Thursday, December 20, 2007

JUCO In Mix At QB Next Year, Maybe, And Other Stuff

By all accounts Tim Brewster is putting together one of the best recruiting classes in recent memory. He took the first step this week in finalizing that recruiting class by getting five junior college players to sign on the dotted line.

Two of them deserve some immediate attention. Rivals has the scoop on 4-star cornerback Traye Simmons. He should start immediately for the Gophers' secondary. The second, more interesting signing is Pasadena City College athlete/quarterback David Pittman.

I wrote "athlete/quarterback" for a reason. It appears, according to this article by Marcus Fuller of the Pioneer Press, that Pittman believes he was told he'd get a shot at playing quarterback. Meanwhile, Brewster believes he told Pittman he was an "athlete."

Here's Brewster to Fuller:

"He's not coming in here as a quarterback. He knows that," Brewster said while talking about his midseason football signings Wednesday. "He's coming in here as an athlete. He's coming in here as a slash. He knows that. That's been thoroughly discussed."
And for good measure, here is Pittman's comment on the subject (thanks to Fuller for good reporting here):
"They said they want me to come in and compete for the starting job," said Pittman, who plans to enroll at Minnesota in January. "The reason I went to junior college was to prove I could play quarterback. (Having a starter returning at Minnesota) wasn't going to deter me from going there. Competition brings out the best in people."

When asked if Brewster talked specifically to him about moving to another position, Pittman said he was told, "only if I want to."
While Pittman is considered an "athlete" by recruiting services like Rivals, his numbers as a quarterback at Pasadena City College are impressive. I'll admit I find it troublesome that a freshly signed recruit and his new coach are having a back-and-forth difference of opinion just days after they signed on the dotted line. But the "quarterback/athlete" conversation will be completely pointless, so long as the kid can have an impact and Brewster and Mike Dunbar can find a way to use him. If we are going to run the spread offense, this is exactly the type of player who can make it work. I'm not convinced Adam Weber is a 4-year starter. So, hopefully Pittman gets that chance to compete.

Here is a Rivals story on the five new Gophers. And for the record, Brewster attended the same Pasadena City College.

Now on to a couple other items that might interest you.

** I've taken some heat in the past for agreeing with Patrick Reusse. That's fine. Different strokes for different folks. But for those of you who don't like Reusse, I thought I'd point out to you that our friends at A Sea of Blue (Kentucky blog) are taking Reusse to task for his column comparing how Kentucky fans treated Tubby Smith to how Minnesota fans treated Glen Mason. Reusee certainly didn't have to call UK fans "wackos," but there is a similarity between UK fans' expectations after driving out Tubby and our expectations after driving out Glen Mason. Both fanbases felt the jettisoned coach was accepting medicority. And both fanbases have been disappointed at the immediate results.

** ESPN's college hoops insider section had an item today titled "Grading the sleepers." Minnesota received an A - grade. Here is what they wrote:
Tubby Smith arrived in Minneapolis with 14 straight 20-win seasons to go along with a 1998 national championship at Kentucky. With their Gophers' only loss coming to Florida State, the nonconference schedule lacks marquee names other than UNLV in the Duel in the Desert before opening Big Ten play on the road at favorite Michigan State on Jan. 5.

After eight games, U of M is averaging 77.8 points and four players are averaging double figures, led by 6-foot-9 senior
Dan Coleman's 13.6 points. What makes Smith's teams so special are their tough man-to-man defense. The Gophers are holding opponents to 60.5 points. Referred to as the ball-line defense, it includes great ball pressure, entry pass denial and sprint to help a teammate. And with Smith's intensity, the Gophers will improve as the season progresses. All that is left to add is a couple recruiting classes.
The attention is nice and everything, don't get me wrong. But the author of this blurb, Reggie Rankin, clearly has not seen any Minnesota game this season. Everything he said in these two paragraphs is true, but this reads to like a blurb written off of a stat sheet and with some knowledge of Tubby Smith. I expect more from the 4-letter.

** Meanwhile, Bracketology Professor Joe Lunardi has committed a travesty: Leaving the Gophers out of his current bracket. To Lunardi's credit, he has the Gophers in his "also considered" section (Insider). That's right, everyone, We Comin!


The Fake Gimel said...

Thanks for the link! Although I think our biggest beef with Patrick Reusse's column was the allegations that players Patrick Patterson and Jai Lucas gave "verbal commitments" to Tubby Smith while Tubby was still head coach at UK. Patrick and Jai actually never publicly committed to any school until the end of the spring signing period -- Jai choosing Florida and Patrick choosing Kentucky.

Mr. Reusse seems to state this as an accepted fact, even though not one UK Basketball Beat reporter could claim scooping the public verbal commitment from either Jai or Patrick. That's either lazy fact-checking or fabrication to better understate his point.

You have a great coach in Tubby Smith. While things at Kentucky ended less than idealy for both sides, most of us "whackos" know that the Tubbster is a quality individual who can flat-out coach. I'm happy that you guys landed him and wish nothing but success for your program. Until the Gophers get matched up against my Wildcats, of course.

PJS said...

You're welcome, TFG, I'm a fan of what ya'll do over there.

The Lucas "verbal" did come out of nowhere for me, but I had read in other places that Patterson was likely headed to UK while Tubby was there. Since I don't really know what transpired, I stayed away from that one. It's not really possible to know if Patterson and Legion were going to join Tubby at UK or not.

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