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August 2, 2010

Tim Brewster


THE MODERATOR: Next up is Tim Brewster.
COACH BREWSTER: What an experience it is to follow the man who I think will go down in history as the greatest head football coach in the history of college football. I hope everybody in here truly appreciates the 15 minutes that Joe Paterno just gave us, and just what an amazing man. I have so much respect and admiration for Coach Paterno and his football teams throughout the years.
We're awful excited about Penn State University coming to the Twin Cities and playing the Gophers at our new stadium, TCF Bank Stadium.
It's been a great summer. I feel really good. What's important to me, what's important to our staff is what our team is doing on a daily basis to improve. I met with Mark Hill, our strength coach, before I left. Mark said that our football team's had a great summer.
We're bigger. We're stronger. We're faster. We're more athletic than we've been. And rightfully so. We need to be. We know that we're going to play one of the most challenging schedules in America this season. And our players are going to have to be prepared.
Also met with Adam Weber. Adam Weber is a young man who I feel like he's probably going to be the most experienced quarterback in the country. He's basically taken every snap for us the past three years. I think Adam is poised to have a great season.
He's in great physical condition. Last year he had surgery prior to the season. And I don't think he was -- I don't think he was as effective as he would have liked to have been. And I think in large part a lot of it had to do with his physical condition. But he's in great physical shape. He's our captain. He's our leader.
He's had a great summer. He reported to me that our football team has made a great commitment this summer to improve, to get better. The captain's practices were excellent.
He said there was a great commitment from every player on our football team to improve this summer. And, again, rightfully so. We need to be improved. We need to be better.
Also I'd like to say that we've had a great summer recruiting, great summer recruiting. We've had a lot of young men on campus this summer. Really been positive.
I'd also, before I take questions, like to say a public thank you to Larry Fitzgerald. Larry Fitzgerald is a young man from the Twin Cities, from Minneapolis. I think everybody knows who he is, wide receiver for the Arizona Cardinals. Larry Fitzgerald for the past three years has run Camp Fitzgerald at the University of Minnesota.
30 to 40 of the best players in the National Football League trained on our campus, have trained on our campus for the past three years. And it's just been an amazing thing for our players, for our coaches, to be able to interact with these great players, particularly Larry Fitzgerald, what he's done for the community and for high school kids.
What an amazing experience for our players to be on the practice field with players like Larry Fitzgerald and another local man, James Laurinaitis, those type players in the National Football League, rub shoulders with them and learn from them.
It's not by accident that players become great. And I think it was a great opportunity this summer for our players to really see the best of the best.
Our captains, our guys here, Adam Weber, as I mentioned, our quarterback, like I said, great admiration for him. I think he's poised to have a great year. Kim Royston, strong safety, again, a local young man who transferred from Wisconsin to Minnesota. He's here representing us. And also Brandon Kirksey. Brandon Kirksey, defensive tackle from St. Louis.
All three of these young men I think are outstanding representatives of the University of Minnesota and will do a great job in representing us here in Chicago.
I'd also like to say Jon Hoese. Jon Hoese is a senior fullback who is also an elected captain. I wish he would have been here as well. They only allowed us to bring three.
But, again, thank you very much. And I'll take questions now.

Q. Tim, your program enjoys a long tradition of playing Wisconsin and Iowa for trophies; however, with the potential realignment, have you spoken about wanting to maintain those rivalries with some of your higher ups, or is that important to you as the program goes forward?
COACH BREWSTER: I have spoken to Jim Delany. I've spoken to Joel Maturi. I think it's absolutely vital for the University of Minnesota to play Wisconsin and to play Iowa each and every year.
I think it's vital to the Big Ten. It's what the Big Ten is all about, the traditions, the rivalries, playing for the Floyd of Rosedale, playing for Paul Bunyan's Axe is important to those states, to the state of Wisconsin, Iowa, and Minnesota.
And I don't think there's any question that as we look at realignment, Mr. Delany is going to figure out a way in which we play each other each and every year.

Q. Coach, I'm wondering, you've tried in the past to strengthen the schedule of the Gophers, obviously playing USC this year. I'm wondering if I can get your thoughts on losing the Texas series in 2015-2016 and what steps you've taken to replace those games.
COACH BREWSTER: When I took the job at the University of Minnesota, I made a statement. I said: I want to improve our nonconference scheduling. I want it to help us in recruiting. I want to try to bring the national spotlight to the University of Minnesota.
And that's something that through an assistant athletic director, Marc Ryan, Joel Maturi, we were able to accomplish with our scheduling. We're certainly extremely proud that Southern Cal is going to be coming to the Twin Cities playing in TCF Bank Stadium this year.
We play one of the top five toughest schedules in America at the University of Minnesota. It's something we embrace, and proud of. There was great disappointment. There was great disappointment that the University of Texas chose not to play the game. It was a game in which we had signed contracts. It's a great friend of mine, the head football coach of the University of Texas, Mack Brown.
So, again, there's great disappointment there that they chose not to play the game over -- it's a game four years out. And in talking to Jim Delany, Jim said he felt like there's no question we could have helped them get what they needed to get as far as postgame video highlights, that type of thing.
And so we're going to take a very aggressive stance and approach to nonconference scheduling, because it only helps us. We want to be a championship-caliber program at the University of Minnesota, and we think to do that we've got to bring the spotlight to us.
And so, again, I feel really good. And we're very close to replacing Texas with another marquee non-conference BCS opponent.

Q. Especially with the student tickets, your season ticket sales have been slumping this year. Is that a concern of you at this point or is that something you just have to look forward to and address in the future?
COACH BREWSTER: In talking with President Bruininks and Joel Maturi, I don't think there's any slump in our ticket sales. We think we're going to be sold out. We're sold out again. What we've got to do is track the students and we've got to get more student involvement in the University of Minnesota.
I think we've done a great job of reaching out to the students and really trying to create a home field advantage.
In my mind -- no slight to any our stadium in the conference -- we've got the best stadium in the country. There's some that are bigger; I don't think there's any that's nicer. We want a great home field advantage Saturday.
When you look at our home schedule this year, our fan based is absolutely jacked about the teams we have coming into TCF Bank Stadium. We want to make it hard on those teams and I think we will.

Q. Coach, you made it such a point in spring practice that every position was up for grabs and that everyone had to go earn their starting spot again. As you go into fall camp, how settled are your lineups? How much sorting out of the roster do you still have to do?
COACH BREWSTER: One common attribute that every football team in America has today is great competition. And we feel like for the first time in my three years at the University of Minnesota going into our fourth year, that we've got great competition across the board. This spring it made our team better. The competition that we've had at quarterback, the competition that we've had in the offensive line, great competition at tailback.
We've got a pretty good idea about the direction we'll go, but our kids need to understand that on a daily basis you've got to compete for your job. And if you're deciding today not to compete for your job, well, we've got somebody that can step in and replace you and could replace you for a long time.
I've told the story about Wally Pipp to our team quite a bit. They understand that story very well. It's great that we have that kind of competition.
We've got a very young defensive football team. But it's a very talented defensive football team. And, again, the competition is what's going to make us great. So as we move forward, we'll have competitive situations through the fall. But, again, I think it sorted itself out a little bit this spring.
THE MODERATOR: Thank you, Coach.

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