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UNIVERSITY OF MINNESOTA MEDIA CONFERENCE
September 14, 2010
COACH BREWSTER: Obviously coming off a very extremely disappointing loss last Saturday to South Dakota. It's a game in which we should have won; we didn't.
Our whole intention at this point in the season was to be 2-0 getting ready to play a really good Southern California football team. The reality is that we're a 1-1 football team at this point instead of 2-0. Again, there's great disappointment in us being 1-1 as opposed to being 2-0.
We have looked very closely at the game last Saturday, dissected the loss in every way imaginable that you can. We've come up with answers. We've made our corrections with our football team.
Sunday at 5:30, we buried the South Dakota loss. We've put that game behind us. We're focused very intently on Southern California. And rightfully so. They're an outstanding football team, and they've got great talent, and certainly present a great challenge to us this coming Saturday.
But it's a challenge in which I know our football team is very excited about and really, really looking forward to. As we go back and we look at the game on Saturday, we did lot of good things in the game on Saturday offensively, but we also did some things to really hurt us.
We feel like we left a minimum of 21 points on the field. Did some good things running the football. Throwing the football was very pleased with what Adam did. Adam, threw the ball extremely accurately, played extremely well, other than the fact that he had two really important turnovers fumbling the football that really hurt us.
So again, we'll learn from those mistakes. Definitely we did a great job versus the inside running game. Obviously we had problems with the quarterback, containing him. Obviously the throwing game hurt us. Made numerous mistakes on the back end as far as the secondary was concerned.
A lot have people have talked to me about the fact that we've got 11 new starters on defense; and that's a factual statement. We do. We knew we were gonna be inexperienced on defense. But, again, there's no excuse for some of the mistakes that we made, and we've worked really hard to correct those things.
We're excited this week as you look at the depth chart. Dom Alford will be back in the lineup this week. He is not gonna come back as a starter. He'll game come back as the back up left tackle, the Ed Olson. Again, that really gives us as added presence up front that we know we're gonna need as we move forward. His experience is certainly gonna be a real plus.
On the back end in the secondary at free safety, Kyle Theret will come back as a starter. Kyle will start at free safety for us against Southern California. We really think that he's really gonna help us back there. I think his experience is gonna help settle James Manuel in helping him get lined up and do things. I know our defense is very excited to have Kyle back in the lineup and playing again.
Other than that, guys, we've got no depth chart changes. Everything else basically remains the same. MarQueis Gray obviously is our No. 2 quarterback. But also, as he did last Saturday, will play extensively at wide receiver. He certainly did a lot of good things last week, and he really gives us a dimension at the receiver position.
The question has been opposed to me, you know, as MarQueis possibly gonna be a full-time wide receiver? Certainly not. He is our second-best quarterback. If we need, if Adam were to get injured or we felt like Adam wasn't helping us as much as we need at the quarterback position, MarQueis would step in and play immediately at quarterback position.
And MarQueis' future at the University of the Minnesota. He's gonna be at the quarterback position. He will be our quarterback as we move forward into next season. But, again, it's great to have him on the field. Nine catches and a touchdown, obviously you can see what type of athlete, what type of player he is.
Again, you know, going back to Southern Cal, it's a big, physical, athletic football team. They've got five-star football players across the board on their football team. A great deal of talent.
Matt Barkley is, I think, an outstanding quarterback. He's got size, a great arm. He looks like he's moving better this year. It looks like he's moving around the pocket some. But, again, he's a pocket quarterback and throws the ball extremely well.
Dillon Baxter is a very exciting young player for them, a tailback who missed the first game against Hawaii. Played against Virginia, and he was one of the most highly recruited players in the country.
The Tyler kid is also an outstanding back. They've got a great core of wide receivers to throw to, a big physical front. Basically, you can say the same thing about their defense: big, physical, strong, fast, all of the above.
It's a great challenge for our football team. As I've said, it's gonna allow us to kind of measure ourselves against one the elite programs in the country.
As disappointing as last week's loss was to South Dakota, there's not doubt in my mind that our players will be in a great frame of mind this week to play Southern Cal. We'll be ready to play, understanding what a great team we're gonna be facing.
Q. Tim, to what degree is the timing or fit at this point between Weber and Gray?
COACH BREWSTER: You know, it gets better daily. Daily. It was much better against South Dakota than it was against Middle Tennessee State. MarQueis was having a lot of the fun on the field on Saturday, you know, making plays. You know, I told him he should have had 11 catches. He had nine; should have had 11. I want him to catch every ball.
But, you know, again, on a daily basis, they'll continue to get more confidence in each other. MarQueis will become a more precise route runner. He does a lot things right now just based on his athletic ability, his size.
