Tag:Big Ten
Posted on: October 20, 2010 11:40 am
Edited on: November 13, 2010 6:14 pm
 

Bielema: Wisconsin plays 'American football'

Posted by Tom Fornelli

Wisconsin
sent a message last Saturday night when they welcomed the top-ranked Ohio State Buckeyes to Madison and proceeded to shove a football down their collective throat for 60 minutes, winning the game 31-18.  It was an exhibition of what Wisconsin does best, and has always done best.  Take a big running back, throw as many blockers as you can in front of him, and then pound the defense into submission.  When that defense starts to get tired, hit them with a play-action pass.

Some would call this style of play smashmouth, or three yards and a cloud of dust.  Not Bret Bielema, though.  No, he has a name for this style of play that's a bit more patriotic.

“We do. We call it American football around here. Two tight ends, two backs, one wide receiver and occasionally get two wide receivers on the field, but it was [a message]. … What we do 365 days a year came through on Saturday. Our kids really imposed their will and it was really fun to watch.”

Yeah, this is American football.  It's blue collar.  It's not that fancy-pants French football where you spread out five wide receivers and dink and dunk your way to the end zone before retreating to the sideline. 

Though, there are some parts of Wisconsin's offense that don't remind me all that much of America to be honest.  First of all, David Gilreath returned the opening kickoff for a touchdown, so it was 7-0 before Wisconsin's American offense ever took the field.  Which means that this American offense never operated with a deficit, and that doesn't sound all that American to me.

Plus, and this one is the most important, last I checked, none of the players on Wisconsin's offense are Chinese.  Since when do Americans manufacture their own points?

Posted on: October 20, 2010 11:21 am
Edited on: October 20, 2010 11:24 am
 

Scott Linehan gets endorsement for UM job

Posted by Chip Patterson

Tim Brewster's mid-season firing from his post as head coach of the Minnesota Golden Gophers had led to an early spin of the coaching carousel.  But what would college football be if we couldn't sit around discussing coaching rumors.  Tony Dungy, reportedly one of Minnesota's top targets, has already declined interest in the job.  It has been suggested that Minnesota should seek the services of former Texas Tech head coach Mike Leach, and he has already stated he is willing to listen to anybody.  Jeff Horton, the Golden Gophers first-year offensive coordinator, has found himself assuming the duties of the departed Brewster and has already begun endorsing candidates for the open position when he was speaking to the media on Tuesday.

"Scott Linehan would be an awesome candidate," said Horton, who was chosen to coach the Gophers' final five games this season after Tim Brewster was fired Sunday. "He would bring his record here with the Vikings, and their offense speaks for itself. He's coached in college before. He knows the college game, and he's been on the highest level in the pros."

Linehan has spent the better part of the last decade bouncing from several different positions in the NFL.  He served as the offensive coordinator at Minnesota (including the high-octane 2004 season, referenced above), Miami, and served the same position for the last two seasons with the Detroit Lions.  Linehan's only head coaching experience was a brief stint with the St. Louis Rams that included an 11-25 record and getting fired four games into his third season.  Horton has spent the last four season working on Linehan's staff (2006-2008 with St. Louis, 2009 with Detroit), and clearly wants to get his "close friend" back into the college game.  Linehan's last college coaching experience was serving as offensive coordinator from 1996-2001 at Washington and Louisville.

Linehan does not bring the type of resume that Leach would, and might not be the first choice of fans and boosters.  The Pioneer Press suggested on Tuesday that Minnesota might pursue former Golden Gophers quarterback Marc Trestman.  Trestman, now head coach of the Canadian Football League's Montreal Alouettes, would not address the situation with the Canadian press.

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Posted on: October 19, 2010 11:33 pm
Edited on: October 19, 2010 11:44 pm
 

Ohio State's Ross Homan out with foot injury

Posted by Adam Jacobi

Jim Tressel announced at his news conference today that Ohio State has lost its most important linebacker for a good chunk of the rest of the season. Ross Homan, a senior three-year starter from Coldwater, Ohio, suffered a foot injury in the Buckeyes' game against Wisconsin. According to Tressel, that'll put Homan out for "a couple weeks."

How much this matters to Ohio State depends largely on how long the injury lingers. Assuming "couple" means at least "multiple," Homan's going to miss this week's game against Purdue and next week's trip to Minnesota. Not to assume victory for OSU or anything, but ... yes, OK, we're assuming exactly that. A bye week awaits after that, then the Buckeyes host Penn State. Even if Homan can't go for PSU, that's four weeks to recover, which certainly seems reasonable, and Ohio State shouldn't miss Homan very much in those three games against relatively toothless offenses.

However, if Homan's foot injury lingers (as foot injuries too often do), a fifth week missed might be a problem: that's when the Buckeyes travel to Iowa. Homan was clutch in Ohio State's win over the Hawkeyes last season, when he registered eight tackles and an interception. That was good enough for Big Ten Defensive Player of the Week, and Ohio State could surely use a similar performance this year.

