Previewing the Gopher's football schedule back in September, I predicated a 7-5 season and said I wasn't expecting a Rose Bowl but wanted to see improvement. No more 55-0 losses to end the season. So the Gophers ended up 6-6 with only a 12-0 season ending loss. Is that improvement? No.
Basically the Gophers came close to my prediction. If they win the Illinois game, they would have been 7-5. My problem is that the Illinois game was extremely winnable, as was the Wisconsin game. In fact, the Iowa and Penn State losses were to teams that weren't that good either. The bottom line is that the Gophers were mediocre in a bad league, losing games to teams that are going to get trounced in upcoming Bowl games.
The Gopher's offense was putrid and got worse as the season wore on. No offensive touchdowns against South Dakota State. Shut outs against Penn State and Iowa and a garbage touchdown against Ohio State. The last two games were practically unwatchable: Poor offensive scheming, a bad offensive line, a quarterback who couldn't hit an open receiver, and receivers who dropped the ball when it did get to them. Adam Weber took three steps back in his quality of play this year and new Offensive Coordinate Jed Fisch demonstrated no ability to put a game plan together or to coach up his players.
The Defense seemed to play better at the end of the season, but the last 11 quarters were against Redshirt Freshmen quarterbacks who were thrust into their new roles. Time and time again the defense couldn't get off the field and basically if an opposing team needed a big play, they were able to get it. If the offense gets a D, the defense gets a C-.
Coach Tim Brewster is getting a lot of flack and the question of his future is getting a lot of play. Athletic Director Maturi didn't exactly give him a lot of support last week and I know for a fact that Brewster has more than his share of detractor's among University administrators. Although a decent recruiter, Brewster has shown no coaching ability, either from getting the most from his players or putting a game plan together to responding to game situations. He's a lot of bluster with not a lot to back it up. The problem is people are starting to see through his bluster. Sunday Brewster said he was happy with the progress of his team. If that's true, he's the only one.
I don't think the University will fire Brewster nor unfortunately should they. Three years is too quick to dump a coach and Brewster needs one more year to see if can really put this together. I would keep him on a short lease however and pull the trigger quickly if there is no improvement. Firing Brewster now would mean a couple more years of turmoil, plus a $800,000 buyout. Fortunately I am not sure Coach Brewster will be around much longer anyway. Word is that former Denver coach Mike Shanahan will have his pick of a number of NFL coaching jobs and that Brewster could follow him back to the NFL. That may be good in the long run but would mean the U would be looking for a coach in February.
So as it has been for the last 40 years, the Gophers end on a disappointing note, the football program is in trouble, the future looks bleak with no end in site. At least we have
Gopher Hockey. MN Timberwolves. MN Wild. Oh never mind. When do pitchers and catchers report to Fort Myers?