On January 7, 2007 I created a blog specifically for Minnesota Golden Gopher football called Gopher The Roses, www.gopherfootballblog.com. There you will find all of the posts from this site and more in depth coverage on all things Gopher football than I was able to do here on the business blog.
Link for Minnesota Golden Gopher Football Coach Search And Possible Candidates
Link for Minnesota Golden Gophers 41 and Texas Red Raiders 44, Review
Link for Minnesota Golden Gopher Football Coach Glen Mason Has Been Fired
Link for my reaction after the game Fire Coach Glen Mason?
Link for Minnesota Golden Gophers And Texas Tech Red Raiders Preview
It has taken me a couple of days to get my thoughts together on the game. With the announcement of the Glen Mason firing I have been thinking about what’s next versus what was the other night.
Before getting started, in the previews of games I have included links to opposing team blogs. I found a couple of blogs but they had not been updated recently so I did not link to them.
On Saturday I came across Seth Jungman who writes the blog Double T Nation. He has a great look at the game from the Red Raider perspective. We have swapped a few email messages since the game. I wish I had found him before the game. We would have had some nice posts between us. He also has some information today on Bobby Knight getting his 880th victory.
Over all I do not have much to say regarding the game between the Minnesota Golden Gophers and Texas Tech Red Raiders in the Insight Bowl.
The prediction I made in the Minnesota Golden Gophers And Texas Tech Red Raiders Preview was for the most part dead on. I think I must have been one of less than a hundred people who thought the Gophers could win.
For 2 ½ quarters they proved me right:
-Texas Tech is an inconsistent but highly explosive team.
-They are a good, talented team but they are not Ohio State, Michigan or Wisconsin. I should toss Cal in there too.
-Their defense is good but not great.
-Give any team 30+ days to prepare for a team that is great in one category of the game and you should be able to slow it down. If not, you suck. Both played out. We shut them down and then we sucked.
-We forced turnovers.
-We did better in third down situations.
-TE Jack Simmons did a great job replacing Matt Spaeth.
-On offense we were balanced.
For the next 1½ quarters the Gophers (and most importantly their coaches) went in the tank:
-We stopped rushing 4 and 5 guys and went with 3.
-Simmons missed some key blocks.
-The stiff zone pass defense became a soft zone and then a non-existent zone.
-With no timeouts Texas Tech needed to run pass patterns and step out of bounds. Apparently we did not understand that.
-The plays called by the offensives coordinator(s) became extremely conservative with an occasional high risk pass play.
There were a few plays that the referees blew. A non-call on a Gophers pass play when one of our receivers was mugged. A likely phantom call, remember Penn State, when a back judge called a Gopher defensive back for interference when the side judge, if there was a call to be made, did not make one.
The second to the last play of regulation a Texas Tech running back clearly had a false start. It would have made the field goal 57 yards instead of 52. I get that the Red Raider kicker let loose on a ball (to tie the game) that would have been good from 60+ yards but maybe it would have had an impact in his brain. Who knows but I doubt it.
But those three plays would not have mattered if we could have had one more first down at the end of the game.
I have no idea why we called a play that had Bryan Cupito run a naked bootleg on 3rd and 8. I concede that if it had worked it would have been the biggest bowl game play thus far in any game. No one would have thought we would do that. We would have held on and would run out the clock.
Instead Texas Tech ran a pass blitz bringing the defensive end inside with a linebacker looping around the end right where Cupito was running. Not Cupito’s fault.
In fact, I find little fault with the players. Sure there were a coupl of mistakes but that happens in every game by every team. That’s part of the game.
The players run the plays called by the coaches. The defense runs the schemes called by the coaches.
And now we get to my frustration of the game and really of the season, the coaching staff.
For 2 ½ quarters we played like the last three games of the season. With purpose, direction, aggressive, dominating, and playing to win.
The last 1 ½ quarters we played not to lose. Was as if the coaching staff thought we were up enough points that even with the high octane Texas Tech offense on afterburners there was no way they could come back 31 points.
I lay this at the feet of the coaches.
We made no adjustments. We did nothing to counter what Texas Tech did. If by chanced we did, they were not noticeable and they clearly did not work.
There were two moments in the game that annoyed me. The first, Glen Mason had that damn smirk he has grown famous for. It was near the end of the first half. Like he thought the game was done.
The second, after the Red Raiders tied it with the 52-yard field goal the only expression Coach Mason had was the raising of his eyebrows as if to say “Wow”. That’s it. No emotion. Nothing.
An appropriate finish to the Glen Mason era…