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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
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    Default off season "what if" topic - Coaches

    This won't be the first thread to compare Gopher coaches and the long arguments about Mason, and now Kill vs Fleck are things of legend. But, I can't help but wonder about a few things:

    Mason: What if the team holds on to beat Michigan in '03 and/or what happens if he was allowed to hang on through the building of the new stadium?

    Brewster: Actually, I have no "what ifs" for Brewster as I think his program was headed to the same place regardless. But, if I have to say one, it would be: What if the Gophers had held on to beat Northwestern in '08?

    Kill: I feel like people are beginning to change history on the Kill/Claeys era and discount his accomplishments. Unfortunately Kill himself has made this easier to do with his petty grudges. There was a lot of room to improve on offense but the defense was a lot of fun to watch, and I appreciate the methodical way the entire team improved from the depths of the Brewster years. People rip on the recruiting but the class that is reaching senior redshirt Junior age now is very interesting. What if Kill would have not had health issues and was able to continue to build on the program he had stabilized? With Kill still at the helm and with Claeys still the d coordinator, would that Michigan home game ended differently? Would the 9-4 season have been even better considering the close loss at Nebraska? Would the sex assault situation have even happened with Kill still at the helm?

    Of course nobody knows the answer to any of these questions as they are pure speculation. But for me, it is interesting to contemplate, none-the-less.


  2. #2

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    My thoughts.

    Mason: I always thought Mason was treated poorly at the time of his dismissal. He brought the Gophers out of the dark ages and back to playing in bowl games, heck he had wins over OhSt and Michigan. Up until this past season he had the last victory over Wisconsin. His 4th quarter collapses were incredibly frustrating, no doubt, but most of those occurred against teams with superior talent. Mason’s fatal flaw was that he wasn’t continuing to elevate the level of talent on his roster, he was stagnant in that area. Without being able to increase the talent level, he had pretty much hit a ceiling. I understand why the AD wanted more, but I felt they could have been more graceful and appreciative of his contributions.

    Brewster: what does an AD do to replace a coach you let go because he hit his recruiting ceiling? You hire the best recruiter you can find, and that was and still is Tim Brewster. The big problem is you also need someone who can coach, and that was not and is still not Tim Brewster. His on the field disappointments so undermine the reputation of the program that not even his legendary recruiting skills could overcome.

    Kill: He was good. He was a system guy, he focused the players on executing a relatively simple system which minimized their mistakes. His system was unique enough that he didn’t have to compete with “bigger named” programs for many of the skill sets he needed. In the end, however, I think he would have run into the same ceiling that Mason did.

    Fleck: He is an odd duck and fun to watch. He is youthful with seemingly boundless energy. It appears the players buy into him. Because of these traits, I don’t think he will be limited by his ability to recruit. While I think he has already demonstrated that he is a better coach than Brewster (not a high bar), I still question whether his experience has prepared him to go against a Jim Harbaugh, Mark Dantonio. Even a Jeff Brohm or Pat Fitzgerald (to mention someone in the east). Anyway, only time will tell with Fleck and he makes it interesting to watch in the meantime.

  3. #3

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    I really think if the Gophers had beaten Michigan in 2003, that we would have gone to the Rose Bowl and Mason would have ultimately gotten the Ohio State job when offered later. So either way he wouldn't have made it to the TCF Bank Stadium opening.

    I don't think much changes with Kill, though if we win that Michigan game, I think Claeys wouldn't have been fired, with or without the scandal.

  4. #4

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    What if Jerry:

    I think the success of 14 and the following strange year that was 15 strongly hinted that Kill and Co. had plateaued. I would have liked to see it through with Jerry, but I'm really not sure anything changes even if he stays as far as the team going any father than it had.

    Jerry was hanging onto Limegrover like grim death, the game vs Kent St. was an offensive abomination. Like so many Kill teams the team was far better than when they came, and they could hang in with good teams here and there, but offensively they just curled up into a fetal position of RUTM and couldn't get out of it... and to some extent I felt Jerry and Limegrover were ok with that / or unable to do much about it.

  5. #5

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    If Kill were still here, Mitch Leidner would be suiting up for an unprecedented 7th season under center.

  6. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by FredCoxRocks View Post
    If Kill were still here, Mitch Leidner would be suiting up for an unprecedented 7th season under center.
    That's why it was such a big loss for The Gopher Nation when Kill retired.

  7. #7

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    Mason - I refuse to discuss to think about or discuss that game.
    Brewster - What if he had hired the right OC at the very beginning and that OC would have stayed around. I think it still would have ended in a dumpster fire because he wasn't particularly savvy with roster formation, spreading out positions by classes, etc. However, one of Brew's largest failures was in having to run a new offense out there every year. Maybe he lasts another couple years if he had a little stability?
    Kill - What if he didn't get sick? I don't mean it in a callous way, but this has to be his biggest "what if".

  8. #8

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    Mason - Didn't have the greatest relationship with high school coaches. Recruiting was tough.
    Brewster - Was all over the board as to his coaches and question if he really qualifies as a head coach.
    Kill - I really liked this guy as a human being. Not happy however with his recent comments (month or two or so ago). However I really question if he would get us to the next level. No one else wanted to come here and clean up a horrible mess that we had, so grateful for what he did.
    Fleck - I like him. Don't like his field spurts after the quarter etc. I'm thinking its a time for his players to begin to rest etc. What he preaches however I really believe is good for his players. They need to be thinking about post college etc., Fleck will do a good job preparing them for that. As to a football coach, too early to judge. Players seem to really like him and that's what counts.

