Vikings coach Brad Childress has announced that offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell will call the offensive plays this season after Childress did it last year.
Bevell called the plays in a 23-14 victory over the Dallas Cowboys at the Metrodome on Thursday night, as he has in three previous preseason games. The results were promising as the Vikings, with reserves playing most of the game, ran up 279 total yards (99 rushing and 180 passing). These encouraging stats were achieved even though quarterback Tarvaris Jackson threw only five passes, running back Adrian Peterson carried the ball only once and Chester Taylor didn't play.
This is not the first time Bevell, who quarterbacked Wisconsin to a 21-16 victory over UCLA in the 1994 Rose Bowl, has called plays in his coaching career.
"I did it last year [in some] training camp situations, and this year in all the training camp situations," he said. "I called plays [coaching] way back at Westmar University [in 1996], but I don't know how much that qualifies, you know.
"I'm enjoying it, and I'm having a good time doing it. You know we have a great staff offensively, and I think we've done a nice job putting together a plan. Coach is always there with communication and I think it's gone well.
"There's constant communication going on, and when [Childress suggests] something, we usually get to it pretty quick. I think it's gone well."
Rogers is a big plus
One of many talented offensive coaches on the staff who will help Bevell is quarterbacks coach Kevin Rogers.
While you seldom hear his name, Rogers is in his 33rd year of coaching. He was on Ohio State's staff in 1977 and 1978. One time when the Gophers were playing Ohio State, I was standing on the field before the game talking to Buckeyes coach Woody Hayes, and I asked him who that young guy was. "That's fellow's name is Kevin Rogers," he said, "and someday he is going to be one of the smartest offensive coaches in the game."
Rogers went on to coach quarterbacks at Syracuse, Notre Dame and Virginia Tech. He was one of the first assistant coaches hired by Childress, and the Vikings had to spend some money to keep him after last season when the University of Miami came after him strong to become Hurricanes offensive coordinator. Rogers and Bevell have a great relationship, and I believe they will develop Jackson into a top quarterback.
High on Jackson
Bevell and Rogers like how Jackson has taken care of the football.
"He's managing the game, and I don't look at that saying 'managing the game' in a negative connotation. I think it's very positive because we're hanging on to the football, we're moving the ball down the field, we're getting in scoring territory and now we need to finish off those drives," Bevell said.
U has confidence
Two things in favor of the Gophers football team that will open the season Saturday at home against Bowling Green is that they are in tremendous physical shape and coach Tim Brewster has instilled tremendous confidence in the team.
But otherwise, this is a mystery team going into the opener against an opponent that won't be a pushover. The Gophers will start redshirt freshman Adam Weber at quarterback and field one of their overall youngest teams in a long time. Several freshmen are expected to see a lot of action.
Sports Illustrated picked the Gophers to go 0-8 in the Big Ten. Brewster said he believes the Gophers will be able to compete against most conference teams if they stay healthy.
We will know a lot more about the team around 10 p.m. Saturday night.