Kill Previews Saturday's Game Against Northwestern

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Coach Kill met with the media today to preview this weekend's Homecoming game against Northwestern. You can read a few of the highlights from his press conference below. You can also read a transcript of his entire press conference here.

On Northwestern...
"From an offensive standpoint, they're going to spread out the defense and they're going to play two quarterbacks, and they're going to move one all around to make you have a bad mismatch. They're going to play fast. They had 21 points a year ago before we even blinked.  They're going to go.

"Probably the biggest thing is they find a way to get turnovers and make big plays. From the punt return game, I worry about their punt returner. He's taken it to the house two or three times this year already. They seem to when people go down in the red zone, they're always getting the tipped ball, they're always getting the interception, causing the fumble.
"You have to beat Northwestern. They're not going to beat themselves."

On MarQueis Gray...
"Well, he didn't practice any during the bye week. We tried to move him around a little bit, but Sunday we did move him around. I pushed him a little bit, and I thought he responded okay.  I think we'll know a little more today. He took some reps. We even did a little bit with team reps, but still has a little bit of a limp. If we were playing tomorrow, he wouldn't be ready to play, but we'll see how things progress. I would say that we're cautiously optimistic that he can be available in some situations possibly."

On other injuries and the bye week...

"We were beat up pretty good going into the game at Iowa. And, you know, hopefully Tommy Olson's going to have an opportunity to practice today. How he'll do, I don't know. But at least we've got him back to where he's practicing.
"Zach Mottla is now able to practice full speed, and he hasn't been able to do that. So we've got some people that have healed up a little bit, maybe not completely, but that was more important. The bye week gave us a chance to do that."

On getting back to the fundamentals during the bye week...

"We know what Northwestern is going to do. We know what Iowa's going to do and what Wisconsin's going to do. Sometimes we forget blocking and tackling and using your hands and playing with good technique and having leverage on the ball and those kind of things.
"So I think fundamentally, we're not where we need to be fundamentally as a program, because we're playing a lot of young players. The only way you can learn to be fundamentally good is to play games and go through practice."

On the season overall...
"We've been playing pretty good as a team for four games. For one half we didn't play real good as a team."

On only one receiver having caught more than 10 balls this year...

"I don't think you worry about it. You worry about it if you're dropping balls. We didn't catch two or three critical balls in the game, but we had caught them the first four weeks."

On the youth of the Gophers...

"We're playing young players. We've accepted that, and they're playing. They're playing hard.  They want to please. We come up after the game. We don't win the game, and we've got guys up here watching film after they took the flight, and the bus ride, they want to know.  We're not asking them. They want to see. They want to see what went wrong and what could be better. So to me that's a good sign.

"I can tell you, this group of kids, it's not the question that they don't want to do well. They want to do well, and they want to perform. They don't want to let anybody down, so they're working at it.

"They've done everything. It was tough being around me Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday, but they want to do well. So if you've got want to, you've got a chance.

"I think they understand where they're at. I think they understand where we're trying to get to.  They understand it's not going to be easy, and they know there are going to be setbacks and people that question and so forth." 

On playing at home...

"When you play at home, you've got to take care of home field. I've always said that. It's an important game because we're on our home field."

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