Hartman: In one year, Kill makes great strides with U

  • Article by: SID HARTMAN , Star Tribune
  • Updated: August 3, 2012 - 12:56 PM

The football team is so much better, academically and athletically. Coaching continuity is one important reason.

hide

Gophers football coach Jerry Kill, shown during Big Ten media day.

Photo: Paul Beaty, ASSOCIATED PRESS

CameraStar Tribune photo galleries

Cameraview larger

Comparing the Gophers football team Jerry Kill took over in 2011 to the group that will start practice on Saturday, the 2012 team is superior in every respect: academically, in athletic ability and in whatever makes a good football program.

A year ago the roster had over 20 ineligible players. Now Kill has a squad that has all of its players doing well academically and boasts one of the highest collective grade-point averages of any football team in the Big Ten.

Several junior college transfers, redshirt players and true freshman have been added to fill holes that existed a year ago. Believe me, the overall talent available is much better.

Another important factor in the Gophers' improvement is that the coaching staff is intact for the second consecutive year. Former Gophers quarterback Adam Weber had four different offensive coordinators, and the defense had three different defensive coordinators under former coaches Glen Mason and Tim Brewster.

Kill talked about the importance of staff continuity.

"I think the most important thing, as a head coach or an assistant coach or our strength coach, is we've got continuity," Kill said. "We didn't lose any of that continuity, so the vision stays the same. I think [players and coaches] are much more comfortable with each other, and what we are trying to establish is much better."

Kill had three assistant coaches turn down good job offers to stay with him.

"There's going to be a time or two, certainly I've got a couple guys that have been head coaches, and I'm sure they're going to want their opportunity someday," Kill said. "We're going to do everything we can to help them, but we certainly don't want to lose assistant coaches to other assistant coaches [positions] somewhere else."

Kill added: "We've been able to hang in there this year. I think it has been a great year for the University of Minnesota in that we have our whole academic team, our whole strength team, training room, equipment room and coaching staff, probably all of us are back for the first time in a long time. I think that's the direction our program is going. I think our administration understands that for us to turn a program around, we have to keep as much continuity as we can. We'll lose a few along the way, but hopefully we can keep the bulk of coaches with us."

Being close to the Gophers football program and following it 12 months a year, believe me, there is no comparison between what Kill inherited and the position, academically and athletically, the program is in today.

The best thing that happened to former athletic director Joel Maturi is that a number of head coaches turned down the chance to succeed Brewster and Kill got the job. I go back to the Bernie Bierman days, and no single coach ran a better overall program from every standpoint than Kill.

"I just think I was very honest a year ago and where we're at now we're a year older, even though we only have 10 seniors and we have a young team," Kill said. "I think it's a hungry group of kids that want to do well. I think that we have a chance to be better. You have to prove that on the field, and that's the bottom line, but I'm cautiously optimistic about our season this year, and we'll see how it goes."

Murray was an icon

The downtown Minneapolis community lost a real leader when Pat Murray, owner of Murray's Restaurant, passed away this past week at age 72. He took time away from taking care of his own place to help other businesses survive, one reason the Minneapolis downtown is as prosperous as it is.

I've known Pat since he took over the business when his mother and dad died. They don't make them any better than Pat Murray. He will really be missed.

Jottings

•Through three games in the Summer Olympics, new Timberwolves forward Andrei Kirilenko is the second-leading scorer, averaging 23.3 points per game for Russia. Perhaps more impressive is that Kirilenko is shooting 68 percent from the field, going 26-for-38. Kirilenko's teammate on the Russian national squad and future Timberwolves teammate, Alexey Shved, is leading all players in assists by averaging 8.3 per game.

•Chaska native Brad Hand has gone 2-1 with a 2.24 ERA over his past five starts with the New Orleans Zephyrs, the Miami Marlins' Class AAA club. He has allowed only eight runs over his last 32 2/3 innings while striking out 32 and walking nine. Hand is 8-5 this season with a 3.66 ERA and 116 strikeouts in 128 innings.

•Former Gophers pitcher Seth Rosin was part of a three-player package that the San Francisco Giants sent to the Philadelphia Phillies in exchange for Hunter Pence. Rosin posted a 4.31 ERA with 68 strikeouts and only 18 walks over 56 1/3 innings for San Jose, the Giants' high Class A team.

•Rochester Century standout Mitch Brown, who was selected in the second round of the draft by Cleveland this year, has posted a 2.25 ERA through three starts with the Indians of the Arizona Rookie League. Brown has six strikeouts and two walks and has given up two earned runs through eight innings.

•Former Gopher Mike Kvasnicka has been on a tear recently for the Lexington Legends, the Astros' Class A squad. Over his past 10 games Kvasnicka is hitting .316 with two doubles, three home runs, 11 RBI and eight runs scored. The catcher has raised his batting average to .232 and now has 15 home runs and 52 RBI this season.

•Former Centennial high school standout Austin Malinowski is pitching well for the Gulf Coast League Twins. Malinowski has appeared in seven games with three starts and has a 3-1 record and 1.66 ERA over 21 2/3 innings. He has struck out 21 while allowing only five walks.

