By Michael Rand
We’ve had our fun with Gophers football coach Tim Brewster in recent weeks, but we have to give credit where credit is due: we’re not sure how many major conference college football head coaches would field questions and consent to a picture in regards to a Twitter Challenge invented by a blog. We imagine the number is small. That number would probably dwindle even more if you added in the scheduling mix-up that explains why Brewster is soaking wet with sweat following a workout. And the number would go down perhaps even further if it was factored in that, as mentioned, the writer in question had recently used some material offered up by the Brewster camp in a less than desired manner. So, indeed: major credit and thanks to Brewster for carving some time out of his schedule this morning to accept his prize of one RandBall T-shirt from his victory in the RandBall Twitter Challenge and to answer a few questions. Things learned:
*Brewster actually has ties to Wolves basketball player Brian Cardinal, his competitor in the race to 1,500 followers in the RandBall Twitter Challenge. We had no idea this was the case when we invented the challenge. Small world. “This is the deal,” Brewster said. “Rod Cardinal, Brian’s father, is an extremely close friend of mine. He was a trainer when I was a (football) player at the University of Illinois. When I knew it was Brian and the Cardinal family, I knew it was a great opportunity to have some fun.”
*About the coaching record flap, we had a little back-and-forth. But we’ve already had our $.02 on it. Here’s what Brewster said: “I think that was an innocent deal that people made much more of than they should have. What we were trying to say is that I’ve been around some great coaches and programs. People like you and other people blew it up. … We never wanted to present my record as anything but 8-17. It was typical … and it’s unfortunate that it was taken out of context. … I can also see where it can be misconstrued.”
*Brewster said some, but not all, of his Play4brew Twitter updates actually come from him. The rest are from staff members. He has 1,700-plus followers now and seems to understand how various media can be useful tools. Said Brewster: “I think Twitter is an innovative outlet for people to get a message out and talk about things that are fun and of interest to that particular person. I kind of enjoy it. … I think we try to stay ahead of the curve. Obviously a ton of coaches out there were Twittering before I was. I didn’t want to be behind the curve (with Twitter) and the other electronic transmission type things. … What we’re trying to do is sell our program. I don’t know that Minnesota football and Gopher sports have been as publicized or sold as well as they can be.”
*It was mentioned to Brewster that he seemed to take the competition pretty seriously. Cardinal looked for a while like he was going to win, only to succumb to a late Brewster rally. He said: “You have to hate losing more than you love winning. That’s the mantra I live by. I’m an extremely competitive person. … Itwas really cool at the end how Gopher Nation responded and said, ‘Let’s get it over the top.’ The message went out that we were in the fourth quarter and down two. We wanted to win.”
And with that, we stood up from our chair in Brewster’s office and got out the digital camera. Brewster, a devotee to workouts, was still in his sweaty clothes. He thought for a minute about changing but decided to just roll with it right then and there. So you see him now, sweaty and holding the RandBall T-shirt that was his prize, with a picture of he and Tony Dungy in suits in the background. A hard-fought victory, indeed.