Mason reaffirms dedication to U, earns players’ trust

David La Vaque

Over the past two seasons, adjectives like “surprising” and “surging” preceded Minnesota’s football team.

But a more important component, generated by a poignant team meeting, fuels Minnesota’s 2001 squad – stability.

In a January team meeting, coach Glen Mason invited an open dialogue with his players to air out any hard feelings about his now-failed pursuit of the head coaching job at Ohio State.

An unnamed player spoke out, questioning Mason’s loyalty and the direction of Minnesota’s program.

Mason response: Take a team vote. If the majority of you want me to go, I’ll resign.

The player in question stood down, and Mason closed the issue. Mason has said he will never interview for another job while at Minnesota.

“I walked out of that meeting with much more respect for coach Mason,” senior Jack Brewer said Wednesday at football media day. “He took our feelings into account, he was honest and he treated us like men.”

 

Off the uprights

ï A two-year starter at left guard, senior Derek Burns replaces All-American Ben Hamilton at center.

ï Three-year starter Ryan Roth is recovering from tonsil surgery and will be hampered for three weeks.

ï Defensive lineman Dave Sykora and wide receiver Elvin Jones quit the team.

ï Sophomore Mackenzy Toussaint and freshman Steven Watson were suspended by Mason for possible violations of team rules and could be reinstated at any time.

ï Wide receiver Jermaine Mays must sit out this season because the NCAA ruled him a non-qualifier after Mays played in four games as a freshman. He can still practice with the team and can play in a maximum of seven games next season. The team is unable to appeal the ruling.

 

David La Vaque is the Sports Editor and welcomes comments at [email protected]