Sid Hartman can be heard weekdays on 830-AM at 6:40, 7:40 and 8:40 a.m. and on Sundays at 9:30 a.m. shartman@startribune.com

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

San Francisco - J. Peavy 7:07 PM
Kansas City - Y. Ventura
San Diego 10/23/14 7:25 PM
Denver
Detroit 10/26/14 8:30 AM
Atlanta
Buffalo 10/26/14 12:00 PM
NY Jets
St. Louis 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Kansas City
Houston 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Tennessee
Minnesota 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Tampa Bay
Seattle 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Carolina
Baltimore 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Cincinnati
Miami 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Jacksonville
Chicago 10/26/14 12:00 PM
New England
Philadelphia 10/26/14 3:05 PM
Arizona
Oakland 10/26/14 3:25 PM
Cleveland
Indianapolis 10/26/14 3:25 PM
Pittsburgh
Green Bay 10/26/14 7:30 PM
New Orleans
Washington 10/27/14 7:30 PM
Dallas
Houston 6:00 PM
Orlando
Brooklyn 6:30 PM
Boston
Washington 6:30 PM
New York
Cleveland 7:00 PM
Memphis
Minnesota 7:00 PM
Milwaukee
Atlanta 7:30 PM
San Antonio
Portland 9:00 PM
LA Lakers
Phoenix 9:30 PM
LA Clippers
Toronto 6:00 PM
Ottawa
Philadelphia 7:00 PM
Pittsburgh
Washington 8:30 PM
Edmonton
Buffalo 9:30 PM
Anaheim
Arkansas State 40 FINAL
Louisiana 55
Connecticut 10/23/14 6:00 PM
(18) East Carolina
Miami-Florida 10/23/14 7:00 PM
Virginia Tech
So Florida 10/24/14 6:00 PM
Cincinnati
Troy 10/24/14 6:30 PM
South Alabama
BYU 10/24/14 8:00 PM
Boise State
(6) Oregon 10/24/14 9:00 PM
California
North Texas 10/25/14 11:00 AM
Rice
UAB 10/25/14 11:00 AM
Arkansas
Rutgers 10/25/14 11:00 AM
(16) Nebraska
Maryland 10/25/14 11:00 AM
Wisconsin
Texas 10/25/14 11:00 AM
(11) Kansas State
Minnesota 10/25/14 11:00 AM
Illinois
Memphis 10/25/14 11:00 AM
SMU
North Carolina 10/25/14 11:30 AM
Virginia
San Jose St 10/25/14 12:00 PM
Navy
Northern Ill 10/25/14 12:00 PM
Eastern Mich
(25) UCLA 10/25/14 1:00 PM
Colorado
Akron 10/25/14 1:00 PM
Ball State
Massachusetts 10/25/14 1:00 PM
Toledo
Ohio U 10/25/14 1:00 PM
Western Mich
Ga Southern 10/25/14 1:00 PM
Georgia State
Kent State 10/25/14 1:30 PM
Miami-Ohio
Oregon State 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Stanford
Fla Atlantic 10/25/14 2:30 PM
(23) Marshall
Louisiana Tech 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Southern Miss
(1) Miss State 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Kentucky
Georgia Tech 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Pittsburgh
(22) West Virginia 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Oklahoma State
Texas Tech 10/25/14 2:30 PM
(10) TCU
Michigan 10/25/14 2:30 PM
(8) Michigan State
Boston College 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Wake Forest
Central Mich 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Buffalo
Vanderbilt 10/25/14 3:00 PM
Missouri
Old Dominion 10/25/14 3:00 PM
Western Ky
UNLV 10/25/14 3:00 PM
Utah State
Temple 10/25/14 4:00 PM
UCF
(15) Arizona 10/25/14 5:00 PM
Washington St
Texas-El Paso 10/25/14 6:00 PM
TX-San Antonio
Wyoming 10/25/14 6:00 PM
Colorado State
Syracuse 10/25/14 6:00 PM
(21) Clemson
Texas State 10/25/14 6:00 PM
ULM
(3) Ole Miss 10/25/14 6:15 PM
(24) LSU
(4) Alabama 10/25/14 6:30 PM
Tennessee
So Carolina 10/25/14 6:30 PM
(5) Auburn
(13) Ohio State 10/25/14 7:00 PM
Penn State
(20) USC 10/25/14 9:00 PM
(19) Utah
(14) Arizona State 10/25/14 9:45 PM
Washington
Nevada 10/25/14 10:59 PM
Hawaii
Chivas USA 8:30 PM
Real Salt Lake
Montreal 10/24/14 5:30 PM
Ottawa
Saskatchewan 10/24/14 8:30 PM
Calgary
Hamilton 10/25/14 3:00 PM
Toronto
Brt Columbia 10/25/14 6:00 PM
Winnipeg
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

Date/Opponent Time W L Score
2014 season     
Aug 28 - vs. E. Illinois 6 pmX42-20
Sep 6 - vs. M. Tennessee St. 2:30 pmX35-24
Sep 13 - at TCU 3 pmX30-7
Sep 20 - vs. San Jose St. 3 p.m.X24-7
Sep 27 - at Michigan 2:30 pmX30-14
Oct 11 - vs. Northwestern 11 amX24-17
Oct 18 - vs. Purdue 11 amX39-38
Oct 25 - at Illinois 11 am
Nov 8 - vs. Iowa TBA
Nov 15 - vs. Ohio State TBA
Nov 22 - at Nebraska TBA
Nov 29 - at Wisconsin TBA

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: How will the Vikings and Gophers do this weekend?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close