Kill sidesteps health questions, except those about his players

  • Article by: JOE CHRISTENSEN , Star Tribune
  • Updated: September 18, 2013 - 6:23 AM

Jerry Kill refused to talk about his health, instead turning the focus to his players’ injuries.

 

Jerry Kill didn’t want Tuesday to be about him again.

At his weekly news conference, the Gophers football coach thanked everyone for their thoughts following his seizure Saturday, but he headed off questions about his health by saying he wanted to talk about his players.

“I’ve talked about those other things enough,” Kill said. “This game’s not about a head football coach. This game’s about the players, and that’s how we’ll approach it today.”

Kill has epilepsy, a condition that affects nearly 3 million Americans, and has compared the aftereffects of a seizure to getting hit by a truck. He returned to work Monday, and it looked as if he still had some soreness Tuesday.

But it’s clear Kill is determined to keep pushing forward, despite suffering three in-game seizures in three years as Minnesota’s coach. This summer, he said he understood that couldn’t keep happening, adding, “I’d walk away if I didn’t think I could do it. But that’s not going to happen because you’re talking to a guy that wasn’t supposed to be here anyway.”

Kill overcame stage 4 kidney cancer in 2005, and those who know him well, believe he’s a long way from walking away from this job because of epilepsy. On Monday, Gophers athletic director Norwood Teague said he and Kill haven’t even discussed such a scenario.

While some fans and critics have suggested Kill should resign for health reasons, senior safety Brock Vereen said, “As players, we’re really not reacting to it. We have a huge game this week [against San Jose State], and any attention taken away from that can hurt us Saturday. We know Coach Kill’s behind us, and we’re behind him.”

While Kill didn’t want to talk about his health, there was plenty to address regarding his players’ status.

Quarterback Philip Nelson is questionable for Saturday’s game after injuring his right hamstring in last week’s victory over Western Illinois. Kill said Nelson’s hamstring is about 65-70 percent strength, which means Mitch Leidner and third-string quarterback Chris Streveler will get most of the practice reps this week.

The Gophers aren’t saying who would start between Nelson and Leidner if both were healthy. Leidner completed seven of eight passes and ran for 64 yards, as the Gophers came back to defeat Western Illinois 29-12.

“We’re very pleased with what he did, and it allows Philip to heal up properly, and hopefully he’ll be ready by the weekend,” Kill said. “But if he’s not, we’ll be prepared to play Mitch, and we’ll feel good about it.”

Kill said two Gophers running backs who’ve been out because of sprained ankles — Donnell Kirkwood and Berkley Edwards — were cleared to practice “full-tilt” Tuesday.

Kirkwood, a junior who led the team with 926 rushing yards last year, was further along in his recovery than Edwards last week. Edwards is a true freshman, so it’s still possible he’ll redshirt, especially with Rodrick Williams (217 yards rushing) and David Cobb (207 yards) on a roll.

“We’ll be smart with that, and that’ll be a discussion I’m sure that will go late into the week,” Kill said. “But the other two backs have played real well, and getting Donnell back will be a boost.”

Kill also said safety Cedric Thompson will be ready to play against San Jose State after missing the Western Illinois game because of an unspecified injury.

“He had a situation that occurred in practice,” Kill said. “They took him to the emergency room, and he got cleared [to play] on Friday.”

But Kill said the coaching staff wasn’t going to rush Thompson back Saturday.

