Saturday, September 1, 2007

Week 1 Prediction

Finally, it's game day! I started this blog in May. It's been a long wait to have a game to watch/cover/blog about.

The matchup with Bowling Green is a good one to start the Tim Brewster era. The game against Bowling Green is certainly winnable. The Falcons were a mediocre MAC team a year ago and the Gophers were a mediocre Big Ten team in 2006. The Gophers will pull out the victory because Brewster will have the lads ready to go. But I think it will be relatively close.

Items I'll be paying attention to ...

Quarterback: How calm is Adam Weber in the pocket. Is he making the right decisions in the spread when Bowling Green brings the blitz? Defenses attack the spread by being equally aggressive. It's Weber's job to keep his composure and make quick, solid decisions. This will be Weber's first start, and as a redshirt freshman that's enough reason to be nervous.

I'm also looking forward to seeing Weber run the option. We've read all about the added dimension Weber brings because he can run.

Running game: During the Glen Mason era, this was Minnesota's strength. With Mike Dunbar calling the play, it will be interesting to see how much more we are passing. Sometimes I think people fall into the trap of believing the spread offense means you pass all the time. That's not always the case and Dunbar has said he plans to run effectively within the spread. Amir Pinnix should be fun to watch but more than that I'm looking forward to seeing Duane Bennett, the freshman running back who apparently has earned some playing time.

Ernie Wheelright: Which Ernie shows up? The Ernie who can dominate or the Ernie who looks lost?

Kick/Punt Returning: It's been reported that Harold Howell, the track standout from Florida, will be returning some punts. Howell is a true freshman. Brewster has talked this kid up ever since he committed to the U. If he's the real deal, it will help me trust Brewster. If he's not, it will be a sign that Brewster is PR-spin man first and talent-evaluator second.

Defense: Will it be sieve-like? Can we hold leads? The defense should have new look in 2007. Coordinator Everett Withers has a reputation as an aggressive coach. How aggressive will he be? Bowling Green also runs the spread, which should give Withers a challenge but also give him opportunities to surprise the Falcons quarterback by bringing blitzes from different directions.

Tim Brewster: It probably means nothing, but I pay a lot of attention to how a coach handles himself on the sideline. Will he be fiery like a Bill Cowher? Will he hide in his shell like a Brad Childress?

When all is said and done tonight, Brewster will have his first win 35-24. I expect Weber to have a good game, but that the Gophers will have most of their success pounding the ball with Pinnix and perhaps the young freshman. I plan to start a new post around gametime and to live blog the game.


Chris said...

I think it will be more of a blowout for the Gophers. Bowling Green is a team that lost to Temple last year. The only way I see it being closer is if Weber really struggles.