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University of Minnesota

Getting beyond 'bowl eligible'

September 8, 2010

Tim Brewster standing next to Adam Weber and other players.

Tim Brewster, now in his fourth season as head coach of the Golden Gophers, has an overall record of 15-24 counting the season-opening victory over Middle Tennessee State.

Photo: courtesy Eric Miller, University Athletics

Tim Brewster talks about Big Ten expansion, the stout schedule, and the season at hand

By Rick Moore

Another college football season has begun, and there are changes in the air in the Big Ten. Nebraska has joined the conference, and next year there will be two six-team divisions.

But first things first. On the eve of the 2010 season, Gopher head coach Tim Brewster chatted about TCF Bank Stadium, the Big Ten expansion, his scheduling philosophy, and what he’s learned about coaching in the Gopher State.

Q: How did playing at TCF Bank Stadium align with your expectations?

“I really feel that in all facets, TCF Bank Stadium exceeded my expectations. It’s a dream come true for the state of Minnesota and for our fans to be back on campus. To me, there are some bigger but there are none better or finer than TCF Bank Stadium.

Q: Is having the new stadium an important recruiting tool?

“It’s imperative that we continue to improve facilities if we want to compete for championships in the Big Ten. We can’t now think that because we have a new stadium that we’re done. … This is a term I like to use: It’s the ‘Wow’ factor. The wow factor is what recruiting is all about. We’ve got a wow factor with TCF Bank Stadium; we just have to continue to upgrade and improve our facilities each and every year.”

Q:  The Big Ten just added a big-time team in Nebraska. How should Minnesota fans view that?

“It’s a tremendous addition to the conference—obviously a very storied, traditional football program that’s had great success through the years. … It helps us with adding a prestige team to the conference, but most importantly, it adds a 12th member so that we can split the divisions and play a Big Ten championship game on national television. And that’s something we’ve sorely been lacking in our conference.”

Q: It seems like a double-edged sword with scheduling. In the past, Gopher coaches have been criticized for scheduling easy non-conference games. Now that you’ve beefed up the schedule, some people think it’s going to be too tough to win games.

“We’ve proven through history that we can win 6 games and we can win 7 games. What we have to do is prove that we can win 10 games, that we can compete for a championship. … This year [we opened] up on national TV on a Thursday night … and if we want to elevate the status of our program, that’s the arena we need to be in. I’m not bashful about being in that arena. I want kids that want to be in that arena. I want kids that come to Minnesota to play against the best and challenge themselves to be the best. Because in life I think you shortchange yourself if you do otherwise.

“Going to a bowl game is not our goal. We’ve done that, two years in a row. … Now it’s time to take the next step. I think that we’ll certainly have the opportunity to do that with the type of schedule that we’re playing.”

Q: Who’s one player to watch this year?

“I fully anticipate [senior quarterback Adam] Weber to go out and play extremely well, extremely well, and lead our team to victory. That’s what the quarterback’s job is—to lead your team to victory, find a way to win. And I certainly believe that Adam’s got the capability to do that. There’s not a more experienced quarterback in college football than Adam Weber. It’s his time. I fully anticipate him to go out and have an outstanding year.”

Q: What has been the biggest surprise in being the head coach of the University of Minnesota football team, in this environment?

“There aren’t a lot of surprises. I think this is my 24th year, so I’ve seen everything from a football standpoint.

“I think the things that you become more comfortable with as you move forward are handling all the demands on your time that are non-football related. Understanding the media. Learning, particularly in this market, the media’s agenda, shall I say. Obviously, I feel very comfortable now going into my fourth year with all facets of what this job entails.

“More than anything here in Minnesota, there’s such a deep-seated, deep-rooted skepticism about Gopher football. I came in here with a belief that we can win football games, we can win a championship, and unfortunately we got off to a really hard start—a one-win first year. But my belief is as strong today, if not stronger, that you can succeed here and that you can win a championship here. We are doing the things on a daily basis that are going to allow us to do that.”

Q: What excites you most about the upcoming season?

“Just the challenge that it presents, playing such a difficult schedule right out of the gate. And accepting the challenge and going out and winning football games. … I’m excited to see our guys go out and compete. To me, what gets my juices flowing is playing great opponents and challenging yourself to see whether or not you’re up to the task.”

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