Joe Christensen covered Major League Baseball for 15 years, including three seasons at the Baltimore Sun and eight at the Star Tribune, before switching to the college football beat. He’s a Faribault, Minn., native who graduated from the University of Minnesota in 1996. He covered Jim Wacker’s Gophers for the Minnesota Daily and also wrote about USC, UCLA and the Rose Bowl for the Riverside Press-Enterprise before getting this chance to cover football again.

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Victory relieves anxiety that enveloped Gophers

Posted by: Phil Miller under College football, Gophers postgame Updated: September 17, 2011 - 8:39 PM

     There was an unmistakable air of anxiety around the Gophers' football program all week, one part worry about the coach and one part trepidation about the team's 0-2 start. So you couldn't miss the relief in the players' voices as they tried to describe the emotions they were feeling.
     "I'm proud of what this team did today," said junior linebacker Mike Rallis.
     And no wonder. The Gophers allowed 405 yards of offense, but held when they had to. And the offense wasn't exactly mistake-free -- 3-for-13 on third downs is worrisome -- but it never committed a game-changing error, either. Zero turnovers, five-for-five in the red zone. Sure, three trips resulted in field goals, but at least they're making progress.
     You get the sense that the Gophers were knocked off their feet by Jerry Kill's seizure, but somehow found enough focus to beat a reasonably dangerous opponent. You could make a case that Miami outplayed the Gophers, but none of that matters now.
     No, what's important now is trying to build upon the things they did right -- and watching their coach gain strength. Kill was open about his horrible week in the postgame press conference, admitting that he was still having seizures on Tuesday. Talked to his coaches "between seizures, if you can believe that," he said in a startling revelation.
     Kill basically said he simply grew tired of waiting for doctors to settle on a new course of medication, so he decided to take his chances and go back to work. He warned his players that he might have more seizures, and to just give him room if it happens again, "and don't worry about it."
     Not so easy to do, is it? The specter of another seizure on the sideline surely worries the team's medical staff, and Dr. Pat Smith didn't stray far from Kill's side during the game. But all went well for Kill, including the outcome of the game. Now the coach, and his team, need to gain some strength for the long and difficult season ahead.

 

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