When he adds a preciseness -- and, again, it's very fortunate to be tutored by a guy like Steve Watson. Steve is certainly doing a great job in helping MarQueis in a limited amount of time. He's still getting a great deal of work as a quarterback.
Obviously he's got to be able to go in and play quarterback and execute the plan, and then also divide his time at the receiver position. So we're asking a lot out of MarQueis, but he certainly seems to be able to handle it.
Q. So is Allipate next in line?
COACH BREWSTER: Allipate would be the third quarterback, Charlie.
Q. Tim, you said you dissected that film over the weekend. What kind of stood out to you? What kind of answer did you find in that evaluation?
COACH BREWSTER: You know, obviously when you look at it, you know, the containment issues that we had with the quarterback, obviously setting edges to the defense, doing a better job of setting edges to the defense. And then also just in pure coverage. We were out of position a lot of times coverage-wise.
You know, again, just our inexperience in the middle of the field showed up. Again, it was great to be able to sit down with those guys and go through it with a fine-tooth comb and go out on Sunday and make the corrections we felt like we needed to make; and we did that.
Obviously offensively, you know, we did a lot of good things, but we left points on the field. We left a lot of points on the field. We still got to finish drives. The disappointment in not scoring a touchdown on the opening drive of the game and having to kick a field goal, still missing a field goal, you know, in the game.
So, again, you know, there is a lot of correctable things that we could fix from that game. I think our staff has done a really nice job of doing that, you know, as we move forward.
Q. You've worked really hard on the community perception program for the team. How much negativity do you think there is, and how much is justified as a result of Saturday?
COACH BREWSTER: I'm disappointed for our fans that we didn't win the game Saturday. We had an amazing fan turnout. We had a great student section. That's the biggest disappointment that I have, that I didn't deliver a victory to our fans on Saturday.
Our fans deserve a victory. They deserved a victory Saturday. So that disappointment, you know, it runs really deep for me. I want to give -- our fans are starving for a winner at the University Minnesota, a true winner.
I feel a tremendous sense of obligation to deliver that winner to our fans. We're gonna get that done. There's not a doubt in my mind. I've got tremendous conviction that we're doing the things on daily basis that we need to do. Saturday certainly was not indicative of that process.
Again, I can't tell you the disappointment that I had, but particularly for our fans. But, you know what? It's amazing the amount of support and the e-mails that I've gotten. Obviously there's a real sense of negativity.
You know, I think that obviously the media takes it and runs with it and makes it a whole lot worse than it is. That accentuate the negative as opposed to the positive in a lot of instances. But that's fact; that's reality. You've got to take your medicine when you lose a game like we did to South Dakota, which we shouldn't have lost, period.
So I understand that. But I also truly believe in our process, what we're building on our football team. So that gives me great conviction to work extremely hard and deliver to our fans what they deserve.
Q. How can you operate with a $9.5 million budget? Those figures I know in Monday morning's paper are 100% accurate. They came from a very good source in the conference. How can you operate with a $9.5 million budget, and you're foes, Iowa and Wisconsin have got $22 million? How can that be corrected?
COACH BREWSTER: You know, it's factual what you're saying. Obviously what we've got to look at at the University of Minnesota is the amount of revenue that we're bringing in and the number of sports that we're sporting.
So obviously TFC Bank Stadium is gonna help with the amount of revenue that is coming in. It's unfortunate that we do spend the amount of money that we spend as far as football is concerned and other people spend a whole a lot more.
It is what it is. I've got to make sure I get the job done regardless. You know what? I'm not at a great disadvantage by the amount of money we spend. We spend less money; that's a fact, okay? So what I got to do is I got to take what I have and I've got to maximize it. I've got to do a better job with what I have. I accept that.
Hopefully, as we move forward - and Joel has made the comment - we did need to spend more money on football and basketball. That's a fact. I think that's something that we'll do as we move forward.
Q. Is it a sign the program isn't committed to winning?
COACH BREWSTER: You know, I don't think that's the case at all, but I think that the amount of money that you spend in a program is a by-product of winning. I think that the two are combined together.
Again, like I said, you can't spend what you don't have, you know. So I've talked at length to Joel about what we need to do to help take our football program forward. He understands we need to put more money into the football program to have a -- and we've had success at Minnesota.
But if we wasn't to have championship success, we've got to get more involved with helping the football program. I don't think there's any question about that. If Joel was sitting here, he would say the same thing.
Q. If we had two or four more (indiscernible) coaches that's got to help you. If you have two or four more recruiting coaches, that's got to help you. That's been the situation here. Maybe that's the reason they've had a hard time winning.
