Wolfson: Gophers lose to Purdue; 30 possible coaching candidates to look at
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Tim Brewster's coaching career began in 1986 in West Lafayette, Indiana as a graduate assistant with Purdue. Maybe it's just a cruel coincidence, but after a sixth consecutive loss, his head-coaching career may come to an end in the same location.
After a 28-17 loss at Purdue on Saturday -- it wasn't that close -- we might see this headline on Sunday on 1500ESPN.com: Brew-tal tenure comes to an end.
1) With the Boilermakers up 7-0 in the first quarter, Gophers' quarterback Adam Weber threw an incomplete pass on a 2nd-and-4 play. No problem, right? Wrong. Somehow the Gophers got a delay of game penalty and couldn't convert on 3rd-and-9.
2) Same score, second quarter, Purdue facing a 50/50 proposition on a 3rd-and-6 play from the Minnesota 17-yardline, and the Gophers jumped offside. The 3rd-and-1 play was easily converted, and four plays, they scored a touchdown.
3) The play of the game, and the play that defines who the Gophers are happened early in the third quarter. Desperately seeking something positive, trailing 0-14, Gophers' linebacker Gary Tinsley intercepted quarterback Rob Henry. He was rumblin' and bumblin' and stumblin' toward the end zone. But then he fumbled it. If it had gone out-of-bounds at the 1-yardline, it would've been the Gophers' ball. Instead, the ball hit the pylon, and resulted in a touchback for Purdue.
4) The Gophers had an obvious height advantage with receiving options Da'Jon McKnight (6-3), MarQueis Gray (6-4), and Eric Lair (6-3). With the game out of hand midway through the third quarter, they had a combined four catches. Why is it so tough to exploit those matchups?
5) Purdue is just average covering kickoffs. So, why wouldn't special teams coach John Butler choose to allow Troy Stoudermire to return kicks?
Before Gophers coach Tim Brewster took the podium to address reporters following his team's loss to Northern Illinois, three scribes speculated about his future.
A fair enough discussion after Brewster became the first Gophers coach since 1898 to lose three consecutive nonconference home games.
A few minutes later, Charles Hallman of the Spokesman-Recoder, who smiles as often as Minnesota Timberwolves fans, piped up and asked Brewster, "These three guys in front of me were speculating about your future. But they're too scared to ask you about it, so I will..."
A cowardly move for sure, considering those on the University's payroll have discussed Brewster's future, too.
For six straight home games and counting, the Gophers faithful have chanted "Fire Brewster!"
Why? Because the Gophers own a 7-18 record in their last 25 games.
Why? Because this year the Gophers lost three straight nonconference home games, including losses to perennial average teams in South Dakota and Northern Illinois.
Why? No wins in rivalry games (0-10), no wins against ranked opponents (0-10), a losing record at TCF Bank Stadium (4-7) and a losing record against Dakota schools (1-2).
Even worse, many of his highly-touted recruits -- Hayo Carpenter, David Pittman, Brandon Green, Bryant Allen, Ra'Shede Hageman, Cedric McKinley, Michael Carter, Keanon Cooper, and Traye Simmons -- have done little.
With the fan base becoming restless and tickets readily available after only 12 games at the new mecca, a coaching change is inevitable. There's a reason why Brewster's buyout was lowered after he signed a contract extension last offseason.
When a move is made -- possibly right after the Nov. 27 season-finale vs. Iowa or as soon as Sunday, according to 1500 ESPN's Cory Roufs -- expect athletic director Joel Maturi to move fast on the interview process. Presumably, he already has a list of guys he'd like to talk with.
That list could potentially include:
1. Tony Dungy: Former Super Bowl-winning coach/NBC analyst/"U" alum -- There's a much better chance of Dungy being involved in the search than of him actually taking the job. If you take him at face value, he recently said on "The Dan Patrick Show" he's not interested.
2. Mark Richt, Georgia coach: He reportedly is on the hot seat after a 2-4 start. Plus, 11 of his players have been arrested this year. From his Wiki page: in his first seven seasons at Georgia, Richt's teams won two Southeastern Conference Championships (2002 and 2005), three SEC Eastern Division titles (2002, 2003 and 2005), represented the SEC in three BCS bowl appearances with a record of 2-1 and finished in the top 10 of the final AP Poll five times (2002 to 2005, 2007).
3. Jim Harbaugh, Stanford coach: Because he's at a private institution, his exact salary isn't known. But reports have him making $1.3 million per year. For him to consider Minnesota, an offer of at least five years and $15 million would have to offered.
4. Chris Petersen, Boise State coach: Same situation as Harbaugh. Makes slightly above $1 million. For him to even think about leaving the friendly confines of Boise, the "U" would have to triple his salary.
Other current head coaches
1. Troy Calhoun, Air Force coach: Offensive background, 44 years old.
2. Al Golden, Temple coach: Defensive background, 41 years old.
3. Randy Edsall, Connecticut coach: Defensive background, 57 years old.
4. Jeff Jagodzinski, Omaha Nighthawks coach (UFL): Offensive background, former Boston College coach, 47 years old.
5. Brady Hoke, San Diego State coach: Defensive background, went 12-0 with Ball State in 2008 regular season before losing conference championship game, 52 years old.
Former head coaches
1. Mike Leach, former Texas Tech coach
2. Mark Mangino, former Kansas coach
3. Phil Fulmer, former Tennessee coach, has been out of the game for two years, 60 years old
4. Jim Leavitt, former South Florida coach
5. Mike Belloti, former Oregon coach
Coaches with Minnesota ties
1. Kevin Sumin, Houston coach
2. Norries Wilson, Columbia coach: Former "U" player and graduate assistant.
3. Marc Trestman, Montreal Alouettes coach (CFL)
4. Mike Markuson, offensive coordinator, Mississippi: Grew up in Farmington, coached at Farmington High School, spent a year with Hamline in 1986, 49 years old.
5. Darrell Bevell, Minnesota Vikings offensive coordinator
6. Jim Zorn, Baltimore Ravens quarterbacks coach: Former Redskins head coach, former Gophers assistant (1995 and '96).
7) Brian Billick: Former Minnesota Vikings offensive coordinator, won Super Bowl as head coach with Baltimore
Looking for the next Bob Stoops or Bo Pelini: current assistant coaches
Note: All ages listed because more relevant with no head coaching experience:
1. Paul Chryst, Wisconsin offensive coordinator: Friend of Maturi, 45 years old
2. Kirby Smart, Alabama defensive coordinator: 35 years old
3. Jim McElwain, Alabama offensive coordinator: 48 years old
4. Carl Pelini, Nebraska defensive coordinator: 46 years old
5. Brent Venables, Oklahoma defensive coordinator: 39 years old
6. Don Treadwell, Michigan State interim head coach/offensive coordinator: 50 years old
7. Kevin Wilson, Oklahoma offensive coordinator, 48 years old
Former head coaches, now assistants
1. Dan McCarney, Florida assistant head coach: Former Iowa State coach, 57 years old
2. Kevin Steele, Clemson defensive coordinator: Former Baylor coach, 52 years old
In the coming weeks, we'll go more in-depth on the aforementioned options.