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2009 CFN Minnesota Preview
Minnesota DT Garrett Brown
CollegeFootballNews.com 2009 Preview - Minnesota Golden Gopher Preview
2009 CFN Minnesota Preview |
2008 UM Preview |
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Head coach: Tim Brewster
3rd year: 8-17
Off. 29, Def. 23., ST 1
Lettermen Lost: 11
Best UM Players
1. WR Eric Decker, Sr.
2. QB Adam Weber, Jr.
3. QB MarQueis Gray, RFr.
LB Lee Campbell, Sr.
5. CB Traye Simmons, Sr.
Troy Stoudermire, Soph.
7. DT Garrett Brown, Sr.
Kyle Theret, Jr.
9. S Kim Royston, Jr.
10. LB Simoni
9/12 Air Force
9/26 at Northwestern
10/17 at Penn State
10/24 at Ohio State
10/31 Michigan State
11/14 South Dakota State
11/21 at Iowa
11/28 OPEN DATE
Illinois W 31-27
9/6 at Bo. Green W
9/13 Montana State
9/20 Florida Atlantic
9/27 at Ohio State L 34-21
10/4 Indiana W 16-7
10/11 at Illinois W 27-20
10/18 OPEN DATE
10/25 at Purdue W 17-6
11/1 Northwestern L
11/8 Michigan L 29-6
11/15 at Wisconsin L 35-32
11/22 Iowa L 55-0
12/31 Kansas L 42-21
Think of it this way; if you’re a Gopher fan and someone told you before
the start of last year that Minnesota, who went an ugly 1-11 in 2007,
would finish the 2008 season 7-6 with an Insight Bowl appearance against
Kansas, would you have taken it?
Minnesota was the surprise team
of the first half of last season going 7-1, with the one loss coming to
Ohio State, and talk of a possible BCS bid with three home games in the
final four including Northwestern, a horrible Michigan team, and Iowa,
to go along with a toss-up against a punchless Wisconsin squad at Camp
Randall. And then came the pick.
Second-year head coach Tim
Brewster doesn’t do anything half way. He’s an ultra-aggressive coach,
which helped the defense in a huge way last season as it went from being
among the worst in Big Ten history to a big-hitting takeaway machine
that made up for big mistakes with bigger player. His style also helped
the offense and the team set the tone early on by avoiding an upset
against Northern Illinois by going for it, and the win, by going for it
on fourth and goal instead of settling for a game-tying field goal.
But against Northwestern, with the score tied and the offense pinned
deep late in regulation, Brewster chose to push for a game-winning
scoring drive. Instead, Eric Decker couldn’t make the catch on a pass
across the middle of the field, Wildcat DB Brendan Smith picked it off,
and he weaved his way 48 yards for a touchdown with just 12 seconds to
play. Minnesota never recovered losing the final five games of the year,
bottoming out with a 55-0 Metrodome send-off loss to Iowa that might
have qualified as the biggest mismatch of the 2008 college football
However, despite the ugly end and the bad feelings going
into the offseason, the dial is pointing up for the program. It’s about
to open up a beautiful new outdoor stadium, the recruiting classes have
set the foundation for the future with a ton of speed and athleticism
across the board, and there are good, experienced leaders to build
around with players like QB Adam Weber and WR Eric Decker, both juniors.
The goal for now is to keep beating the teams that are supposed to
be beaten. Fine, lose to California and at Penn State and at Ohio State,
but beat Purdue. Beat South Dakota State. Keep coming up with wins, get
back to a bowl game, and keep building up the program. The Big Ten is
having problems from top to bottom, so now’s the time to take advantage.
Minnesota, with its blend of talents, is on the verge of becoming a
What to watch for on offense: Less spread, possibly no spread.
