By Mike Gallagher
If this were a bar, Gophers AD Joel Maturi would be cutoff.
“The fact of the matter is we’re 6-6, if we win our bowl game, we’ll be 7-6. That’s one game better than when Brewster took over the program three years ago.”
Wow. That was Maturi a few days before the Gophers DID NOT win the Insight Bowl vs. Iowa State, thus making the Gophers record the same as it was the last year before the Brewster reign of terror began.
Even if the Gophers had won the bowl game, think of the hilarity of that comment. How low must expectations be that an improvement of one win over three seasons is acceptable?
This is just one in the series of comments made in an interview outlining the Gophers season Maturi did, one in which he said he would offer Tim Brewster a contract extension.
“Coach Brewster deserves the right to coach the kids he’s brought in,” said Maturi.
Well, it’s been three years Mr. Maturi, and looking at how Brewster’s recruits have faired so far, there hasn’t been much coaching that’s been happening at all over those three years.
Maturi, who is in his eighth season as athletic director at the University of Minnesota, seems to have grown a bit too comfortable with mediocrity in his major sports programs.
“Some people have said that with a break here or there we could have been 8-4 or 9-3. Of course, there are other people that said we could have lost to Syracuse, we could have lost to Air Force, we could have lost to South Dakota State. It depends on what vantage point you have.”
Well, if you’re looking from the vantage point of reality, Syracuse, Air Force, and especially SDSU are programs that have no business being anywhere close to being in a game with a Big Ten program. Those “breaks” he’s referring to are a 35-32 loss against 3-9 Illinois, a team that the Gophers should’ve unquestionably blown out. The other is the Wisconsin game, in which the Gophers were down 10 with three minutes to play and really never had a chance to win, as they lost 31-28.
Maturi is looking for a reason, and he’s not doing a great job of coming up with any legitimate one for keeping Brewster around. The Gophers offense has taken huge steps backwards since Brewster took over; 30th in Glen Mason’s last year to 113th in total offense this year. As discussed, wins have not changed, as a 14-24 record, along with only six wins in the Big Ten, are nothing to be proud of. Despite these facts, Brewster doesn’t seem worried.
“Our season doesn’t need validation,” proclaimed Brewster when responding to what a bowl win would do for the year.
That’s true, since everyone knows that the team is extremely average and there’s no hope of anything better, what’s to validate? Validation requires a season that means something and a program that is exactly that, valid. This one isn’t, and when the head coaching spot opened at Kansas, and Brewster was rumored to be interested for a week before he dismissed the talk, there was very brief hope for change.
But when Brewster quelled those talks and Maturi started throwing around outrageous quotes like the ones we’ve seen above, that hope disappeared.
There is only one more thing that could possibly save the Gophers from another 4-6 years of Brew. It’s an extreme long shot, but Mike Shanahan flew into Washington Monday to talk to Redskins owner Dan Snyder about the new opening at the top of their coaching staff.
Shanahan, who has been rumored for weeks to be the replacement for the now-fired Jim Zorn in Washington, was Brewster’s boss when he was the tight ends coach for the Broncos before he came to Minnesota. The Gophers offensive coordinator, Jedd Fisch, was the Broncos wide receivers coach in 2008 before joining the staff, working under Shanahan for a year as well.
Unless that outside scenario comes to fruition, Brewster’s remaining two years on his five-year contract will soon be more. More mediocrity, more losing, and more disappointment around campus in Dinkytown to be exact.
Mike Shanahan, don’t fail us now!!! Joel Maturi, I’m getting the bouncers…..