The Gophers weren’t prepared

The simple fact of the matter is that the University of Minnesota Golden Gophers lost to the underdog University of Illinois (35-32) because they weren’t mentally prepared for the game.  I knew my prediction of an easy win was in trouble when Kent Youngblood of the Minneapolis Star Tribune wrote in his blog that the Gophers weren’t showing the same energy and enthusiasm for preparation as they had shown the previous week while preparing for Michigan State.  And it turned out he was right!

46-287951284Winning the second half 25-7 doesn’t mean much if you lose the first half 28-7.  Losing the first half by that margin can only result from coming out flat.  And the responsibility for that does not belong to the players.  Nor does it belong to the Offensive or Defensive Coordinators.  It belongs squarely on the shoulders of the head coach, Tim Brewster.

To be fair, the Gophers haven’t played a lot of games lately where they were easily favored, so it easy to see how a solid victory the previous week over the favored Michigan State Spartans would give the Gophers a sense of well-being that obscured the warning signs of self-satisfaction and over-confidence.  That isn’t something Minnesota has had to deal with much in recent years.

This should be a learning experience for Brewster.  It shouldn’t happen to the Gophers again in the next year or so – until it has faded far enough into memory that Brewster needs to learn the lesson again.  Just as Mark Dantonio wasn’t fired for losing to Minnesota and Ohio State’s Jim Tressel wasn’t fired for losing to Purdue, Brewster shouldn’t be fired  for this.  If it happens again repeatedly, then you start talking about length of contract….  Let’s see what happens this week against serious underdog (FCS) South Dakota State.


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