At the very least, though, if Homan's foot problems leave him out long enough to miss the Iowa game or the Michigan game the week afterwards, the retooled Ohio State linebacking corps should be up to full speed with that amount of time to adjust. If the Wisconsin game is any indication, strongside linebacker Andrew Sweat will move to Homan's spot, while sophomore Jon Newsome will replace Sweat.

So, no: Ohio State's season is not automatically ruined, and it's not terribly likely that the Buckeyes' win-loss record will be adversely affected by the loss of Homan either.

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Posted on: October 18, 2010 11:30 am
Edited on: November 13, 2010 6:14 pm
 

Minnesota needs Mike Leach, not Tony Dungy

Posted by Tom Fornelli

Now that Minnesota has officially fired Tim Brewster the search for a new head coach in Minneapolis has already gotten under way.  Heck, the Gophers have already been turned down by their top target, Tony Dungy. 

Though Dungy is willing to help his alma mater out in finding its next coach, and he even has somebody in mind.   Unfortunately for Minnesota, the man that Dungy has in mind is not the answer to what ails the Gophers.  I'd also guarantee that the man the school does need is not on Tony Dungy's radar.

Pirates prefer to stay off the radar.

While Minnesota Vikings defensive coordinator Lesley Frazier may be a good coach, the fact is he's never been a head coach, and no matter how much Tony Dungy likes him, Frazier won't make Minnesota a destination.

Mike Leach would.

If Minnesota athletic director Joel Maturi doesn't place a call to Mike Leach before he does Frazier, or any other potential candidate, he's doing a disservice to his school.  Mike Leach is a head coach that would not only bring attention to Minnesota, but he'd also reinvent the program, and just might turn the Gophers into a legitimate threat in the Big Ten.

When was the last time Minnesota could say that?

Yes, there are possible distractions with Leach.  I can't look past the alleged treatment of his former receiver, Adam James.   Still, I can't help but think that if Adam James wasn't the son of ESPN's Craig James, Leach's pirate ship would still be anchored at Texas Tech.

Aside from that one mistake in Lubbock, though, look at what Leach has done with his football teams on the field.  In ten seasons at Texas Tech the Red Raiders never had a losing season, has had ten straight bowl appearances, and never won less than seven games in a season.

You know how many times Minnesota can say they've done any of that in the last ten years?  Let's see, the Gophers have had five winning seasons since 2000, four of which came when Glen Mason was the head coach.  The school has won more than seven games only twice in those ten years, though they have gone to eight bowl games.

They finished higher than fifth in the Big Ten once in those ten years.

In other words, the Gophers have had very similar success to what Texas Tech had before they hired Mike Leach.

So the question for Maturi is this: does he want to go with the career coordinator who might bring a winning tradition to Minnesota, and is good friends with Tony Dungy, or does he want to go with the coach who has proven he knows how to win football games and can put a school on the map?

Seems like an easy decision to me.  If Minnesota wants change then a mutiny is in order, and you need a real pirate to do that.

Posted on: October 16, 2010 11:48 pm
Edited on: October 17, 2010 9:19 pm
 

What I learned from the Big Ten (Oct. 16)

Posted by Adam Jacobi

1. It's anybody's conference. With Wisconsin putting the finishing touches on a stunning 31-18 upset of the Ohio State Buckeyes, here are the teams that are at least tied with OSU in the Big Ten standings: Michigan State, Iowa, Purdue, and Wisconsin. Purdue is probably not going to contend for the Big Ten title, but the other three teams mentioned certainly will. Michigan State, of all the teams, must be the most ecstatic about the result in Madison; the Spartans are undefeated, the only Big Ten team who's 3-0 in the conference, and they miss Ohio State this year. But Iowa's at 2-0 in conference play, and the Spartans have to visit Iowa City in two weeks. Who would have thought back in August that MSU at Iowa could be the most pivotal contest of the Big Ten season?

2. Denard Robinson is most certainly mortal. It's not as Denard Robinson was a non-factor against the Iowa Hawkeyes today: Robinson racked up 204 yards of total offense in about 35 minutes of work. But for the third time this season, Shoelace left a game with an injury, and for the second time, that injury shelved him for the rest of the game. One of the most remarkable things about Robinson's production thus far is the sheer heft of Robinson's workload. Yes, he can't lead the nation in rushing and throw for over 200 yards without either throwing or rushing on the vast majority of Michigan's snaps. But that's an incredibly difficult thing to do, and now we're seeing some evidence that it's just not sustainable -- especially now that Robinson's not facing cupcake defenses like Massachusetts or Notre Dame (I kid, ND, I kid). Thanks to a bye week, Robinson has two weeks to recover before his next start, at Penn State. Does Tate Forcier still gets some snaps in relief at Beaver Stadium? Should he?

3. Wisconsin's rushing game is alive and well. Coming into today, John Clay was having a pretty good season, but considering Wisconsin's opposition, Clay wasn't looking dominant. That changed this week, when the big junior running back was running untouched through giant rushing lanes against Ohio State. That's not entirely surprising, but if Iowa doesn't have the best defensive line in the conference, then Ohio State surely must, and that Buckeye front four was absolutely gouged today. So if the Badgers can run all over Ohio State, they can probably run all over everybody left on their schedule. Again, the only remaining great defensive line on Wisconsin's schedule is Iowa, and that game's coming up this week. That should be just a little fun to watch. 

