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July 27, 2009

Tim Brewster


TIM BREWSTER: It's a very exciting time in the state of Minnesota. We're awful excited about opening TCF Bank Stadium on September 12th. It's an amazing stadium, and it's going to give us something that we haven't had in a long time, and that's a tremendous, what we feel like, home field advantage.
As you guys come up and get a chance to see the stadium, it's one of those things that has exceeded any and all expectations that I had for the stadium. Anybody who's been in it, it's helped us in recruiting. It's just been something that has been sorely missed, and the state of Minnesota is certainly excited to have football back on campus.
What gets me really excited is the fact that we've got a good football team going into TCF Bank Stadium. We've got a veteran, experienced group; we've got a talented group. I think it all starts with our quarterback, Adam Weber. I think Adam is on outstanding player. He's taken every snap for the past two years, and gives us tremendous leadership at the quarterback position. It's absolutely vital for our success.
Another young guy that I think is a tremendous story, he's here and he'll represent the Big Ten players tomorrow when he speaks, Eric Decker. Eric Decker deserves a tremendous amount of praise. He's been drafted twice by the Minnesota Twins in baseball, and he's decided to play for us, play out his senior year at the U. I'm awful excited to have him back. I don't think there's a better wide receiver in the country than Eric Decker, and I think he's poised to have a tremendous senior season. And Weber to Decker I think is going to be a heck of a tandem.
Defensively I think we're in good shape. I like what we've got down the middle. Two defensive tackles, Eric small and Garrett Brown and a middle linebacker, Lee Campbell that I think is going to be one of the better middle linebackers and two of the better defensive tackles in the Big Ten.
Marcus Sherels and Traye Simmons at corner certainly help us on the defensive side. But I'm pleased. Again, like I said, we're experienced, we're talented, and it's an opportunity for us to really step forward as we go into TCF Bank Stadium.
The schedule is extremely challenging, but that's to my liking. I love the fact that we're playing Air Force, we're playing Cal, we're playing Syracuse. We're playing some really good football teams. Somebody said that we had the fifth most challenging schedule in America, and I like that. I think it's a good thing.

Q. You made some changes to your coaching staff in the off-season. I'm thinking specifically of a couple guys, Tim Davis and Kevin Cosgrove. What have they given you to this point, and what do you anticipate they'll be giving you at the beginning of the season?
TIM BREWSTER: Well, I think what we're talking about is two very veteran, experienced coaches, and they're proven coaches. Tim Davis had tremendous success at Wisconsin, National Championships at Southern Cal, Miami Dolphins, University of Alabama with Nick Sabin. I think Tim Davis is as fine an offensive line coach as there is. What we wanted to do is get more physical up front, and Tim has very quickly put his print on our offensive line. They've taken on his personality, more of my personality in the offensive line, and I like it.
Kevin Cosgrove, he's one of the outstanding defensive coordinators in college football. Tremendous success at Wisconsin; went to Nebraska and had success. I'm thrilled to death to have Kevin with us. Gives us a real sense of stability at the defensive coordinator position. He's an outstanding football coach, and we're very fortunate to get Kevin.

Q. Because you do have a program on the uptick, how important are those first two games?
TIM BREWSTER: Well, I like to say this: The only thing that matters for the University of Minnesota football program is on September the 5th at about 5:00 being 1 and 0. That's the only thing we're concerned about. That's our sole focus. We're pouring a lot of energy and preparation -- and it's hard, because there's unknown there with Syracuse. Doug Marrone coming from the Saints. Different things going on there. But I think that that's the most important thing for us. I really like our preparation.
And again, we're not looking to September the 12th. The only thing that matters to us is September the 5th.

Q. Along with Eric Decker you have Hale Carpenter, a new recruit out of California. Can you talk about how you plan to utilize him?
TIM BREWSTER: Hale Carpenter is on campus, is in school, and we're very excited about his arrival. He's a very dynamic wide receiver, tremendous speed, toughness, hands. He's going to add something, a dimension to our offense in the passing game that I think is really going to help.
Obviously when you have Eric Decker on one side of the field and Hale Carpenter on the other side of the field, we've got a very underrated tight end in Nick Tow-Arnett. We really feel like we're going to be able to work the middle of the field with our tight end and really be able to get vertical on the outside with some of our receivers.
Again, Hale hasn't played a snap in the Big Ten. Obviously he's going to go through a transition. But I'll tell you, he's working extremely hard on campus right now, and again, like I said, he gives us a dimension that we've lacked, and that's pure speed.

