It was a rough year for Minnesota's Jerry Kill. He struggled with his health and the fact that he probably had more talent to work with at Northern Illinois. Kill has a strong record of turning programs around. At Southern Illinois, he was 1-10 and 4-8 his first two seasons and then went on a 50-14 run. At Northern Illinois, he inherited a team off of a 2-10 season and got them to a bowl the very next year. He closed out his tenure in DeKalb with an 11-3 mark and a 27-point bowl victory. That dramatic of a turnaround in the Big Ten won't be as easy but Kill can coach and we expect there to be some improvements.
It looks as if the Golden Gophers are committing to MarQueis Gray at quarterback. He's been around the program for four years and while proving himself as a runner (966 yards) he's never really amounted to much as a passer (50% completition). According to offensive coordinator Matt Limegrover, the team is focused more on
rather that giving it a complete overhaul. As for Kill, he used the dreaded term "cautiously optimistic" when describing the
. Keep in mind that there are only 10 seniors on the roster. Like we said, things should be better but it looks as if there is a lot of work left to be done.
"We sold a strong vision a year ago kind of where we wanted to go in the program and I don't think we've come off that. Probably the most important thing as a head coach or assistant coaches, we've got the continuity," said Kill. "We didn't loose any of that continuity so the vision stayed the same. We want to continue to move our program forward. Our kids have worked hard to this point and now we have to take it to two a day camp and see where we go from there."
"We need to move the program forward and continue to get better. As long as we continue to make strides to get better and continue to build a foundation for the program and move it forward that's what we're here to do," said Kill. "There isn't a quick fix. It takes time, but I'm cautiously optimistic we're certainly looking forward to the season."