 8:00 PM
Air Force
Milwaukee 8:00 PM
Wisconsin 8:00 PM
Coll of Charleston 8:00 PM
North Dakota 8:00 PM
Northern New Mexico 8:00 PM
New Mexico St
UC Santa Barbara 8:00 PM
Miami-Florida 8:00 PM
Northeastern 8:00 PM
St Marys-CA
Kent State 8:00 PM
Texas-El Paso
UC Davis 8:00 PM
Northern Colorado
Lewis-Clark State 8:05 PM
Eastern Wash
Walla Walla 8:05 PM
Portland State
TX A&M-CC 9:00 PM
Cal State Fullerton
Marshall 9:00 PM
Boise State 9:30 PM
UC Riverside 10:00 PM
San Diego St
Tulane 10:00 PM
Loyola Marymount 10:00 PM
Wichita State
Nebraska 12/23/14 12:00 AM
Nevada 3 FINAL
Louisiana 16
Utah State 21 FINAL
Texas-El Paso 6
(23) Utah 45 FINAL
Colorado State 10
Western Mich 24 FINAL
Air Force 38
South Alabama 28 FINAL
Bowling Green 33
BYU 1:00 PM
Marshall 12/23/14 5:00 PM
Northern Ill
Navy 12/23/14 8:30 PM
San Diego St
Central Mich 12/24/14 11:00 AM
Western Ky
Fresno State 12/24/14 7:00 PM
Illinois 12/26/14 12:00 PM
Louisiana Tech
Rutgers 12/26/14 3:30 PM
North Carolina
NC State 12/26/14 7:00 PM
Cincinnati 12/27/14 12:00 PM
Virginia Tech
Duke 12/27/14 1:10 PM
(15) Arizona State
Miami-Florida 12/27/14 3:00 PM
So Carolina
Boston College 12/27/14 3:30 PM
Penn State
(25) Nebraska 12/27/14 7:00 PM
(24) USC
UMass Lowell 37 2nd Half 15:55
Holy Cross 48
Temple 16 2nd Half
Villanova 29
Georgia Southern 18 1st Half 8:33
Southern U 12
Xavier 15 1st Half 9:49
Kennesaw St 17
Eastern Michigan 10 1st Half 8:48
Michigan 25
Brescia 12:00 PM
(22) West Virginia 1:00 PM
Ohio State
UMBC 1:00 PM
MD-Eastern Shore
Cornell 1:00 PM
St Bonaventure 1:00 PM
New Hampshire 1:00 PM
Eastern Washington 1:30 PM
Rice 2:00 PM
Texas Southern
Butler 3:05 PM
Illinois State
UC Davis 4:00 PM
(7) Stanford
Washington St 4:00 PM
Loyola Marymount
Sacramento St 4:00 PM
San Jose St
SIU-Edwardsville 4:30 PM
Oakland 6:00 PM
IUPU-Ft Wayne
Belmont 6:00 PM
(15) Georgia
George Mason 6:00 PM
Kansas 6:05 PM
Abilene Christian 7:00 PM
Kansas State
UT Martin 7:00 PM
Hampton 7:00 PM
(25) DePaul
Florida State 7:00 PM
Murray State 7:00 PM
Fla Gulf Coast 7:05 PM
Arkansas State
BYU 8:00 PM
Utah State


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