Brewster insists 1-3 Gophers ‘close’ to succeeding

Toward the end of Minnesota’s loss last week, Tim Brewster

consoled quarterback Adam Weber on the sideline while fans at TCF

Bank Stadium called for the coach’s firing in the background.

The image was fitting for the Gophers and the huge hole they’re

in, because Brewster and Weber have felt the wrath of frustrated

followers more than anyone else in the program over these last four


In spite of the external skepticism, though, they haven’t

wavered in their insistence this team is better than it has


”I understand the frustration of our fans, because my

expectation was to be 4-0 at this point,” Brewster said Tuesday,

his voice rising. ”I with all my heart believe we should and could

be 4-0.”

Instead, they’re 1-3, needing a 5-3 finish in the Big Ten to

even be eligible for a low-level bowl game invitation. The schedule

includes five foes currently in the Top 25, but Brewster has posted

signs all over the practice facility this week so his players

remember that their conference record is 0-0.

”You have to buy into it 100 percent,” Weber said. ”I’ve

always kind of had that mentality, but it’s a matter of having the

whole entire team believe that. That nonconference we kind of look

at as the preseason. The Big Ten is really what it comes down to,

and that’s what we’ll be ultimately judged on. So we can still go

out and turn this thing around, right this ship, and go out and

beat Northwestern.”

The Wildcats (4-0) are the opponent for the homecoming game on

Saturday. Most of the fans who show up will be bringing angst or

apathy with their maroon and gold apparel.

”Just compound that about 50 times, OK? And that’s me. That’s

our players,” Brewster said. ”Nobody hurts, nobody cares more

than our coaches and our players. No fan has poured in what we’ve

poured in into making this happen.”

Weber acknowledged he feels bad for Brewster.

”He’s always had my back, and I do appreciate that,” Weber


He fondly recalled Brewster’s hang-in-there message to him last

week in a loss to Northern Illinois.

”I’m amazed by that, because you hear people chanting things in

the stands but even at that moment he came over and took the time

to make sure that I’m OK,” Weber said.

The quarterback, like the coach, was just as insistent the

Gophers could be unbeaten.

”There’s too much leadership and character on this team to let

some bumps in the road throw us off. We worked too hard in the

offseason,” Weber said.

Brewster blamed correctible mistakes and inexperience on defense

for the bad start. Statistically, the only numbers that stand out

are the three losses. Including a competitive effort against No. 18

Southern Cal, the Gophers are so far better than their opponents in

most categories, including total yardage and turnovers.

So perhaps that’s the best explanation for why Brewster sternly

dismissed a question about whether he worries about his job being

in jeopardy.

”That’s ludicrous for me,” he said. ”I’m worried about our