Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Gopher Nation Needs to Accept Brewster Extension

With the announcement of the two-year extension for head coach Tim Brewster last Friday, many Gopher fans seemed upset and surprised that a coach with a career mark of 14-24 at the U warranted an extension. To a point, they are correct. It's highly unlikely Brewster was going to be a flight risk - even though there were several rumors of his name being bandied-about for such high-profile jobs as Tennessee during the 2008 season when the Gophers started 7-1 after their 1-11 season the year before.

Still, the way college football does business these days suggests that coaches cannot operate under lame-duck status, mostly because of recruiting. It's exceedingly difficult for a coach to recruit athletes with one season remaining on his contract. Recruits are looking at the coach and his staff alone when selecting a school, and not at the big picture which suggests that a coach could be fired at-will. With four seasons now remaining on his contract, Brewster is able to look his current recruiting class in the eye and say that he has four seasons remaining on his current deal and that he's not going anywhere.

This is significant, given that the 2010 class is a big one for Brewster and his staff. After his hiring in early 2007, he had to scramble to lock up those which predecessor Glen Mason had recruited, and he lost some (Wisconsin WR David Gilreath is one which comes to mind). After the 1-11 season of 2007, Brewster desperately dipped into the junior college ranks to fill immediate needs on the roster, and the success was measurable. His 2009 class was nationally-ranked, highlighted by QB Mar'Queis Gray. However, this class needs to be a deep and talented one if the program has any realistic shot at achieving success under Brewster. According to Kent Youngblood in the Strib, 23 players have already committed in advance of Wednesday's signing day, and Cretin-Derham Hall's OL Seantrel Henderson (the nation's #8 overall recruit) still has Minnesota on his short list. If Henderson picks the U (and that is doubtful, from my perspective), the 2010 class immediately becomes top-five in the Big Ten and the team has a chance to improve immediately, given the porous offensive line play last season.

Yes, the detractors have their points:
  • 14-24 overall mark
  • 6-18 in the Big Ten
  • 0-6 against Iowa and Wisconsin
  • Second-tier bowl losses in consecutive years
However, the extension was economically-modest (by today's college football standards) and makes sense from a recruiting standpoint. Now, Brewster and his staff need to deliver a top-notch recruiting class to silence critics and give the team a chance to compete in 2010. At least, they need to field a squad which can beat Iowa or Wisconsin once in a while.

No comments:

Post a Comment