Let the Tim Brewster and Ron Zook comparisons begin. Ron Zook took over an Illinois program that perennially worse than Minnesota's. He brought some passion and spent some time on the recruiting trail which has led to some success in Champagne. Brewster came to Minnesota with some passion and spent some time on the recruiting trail which has paid off thus far in year two. Both were coached teams that were awful in their first season. But have eventualy shown improvement with increased talent.
There are obvious comparisons to the blueprint Zook has used to take the 2007 Illini to the Rose Bowl and the blueprint Brewster is using to deliver on his promise of Roses.
"I look at that program and I have tremendous respect for [Zook] and how he's built the program," Brewster said Sunday, a day after a 16-7 victory over Indiana improved the Gophers to 5-1 overall, 1-1 in the Big Ten. "The things he's done, their style of play, there are some similar thoughts there."
Both Zook and Brewster came in and went to work improving the speed of their teams. Both went to a spread offense as the primary attack.
While personally I was not completely enamored with Illinois, there is no denying that their talent has been significantly upgraded. Juice Williams is a supremely gifted athlete but an average passing QB. That doesnt' change the fact that talent makes up for a lot of imprefections and the Illini are playing at a whole different level than they were throughout the 90s and early 2000s. Interestingly they Illini have finished last in the Big Ten more than anybody else since 1995 (seven times). But the Zooker has sold his snake oil and delivered results. Hopefully Brewster can deliver similar if not even better results.
- I know that if I want to get to watch me some Gopher basketball or football I often need the blessing of Mrs. Gopher Nation. So to help my cause I will share things with her that she would find interesting or something to grab her attention. One tactic is to give her some good personal or human interest stories. If that fails I will resort to showing her some eye candy to look for during the game. Here is your new eye candy. Cosmopolitan magazine has named Gopher's assistant coach, Steve Goodson, is Minnesota's most eligible bachelor.
In full disclosure, I had to turn Cosmo down as I am married.
- The Chicago Sun Times wonders if Juice Williams is the Big Ten's best quarterback.
Williams is making his case. He's eighth in the nation and first in the Big Ten in total offense (323.8 ypg), and he's 28th in the nation and second in the Big Ten behind Clark in passing efficiency (146.03 rating). He's also 55th in the country in rushing with 80.8 yards per game.I am not on the Juice bandwagon, but I will readily admit he is arguably the best offensive weapon in the Big Ten. As a quarterback, though, I see him miss open receivers and leave points on the field by not being able to hit guys when he does see them. He is greatly improved over last year but I'm not sold.
- Paint the Town Orange says Juice is his hero
. And I stole the picture of Juice from him so linking to his post is the least I could do.
- From the Barn has a nice preview on Travis Busch.
He did also have one of the most successful poorly thrown passes in college basketball history. Every team needs a last man off the bench, and the Gophers could do a lot worse. In short, he is a great practice player that will make the team better, especially when he is not on the court.He clearly works hard and does the dirty work. He's more talented than I ever dreamed of being and I am jealous that he's wearing a Gopher uniform. But if Busch gets any significant playing time we will all be disappointed in the 2008-09 season.
- Kornheiser's Cartel has an interesting article on how he sees the future of the Big Ten breaking down. He is bullish on the Big Ten's future and Minnesota is one of the reasons why...
But as cynical and pessimistic as I am about the conference today, I've got a raging clue at the thought of where it's headed. The Big Ten is stockpiling top head coaches, and traditionally pathetic programs are squirreling out of hibernation with a metaphorical nutsack loaded with highly ranked recruits.It is a good read. Who knows how it will play out but it makes for interesting conversation. I wonder if the Big Ten can apply enough pressure to get a bailout from the government.
In just a few years, we may not blink at the sight of eight ranked conference teams. Big Ten fans may be disappointed to see just six at one time in 2011.