Saturday, September 15, 2007

Game Thread: Minnesota at FAU

The game is on ESPN 360. If I can get it to work I'll try and bring updates as I've done in the past. If it doesn't work on my computer, feel free to use the comments section to leave your reactions to the game. I didn't have time for a breakdown of FAU--the day job required Friday night and Saturday morning meetings. But I do predict a Gophers win in a relative cakewalk. I don't believe teh FAU offense can exploit our secondary as Miami and BGSU have. Adam Weber and Amir Pinnix combine for close to 250 yards.

I'm thinking the Webcast is going to work. I have Verizon Internet so I automatically get it. If you want to see the game, check ESPN 360 to see if you have free access.

** Um. Not a good start. The Owls started off with a no huddle that had our lads compeltely surprised. And if they weren't 'surprised,' they sure handled it poorly. The Owls threw a few wide receiver screens, and with our corners giving 5-10 yard cushions. The Owls went about 70 yards on only a handful of plays. Quarterback Rusty Smith had all day to throw. No pressure. Owls 7, Minnesota 0. The 13 or so fans in attendance at Dolphin Stadium are chanting "FAU." Uh. Oh.

** That's better! Jay Thomas takes the kickoff 90 yards for 6. Minnesota 7, FAU 7. Why do I feel this game is going to be in the 50s on both sides?

** Um. More sieve-like defense. FAU marches down the field quickly despite horrendus field position. The secondary provided little in terms of resistence. Rusty Smith, except for the touchdown pass, had little pressure. Owls, 14, Minnesota 7. If this is disheartening, realize that Wisconsin is tied with The Citadel at 21 heading into halftime and Penn State is struggling with Buffalo.

** I think the 50 point prediction a little bit ago is looking good. Adam Weber orchestrates a lengthy drive culminating in a nice looking hookup with Eric Decker. Maybe 60+ each. Minnesota 14, Owls 14 with 7 minutes left in the quarter!

** Wow. The defense makes a stop, thanks in part to a dropped pass and a Mike Sherels sack, but Adam Weber takes the first snap and throws a wobbly, lackadasical pass behind Ernie Wheelright. Interception!

** My Internet connection died on me for a bit, so I wasn't getting the game until now. FAU has scored again to make it 21-14 and as I got back on, Jay Thomas fumbled a screen pass from Weber to give the Owls the ball back.

** YIKES! The Gophers are now down by 14 because they can't stop the wideout screens of FAU. The Gophers blitzed on the touchdown pass and the blitz was picked up quickly leading to an easy touchdown trot. This could get ugly quickly. Good thing the Gophers concentrated on dealing with the heat. Perhaps more attention should have been paid to gameplanning the FAU Owls.

** OMG. OMG. Harold Howell fumbles again. This might be the third or fourth fumble he has put on the ground this season returning kicks. This kid might be an athlete, but he should not return any more kicks!

** OK, I'm about to go play tennis. This is embarrassing. The Owls score again on the first play as Rusty Smith roles to rhe right, the whole defense follows, and he throws back across the field to his running back who jobs 43 yards for 6. Owls 35, Minnesota 14. Tim Brewster should be embarrassed. This is why I agreed with Patrick Reusse when he told Brewster to shut his mouth and coach.

** And the hits just keep on coming. Adam Weber and a wideout (Wheelright? not sure, I was typing here) miscommunicate on a pattern and its intercepted. That's a mental mistake. There have been many of those today. Oh, and Harold Howell almost fumbled again. My buddy from Syracuse here is wishing the Gophers were on the Orange's schedule. Sad.

** Broken record: And the hits just keep on coming. Just when the Gophers have a chance to claw for respectability, the Gophers' Amir Pinnix fumbles on the goal line. Brewster is challenging. I don't think he wins the challenge.


** I'm here for a little while longer. Let's see if Brewster/Withers/Dunbar make any meaningful adjustments.

** Good, crisp drive for the Gophers. Weber and Pinnix ran the ball from the shotgun well. But I'm still not understanding Dunbar's insistence on using the shotgun almost 100 percent of the time. Once the Gophers are on the goal line--or in short yardage--it is ineffective. The Gophers have three chances inside the 3 yard line and come away with only 3. Owls 35, Minnesota 17.

