Saturday, August 4, 2007

Saturday Grab Bag

Clearly, I'm still experimenting with what I should call a group of links. I've tried numerous headlines, none of which I've particularly liked. Today's edition is no different.

But before I get started ... for those of you that follow this blog regularly, I've taken a new job outside the world of journalism and am stepping into the role of a media consultant for political campaigns. The money is more than slightly better but the hours will be more than slightly worse.

Anyway, on to an assortment of good stuff, mostly Gopher related. I'll start with everyone's favorite former Minnesota basketball coach.

** Anyone feel bad for Dan Monson? He's taking over a program in Long Beach State that is on probation and needs to replace its starting five from last year. But, Monson tells Fox Sports, those trying circumstances probably helped him land the job. And for whatever reason, Monson still can't get a point guard to play for him. He said: "We’re still trying to field a team,” Monson said. ``We don’t even really have a point guard right now." Neither do we, Danny!

** Tubby Smith and Vince Taylor, who have both seen Missouri State West-Plains CC forward Paul Carter play, should be happy to know that the Gophers would seem the odds on favorite to add the JUCO player. According to Rivals, Carter has named his top 4, and indicated high interest in the maroon and gold. Minnesota is ranked ahead of Charlotte, Wyoming and Baylor to land Carter's services. He also lists low interest in Kansas State and Oregon State, but those schools haven't made an offer, according to Rivals.

** In breaking down the schedules for Big Ten football teams The Fanhouse suggests Minnesota has the "weirdest game" on the docket. The game? Minnesota at Florida Atlantic in Dolphins Stadium. Here's what the blog states: "It's quite the mysterious trip for Minnesota. Big Ten schools seem kind of above traveling to play at Sun Belt teams. Not only that, but since most of the BCS schools seem intent on having at least seven home games per season, it seems odd that team from the Big Ten would waste that one road trip on such a lowly opponent." Can't say I disagree. Hopefully Tim Brewster will find more meaningful road games to schedule.

** Anyone need more proof Tim Brewster is a good salesman? Well, if you do, some of the reporters' takes about his appearance at Big Ten media day should end any speculation. Brewster served up what appears like a whopping dose of his high-octane kool-aid. And the journalists apparently slurpped it all up. The Daily Collegian, the Penn State college newspaper, describes the impression Brewster gave:

When Brewster spoke, his hands clutched firmly at the sides of the podium. He's heading into his first year as coach of the Golden Gophers, but his bellow was louder and more resolute than the six Big Ten coaches who took the stage before him and the four who would follow him.
And then we have Des Moines Register columnist Sean Keeler with this take on Brewster.

Kirk Ferentz hemmed. Pat Fitzgerald hawed. Joe Paterno chastised. Mark Dantonio sort of mumbled.

Tim Brewster shouted.

“I couldn’t be more honored and more PRIVILEGED,” the new Minnesota football coach gushed as he introduced himself to reporters today at Big Ten media days, “to be part OF SUCH A GREAT CONFERENCE!”

It was — well, OK, it was weird. You see, Big Ten media days are one of the few times all year where coaches, players and reporters are on the same page: Everybody usually wants to get it over with as soon as conceivably possible.

Not Brewster. He could’ve stood there forever. He shimmied right up to that podium. He attempted to make eye contact about 4,000 times. He pointed to Paterno, who was sitting in one corner of the audience. He pointed to Lloyd Carr, the Michigan coach, sitting in another.

“Make no mistake about it, we’re going to get the Little Brown Jug,” Brewster said, referencing the trophy bestowed upon the winner of the Minnesota-Michigan game. “Wisconsin, we’re going to get (Paul Bunyan’s) Axe. That’s the deal.”

Picture Dan McCarney. Only perkier.

“I drink a lot of coffee,” the Gophers coach said later, smiling sheepishly. “I do.”
No kidding.
And Brewster received a rave review from blogger Brian Golden, who ranked Brewster's press conference, which can be listened to here, as the best among his Big Ten coaching peers.

I came in prepared to not like this guy, but once he started talking, it became obvious immediately how he’s assembled his reputation as ace recruiter. Speaking with noticeably more volume, animation and intensity than every other coach, Brewster extolled the virtues of Minnesota football past, saying “Minnesota has always been and will always be about winning.” Brewster also said that he will take his squad to spend time around John Gagliardi at nearby St. John’s University, the winningest coach in college football history. Who knows if the fire and brimstone will translate to W’s, but one thing is certain: Brewster looks the part.
After years of the PR-challenged Glen Mason, who would have received no ink during media day, the attention Brewster got for the program is definitely a plus. Now all he'll need to do is win and back up all of this bravado.