Q. You mentioned your schedule earlier, and I'm thinking of the series you've got coming up with USC. I'm just wondering how did that come about? And what do you have to gain by playing them? Is there anything you have to lose by playing a team like that?
TIM BREWSTER: Well, you know, Joe and I, we sit down and we look at what can we do to make our football program better. One of the thoughts that I had from day one is to play a very challenging nonconference schedule that recruits are going to be excited about. The opportunity came up where USC had an opening, and I was excited about the challenge. We're going to play a home and home with USC, and that's down the road. That's next year. I don't want to think too much about USC.
But from a recruit's perspective, I think that's what they want. When I talk to recruits on the phone, they say, Hey, coach, who are you playing in the nonconference schedule? They want to know. When I say, We're playing USC, you can sense an excitement in a young man's voice. Kids want to play in marquee nationally televised games.
To be honest with you, I want the University of Minnesota to be on that stage. I want to play nationally televised games where a tremendous exposure is put on our program. And when you play USC, that happens.
We're going to play some other teams also that are going to give us exposure. I don't think there's a downside. I really don't. We're an ascending program the way I look at our program. We're going to keep getting better. We'll be up to the challenge of playing the type of schedules that we're going to play at Minnesota through the next couple of years.

Q. You talked about your offensive line. I was wondering what your thoughts were on your right side, specifically with the new additions.
TIM BREWSTER: Two new additions on the right side of our offensive line. A young fellow, Jeff Wills, very large man. He came in and he was about 412 pounds. He's now down to 340 pounds, 342 pounds, 6'7". I feel great about the young guy. He's come in here and he's worked extremely hard. He's raised his level of fitness tremendously.
And then we're also excited about Matt Carufel. Matt Carufel was a young man that left the state of Minnesota, went to Notre Dame, and made a decision to come back home. He's back home, and he's playing right guard for us. We're awful excited about the temperament that Matt Carufel brings to our offensive line, the athleticism that he brings. He's a heck of a player.
I certainly believe under Tim Davis' guidance we're going to have a much improved offensive line this season, and we're going to obviously need to run the ball better. With those guys, I think we will.

Q. You mentioned about opening TCF Bank Stadium in the fall. Talk about after being so many years indoors in Minnesota, come October, November, what that's going to be like in the elements as opposed to being in the dome?
TIM BREWSTER: Well, I think the state of Minnesota is really excited about getting back outdoors. Bud Grant is a good friend of mine and a longtime Minnesota Golden Gopher and a long-time Minnesota Vikings coach. He said what we've got to do is use the outdoors to our advantage, and that's what we want to do. We're excited about going back outside and playing in the elements, playing hard-nosed physical football on campus.
So we're going to embrace being outside, and hopefully we're going to have some cold, snowy days where our opponent is going to come in there and they're not going to like it as much as we're going to like it, because we're going to practice outside and embrace the elements in the state of Minnesota, even though I really feel like the amount of discussion on the weather and how cold it is in Minnesota is overblown.
I think it's just as cold in Chicago. It's just as cold in Columbus or Ann Arbor or some of those places. But we just spend more time talking about the weather in Minnesota.
Again, like I said, we're going to embrace the elements and look forward to it.

Q. You've got a lot of experience coming back, also a lot of new schemes, whether it's coaches or just scheme-wise on offense. How fast can you push it as far as the learning curve?
TIM BREWSTER: You know, we haven't changed much on the defensive side of the ball. Really schematically there's very few changes. Verbiage-wise there's very few changes. So there's been a very seamless transition with Kevin Cosgrove on the defensive side.
Offensively there's a little bit more change. But again, like I said, our kids have embraced the change, doing what we're doing. Adam Weber has been amazing in his leadership this summer, the captain's practices, film sessions. He's done a great job of going in and taking charge.
So I think that our guys are going to be ready to play on September the 5th. The offense that we're going to run, and I don't see it as being an issue, I really don't.

Q. Do you think it would help the image of this conference if more coaches scheduled aggressive -- more aggressively, more challenging schedules in the nonconference season?
TIM BREWSTER: You know, it's something that we've talked about as a group, and I -- each coach has got to go the direction he feels like his particular school needs to go.
We at the University of Minnesota have chosen a more aggressive path, and it's a path that I think is going to allow us to reach our ultimate goal, and that's win a championship in the Big Ten.
I think for us to win a championship in the Big Ten we've got to play a higher quality and caliber of nonconference opponent. So for us, without question, it's the right thing to do. I'd hate to speak for the other schools in the Big Ten on what their thoughts are on nonconference scheduling.

Q. Going along a little bit with that, Illinois is scheduling a little bit later this year. They're going to play into December, and so is Wisconsin. You went to a Bowl game last year. Do you think that might help a little bit? Do you think more teams will be doing that? What are your thoughts?
TIM BREWSTER: I think we've got to look at the things that we can do as a conference to help our teams have success in the Bowl season. We did not have as much success as a conference last year in the Bowl season. I think it's been an issue.
And so I think as a conference with Jim Delaney's leadership, we're looking at ways in which we can help our team. I think playing into the month of December would help us. I look forward to the day when we add a team and we split the divisions and we play for a championship on national TV on a Saturday night in December.
I mean, how good would that be for this conference, for the exposure of this conference? I think we're missing a little something there by not having that. But I think it's something that we're discussing as a conference, and so I think both those things would help us.
Playing into December, adding a team and playing a championship game, in my mind, would be a very positive step for our conference.

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