COACH BREWSTER: You know, you're not saying anything that people don't understand. I think everybody understands what you're saying. Nobody understands it more clearly than I do.
But, again, like I said, I can win with what we have. I should have beat -- we should've beat South Dakota on Saturday with what we have, okay? I don't have an excuse for losing to South Dakota because we're not spending more money on football.
We're spending enough money on football for me to win football games. It's my job to win football games. I think as we move forward and win more football games, we'll spend more money on football. It's my job to make sure that that stadium is jam packed. On Saturday, our stadium was full and the student section was full.
What we did Saturday didn't help what we want to accomplish. So that's a...
Q. But regardless, you get what you pay for. With two games under your belt, can you talk about the satisfaction with the running game?
COACH BREWSTER: You know, I'm really pleased with the running game. I think Tim Davis and Jeff Horton have done a great job with the running game, and certainly Duane Bennett's been out. DeLeon Eskridge has done some nice things, Donnell Kirkwood.
Again, it all starts up front. We're committed to running the football. I think that's the whole key to success, is truly being committed to running the football. The execution has been there, and it's been good.
Q. When you first came here, you did make it a priority to beef up the schedule with higher-profile opponents. This is probably the biggest example of that. Can you just go through again the process of what you thought about adding teams like USC to the schedule, high-profile, marquee teams?
COACH BREWSTER: You know, the game playing USC has really helped us in numerous ways before we have even played the game. Just the exposure on the University of Minnesota saying that we're gonna play USC on national television has been a huge positive. It's been great in recruiting. Our recruits are really excited about the fact that we've got a home and home series with USC.
Kids, as I have said all along, they want to play in big games against great teams on national TV. That's what it's all about. As we move forward, I want to continue to play one marquee BCS opponent each year. We're gonna play an extremely demanding schedule now that Nebraska is in the Big 10. As we move forward to 2015, you're gonna see a ninth game added to the Big 10 schedule.
Again, it's a very challenging schedule. I think it's one that is gonna help our program. Again, we've been middle of the road. We've been a six-, seven-win team. What is it gonna take for us to take that next step? I think playing those big games and helping our program is what's gonna allow us to take that next step.
Q. What's different from a Pete Carroll USC team as opposed to a Monte Kiffin?
COACH BREWSTER: Not a whole a lot. You know, Pete Carroll and Monte Kiffin are like brothers, okay? Defensively, they're very similar in scheme, in style, the whole thing. I think the same thing offensively. Obviously they're a pro-style team, very similar to what we do here. They're committed to trying to run the football, be physical, and obviously have great weapons and great athleticism on their team.
So I don't see a whole a lot of difference between 'em. I've looked close at the statistics. Statistically they're very similar. So in this short period of time, it's hard to see a real big difference.
Q. Can you characterize your confidence right now in the kicking game?
COACH BREWSTER: Characterize my confidence in the kicking game? You know, obviously I think we're doing a great job with our coverage units; our return units have been solid. Brandon Green has done a great job of catching and returning punts.
I think you're referring to Eric Ellestad. There's a concern there that our guys missed three field goals. I've had a great meeting with Eric, and Eric is a talented kicker. He's proven that he can make field goals in the heat of a battle, in the heat of a game, with the game on the line. He's done that before. He's just got to get his stroke, his confidence right.
He's missed three field goals to the left side. We're gonna work on some adjustments with him this week. But my confidence is there in Eric that he'll do the job if he needs to.
Q. You're facing a USC team that has had its own struggles this year. What are some of the weaknesses that you see?
COACH BREWSTER: You know, it's hard to say where you see weakness in a team like USC. They gave up some yards to Hawaii, but I think a lot of those yards were late. I think a lot of those yards were late in the game when the game was basically won by S.C. They had their second and third units in the game in the fourth quarter.
You know, they played a really good Virginia football team. I was extremely impressed with how Virginia played SC. A similar style to us. Getting back to your question, when you turn on the tape, you see the big athletic offensive lineman, you see tight ends, you see Ron Johnson at receiver, Dillon Baxter at tailback, you see Tyler at tailback.
On defense you see a lot of really good athletes. You know, again, I don't think that you can say that I see a weakness. I know we're committed to doing what we do offensively. We're gonna run the football, we're gonna move the quarterback around, play-action pass.
We're not gonna recreate anything this week. We're gonna try to do what we're done and continue to try to do it better. Obviously we've got to make a lot of improvement on defense.
Q. What's your evaluation on how Ed Olson played at left tackle?
COACH BREWSTER: Really good. I mean, for a redshirt freshman, Ed Olson has been -- I can't tell you how pleased I am with him. I think it says a lot that with Dom Alford coming back, we still have Dom as the third tackle and not ahead of Eddie.
