We just came from Gophers football media access, which was the first opportunity to ask players about last week's development with head coach Jerry Kill taking an indefinite leave of absence as he works to get his epilepsy under control.

The universal message from kicker Chris Hawthorne, offensive lineman Jon Christenson, tight end Maxx Williams and defensive back Brock Vereen: They are fully prepared to move on with business as usual and are hoping to draw on Kill for inspiration in their game against Northwestern on Saturday.

How that all comes together, of course, remains to be seen. It has been far from a normal season for the Gophers, with Kill missing part of their victory over Western Illinois and all of their loss to Michigan two Saturdays ago. They have also been in the midst of a QB shuffle, though acting head coach Tracy Claeys said Tuesday that Mitch Leidner will start against the Wildcats, saying Leidner "deserves the opportunity" after showing some progress against Michigan.

Perhaps Kill's leave of absence will even bring a sense of normalcy to the program in an odd way. Stability is huge, Vereen said, and not knowing the status of your head coach from week to week cannot be easy.

Claeys said he does not anticipate Kill will return for the Northwestern game -- hardly surprising since this is the first game since Kill took his leave of absence.

The only certainty is that the Gophers will have a ton of work to do in order to beat the Wildcats -- or, frankly, any Big Ten team left on their schedule at this point.

We'll have a video from Gophers access posted shortly. For now, your thoughts on the Gophers in the comments, please.

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