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

Baltimore - LP: K. Gausman 1 FINAL
Chicago Cubs - WP: J. Arrieta 4
Houston - WP: T. Sipp 5 FINAL
Cleveland - LP: C. Allen 1
San Francisco - WP: T. Hudson 10 FINAL
Washington - LP: D. Fister 3
St. Louis - LP: A. Wainwright 4 FINAL
Philadelphia - WP: K. Kendrick 5
Chicago WSox - LP: D. Webb 3 FINAL
NY Yankees - WP: D. Robertson 4
Tampa Bay - WP: D. Smyly 8 FINAL
Toronto - LP: M. Stroman 0
Atlanta - WP: D. Hale 3 FINAL
Cincinnati - LP: M. Parra 1
Seattle - WP: D. Leone 5 FINAL
Boston - LP: K. Uehara 3
Kansas City - WP: Y. Ventura 6 FINAL
Texas - LP: C. Lewis 3
Pittsburgh - WP: J. Locke 8 FINAL
Milwaukee - LP: Y. Gallardo 3
Detroit - LP: R. Ray 6 FINAL
Minnesota - WP: R. Pressly 20
Miami - WP: H. Alvarez 13 FINAL
Colorado - LP: F. Morales 5
San Diego - LP: O. Despaigne 1 FINAL
Arizona - WP: J. Collmenter 5
LA Angels - LP: J. Grilli 3 FINAL
Oakland - WP: S. Gray 5
NY Mets - LP: J. Niese 2 FINAL
Los Angeles - WP: D. Haren 6
Carolina 7 FINAL
New England 30
NY Giants 35 FINAL
NY Jets 24
Jacksonville 12 FINAL
Detroit 13
Oakland 21 FINAL
Green Bay 31
Chicago 6 FINAL
Seattle 34
Tampa Bay 3:30 PM
Buffalo
Tennessee 6:00 PM
Atlanta
Dallas 6:00 PM
Miami
Washington 6:30 PM
Baltimore
New Orleans 7:00 PM
Indianapolis
Minnesota 7:00 PM
Kansas City
St. Louis 7:00 PM
Cleveland
Houston 8:00 PM
Denver
San Diego 8/24/14 3:00 PM
San Francisco
Cincinnati 8/24/14 7:00 PM
Arizona
Atlanta 8/28/14 5:00 PM
Jacksonville
Detroit 8/28/14 6:00 PM
Buffalo
Indianapolis 8/28/14 6:00 PM
Cincinnati
Kansas City 8/28/14 6:00 PM
Green Bay
NY Jets 8/28/14 6:00 PM
Philadelphia
St. Louis 8/28/14 6:00 PM
Miami
Carolina 8/28/14 6:30 PM
Pittsburgh
New England 8/28/14 6:30 PM
NY Giants
Washington 8/28/14 6:30 PM
Tampa Bay
Baltimore 8/28/14 7:00 PM
New Orleans
Chicago 8/28/14 7:00 PM
Cleveland
Denver 8/28/14 7:00 PM
Dallas
Minnesota 8/28/14 7:00 PM
Tennessee
San Francisco 8/28/14 7:00 PM
Houston
Arizona 8/28/14 9:00 PM
San Diego
Seattle 8/28/14 9:00 PM
Oakland
(21) Texas A&M 8/28/14 5:00 PM
(9) So Carolina
Wake Forest 8/28/14 6:00 PM
ULM
Boise State 8/28/14 7:00 PM
(18) Ole Miss
Tulane 8/28/14 7:00 PM
Tulsa
Temple 8/28/14 8:15 PM
Vanderbilt
Rutgers 8/28/14 9:00 PM
Washington St
Weber State 8/28/14 9:30 PM
(19) Arizona State
BYU 8/29/14 6:00 PM
Connecticut
(6) Jacksonville St 8/29/14 6:30 PM
(8) Michigan State
Bowling Green 8/29/14 6:30 PM
Western Ky
TX-San Antonio 8/29/14 8:00 PM
Houston
Colorado State 8/29/14 8:00 PM
Colorado
UNLV 8/29/14 9:30 PM
Arizona
UCF 8/30/14 7:30 AM
Penn State
Real Salt Lake 1 FINAL
FC Dallas 2
Montreal 16 FINAL
Winnipeg 24
Toronto 3:00 PM
Edmonton
Calgary 8/24/14 2:00 PM
Ottawa
Saskatchewan 8/24/14 6:00 PM
Brt Columbia
Ottawa 8/29/14 6:30 PM
Montreal
Winnipeg 8/31/14 2:00 PM
Saskatchewan
Toronto 9/1/14 12:00 PM
Hamilton
Edmonton 9/1/14 3:30 PM
Calgary
Chicago 80 FINAL
Atlanta 77
Los Angeles 72 FINAL
Phoenix 75
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: Which football team will have the best record in 2014?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close