So if Eddie wasn't playing as well as he is, we would've put Dom back in the starting lineup. I think it really helps our team to have a third tackle like Dom Alford, and Eddie has done a nice job.
Q. You talked about after the game that you wanted to simplify and focus more on defense. Still have plans to do that?
COACH BREWSTER: We'll make some changes with what we're doing defensively. Not a lot. You know, we want to take what we've done and make our corrections and be better, have our guys execute better. And I really think they will.
I think the 11 guys we have on defense have a chance to be a good defensive football team. I think that our coaches have done a nice job since the South Dakota game of looking at what we're doing and maybe pulling a little something out, adding a little something here.
But the bottom line is their ability to execute the defense, and I think we'll be better Saturday.
Q. Is it a matter of less or just different schemes?
COACH BREWSTER: You know, I'm not gonna give my game plan away, what we're doing at USC. But we want to be better. If that means taking a few things out or doing a few things differently, that's what we're gonna do.
Kevin has worked really hard. Kevin and Ronnie and our defensive staff have worked really hard since Saturday in looking at what we've done and looking at being better Saturday.
Q. The challenges that you face on defense right now, does it compare to anything in your first year?
COACH BREWSTER: You know, I mean, obviously I think that we're further ahead than we were or first year, you know, obviously when you look at talent that we've got out there. But there's still some youth in certain spots, like we had that first year.
Youth and inexperience obviously at times causes problems. So, again, we've got to do a great job as coaches of making sure that they fully understand exactly what we're asking out of 'em.
Q. (No microphone.)
COACH BREWSTER: I think we're doing a nice job. We haven't been -- USC leads the nation in penalties. They lead the nation. I think they've got 24 penalties for 248 yards. I think our guys have done a nice job.
We've really emphasized being a smarter football team. I think it is indicative when you look at the penalties we've had. We had a couple early in the game Saturday, but nothing significant. There wasn't anything penalty-in that game that really hurt us.
Again, I'm pleased with the intelligence that our team is playing with through the first two weeks of the season.
Q. How did Kyle handle missing couple games?
COACH BREWSTER: Really hard. I don't know that there's a more competitive little guy in college football than Kyle Theret. He's not the most talented guy, not the biggest, not the fastest, not the strongest. But you know what? He cares. He cares deeply about his football team. He's a very prideful guy about how he plays the game.
It has hurt him badly to miss the first two games of his senior year at the University of Minnesota. I know that for a fact. He is extremely excited -- you'll see a guy out there ripping and running today at practice.
Q. What do you think of the linebackers?
COACH BREWSTER: You know, I thought our linebackers played pretty solid in the game against South Dakota. In the first game they weren't out there as much. But I thought Keanon Cooper is doing some good things; Gary Tinsley, solid; Mike Rallis, you know, has really been -- he was our most valuable player on defense in the first game, and did not play as well in this game against South Dakota.
Had a couple of situations where we needed for him to play better. But he will, because, again, Michael does a great job in preparation. He's fully invested in what he's trying to do.
I thought the front seven really did a pretty darn good job. When you hold their tailback it eight net yards rushing, that a pretty solid effort.
Q. On that bootleg, fourth and one when they ran for that touchdown, shouldn't there have been linebacker there? Was that a mistake?
COACH BREWSTER: There was. There was a free player on that play that should have been there to basically tackle the quarterback for a three or four yard loss.
Q. The Ra'Shede move, is that permanent?
COACH BREWSTER: You know, I don't know that it's permanent. I think there are situations where he's still gonna play defensive end. He has that ability. He keeps growing; he keeps getting bigger and stronger, and he's gonna be a natural fit inside.
Right now he's still playing a little bit of both spots. We're trying to limit what we ask of him so he can come on and get on the field and help us. But I think you'll see him some inside and at the defense end the rest of the season.
Q. What's the advantage of moving him?
COACH BREWSTER: You know, he's such a big, strong, physical guy. When you play on the guard, the defensive positions are an outside shade, head-up inside shade. Outside shade is a three technique where he really is one-on-one with the guard.
That's what we'd like to be able to create with him, is as many one-on-one matchups as we possibly can. We think physically he can win in a one-on-one matchup.
Q. And the potential for young guys like him to take the next step, that would be huge, wouldn't it?
COACH BREWSTER: Yeah, absolutely. Ra'Shede Hageman is 6'6", 295 pounds. He's can run; he's a big, strong, physical guy. He's a guy that as we move forward defensively, he's a guy that I think can be an impact player. He's just, again, right now, he's just young and learning and growing each day.
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