Gophers athletic director Norwood Teague spoke with football coach Jerry Kill on Tuesday. The plan is for Kill, who missed last Saturday’s Gophers game at Michigan because of an epileptic seizure, to take it day by day while getting some rest at the start of the bye week.
“Luckily we have a bye week, so the demands for not only the kids but the coaches are not where they usually are,” Teague said. “[Kill] is working with his doctors. He’s always monitoring his medication and things like that to keep improving. It’s just a matter of, as I’ve said before, of trying to hit that moving target and find a happy medium with your medication and whatnot. I talked to him [Tuesday] night, we had a great long conversation, and we’re moving forward.”
There’s been a lot of speculation about Kill’s future, but when Teague was asked if there was any question about Kill’s status as head coach moving forward, he didn’t hesitate in his response.
“No, no question. He’s as ensconced as ever,” Teague said. “He’s just having to try to figure this thing out. I’ve learned a lot about it with time on how this thing works, and I’m not an authority at all, but epilepsy is an interesting condition.”
If for some reason Kill had to give up coaching, it would be a terrible blow to the future of the Gophers football program.
The key fourth year
Barry Alvarez, like Kill, had serious problems winning in his first three years at Wisconsin before going to and winning the Rose Bowl following the 1993 season.
I believe Kill and his staff are a group that can develop a winner like Alvarez did at Wisconsin. Alvarez went 1-10 his first season at Wisconsin, then 5-6 in his second and third years before hitting the jackpot with a 10-1-1 record his fourth year.
As for Kill, even though his 4-14 record in the Big Ten so far during his three years here hasn’t been great, the program was in terrible shape when he took over. He and his staff have produced miracles when it comes to academics, recruiting and generating respect for the program from not only Minnesota high school coaches but coaches and players all over the country, considering the increasing success the staff has had in outstate recruiting.
They took over a program with about 40 players dealing with academic problems. The result was a number of talented football players recruited by Tim Brewster and his staff dropped out of school.
So let’s hope Kill gets healthy in a hurry and finds the right medication to control or end his epileptic seizures. Then there is a great chance Minnesota will have a competitive football program again by next season, because there are so few seniors on this squad.
Repeat for Cassel
Being one of three capable quarterbacks on an NFL roster, which the Vikings now have in Matt Cassel, Christian Ponder and Josh Freeman, is nothing new for Cassel.
Tom Brady was the No. 1 quarterback while Cassel was in New England. During Cassel’s rookie year in 2005 the backup was Doug Flutie. Cassel became the main backup the following year, with Vinny Testaverde acting as the emergency quarterback late in the year, and Cassel was No. 2 in front of Matt Gutierrez in his third season. Cassel started 15 games in 2008 when Brady tore knee ligaments in the season opener.
“Yeah, they had a great level of experience, there’s no doubt about that,” Cassel said about those Patriots’ group of quarterbacks.
Asked about his reaction to the Vikings signing Freeman on Sunday, Cassel said: “It’s not like we’re upset with Josh or Josh is upset with us or anything like that. You know it’s a management decision and when you play in the NFL, you know they’re going to bring people in and there’s going to be competition constantly.”
How did his talk go with coach Leslie Frazier when he was told Freeman was going to be signed?
“Basically there was a good player out there and we thought he could add something to this team,” Cassel said. “There’s going to be competition and, when and if he gets on the field, it’s all determined by the competition that goes forth out there.”
Does Cassel have any idea who will start against the Panthers on Sunday?
“That’s Coach’s decision,” he said. “We’ll go through a week of practice and see how everything goes, see how Christian is feeling, and then the decision will be made and we’ll go from there. But I’ll be ready to play.”
• Yes, Minneapolis is one of three candidates for the 2018 Super Bowl, but the city has tough competition in New Orleans, a real favorite of the owners, and Indianapolis, where one of the most successful Super Bowls was held in 2012. I believe this area has a chance to get a Super Bowl, but not in the first year the Vikings’ new stadium will be available.
• Frazier on the Carolina Panthers: “Cam Newton is a very good quarterback. They’re a very good football team. Their defense is playing well. They have good running backs. Steve Smith is still an outstanding wide receiver in our league. They’re an up-and-coming team.” … The Carolina game is sold out and will be televised.
• Former Gophers defensive back Tramaine Brock was named NFC Defensive Player of the Week this week after recording two interceptions, returning one for a touchdown, in the San Francisco 49ers’ 34-3 victory over the Houston Texans last week. Brock played one season for the Gophers in 2008 under Brewster but failed to qualify academically the next season.
• Former Wild forward Cal Clutterbuck has been taken off injured reserve, after suffering a deep skate cut last month, but won’t play for the New York Islanders until at least Friday in Chicago. Clutterbuck was traded to the Islanders for Nino Niederreiter in June.
• Former Vikings wide receiver Percy Harvin is back with the Seahawks after rehabbing in New York following his hip surgery in August. Coach Pete Carroll said he wasn’t ready to put a timetable on Harvin’s return, but that he is on to the next level of training.