Saturday, July 26, 2008

So, How Did Brewster Fare On Media Day?

Well, Tim Brewster is what he is. There's clearly no changing him. Even after a year of snarky comments from fans, columnists, bloggers and opponents, our young ball coach remains the bundle of unbridled optimism he was all year last year.

When Brewster took the podium at Big Ten media day this week, looking rather sharp I might add, Brewster promptly said he had "tremendous optimism" and was "excited." I smiled after hearing his comments, because, well, this is Tim Brewster he is who we thought he was:.

"All in all I couldn't be more excited as we stand here today with the 2008 season getting ready to start," Brewster said.

I'm not going to pick on Brewster for the optimism anymore, but I still don't like the expectations he puts on his players or his position that talent is all that matters and schemes aren't as important.

Anyway, here are some highlights of his speech, followed by video of his address to the media.

*** He admitted the team defense was horrible, and suggested that his highly-ranked recruiting class could shore up some defensive weaknesses.

"We went about correcting that situation," he said.

The defense wasn't just bad last season, it was an embarrassment. Even an OK defense in 2008 would be a huge improvement.

*** Brewster "couldn't be more excited" about having Adam Weber back as the starting quarterback. I disagree with this and don't think this job should be handed to Weber, but I'll talk more about that at a later time.

*** Brewster believes Eric Decker will be one of the top receivers in the country. Not the Big Ten. The NCAA. I like Decker. He's a very nice receiver. But I really wish Brewster wouldn't put that type of expectations on his players. Harold Howell comes to mind.

*** Apparently one of Brewster's favorite things to say to his players is "If you really love football, football will love you back."

*** Asked how style and schemes would change to improves his defense, Brewster instead talked about talent and athleticism. This tells me that Brewster didn't think there were any Xs and Os issues in 2007. Were there talent issues? Yes. Athleticism issues especially at linebacker? You bet. But I would rather see Brewster take a balanced approach here and not state publicly that he is simply relying on talent and "hungrier players."

*** Brewster compared MarQueis Gray to Vince Young. Again, I wish Brewster wouldn't put these types of comparisons out there!!! It only creates unfair expectations.




*** Rivals' Tom Dienhart gives Brewster the "Most Inspirational" award for Big Ten media day. I can't disagree, but think Brewster should also have been in the running for Best Dressed. Dienhart wrote: "His passion and fire had this writer ready to run through the buffet line with gusto. Brewster should be a general."

*** John Lemon and Lindsey Willhite of The Daily Herald have a brief in their media day recap titled "Brewster enthusiastic." I guess that's better than whatever the opposite might be.

*** Before he faced the Big Ten media, Charley Walters asked Brewster what he thought about being picked by the media, and just about everyone with a pen, to finish last in the conference. Brewster doesn't think the media knows what it's talking about: "The writers, they don't have any clue, truly, about these kids. So basically what they're doing is basing their prognostication off of last year."

*** ESPN's Adam Rittenberg put together a nice post on Brewster's strategic decision to add experienced talent that can help right away by concentrating on the JUCO ranks. After talking to Brewster, Rittenberg writes Tramaine Brock will start at safety, Traye Simmons at corner back, Rex Sharpe at linebacker and Cedric McKinley will get some time on the Gophers' defensive line.

*** WNUR noted Brewster's bone-headed comment of the day. In the video above if you watch it, Brewster states "“you need to take 2 steps backward to take one step forward." Ooops. The WNUR staff also felt as if Brewster was "yelling" at them, and suggested motivational speaking for a future endeavor for Brewster. I'm not sure that's funny anymore.

(CLARIFICATION: Upon further review, and as noted by a commenter, Brewster actually said "You need to take two steps backward to take one big step forward.")

*** Instead of making fun of Brewster's optimism or energy, Jeff Rice of the Centre Daily Times reported on the Gophers' highly ranked recruiting class.

39 comments:

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He said two steps back to take one BIG step forward.

PJS said...

Thanks for the clarification anon 10:00, I'll note it above.

I still don't get the comment, however. And while I'm going to point out what others are writing about Brewster's oratory, I'm going to try damn hard to judge him on results rather than public statements.

I'm starting to think the guy means well, but gets himself way too revved up (maybe even slightly nervous) during public speaking engagements.

TSAX said...

PJS,
I read your blog often, I think you are normally very insightful, and most often than not I agree with what you have to say. But I have to say I think you are DEAD wrong on this statement...

"Asked how style and schemes would change to improves his defense, Brewster instead talked about talent and athleticism. This tells me that Brewster didn't think there were any Xs and Os issues in 2007".

And here is why. I watched some games last year, and it seemed like this defense could not handle BASIC fundamentals, such as tackling, swarming the ball, and running down receivers/rb's in pursuit. These are characteristics that have little do with with schemes. Sure, it is very important to be where the scheme places you, but if a linebacker is taking three or four wrong steps on a counter, and the running back cuts back, the linebacker is now OUT of the play. Therefore, he probably started where he was supposed to be, but if he can't read what the play is doing, than the scheme goes out of the window. I think Brewster was trying to comment that this has everything to do with basics, and talking about schemes is going way too far. This team needs to be able to tackle before they can talk about cover 2's , man d's, blitzes etc. I am sure Brewster has issues with the schematic planning, but that is step 3 out of three steps. Step one would be talking. THE most basic concept on defense. If these guys can't tackle, and show lack of heart in pursuit, scheme really doesn't matter.

PJS said...

TSAX, I agree with most everything you wrote. I don't think I explained well what I was trying to say.

Are athletic and talented players needed for the UofM defense? Absolutely. But so too are proper schemes, and this is what I didn't say that I should have ... And so too is coaching. You are absolutely right that on many occasions our players were in the "right" spots to make a tackle. Fundamentals were poor, in my opinion.

But I also think the wrong scehems put the Gophers in a bad position, especially early in the season. Everett Withers wanted to play an aggressive, blitzing style of defense. The Gophers were burned on this early against light-weight MAC opponents. That was a schematic error, IMO, considering the lack of athleticism on the field.

Brewster has done well to improve the talent level on the roster, but that will only go so far unless the fundamentals (tackling) are improved and proper schemes are employed.

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