4. Congratulations to Penn State, who did not lose this week. Technically, it didn't play, but any iota of good news is welcome in Happy Valley these days.

5. Don't be that surprised if Illinois runs the table from here on out. It would be foolish to look at Illinois and see just another .500 team. Illinois' three losses are to still-undefeated Missouri, still-undefeated Michigan State, and only-recently-defeated Ohio State. In every one of those games, Illinois was competitive into the fourth quarter. And guess what: Illinois doesn't have any games against ranked competition left. Nathan Scheelhaase and Mikel LeShoure are growing as a QB-RB tandem week to week, and the toughest opponent left on the Illini schedule is, oh, let's say Northwestern. Illinois may be 3-3 today, but it may be 8-4 (or even better) before you know it.

6. The Tim Brewster farewell tour's going to be hard to watch. Fans of comedy in college football are going to lose an important ally this season, as Minnesota informed the world that Tim Brewster's not coming back next season. It's a shame, really, but it's only surprising insofar as Brewster hasn't been asked to clean out his office right now instead. Minnesota's got some decent athleticism, especially on the edges, so if that talent gets in the hands of a decent coach (MIKE LEACH MIKE LEACH MIKE LEACH DO ITTTTTTT), that program up north might wake up and make some noise next season. But only if Minnesota hires Leach.

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Posted on: October 16, 2010 9:34 pm
Edited on: October 16, 2010 9:35 pm
 

Report: Tim Brewster has been fired

Posted by Tom Fornelli

Well, the word came earlier this week that if Minnesota lost to Purdue on Saturday that Tim Brewster would be fired.   Minnesota lost 28-17 to the Boilermakers on Saturday afternoon, and now reports are surfacing that Brewster has been fired.  Though Brewster told the Pioneer Press that nobody from the school had talked to him about his job status , a report from GopherIllustrated.com says that Brewster has been informed he will not return next season , but that he will finish out the 2010 season.

The article is for subscribers only, but the site did publish this tweet.



Still, it's important to point out that no official word has come from the University of Minnesota just yet, and until that happens we can't really be sure what's going on in Minneapolis. 

Posted on: October 16, 2010 4:39 pm
Edited on: November 13, 2010 6:15 pm
 

Denard Robinson is not a talented passer (yet)

Posted by Adam Jacobi

Out in Ann Arbor, Iowa has taken a 14-7 lead on the Michigan Wolverines. The Hawkeyes' second touchdown came on a short field, thanks to a Tyler Sash interception.

That interception came on a pretty terrible throw; Denard Robinson either screwed up the timing with his receiver or just overthrew him by about 15 yards. Either way, Robinson threw the ball directly to Sash, who returned the ball to Michigan's 49.

And that's kind of what to expect from Robinson. He's 8/11 on the day for 74 yards, and he's not a bad passer, but he's just far less dangerous as a thrower than as a runner. He showed that last season against Iowa, he showed it last week against Michigan State, and he's showing it today too.

But you know what? That's okay. He's a sophomore, first-year starter at quarterback, and Rich Rodriguez has shown to be a perfectly capable playcaller when it comes to limiting the amount of tough throws that Robinson needs to make. And he's still -- yes, still -- a legitimate Heisman contender. So he's not terrible. He's just not a talented thrower just yet.

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Posted on: October 16, 2010 2:17 pm
Edited on: November 13, 2010 6:15 pm
 

Minnesota sealing Brewster's fate, losing 21-3

Posted by Adam Jacobi

Coming into today's game, 1-5 Minnesota was desperate for a big win; not only did the Gopher need to keep a faint hope of bowl eligibility alive, but reports were that Tim Brewster was coaching with his job on the line.

Well, apparently Brewster doesn't respond well to pressure, because Purdue is putting the hurt on these Gophers. An Antavian Edison receiving touchdown pushed the score to 21-0, but Minnesota is shooting itself in the foot.

Minnesota had a chance to make the score 14-7 early in the second half when Minnesota linebacker Gary Tinsley intercepted Rob Henry and embarked on a long return. But Tinsley fumbled the ball into the pylon, which is by rule a touchback. No points for Minnesota, 1st and 10 Purdue at the 20 yard line.

Purdue turned that new opportunity into the touchdown mentioned above, and the Gophers appeared to respond with a touchdown of their own. But Adam Weber 's 13-yard scoring pass was nullified on an illegal shift, and Minnesota had to settle for a field goal on 4th and 14.

So that's 11 points taken directly off the board for the Gophers, and that doesn't even take into effect the botched punt snap late in the first half that Purdue turned into a touchdown with a short field. So let's add that, and there's an 18-point swing in an 18-point game. That's not to make excuses for Minnesota or to suggest that they should be tied; turnovers and mistakes are every bit a part of football as rushing or passing, after all, and Minnesota's regular proclivity for those turnovers and mistakes is a big reason why Tim Brewster's time atop the program is likely coming to an end.

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The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com