Brewster Continues Praising Effort

The Gophers might end up without a Big Ten win this season, but first-year head coach Tim Brewster continues to praise the character of his players.

His team has lost eight consecutive games, the defense looked disinterested in the first half last week, and morale is not exactly high these days. But Gophers football coach Tim Brewster said he isn't worried that his team will cash it in during the final two weeks.

Of course, what else is he supposed to say?

"These guys are good kids," Brewster said Nov. 4. "They're great-character kids. Their effort is there, so I really don't think it is hard with this particular group of kids. I think they will play their butts off these last two weeks, because they're trophy games."

The Gophers can only hope that the allure of playing their two biggest rivalry games — Nov. 10 at Iowa and at home against Wisconsin in the finale — will be enough to keep the players interested. The season has spiraled into a disaster, and things could become even worse if the entire team checks out emotionally for the final two games.

"To me, it goes back to what kind of people you've got, what kind of character you've got," Brewster said. "These kids have played their hearts and their guts out all season long. You can say they're not good or you can say they've played bad. But they have played with great heart and great character."

The defense, however, looked emotionally defeated throughout the first half of a 44-17 loss to Illinois last week. Illinois finished with 655 total yards (448 rushing), 27 first downs, a season high in points and was 8-for-12 on third down. It undeniably was the low point in a 1-9 season, and it caused fans to flee the Metrodome in waves long before the game ended.

"We all understand it's a process, and it's painful right now," Brewster said. "It really hurts, and people don't have any real understanding of how bad it really does hurt."


  • WR Ernie Wheelwright had one of the best games of his career in the loss. The senior posted career highs in catches (nine) and receiving yards (123) with one touchdown.

  • SS Dom Barber continues to lead the Gophers in tackles with 85. He collected six tackles last week, including 2 1/2 for loss. Barber now has 62 solo tackles.

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