Coach Kill at Tuesday's press conference.
Head football coach Jerry Kill opened his weekly Tuesday press conference with a story about an 1800s prospector and how it relates to his belief in what can happen with the Gopher football program.
To paraphrase, the Comstock story goes like this: Comstock found a mine and staked a claim to it in the American West. He dug until he found some treasure. Unearthing some ore, he knew there was more to be found. So he kept digging for the mother lode. Finally - in 1859 and after years of digging - Comstock gave up. He sold the mine for $11,000, which was a lot of money at the time. However, the buyer dug just a few feet deeper and hit the mother lode. That mother lode was worth $340 million.
"Dreams take work," the story Coach Kill related via a Harvey Mackay article in the Star-Tribune. "They take practice. They take patience and sometimes they require you to dig a little deeper."
Kill said that was a great example of where the Gophers are right now.
"We have to practice," he said. "We have to show a little patience and we have to dig a little deeper."
Kill says the practice and patience the team has displayed over the past few weeks has shown up, when you dig a little deeper. While the scoreboard still hasn't been pretty, Kill has seen some small signs of improvement.
"There's no question we played better (against Nebraska) than we did against Purdue," Kill said. "Up front on the offensive line, four of the five played really, really well. And against ... a good defense, really controlled the line of scrimmage. Now, if you're a fan, you probably didn't see that.
"Our wide receivers blocked better and were much more aggressive," Kill continued. "A guy that stood out that really played much better was (linebacker) Keanon Cooper. He had 12 tackles and ran around pretty good."
Kill also singled out Aaron Hill, Cameron Botticelli, Ben Perry and Kim Royston for praise on the defensive unit. But he said there is one Gopher who is quietly playing very well. Senior tight end and Stillwater native Collin McGarry drew high praise from his head coach.
"I watched Ohio State and Wisconsin block the defensive end from Nebraska," Kill said. "I would tell you Collin McGarry did just as good a job as they did, if not better. If I said somebody that's playing the most consistent football on our offensive team (it would be) Collin McGarry. Never says a word. Just goes and plays. He's done a heck of a job."
Support From Above
Much of the early portion of Coach Kill's press conference was spent discussing the fact that the University announced Tuesday morning that he has signed a contract. He had previously been working under a Memorandum of Agreement from back in December when he was named head coach.
The original terms of the Memorandum were for five years. But the contract announced Tuesday was for seven years. Kill said the seven years shows a real commitment from the athletic department administration and the University's leadership.
"We have some things that we've got to get corrected," Kill said. "And I think that coming in, you know, there were more things than I thought and even probably Joel thought. There were some things in there that are going to take time.
"I felt like to do it right, you don't want to do it the quick‑fix way ... we needed to have that time," Kill continued. "So I was fortunate that our administration and Joel and visiting with the president, they felt the same way."
Kill referenced President Kaler numerous times throughout his press conference. It is obvious that the head football coach has a great deal of faith in the commitment the President has to athletics in general and specifically football.
"Our president is invested," Kill said. "I can tell everybody here, it's important to him to have a good football program. We have got a great academic institution and we have got a football program that's struggled, and I certainly said all along, I'm not going to be able to change it (by myself). It's going to take a whole lot of people to help us change it. And I think he's made a strong statement from the top that he's committed and we are moving forward and it's going to change."
Happier Than a Pig In ...
As Tuesday's press conference was wrapping up, Minnesota staffers were moving Floyd of Rosedale out of his trophy case in the lobby of the football offices. The weekly press conference is held in the same room where the Gophers hold their team meetings. As the last few players, staffers and media members trickled out of the team meeting room, Floyd of Rosedale had already taken up residence in the room.
I'm assuming Coach Kill was going to use Floyd's presence in the room to speak to the team about the opportunity to retain the decades-old trophy this week as Iowa visits TCF Bank Stadium.
Kickoff for Saturday's game has been set for a 2:42 p.m. CT kickoff. Many people aren't aware that the actual kickoff time for each game is determined by the Big Ten's television partners, in conjunction with the league office.
I've seen a lot of :01 kickoffs. I've played games with :07 kickoffs and :36 and :37 kickoffs. But I've never been involved in a game that has kicked off this much past the top or bottom of the hour. It's just a little weird.
I'll be in the press box, so it doesn't really make much difference to me. I guess if I were a fan, this kickoff time really wouldn't be a problem for me either. Heck, that's just a few more minutes of tailgating time. Right?