Part 2 in a series of posts on the Tim Brewster Era.
- Public Relations
Off the Field Issues
- On the Field
- Year Three
Program Leadership - pretty good...considering
For a guy who came into this job with no head coaching experience and no coordinating experience outside of recruiting, Brewster really hasn't done that bad from a program leadership standpoint. Not exactly a ringing endorsement I know, but whether or not you agree with some of his decisions there is no doubt that he is decisive. I think his vision for the program, his outline to get there and his salesmanship that he could get it done is what earned him the job in the first place.
While the 2007 season was a disaster on the field I never got the impression that there was a lack of organization or leadership. Maybe I'm an apologist, but I felt it was lack of talent and using players recruited to run and trying to make them play in space. I'll cite three examples of why I believe Brewster has shown good leadership qualities in his first two seasons at the helm of the Gopher ship.
From day one Brewster came into the position acting quickly and decisively to get his program up and running. It wasn't just that he put his staff together quickly but he hired exactly the guys he wanted who would implement his desired systems and guys who would excel at recruiting. He got them organized and still managed to make his mark on the recruiting class in just a few weeks. This first recruiting class was mixed at best with several no longer with the program but he did mange to land Eric Small and Kyle Theret both of who have become valuable contributors to the Gopher defense.
Secondly, very early in his tenure he was faced with the allegations that EJ Jones,and Robert Massey raped a girl on campus. Jones and Daniels in particular were set to be significant members of Brewster's defense. But regardless it was a rather quick decision to have them removed from the team. This decision is obvious to most of us, but in a high pressure environment to win we've all seen cases where the players are allowed to hang until until it is impossible for the coach to keep him on the roster. A tough situation for a rookie coach who made the right decision and didn't drag it out, he acted in the best interest of the program. He doesn't deserve a medal for this decision that seemed obvious to most of us, but it was the right decision and one that others may not have made.
Finally, fast forward to the end of the 2008 season and Brewster decided to make some difficult decisions. The potent offense he set in place from day one was not producing the desired results so he charted a new direction. This is not an easy thing to do and if you think about it extremely rare from coaches at this level. Fans love to talk about adjusting schemes to fit the players on the roster and how that is the mark of a good coach. But the reality is, coaches do not operate like that. They have a system and recruit players to fit that system. These guys are stubborn and believe they are always right. Brewster is adapting and making changes. I don't even believe the change is an admission of being wrong about the spread. But the previous system was lacking something and I think he wants to forge a different identity so he's making the hard changes necessary to do it.
The change if offensive systems/philosophy is a perfect example of how you may not have agreed with his decision in the first place but he did what he felt was best at the time and is willing to adjust if it wasn't working as planned. Over time he needs to make more right decisions than wrong ones. But I would argue he's made some very good decisions along the way. Ted Roof is a good example.
All in all away from the playing field and outside of recruiting, I don't have a ton of issues with how Brewster has lead this program. Many will say that his insistence on the spread and subsequent scrapping of said system is a prime example of poor leadership. I would argue that in hindsight it was a poor decision but a good leader will recognize poor decisions and correct them. He isn't perfect and if grading this I wouldn't be handing out an A, but considering this is his first attempt at leading a major college football program there have been far fewer bumps than I would have anticipated.