July 25, 2008

Brewster at Big Ten Media Day

Here is the video of Brewster's Big Ten Media Day press conference...

In typical Brewster fashion he used the word tremendous within the first two sentences! In fact reading the transcript I was able to find usage of said word nine times. I'm a big fan of Brewster and his optimism but when I meet him, I am going to give him a thesaurus.

Main Entry: tremendous
Part of Speech: adjective
Synonyms: amazing, astounding, colossal, deafening, enormous, extraordinary, fabulous, fantastic, giant, gigantic, great, huge, immense, large, mammoth, marvelous, mighty, momentous, monstrous, overwhelming, powerful, stupendous, terrific, titanic, vast, whopping, wonderful
After his initial optimism and coach-speak about last season's competitive yet unsuccessful squad, Brewster pretty quickly got down to business...
"last year we were pretty solid on offense, did some pretty good things, scored some points and ran the ball fairly well. What we didn't do was stop anybody. We were a very poor defensive football team. From the head coach to the defensive staff to our team."

"And as you look through the years at the University of Minnesota, Minnesota has had good offensive football teams for a long time where we would come up short on the defensive side."
While I enjoy Brewster's optimism, the thing I most appreciate is that he isn't afraid to speak some of the truth. He wasn't afraid to say "Rose Bowl" when he first started and he isn't afraid to tell everyone that "yeah, we stunk on defense last year." While this fact is clear and anyone who paid attention knows this, most in the coaching world would pussy foot around this issue and say things like "we need to improve defensively" or "it is a total team effort" but Brewster wasn't afraid to call out his staff, the players and take some responsibility for not bing able to "stop ANYBODY."

Brewster also talked a little about our new defensive coordinator, Ted Roof (Roof received a double "tremendous")...
"Again, as I said, the key in our improvement without question is our development as a defense. I'm really excited about Ted Roof, our new defensive coordinator, comes to us with tremendous experience, not only as a defensive coordinator but a head coach. Tremendous calmness about him, understands, has been in the heat of battle, and his imprint on our defense was strong this spring. I thought that he came in and really got after those kids and let them know exactly the style of play that we want to play, and again, it just goes back to our commitment to playing great defense."
We really don't know a lot about Roof or what kind of style or personality he'll bring to the defense. But I like hearing that he got after kids a little bit. I'm sure as the season draws near we will hear more about how Roof wants to play an aggressive defense that flys around the field and swarms to the ball, but show me a defensive coordinator who doesn't want that and I'll give him directions to the unemployment center. The best thing that Roof can bring to this defense is his ability to teach. We have young guys who are going to have to contribute and they need to learn their responsibilities quickly.

Now on to the Q & A
Q. I know you. You mentioned about the emphasis on defense and trying to improve it and all that. How are you changing the defense in terms of style or scheme from last year?

COACH BREWSTER: You know what, I don't think it's at all about style. I don't think it's at all about scheme. I think it's about players, players having an attitude to swarm and attack. We talk about alignment, assignment and tackle, those basic premises which lead to playing good defense.
I know this is kind of a cop out answer, but for the Gophers this is completely true. If you have the tape, watch last year's Iowa game. The Hawkeye RBs would take a false step towards the Gopher sideline then cut back the other way in a designed counter play. Holes were massively huge because our linebackers would sprint three steps in the wrong direction before they realized the play was coming right at them. That is just bad defense of watching the ball and not reading the play. It doesn't matter how fast you are or whether or not you can tackle, if you take yourself out of the play you are a non-factor.

Then go and watch any other game on the schedule to see how awful we were at tackling. I thought Kyle Theret and Dom Barber were a solid tacklers but that was about it.
Q. Hearing from you and having just heard before from Mark Dantonio and Bill Lynch, a number of young coaches who are taking over programs who aren't traditionally the Ohio State do you feel like you and these younger coaches can continue to balance the power in the Big Ten?

COACH BREWSTER: You're a young guy, right? You don't realize that the University of Minnesota has won six national championships and 18 Big Ten Championships. University of Minnesota is truly one of the top schools in the Big Ten. Now it's been a long time since we've won a championship, but without question we believe that we can make an impact in the Big Ten, and that's why we're here.
I believe that HE believes he can make an impact on the Big Ten. Whether or not he can actually accomplish this is another question, but I still like the attitude and tremendous optimism.

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