David Jones with the Patriot News has a nice (Penn State-centrc) preview of the Gopher season. He looks back and looks ahead, it is a very good read and there are some interesting Mason anecdotes.
(Pete) Carroll asked Mason if he missed coaching. Ask a guy of around 60 that question and you never know the answer. Carroll might've expected a negative response; many guys are more than ready to get out of the race by then. But Mason said, "Oh, man, like you can't believe."
What does any of this have to do with the here and now of the Tim Brewster regime? Well, this: Minnesota made a gamble in ditching Mason. He was never getting The U anywhere major. His teams were unimaginative but he taught solid blockers and knew how to run the ball. He sat on leads too often and almost as often blew them because most of the few great athletes he did get were running backs. He had to depend on guys like Thomas Tapeh and Marion Barber and Laurence Maroney (incredibly, they all once played on the same team) because it was what he knew. He was a Woody Hayes disciple, a dinosaur and proud of it.
Firing Mason and hiring Brewster two and a half years ago was a bold move by Minnesota because no one has ever done anything great with football here all the way back a half century to Murray Freakin Warmath. It's a really tough place to win.
It is a tough place to win, but what I have always appreciated about Brewster is that he hasn't given into this challenge and he appears to believe that it is not impossible. Brewster has improved the talent level on this team but time will tell if we can be competitive or not.
So, who knows what might happen here? Eric Decker is one of the best WRs in the league, heading up a squadron of four returninees all used to catching Weber's ball. The OL is established. Yeah, the schedule sucks; they have to travel to PSU and OSU back-to-back in mid-season and finish at Iowa. But the other five league games are very winnable, four at home. In a season where the Big Ten champion(s) could easily have two losses, it's OK to dream. And that's what Minnesota did when it dumped Glen Mason.
excellent article by Mr. Jones.
- Marcus Fuller talks about the OL as the team heads into camp today. This is an intriguing position gropu this August and will probably see the most competition for playing time.
- Here is the U of Minn's camp blog, probably worth a daily read.
- Gopher volleyball is ranked #8 by Volleyball Magazine.
- Slam Magazine ranks the Gophers 17th in their pre-season top 25.