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Minnesota Football: Loss to USD... What we thought we knew, What we found out

Last week I took a look at the win over MTSU, what we thought we knew about the Gophers heading into that football game, and what we found out during that game. We'll continue with that idea this week, taking a look at the home opener at The Bank, and what we learned in the debacle that we now believe actually happened, the Gophers losing to the University of South Dakota.

On Saturday I had the joy of attending the opener at The Bank, and I couldn't have been more excited. There I sat on a beautiful Saturday morning, outdoors, in the sun, my gal next to me, a few barley pops in my belly, high above the field turf of TCF Bank Stadium, fully prepared to watch the Gophers take the Coyotes out behind the wood shed.

That's what I thought was going to happen. Ouch. Let's look at what we thought we knew, including some of the same points we looked at last week.

What we thought we knew:

We knew that the Gophers were talking about being committed to the run, but after having said the same thing last year, we weren't ready to believe it until we saw it.

What we found out:

Horton and Brewster still seem very committed to the run. The Gophers had a much more balanced offensive attack against USD, rushing 38 times, compared to 31 throws. The Gophers played from behind the entire football game (a phrase that makes me sick to my stomach all by itself), so probably threw the ball a bit more than they would have liked, but they still did a nice job running the ball. Averaging 5.4 yards per carry, putting up over 200 yards on the ground and producing another 100 yard rusher (Bennett) sounds like a pretty successful rushing game, and it was good to see Horton stick with it and not completely abandon the run.

What we thought we knew:

We thought we had a pretty talented defense, but we were a little nervous about how that talent was going to come together.

What we found out:

They haven't come together. In fact, they drifted apart. I actually think I saw some of the players on the field breaking up with each other. I swear I saw James Manuel tell Ryan Collado, "it's not you, it's me." Actually boys, it might be Kevin Cosgrove.

Once again we had no pass rush. Once again our secondary got torched. Once again we made a quarterback look like an All-American. The difference this week was that we got TORCHED from beginning to end. 352 passing yards, 11.7 yards per pass. Dante Warren made us look foolish, and USD's screen passes and slants made us look inept all day long, and maybe worst of all, Kevin Cosgrove was never able to figure it out and get his players in position to make plays. Even if Cosgrove had figured out what USD was doing, it might not have mattered because even when we were in position we spent a good portion of the day missing tackles.

What we thought we knew:

We thought Adam Weber would be more comfortable, and therefore more productive, in Jeff Horton's simplifed offensive scheme.

What we found out:

Weber looked much more comfortable in the second half of last week's game, and that comfort level carried over to this week. Yes, Weber had two fumbles, both on runs where he was doing everything he could to make something happen for his team, but Weber looked comfortable and confident and put up good numbers: 21/31, 258 yards and 3 TD's

What we thought we knew:

We thought the Gophers had the size, talent and home field advantage to maybe finally put away an opponent, any opponent, under Tim Brewster's watch.

What we found out:

We found out that Tim Brewster has the distinct ability to get out-coached even by guys who get paid loads of money less than he does. The USD coaching staff was one step ahead of the Gopher staff all day long. They coached to their team's strength and allowed Dante Warren to carve up the Minnesota zone secondary time after time.

Here's what was obvious very early in the football game on Saturday; whatever the Gophers were doing on defense wasn't working, but either Brewster and his staff couldn't figure out how to stop the bleeding or they didn't have enough confidence in their squad to make the adjustments.

What I thought I knew:

My lovely wife and I had some people over for a little happy hour on Friday evening and I was asked by someone who I had never met before, "So what do you think of Brewster?"

My wife will tell you that I squirmed at the question. All I could say was, "He's still got a lot to prove." I thought that Tim Brewster still had a lot to prove.

What I found out:

What I found out on Saturday afternoon, and again on Sunday evening when I re-watched the game, is that Tim Brewster may have proven everything that we needed to know about him against USD: he proved that he's in over his head.

I don't believe that our football team was prepared for this game, I don't believe that the coaching staff took USD seriously, and I don't believe that they had any clue what to do when they found themselves down in the 3rd quarter of their home opener by 18 points to a FREAKING DIVISION I-AA SCHOOL!

What I do believe, more than ever, however, is that when the fish stinks, it stinks at the head. If Jedd Fisch's offense was too complicated for the college level, it was Tim Brewster's fault. If the defense is having trouble tackling, then it's Tim Brewster's job to make sure that his d-coordinator is fixing the problem. If the problem isn't fixed, it's Tim Brewster's fault. And if the Gophers are getting beat by an FCS team at home, it's Tim Brewster's job to make sure that the right adjustments are made to make it stop. If those adjustments aren't made, it's Tim Brewster's fault. If the defense acts like they just won the Rose Bowl when they make a tackle for loss instead of acting like they've actually been there before, it's Tim Brewster's fault.

Tim Brewster's job is NOT to say to Kevin Cosgrove "it's not working, fix it." THAT is the job of the fans, and it's a job that we all took very seriously on Saturday. Tim Brewster's job is to say to Kevin Cosgrove "it's not working, what are WE going to do to fix it? Here's what I saw. What did you see? What will we do to fix it?"

Tim Brewster's coaching job against the University of South Dakota: fail. Epic fail.