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Big Ten 2010 // Minnesota's Achilles' Heel - Maddening Inconsistency

The title of the article specifies that I write about the Gophers biggest weakness heading into 2010, but I seriously contemplated just publishing a list of weaknesses.  When my pen ran out of ink I decided I should probably narrow it down.

Let’s be honest, my cynicism and backhanded bashing of the Gophers is a defense mechanism.  As they say, if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em.  Everybody else is making fun of the Gophers, so why shouldn’t I?  As you’ve seen here often, my wear my disgust and emotions about my football squad on my sleeve, or in my writing, as it were.

I try to be as objective as possible, while still guarding myself from the fact that I live and die with this program.  And this program, my friends, has several weaknesses.

...Offensive Line
...Inexperienced Defensive Line
...Inexperienced Linebackers
...inexperienced offensive coordinator
...inexperienced head coach
...players can’t stay out of trouble
...lack of running game

Putting aside the fact that Gopher players can’t stay out of trouble, and the inexperience in certain areas of the team, the other weaknesses of this team can be summed up in one word.  The greatest weakness of the Gopher football team heading into 2010 is inconsistency.

I barked all last season, both here and at the Gopher Football Blog, about how I had no idea who this team was.  The inconsistency on the field was absolutely maddening.  From week to week you never knew which team you were going to get. 

Games 1-3: The team that played against Syracuse and Air Force, despite winning those two games, wasn’t even close to being as good of a team as the squad that played against Cal. 

Games 4-6: The team that beat N’Western and then lost to Wisconsin, was much better than the incarnation of the Gophers that played poorly against Purdue on Homecoming.

Games 7-11: The team that was embarrassed in Happy Valley, at The Shoe, by the Illini at The Bank, and almost lost to something called the Jackrabbits from South Dakota State, was a joke compared to the Gopher team than the one that put up over 500 yards against Michigan State.

Game 12: The Gophers played just well enough to not get completely embarrassed at Kinnick.

Within that team, there was inconsistency among the positions as well.  The Adam Weber who put up HOLY S*#T-type numbers against Michigan State (416 yards passing)… well, who the heck WAS that guy anyway?  The rushing attack that gained 166 yards on the ground against Northwestern really wasn’t existent the rest of the season.

Anyway, you get the idea, it was a problem.  It was a problem all season long.

And as I see it, the biggest weakness of last year’s Gopher team will likely be the weakness of this year’s team.

Unfortunately I don’t see Adam Weber answering many questions since the bulk of his problems last year had to do, not with the offensive scheme, but with decision making and mechanics.  Will the offensive line be any better?  Or just consistently bad? 

There’s a saying that a former manager of mine said often: When the fish stinks, it stinks at the head.  And I am more often beginning to believe that if inconsistency is the Gophers largest problem, it starts, and ends, with Tim Brewster.

Inconsistency?  How about 3 offensive coordinators in 4 years? How about 3+ defensive coordinators in 4 years?  How about 2 different offensive "identities" in 4 years?  How about insisting that you team is going to "pound the rock," but abandoning the run nearly every game?  How about having some of the best recruiting classes in recent Gopher history… but losing a handful of them before they ever make an impact?

If the Gophers are going to be a better football team in 2010 they need to be more consistent, and it starts with Tim Brewster and his coaching staff.