A tale of two Minnesota head coaches

Published 8:37 am Thursday, October 23, 2008

 “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.” The two coaches of Minnesota’s most highly publicized football programs Tim Brewster of the Minnesota Gophers and Brad Childress of the Minnesota Vikings seem to be headed in the opposite directions. Brewster to acclaim and Childress to the unemployment line. (At least if the Viking fans have anything to say about it.)

As I write this, the Gophers are ranked in the nation’s top-25 college football teams by the Associated Press. Maybe the sports writers felt the need to include another Big Ten team in the elite group. The conference still carries some weight even though mediocre Toledo defeated the Michigan Wolverines. By golly, Gopher coach Tim Brewster has done it. Like the George Bush quote, “I’m a uniter, not a divider,” As he forecast, Tim has united the Gopher nation.

I don’t quite know what to make of Brewster. Whether he is a blowhard putting out a lot of hot air or he is really that enthusiastic? It was important for him to be positive when he first arrived at the U. But does he need to continue his over the top performance. Whatever works, I guess. It looks like his team will be going to a bowl game this winter, which is good for the kids, the program, the state and the University of Minnesota. Brewster is approaching the Glen Mason coaching level of appearing in one of the lesser bowls Let’s hope the program continues to progress to Brewster’s Rose Bowl goal.

Email newsletter signup

The above is not completely positive. It’s probably because I can’t quite get used to the rosy picture Brewster paints. I suppose I’m accustomed to the successful, pessimistic football coaches of the past. Bud Grant, Bernie Bierman and Murray Warmath. However, their day is long past and if optimism is the key to success, I’m all for it.

While Tim Brewster’s star is ascending, Viking head coach Brad Childress’ star is not, in fact, it’s about to dip below the horizon. Childress appears to be a nice guy. He doesn’t duck responsibility, doesn’t blame his assistant coaches, (he sure could), or blame the players.

The North Division title could well be the Vikings’. It seems to me that a good team would not have difficulty in grabbing the flag. Not a great team, just a good team. That’s not going to happen for the Vikings if they continue to break down. They have just about covered all aspects of football failure. They have had bad passing and running games. Their punting game has been bad. Special team play has been poor and their defense has been inconsistent. The coaching staff has been inept. What else is there?

Brad Childress is being blamed for the Vikings’ poor play. They seem to have good personnel with All-Pros and the best running back in the league. Why aren’t they winning?

I know Ron Gardenhire is a baseball manager, but he seems to be able to put his players in position to do well. Why isn’t that happening with the Vikings? Perhaps the system is wrong and Childress’ modified west coast offense is to blame. But who put the system in? Brad Childress. It’s too late to change the system, but with the money that owner Zigi Wilf has invested, the team needs to improve quickly or Childress will go the way of Tarvaris Jackson, except he won’t be seen on the sidelines next season.

Maybe I’m being to hard on Childress, but think of this: What record would the team have if Bud Grant was running the show or even more damning, Mike Tice. Brad Childress may be able to pull his team out of their funk, but time is running short.