Souhan: Kill's talented staff stepping up, making him look good

  • Article by: JIM SOUHAN , Star Tribune
  • Updated: November 1, 2013 - 6:49 AM
hide

Acting head coach Tracy Claeys, right, keeps it calm on the Gophers’ sideline and makes smart decisions.

Photo: JIM GEHRZ • jgehrz@startribune.com,

CameraStar Tribune photo galleries

Cameraview larger

There the University of Minnesota goes again, throwing money at the football program.

The Gophers have thrown money at fired coaches. They’ve thrown money at failed hiring processes that left them with their fourth or fifth choice last time around.

They threw money at Jerry Kill when he asked for a raise before he had won a Big Ten game. They threw money at the supposed problem that was featuring a mediocre team from the University of North Carolina on the nonconference schedule. The check to buy out of that game was latticed with zeros.

Locals call Minnesota “The U” not to denote “University,’’ but because you, the students and taxpayers, wind up paying for a lot of wasteful spending.

Now the U is at it again, throwing money at the football program.

This time, the University is on target.

The athletic department is paying defensive coordinator Tracy Claeys a bonus for working as the acting head football coach while Jerry Kill is on medical leave.

Claeys is more deserving of a raise today than Kill was in 2011.

Claeys is a more worthy investment than escaping a nonconference game against a mediocre team.

He has staved off disaster. If this were a movie, he’d be destroying an asteroid hurtling toward earth while exchanging awkward dialogue with Bruce Willis.

A month ago, Jerry Kill could not make the flight to Michigan. Without him, and perhaps because of the shock of his absence, the Gophers lost to the mediocre Wolverines, 42-13.

The Gophers headed into their bye week not knowing whether Kill would coach again this season, or whether the team would win again this season, or whether Kill would ever coach again. In Kill’s stead, Claeys the team’s defensive coordinator, would run the team on game days, and offensive coordinator Matt Limegrover would operate with more independence.

In two games since, with Kill watching from the coaches’ booth, the Gophers have beaten Northwestern and Nebraska.

They beat Northwestern because of Claeys’ calm demeanor and savvy in-game decisions. They beat Nebraska because of Claeys’ calm demeanor and decisions, and because Limegrover unleashed the most intelligently designed and executed offensive game plan the Gophers have seen since Tom Moore and Tony Dungy wore maroon.

Kill’s strength is building and running a college football program. He is the stereotypical Type A leader who lets you see him sweat. That is the conventional wisdom regarding Kill, and it appears to be true.

The past two weeks might have taught us more about Kill. We should have given him more credit for the staff he built, and maybe we should have given him less credit for his sideline work.

Kill tends to become frenzied during games, which may explain some of his questionable in-game decisions since he arrived at Minnesota. With Claeys running the team during games, the sideline has been a calmer, more rational place, and the in-game coaching has improved.

Before the past few weeks, it would have been fair to question whether Claeys and Limegrover had stayed with Kill because of loyalty, or because they couldn’t find better jobs. At this point, both appear to be better coaches when given more responsibility. That speaks well of them as coaches and Kill loyalists.

