It's a typical chilly Sunday morning in Minnesota, but I suspect that Gophers coach Tim Brewster isn't exactly bundled up in his home near Lake Minnetonka. After another pathetic display by an inept offense, Coach Brewster now finds himself planted squarely on the hot seat.
When Coach Brewster was hired in January of 2007, I was skeptical. I had never heard of the man, so it caught me quite off guard when Joel Maturi announced that Brewster was going to take over for Glen Mason. I gave it time and learned a little more about Brewster and his plans for his football team. He made promises of a Rose Bowl appearance and I bought in. Fool me once...
It now appears that those promises aren't going to be fulfilled. Brewster's resume touted him as being a great recruiter, which he is, but if those recruits don't make plays, it does not matter. Time and time again, this year's squad as been presented with opportunities to distinguish themselves as an upper echelon Big Ten program, and they've failed miserably each and every time.
There is plenty of blame to go around. The offensive line has struggled in run blocking. They've also struggled in protecting the quarterback. It's difficult to score points when you can't move the ball.
In the rare instances that the offensive line does give QB Adam Weber time to throw the ball, Weber has struggled mightily more often than not. Weber failed to reach 100 yards passing against an FCS opponent, missing open receivers all over the field. That type of performance wouldn't be acceptable from a redshirt freshman making his first start. Weber's started 36 collegiate games.
During Saturday's "victory" over the South Dakota Jackrabbits, the Gophers failed to score an offensive touchdown three times when they were put in a first and goal situation. They came away with three field goals in those situations. Another unacceptable statistic for this offense.
The question that remains for Athletic Director Joel Maturi is "when is enough, enough?" In three seasons, the Gophers are exactly the same team as they were when Glen Mason was the coach. They are good enough to win a game here and there, they beat some teams they should beat, lose to some teams they should beat, and never beat teams where they are the decided underdog.
The beginning of the end for Coach Mason was a sickening performance where the Gophers narrowly beat another FCS school, North Dakota State University, by a narrow margin of one point. Saturday's win over the Jackrabbits mirrors that performance, could it be the beginning of the end for Coach Brewster?
If Brewster wants a little job security, the plan is simple: Beat Iowa. The Hawkeyes are a top 20 team and a hated rival. This would undoubtedly be the biggest Gopher win under Coach Brewster and something that the program sorely needs.
Anything short of a Gopher win in Iowa City and I feel that Joel Maturi needs to take a long look at his head coach. Mediocrity wasn't acceptable for Coach Mason and it shouldn't be acceptable for Coach Brewster. How much time is enough time?
Saturday's game against Iowa should be the defining moment of Brewster's young coaching career. If Brewster and his staff can find a way to beat the Hawkeyes, he deserves one more season to show Gopher fans that the program is headed in the right direction. Anything short of a win, and Brewster might want to start working on his resume. I'd assume his old pal Mike Shanahan is going to need a Tight Ends coach when he eventually takes over the Redskins.