Brewster Remains Relentlessly Optimistic

Tim Brewster's football team set a number of dubious records, but the Gophers coach remains unwavering in his support of the plan and his optimism for the future. See what Brewster had to say about his players, their progress and the outlook of the program.

It is one of Tim Brewster's favorite lines: The plan is in place.

He used the phrase often in his first season at Minnesota, reflecting a sense of self-confidence that he can fix all that went wrong in a season few could have predicted.

The Gophers finished Brewster's inaugural season with a 1-11 record, including 0-8 against Big Ten competition. They set a school record for losses, finished without a victory or tie in the Big Ten for the first time since 1983 and are in full rebuilding mode — still.

In a season of historic parity in the Big Ten — 10 teams are bowl-eligible for the first time — the Gophers were unable to capitalize on the anything-can-happen culture in college football.

The Gophers lost six games by a total of 23 points, but they were also a missed 33-yard field goal by Miami (Ohio) from being winless. Clearly, no one anticipated this scenario when the school made a coaching change last winter.

The results simply didn't match Brewster's hype, and there is no shortage for anyone generating a list of reasons.

The shift to a spread offense and freshman quarterback led to inconsistency. The defense was overmatched, and team morale was wounded by the losing and constant harping on the team's lack of playmakers and the need to recruit better athletes.

Brewster, however, has refused to relent in his optimism and insisted his staff got everything it could out of this team.

"I say that with all sincerity," he said. "I think this football team has played as hard as it can play. We haven't got any breaks. I think these kids have played as well as they can."

A lot was put on the shoulders of redshirt freshman quarterback Adam Weber, who experienced the typical highs and lows of a first-year starter. Weber set a host of single-season school records and led the team in rushing with 617 yards, but his 19 interceptions were landmines to an offense without the means to overcome self-inflicted wounds.

Brewster shot down any talk about replacing Weber this season and said Weber will be "head and shoulders" above everyone else in the quarterback competition when spring practice begins.

Sophomore wide receiver Eric Decker finished with a school-record 67 receptions and has the potential to become a star. But the Gophers must re-establish their running game after failing to produce a 1,000-yard rusher for the first time since 1998.

On the other side of the ball, the Gophers set a school record for yards allowed (6,224), are last in the FBS in total defense and ranked 103rd or worse nationally in eight statistical categories.

Brewster said he believes both the offense and defense will benefit greatly from another offseason and suggested the coaches and players will be "more comfortable" in their second season together. The inaugural season of a new era certainly didn't go as planned and now fans must hope that their patience and Brewster's insatiable desire to recruit will lead to better days.

"These kids didn't ask for the change," Brewster said. "Change was given to them. Change is hard. The process of going through a totally new system is really hard. Obviously we've had our growing pains, implementing a new style of play. But I think the two steps back are really going to allow us to take that big step forward."

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