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

Cincinnati - LP: J. Broxton 1 FINAL
Pittsburgh - WP: T. Watson 2
Minnesota - LP: T. May 1 FINAL
Baltimore - WP: M. Gonzalez 9
NY Yankees 6 Top 9th Inning
Toronto 3
Philadelphia - LP: J. Diekman 1 FINAL
NY Mets - WP: J. deGrom 4
Boston 8 Bottom 8th Inning
Tampa Bay 3
Miami 2 Top 8th Inning
Atlanta 5
Cleveland 4 Delayed
Kansas City 0
Detroit 7 Top 6th Inning
Chicago WSox 1
Texas 8 Top 7th Inning
Houston 1
Chicago Cubs 2 Bottom 7th Inning
St. Louis 2
Colorado 0 Top 3rd Inning
Arizona 0
Oakland 0 Bottom 1st Inning
LA Angels 0
Los Angeles 0 Top 1st Inning
San Diego 0
Washington 1 Bottom 1st Inning
Seattle 0
Milwaukee - W. Peralta 9:15 PM
San Francisco - R. Vogelsong
Green Bay 9/4/14 7:30 PM
Seattle
(21) Texas A&M 52 FINAL
(9) So Carolina 28
Wake Forest 10 FINAL
ULM 17
Boise State 13 FINAL
(18) Ole Miss 35
Tulane 31 FINAL
Tulsa 38
Rutgers 41 FINAL
Washington St 38
Weber State 14 FINAL
(19) Arizona State 45
Temple 37 FINAL
Vanderbilt 7
BYU 28 4th Qtr 5:46
Connecticut 10
(6) Jacksonville St 7 4th Qtr 12:30
(8) Michigan State 45
Bowling Green 24 3rd Qtr 7:16
Western Ky 38
TX-San Antonio 7 2nd Qtr 8:25
Houston 0
Colorado State 0 2nd Qtr 4:57
Colorado 10
UNLV 9:30 PM
Arizona
Penn State 8/30/14 7:30 AM
UCF
Troy 8/30/14 11:00 AM
UAB
(7) UCLA 8/30/14 11:00 AM
Virginia
Western Mich 8/30/14 11:00 AM
Purdue
(5) Ohio State 8/30/14 11:00 AM
Navy
Appalachian St 8/30/14 11:00 AM
Michigan
Ga Southern 8/30/14 11:30 AM
NC State
Boston College 8/30/14 2:00 PM
Massachusetts
West Virginia 8/30/14 2:30 PM
(2) Alabama
Rice 8/30/14 2:30 PM
(17) Notre Dame
(10) South Dakota St 8/30/14 2:30 PM
(24) Missouri
Fla Atlantic 8/30/14 2:30 PM
(22) Nebraska
California 8/30/14 2:30 PM
Northwestern
Marshall 8/30/14 2:30 PM
Miami-Ohio
UC Davis 8/30/14 3:00 PM
(11) Stanford
Arkansas 8/30/14 3:00 PM
(6) Auburn
(16) Clemson 8/30/14 4:30 PM
(12) Georgia
Liberty 8/30/14 5:00 PM
(23) North Carolina
Ohio U 8/30/14 5:00 PM
Kent State
Louisiana Tech 8/30/14 6:00 PM
(4) Oklahoma
Idaho 8/30/14 6:00 PM
Florida
Stephen F Austin 8/30/14 6:10 PM
(20) Kansas State
Fresno State 8/30/14 6:30 PM
(15) USC
Southern Miss 8/30/14 6:30 PM
Miss State
Texas-El Paso 8/30/14 7:00 PM
New Mexico
North Texas 8/30/14 7:00 PM
Texas
(1) Florida State 8/30/14 7:00 PM
Oklahoma State
(14) Wisconsin 8/30/14 8:00 PM
(13) LSU
South Dakota 8/30/14 9:30 PM
(3) Oregon
(25) Washington 8/30/14 9:30 PM
Hawaii
Utah State 8/31/14 6:00 PM
Tennessee
SMU 8/31/14 6:30 PM
(10) Baylor
Miami-Florida 9/1/14 7:00 PM
Louisville
Arizona 9/4/14 7:00 PM
TX-San Antonio
Pittsburgh 9/5/14 6:00 PM
Boston College
Washington St 9/5/14 9:30 PM
Nevada
Houston 0 1st Half 14:00
Sporting Kansas City 0
Ottawa 10 2:43
Montreal 20
Winnipeg 8/31/14 3:00 PM
Saskatchewan
Toronto 9/1/14 12:00 PM
Hamilton
Edmonton 9/1/14 3:30 PM
Calgary
Brt Columbia 9/5/14 6:30 PM
Ottawa
Calgary 9/6/14 6:00 PM
Edmonton
Hamilton 9/7/14 12:00 PM
Montreal
Saskatchewan 9/7/14 3:00 PM
Winnipeg
Minnesota 2 1st Qtr 7:52
Phoenix 9
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 pm
Sep 13 - at TCU 3 pm
Sep 20 - vs. San Jose St. TBA
Sep 27 - at Michigan TBA
Oct 11 - vs. Northwestern TBA
Oct 18 - vs. Purdue 11 am
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: Grade the Gophers in their season opener

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close