  9. #9

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    Mason-I think he had run his course. He was a bit a smug (understatement) I think rubbed fans the wrong way. I don't think letting him go was wrong but when you're replacement is

    Brewster-Ye gads, he set the program back. I don't think there is any hope for him to be successful HC and why he remains position coach/recruiter

    Kill: I think Kill would've ran into same challenges as Mason, but he got stability back. I had lot of fun storming TCF after wins vs Neb and Iowa. His offense was frustrating, but that was part of complimentary football we ran. There was a game vs PSU where 0 points were scored in 2nd half, but it was still entertaining. Both teams key drives and stops that always fizzled at midfield. Kill was content to keep pinning PSU deep. But go back and watch some of those offenses, it was JV level with passing, from route concepts to accuracy. I loved Mitch, but man he wasn't very accurate. I think if he didn't have the health problems, he'd still be here with MN hovering between 6-9 on an annual basis. New facilities maybe give a slight recruiting boost?!?

    Claeys-I just don't think he's a HC. I think he's a good DC forced into HC role and only got that due to interim AD. I wish him well and if he proves me wrong down road, I'll be happy to admit I was wrong.

    Fleck-TBD. I think we'll know a lot after year 3. Team turned corner at season end, now can they keep momentum going

  10. #10

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    What if...
    ... Maturi had supported Brewster and thus his assistance coaches stuck around for another year versus leaving at the first chance. Brewster could recruit, and with good assistants that actually stuck around (e.g., Ted Roof left after one year) events could have turned out a lot different.

  11. #11

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    Mason: Hit his ceiling. 10 years. He did well, but it wasn’t going to magically get much better/higher after 10 years.

    Brewster: Overrated as a recruiter unless rankings are more important than enrolling, fitting, contributing, and performing. Good Riddance.

    Kill: Better than the previous two. Had a plan and stuck to it like a champ. Not sure how anyone could be certain he hit his ceiling? Who knows what could have been?

    Claeys: Awesome D-Coordinator. Successful in only year as HC. Had the guts to fire Limey. May or may not have been able to learn the ropes needed to be a HC? Who knows what could have been. Tough to survive the recruit being involved in the scandal. Likely shouldn’t have survived that.

    Fleck: Different Cat. Not for everyone, but is as disciplined as Kill in regards to having a plan and sticking to it. A better recruiter than any listed and most likely has the highest ceiling. I don’t see him being a big target for helmet schools (too much ‘other stuff’) and so we likely get to see this one run it’s full course.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    Consensus Top 25 Class, 4 of final 5, 80% underclassmen, Youngest Team, 2nd Youngest Team, Best Back-To-Back Classes Ever, 9 Scholarship Seniors, HS Teacher, 8-Hour Radius, Major Paycut

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
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    With Mason, to some extent, I think that staff had run its course. they established a certain level of respectability, but never went beyond that level.

    brewster -as noted, he needed to surround himself with a really strong staff - but 1st, he needed to have a vision for what type of team he wanted to have, and that, I think, was his biggest issue. his teams never had an identity.

    Kill - If Kill had been 100% healthy, I think we would be talking about another Mason-type situation - a program that consistently won 7 or 8 games, with a rare 9 or 10-win season, but not reaching that mythical 'next level.' As to whether 'the incident' would have happened under Kill, no one can answer that.

    Fleck - too soon to tell. There seems to be positive movement in terms of recruiting. I was hoping for a little more wide-open offense, but that does not seem to be Fleck's style. Still going to be run-oriented. So, could come down to QB play. Can Fleck bring in a QB who is better than a replacement-level player? that is the real question.

  13. #13

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    Quote Originally Posted by Spoofin View Post
    Mason:

    Brewster: Overrated as a recruiter unless rankings are more important than enrolling, fitting, contributing, and performing. Good Riddance.

    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    Your totally wrong. Brewster's recruiting ability is legendary and second to none. That being said, being a good recruiter doesn't translate to being a good head coach. He was a horrible head coach and hiring him for that job set the program back.

  14. #14

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    Quote Originally Posted by DEGopher View Post
    Your totally wrong. Brewster's recruiting ability is legendary and second to none. That being said, being a good recruiter doesn't translate to being a good head coach. He was a horrible head coach and hiring him for that job set the program back.
    His recruiting here was nothing special. His rankings were good - that is all.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    Consensus Top 25 Class, 4 of final 5, 80% underclassmen, Youngest Team, 2nd Youngest Team, Best Back-To-Back Classes Ever, 9 Scholarship Seniors, HS Teacher, 8-Hour Radius, Major Paycut

  15. #15

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    Quote Originally Posted by Spoofin View Post
    His recruiting here was nothing special. His rankings were good - that is all.
    No, you don't understand recruiting.

    Let's put it this another way. He Just left Texas A&M where officially he was TE coach, but he was making a base salary of $475k/year. He has worked for Jimbo as the star recruiter since 2013. He is now officially a Tight End coach at UNC working for Mack Brown, but making more. He worked as star recruiter with Mack at UNC before Mack went to Texas.

    First look at the success of those programs and the quality athletes they had on roster and how those rosters are doing/did in the NFL. Second you need to realize that TE coaches don't make that amount of coin, in fact only the best recruiters get paid in excess of $475k.

    Based on his past successes and current market value, he clearly is a very special recruiter.
    Last edited by DEGopher; 07-15-2019 at 12:37 PM.

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