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Brewster is here, there and everywhere

Tim Brewster doesn’t want to rebuild. He wants the University of Minnesota football team to be good starting this fall.

The new Gophers coach has been on the job only three months, but he already has high hopes for the near future.

"My goal is to win the Big Ten this year," he told a large and supportive group at the Rochester Quarterbacks Club on Monday.

"You have to come together as a group," he added. "You have to come together as one."

Brewster has taken the state by storm. He and his staff visited about 390 high schools in Minnesota during a 21⁄2-week span. He has also been very active nationally in his quest for prize recruits.

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"The people in this state have been amazing," Brewster said.

"We want to build relations with the entire state of Minnesota," he added.

Brewster, known as a top-flight recruiter who also spent five years coaching in the NFL, is a first-time head coach. He is trying to stress the storied tradition at Minnesota, which includes six national titles and 18 Big Ten titles, although none since 1967.

"(Texas coach) Mack Brown told me to work at a school that has ‘The’ in front of the school. ‘The’ University of Minnesota."

Brewster is trying to lay the groundwork to make Gophers football matter again in Minnesota. That includes keeping the top in-state players here and making fans want to take part in Gophers football games on Saturday afternoons.

"I plan on waking the Gopher Nation up," he said.

Brewster said he has offered a scholarship to nine in-state high school players and six have already committed to Minnesota.

"People tell me there’s not enough (Division I) kids in Minnesota," Brewster said. "That’s not true."

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He doesn’t want Minnesota’s top players to leave the state for Wisconsin, Iowa or anywhere else.

"I want them dreaming about being Golden Gopher football players," Brewster said. "That’s what it’s going to take to make the ‘U’ special again."

Brewster can hardly wait for the new Gophers outdoor football stadium to open on Sept. 12, 2009.

"Football’s suppose to be played outdoors," he said. "People say it’s cold in Minnesota. I say ‘Get a coat. Get a hat.’ "

The Gophers finished near the bottom of the Big Ten Conference last year under Glen Mason and have been picked to finish last this year by ESPN. Brewster said that just provides him with motivation and bulletin-board material.

Does Brewster believe the Gophers can be good this fall? One of the first stories he told Monday was how the Gophers finished in last place in the Big Ten in 1959. In 1960 the Gophers proceeded to win the Big Ten title and a national championship.

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Josh Rasmussen of Rochester was one of 44 Minnesota State, Mankato student-athletes who was honored over the weekend at the Maverick Achievement Awards and Honors Banquet. To qualify for the honor, student-athletes at Minnesota State must be seniors, letterwinners and have a grade point average of 3.00 or better going into their senior year of competition.

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Rasmussen, a Century grad, has been a track and field standout for the Mavericks.

He is a two-time North Central Conference outdoor track champion and a NCAA outdoor track and field All-American. He holds the school record in the indoor pentathalon event and holds a 3.32 grade point average in pre-electrical engineering.

Rasmussen has qualified for the Division II national outdoor meet in the decathlon.

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Minnesota Twins farmhand Aaron Craig of Rochester has been promoted to the Class A Beloit (Wis.) Snappers. Craig was 2-1 with a 5.11 ERA in 20 relief appearances at Elizabethton, a rookie league. In his first outing with Beloit, Craig pitched three scoreless innings for a save.

Guy N. Limbeck ’s local sports notebooks regularly run on Tuesdays and Saturdays. He can be reached at The Post-Bulletin

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