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November 10, 2009

Tim Brewster

COACH BREWSTER: Going back and recapping the Illinois game, obviously disappointment with the loss. It was an tale of two halves as far as the game was concerned. Obviously we put ourselves in a significant hole in the first half going down 28 to 7. We came back in the second half and won 25 to 7 and came up three points short in the game to win the football game.
As I said after the game on Saturday night, I was extremely proud of our football team to come back like they did in the second half and give themselves a chance to win the football game. We just had an opportunity to make a stop there at the end that we didn't make and didn't get the job done. Certain disappointment with that.
But, again, it is what it is. We move on. We prepare for Senior Day this week against South Dakota State, and are really looking forward to it. We've got really no depth chart changes, guys. The depth chart remains the same.
We've got a good football team that we're facing in South Dakota State. They're a ranked football team in 1AA, and were ranked in the top 10 prior to the loss last week against Southern Illinois. A lot of good football players on their team.
We understand the significance of them coming to the University of Minnesota, playing in TCF Bank Stadium. They're gonna be a very excited, highly emotional group. We understand that.
But for us, it's Senior Day, and that's a very special day at the University of Minnesota. We'll say good-bye to our seniors player their last game at TCF Bank Stadium. Obviously we have a couple more games to play.
Again, it'll be very emotional for our players to see seniors playing their last game in TCF Bank Stadium. So I anticipate our team to -- I'm excited to get back out on the practice field this afternoon and prepare for South Dakota State.
There's gonna be a lot of energy there, and our preparation will be just like it's been all season long. I anticipate us to go out and play a very good football game on Saturday.

Q. You said you understand what it means for State Dakota State to come here. Can you go into a little more depth?
COACH BREWSTER: I'm sure that it's gonna an exciting thing for their football team to come to the University of Minnesota, play a Division 1 football team, a Big 10 football team. You know, playing in TCF Bank Stadium, I'm sure they don't play in many stadiums like TCF Bank Stadium, and so there's gonna be a great deal of excitement on their part, very similar to North Dakota State when we played them a couple years ago.
They're good football teams. I think that you understand South Dakota State beat Northern Iowa. Northern Iowa had University of Iowa on the ropes totally. Lost 17 to 16, missing two field goals within 30 yards in the last couple of seconds of the game.
So South Dakota State certainly has our attention. We understand how excited they're gonna be excited to play. But understand, we're gonna be very excited to play.

Q. I think a couple years ago when you played North Dakota State you weren't sure if those kind of games had a lot of benefit. How do you feel, I guess, about that now?
COACH BREWSTER: I feel the same way. I don't know how much it benefits the University of Minnesota to play South Dakota State. I'm not sure of that benefit.
Again, as I've said with the nonconference scheduling, I'd like to see nonconference scheduling help us in recruiting. So I'm not certain of how much it'll help us in recruiting. We certainly recruit South Dakota, and there's good football players in the state of South Dakota. You know, that could be a positive.

Q. Did you learn anything from North Dakota State game, how the team responded in that game?
COACH BREWSTER: I think we're so much further along until the process obviously of our program than we were when we played North Dakota State. We're much further along and understand our players much better today than we did in our first year of the program.
I think our players understand that South Dakota State is a really good football team, just like we knew that North Dakota State was a very good football team.
So I don't see that as being as issue. And, again, the big thing for us is this is an opportunity for us to honor our seniors playing their last game in TCF Bank Stadium.
So, again, like I said, I want it to be a very special day for our seniors. We'll honor the seniors throughout the week in practice, and certainly obviously honor them before the game with their parents on Saturday.

Q. (No microphone.)
COACH BREWSTER: That's part of the -- that would be part of a victory on Saturday, is obviously winning our 6th game and becoming Bowl eligible and moving forward.

Q. What do you think the legacy of the senior class is in words, and what do you think the best asset of this class was?
COACH BREWSTER: There's 28 players we're gonna recognize on Saturday, walk-on scholarship players that have committed four and five years of their lives to the University of Minnesota. They've done a great job. These young people have done a great job in the classroom. A large majority of this class is already graduated. I think that's a significant statement about the group.
Obviously we've improved as a football team, and they've been a big part of that. Obviously this year we've had some of success, and they're a huge part of that. The leadership of that group is outstanding.
When you think about guys like Lee Campbell and Garrett Brown and Eric Small and Eric Decker, you know, there's some really good leaders in that group. They've made a very significant contribution towards us taking the program where we want to take it.

Q. Do you think that'll have any impact on the classes behind them?
COACH BREWSTER: I think that they've been excellent leaders and excellent teachers. You can't help but be inspired if you're a young football player watching Lee Campbell play, watching him prepare each and every week and practice each and every day.
And, again, I think the greatest teachers are players themselves. Other players are able to watch how guys prepare and how guys do things. I've always said that the greatest teachers in football are the players themselves.

Q. (No microphone.)
COACH BREWSTER: You know, we just did not start the game well. We had some opportunities to complete a couple of deep balls that we completed against Michigan State that we didn't complete against Illinois. You know, just opportunities in the first half to do some things offensively to get ourselves going.
We put our defense in some tough situations, some sudden-change situations on short fields. It's unfortunate we can't do their to our defense. So, again, you know, I think it's more on us as we looked at the tape.
Obviously went in the locker room at halftime and made some adjustments and corrected some things and really came out and played a very good second half. You know, just unfortunate that we came up short.

Q. (Question regarding fatigue.)
COACH BREWSTER: You know, I don't know. I think obviously our defense is a very well-conditioned, very physical defense. I thought we were better on third downs against the University of Illinois. Obviously when you look at the numbers.
So, again, I think the biggest thing is some of the short fields we put our defense on. It's unfortunate that late in the game we had an opportunity to make a stop, make a tackle, get our defense off the field, hold them to three possibly and certainly not give them seven in a critical situation in the game.
You know, there's opportunities for to us make plays at critical junctures in the game, and that's what I talked to our football team about. We're a good football team, but if we want to be a great football team, we've gotta make the plays at critical points the in the game to allow us to go win games, to go win tight, hard-fought football games.
I think that's exactly where we are right now. We've gotta make those critical plays at critical points in the game.

Q. You talked about Adam Weber being very decisive against Michigan State. Do you feel that was the same against Illinois?
COACH BREWSTER: Obviously he played much better in the second half. He was, I think, 9 out of the 12 passing in the second half. Certainly did a lot of good things.
The first half was not as good. I think a lot of that can be attributed to, again, the support that he gets. He didn't have as good a protection against the University of Illinois as he had against Michigan State. Certainly he made a couple throws he would like to have back. I think he would be the first to tell you that.
Again, we had opportunities at our receiver position to make some big plays down the field that we didn't make. And if we make one of those big plays, obviously it's a spark in the game and the game can certainly take on a different complexion.

Q. What do you see as the strengths in South Dakota State?
COACH BREWSTER: You know, I just think that they're a fundamentally sound football team. They're gonna try to run the football. I think they get good quarterback play, solid quarterback play. They've got a good runner.
You know, defensively, again, they get after it. Eleven guys running to the football well. Just a well-coached football team. They execute well. You can certainly see that on tape.

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