26.9.10

WHAT'S NEXT, A DEFENESTRATION OF THE COACH? University of Minnesota (motto: ten thousand ways to surrender the Axe) president Bob Bruininks told the Minnesota Daily his expectations for football.
I was deeply disappointed with the loss [to South Dakota]. I think we have done some of the right things in terms of trying to rebuild our football traditions and to put us on the path, I think, to a more successful winning strategy.

We need a stronger football program here at the University of Minnesota. Our fans deserve it and our students, faculty and staff deserve [it].

I’m guardedly optimistic, but I would say to all of our fans, we have high aspirations for Gopher football, and we’re not going to be satisfied with mediocre results and a mediocre season.
Since then, the team visited Southern California and hosted Northern Illinois.
Tailback Chad Spann ran for 223 yards and two touchdowns, including a game-clinching 61-yard run with 6:22 left, as Northern Illinois claimed its second win over a Big Ten Conference team in the last two seasons with a 34-23 win over Minnesota Saturday at TCF Bank Stadium.
Go to niuhuskies.com for the details.

It's that stadium I wish to address, again. A Minnesota sports commentator had an instructive response to Mr Bruininks's choice of words.
Yet, if football wasn't a big deal to the administration, Bruininks and the University would not have used so much of their lobbying and fund-raising clout to build an on-campus stadium.

Seven, eight years ago, this seemed nothing more than a Glen Mason hallucination, and then Bruininks embraced the idea, and the University went hard at their prized donors, and pleaded at the Legislature, and the first new football stadium to be built in the Big Ten in decades opened last fall.

And then Brewster lost to South Dakota in the 2010 home opener, and in an attempt to justify the embarrassment, the coach's bobos passed along some information to the Star Tribune's Sid Hartman that alleged to show Minnesota had the lowest football budget in the Big Ten.

In truth, several Big Ten schools put stadium costs in their football budgets, and the university puts those costs elsewhere, and that greatly distorted the numbers that were given to Hartman.

The university, through Gary Bowman, the head of the sports information department, was quick to refute Sid's information. The athletic department insisted the Gophers are in the middle of the Big Ten when it comes to football spending.

The only thing that really matters is this: The Gophers' football program wants for nothing.

The budgets for recruiting and assistant coaches are competitive. The new stadium is first-class. The Nagurski-Gibson Football Complex is more than adequate. And the university has allowed Brewster to admit many high-risk students - and given him a learning disability specialist to see to it that most any player who takes an interest will survive academically.

The Bruininks administration has gone through contortions trying to give Brewster a chance to succeed. And the reward for that support was that -- after Brewster's humiliation against South Dakota -- a henchman provided disinformation that was supposed to put the blame for this stagnant program not on the fourth-year coach but the administration.

The guess here is Bruininks and [athletic director Joel] Maturi will have no problem making the decision to fire Brewster if this winds up as another 6-6 season, or less. They might even secretly enjoy the task, considering what they went through to get TCF Bank Stadium, only to wind up with a coach who looks at the surroundings and sees himself as a martyr.

I like that use of martyr. Murray Sperber has his beer-'n-circus. Without loss of generality, will the proconsuls have the coach torn to pieces by a pack of (Northern) Huskies or (Nittany) Lions or (Northwestern) Wildcats?

The term contortion is an understatement: it's more like prostitution.

In two weeks, custody of the Axe will be determined in Madison.

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