** The Gophers force FAU to punt! Florida native Lee Campbell sacks the FAU quarterback, in the first time today that the Gophers defense puts pressure on the quarterback without bringing extra defenders. A comeback isn't unthinkable if we can get 7 here.

** Another nice drive for the Gophers. Ernie Wheelright makes an appearance, his first catch of the game. The drive culminates in Tray Herndon's first touchdown as a Gopher. FAU 35, Minnesota 24. I'm not getting excited until the Gophers' defense can make a couple more stops.

** Gophers do hold. Willie VanDeSteeg puts some pressure on Rusty Smith. Hmm. Could we pull of this comeback?

** So, as the Gophers drive to make this a game, Weber throws an interception--the Gophers' 6th turnover of the game. It's heading to the 4th quarter and I'm not going to be able to comment any further. Plans are getting in the way. On another note, I agree with what Erik said in the comments. In every second half this year Brewster and his staff have made noticeable adjustments. That's a good sign. But it also, as Erik states, brings into question his ability to scout prior to games. I hope the Gophers come back to win. Feel free to leave your rants and raves in the comments section.

FINAL: FAU 42, Minnesota 39. Let's just say I'm glad I had mid-afternoon plans I couldn't get out of. In the comments section Jon Marthaler suggests Brewster has been efficient at bringing the Gophers to their lowest point ever. That's damn harsh. I'm going to try and digest this shocker against a Sun Belt team the next 48 hours before offering any more reaction. For now, all I'm going to say is the Gophers made history today for the FAU Owls. And it wasn't any kind of history this Gopher fan was hoping his team would be a part of.


Anonymous said...

PJS, I'm telling you, forget about this football season and concentrate on Tubby Smith's Gophers. They'll probably suck too, but at least you won't know that for a few months.


Anonymous said...

This is officially rock bottom for our program. Can anyone think of a bigger embarassment in the history of the program?

PJS said...

Um. No. This would be our Appy State if I was the least bit surprised.

Erik said...

Three games in. For fuck's sakes. The only thing more embarrassing than this football team is the legitimacy of chance given to them by the apparent "fanbase".

PJS said...

erik, if Brewster hadn't worked all summer to amp up expectations, many Gophers fans (check out the Gopher Hole right now) wouldn't be up in arms. The fact is Brewster said many, many things he isn't backing up. The Gophers look lost on the field today. Mental mistakes, poor decisions. That comes, at least in part, because of coaching.

I don't think anyone expected a Big Ten title this year, but everyone also expected we'd not get embarrassed at FAU. Fans have a right to voice their disgust at this development.

Chris said...

Good thing Joel Maturi isn't going to let Brewster put BCS teams on the NC schedule.

Erik said...

I'm getting the feeling that Brewster might be a decent coach, but he sure doesn't have any tape-watching skill right now. All three halftimes have had some pretty acceptable adjustment, and all three second halves have just been different games.

If Brewster could get a tenth the insight from tape that he's been getting from the first halves, then I think we could be going somewhere.

I don't personally know, but I would think that gleaning stuff from tape is an acquired skill.

Jon Marthaler said...

Tim Brewster is incredibly efficient; it's taken him only three games to drive this program to its lowest point ever.

What an epic failure.

Tom said...

WOW, I'm not nearly as negative. I think our offense is solid and should only get better. How many games will you even be CLOSE when you are -7 in the turnover differential. That can' all be put on Brewster. Defensively there just isn't any talent or speed. This season is lost. It will be long and ugly, but I'm not yet ready to dump on Brewster. Reusse's column tomorrow should be entertaining to read.

Gopher Nation

Erik said...

Well huh. I would have thought that going 16-39 (a .291 record) over five years would be a lower point than going 1-2.

Honestly, this is just absurd. I grew up watching Oregon and Oregon State fight it out for last place in the Pac-10 every year and I would have *loved* to see one of those teams start with a 1-2 record. And now everybody and their brother is flipping the hell out and proclaiming that the Brewster era (as if three games can be an "era") is a failure, a huge mistake has been made, the program is at the lowest point in history, etc etc etc.