New offensive coordinator Jedd Fisch might not completely scrap the
spread, but the Gopher offense will take on a new look with more power
running, the use of a fullback, and less of a reliance on QB Adam Weber
to carry the entire offense by himself. However, that could all go out
the window if and when MarQueis Gray comes in the game. A big-time
spread prospect, he can do a little of everything and he could be used
to get more running production from the quarterback spot.
to watch for on defense: More hitting. Defensive coordinator Kevin
Cosgrove will be looking to build on what Ted Roof, who left for Auburn,
started last year. The defense isn’t good enough to stop anyone cold,
but it’ll hit like a ton of bricks and do everything possible to force
turnovers. The D will be relatively basic with no bells or whistles, and
it should be able to win its share of battles. Offense will go on
several big drives, but many will end with a turnover.
team will be far better if … the offensive line improves. With the
addition of right guard Matt Carufel, a transfer from Notre Dame, and
375-pound JUCO transfer Jeff Wills at right tackle, the line got an
instant upgrade. With those two slabs of beef on one side, and 332-pound
Dom Alford on the other, the size is there to start pounding away
old-school Big Ten style. Considering the Gophers were last in the Big
Ten in rushing, averaging a paltry 104 yards per game, any production
will be a plus.
The Schedule: It'll
be an interesting start to the season with the Gophers the first
opponent in the Doug Marrone era at Syracuse, and then they come home to
play two tough home games against Air Force and Cal to christen the new
TCF Bank Stadium. Minnesota probably can't beat Penn State or Ohio
State, so those games might as well be on the road and back-to-back in
mid-October to get them out of the way. Closing out at Iowa isn't a
positive, but it least it comes after three straight home games. Missing
Indiana and Michigan, even though the Wolverines stomped on the Gophers
last year, is a disastrously bad break.
Best Offensive Player:
Senior WR Eric Decker. Unstoppable over the first half of the season, he
slowed down once the competition heated up and his ankle turned into a
problem. Even though he was all but out for the final four games, he
still caught 84 passes for 1704 yards and seven touchdowns on the year.
He has a great blend of size, speed, and outside of the late play
against Northwestern, hands.
Best Defensive Player: Senior
LB Lee Campbell. The defense needed a tough, solid tackler in the
linebacking corps it could count on game in and game out. While Campbell
might not be the team’s most talented player, he’s the focal point of a
defense that funnels everything inside to him. The former defensive
lineman had a great first season in the middle, leading the team with 80
tackles while registering four sacks. Now he should fill up the stat
sheet even more.
Key player to a successful season:
Sophomore DE Anthony Jacobs. Part of the reason the
Gopher defense was supposed to come up with so many big
plays last season was because of a solid pass rush
provided by Willie VanDeSteeg. Jacobs, a 286-pound
hybrid of tackle and end, isn’t going to come up with
VanDeSteeg’s 10.5 sacks, but he needs to provide a
little bit of pressure from the outside and has to make
The season will be a success if
... the Gophers win eight games. The schedule is tougher
than last year, but the team should be better. Minnesota
won’t be a contender for the Big Ten crown, but it
should be just good enough to pull off an upset or two,
win seven regular season games, and go to a bowl game.
The idea is to keep moving forward, and anything less
than a bowl appearance won’t do after the way last
season ended and with the expectations for the program
over the next several years.
Key game: Sept.
26 at Northwestern. The Wildcat loss is when everything went wrong with
the 2007 season, but the Gophers can make amends right away in the Big
Ten opener in Evanston. If they can win this one, they get Wisconsin and
Purdue at home with a chance for a decent start to the conference season
before the hammer falls down in back-to-back games at Penn State and
Ohio State. Considering they miss Michigan and Indiana from the
conference schedule, they can’t afford to give away a game that should
be dead-even talent-wise.
2008 Fun Stats:
- Penalties: Minnesota 83 for 695 yards – Opponents 55 for 435 yards
- Opponent 1st quarter scoring: 59 – Opponents 2nd quarter scoring: 108
- Interception return average: Opponents 25.9 yards – Minnesota 16.5
2009 CFN Minnesota Preview |
2008 UM Preview |
2007 UM Preview |
2006 UM Preview