For the love of all that is good in this world, get some freaking perspective. The team is 1-2, and is about five snaps from being 3-0. I'm not very happy with where we are either, but this is not some kind of history-shaking program-destroying turn of events.

FAU Student said...


In actuality, there were more like 15-20k cheering people in the stands.

I wanted to thank you for the great game -- my friends and I had a terrific time. You fought well in the second half and your first drive was very impressive.

Good luck with the rest of the season and recruiting in South Florida.

PJS said...

You're welcome, FAU student.

As for Jon, Erik and Tom ... I think it might be possible that my opinions are in between the two extremes. I'm frustrated with the start to this season ... but I don't want Mason back! ... I think there have been some bad coaching decisions ... and some learning on the job by some 18 year old kids.

One more thing I'll add is that Brewster raised expectations. If he were a politician heading into a debate he knew he'd lose, he'd surely lower expectations. Instead of being honest about this team during the preseason, Brewster talked so deliberately and consistently out of his ass that he has set him self up for the types of responses I was reading at the Gopher Hole today.

I'll have more coherent thoughts tomorrow.

PJS said...

Oh, FAU student, there was absolutely no way there was 15-20k in that stadium today.

Why do you guys play there anyway? I was watching highlights of a game there last year (against FIU I think) and the stands were similarly empty.

FAU Student said...

You're right. The Athletics Director predicted 18,000. The stands on the student side had a lot of people and there were a lot of empty sections (it's a huge stadium after all). I've been trying to find the actual attendance and I'm told it was just over 10,000. So if that's the case, I was wrong.

Anyway, we played there today because it's a game we wanted to highlight. We usually book Dolphin Stadium for at least one game a year.

We traditionally rent a high school stadium in Fort Lauderdale (about 20 minutes north of Dolphin Stadium) called Lockhart. It's small, old, and only fits about 20,000 people but it's really cheap and right now cheap helps since our budget isn't that big (I believe it's somewhere in the neighborhood of $12 million).

However, on Monday our Board of Trustees are voting on a plan to build a 30,000 seat steel stadium on-campus in 2010. We'd open with a home game against Michigan State. The stadium itself would be very similar to UCF's new stadium since we're using the same developer.

Until that time, we have to put up with Lockhart or make the long drive down to Dolphin Stadium. Just something that you contend with as part of the growth of a program.

I've seen the renderings of Minnesota's new stadium and it looks great. I hope ours can compete one day in terms of size and quality.

Jon Marthaler said...

I certainly don't want Mason back, but I'm surprised at how bad this team is. Coming into this year, I just didn't see how the '07 Gophers would be much worse, talent-wise, than the '06 Gophers, but I guess we've found out.

And of course I don't blame Brewster for this loss; he wasn't the one out there turning the ball over seven times. But I'm just frustrated about this, because I really do believe that it's a low point for the program, and my hope had been that the Brewster era would be an upwards trajectory.

Erik said...

And it may or may not be - it's gotten warmer each of the last three days in the cities, but I don't expect to be sunbathing in three months.

Making judgments on small sample sizes, or short-duration samples, or both, is generally not a good way to go about things.

Not David Derush said...


Not David Derush said...

Where's the Vikings post? Cmon, get pissed!

Mark said...

How much of the defensive ineptitude can be blamed on the rape case? Dominic Jones was a starter and one of the top DBs, if I remember correctly, but I don't remember as much about Keith Massey and what I remember about Alex Daniels is most from when Mason tried to turn him into an oversized RB.

PJS said...

The loss of Jones was the biggie, IMO. We essentially have a secondary of kids now, excluding D. Barber of course.

I had two emails asking if I was giving up blogging ... LOL ... No. The day job usually keeps me tied up until Monday night. I'll be back tomorrow with a new blog poll and my comments on Brewster's 1-2 start.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
RotoJeff said...

Token Northwestern fan here - I feel your pain. Stay patient with Dunbar and Weber - the spread takes awhile to master. If you recall Brett Basanez's first two years at the helm for us, he was awful, but those second two years made it well worth the wait.