Kill's leave of absence works out in every way

  • Article by: JOE CHRISTENSEN , Star Tribune
  • Updated: November 10, 2013 - 3:15 PM

University of Minnesota President Eric Kaler has been unequivocal with his support for Gophers football coach Jerry Kill through his battle with epilepsy, and that faith has been rewarded.

Kill, who began a leave of absence to treat his disease on Oct. 10, coached from the booth for the fourth consecutive game Saturday as the Gophers defeated Penn State 24-10 at TCF Bank Stadium.

With defensive coordinator Tracy Claeys again serving as acting head coach on the sideline, the Gophers stretched their winning streak to four games. After going 3-9 and 6-7 in Kill’s first two seasons, the Gophers are 8-2.

“We’re fortunate that we’re winning under these conditions [with Kill’s health], but even if we weren’t, I know we’ve made the right decision about how to let Jerry get back on his feet,” Kaler said. “And I’m glad he’s making progress, and I’m very glad the team’s making progress, and I’m glad there’s this excitement in the community about Gophers football again.”

Kaler and athletic director Norwood Teague have left it up to Kill as to how much of his coaching duties to handle during his treatment process. Kill, 52, has been at every practice for the past three weeks and continues to take on more of his old duties.

“I don’t think we really had any other choice [but to leave these decisions to Kill],” Kaler said. “I had a lot of people in my ear saying, ‘Well, we should fire him. He can’t do his job, etc.’ That’s nonsense.

“We’re going to be compassionate. We’re going to be smart about how to let Jerry get back to full strength. And we’re really blessed to have a coaching staff. When we hired Jerry, we didn’t just hire Jerry Kill and Rebecca [Kill], who’s fabulous. We hired a team of coaches, and that team is absolutely delivering for us.”

No quarterback shuffle

Philip Nelson started at quarterback and played the entire game for the first time since the Gophers’ Sept. 28 loss against Iowa. Mitch Leidner, who has started four games at quarterback this year, didn’t see any action.

Nelson suffered a hip pointer last week at Indiana, and Kill said the concern was that Nelson’s hip might stiffen up if he spent too much time watching from the sidelines.

Nelson completed 15 of 24 passes for 186 yards and a touchdown, and he added 12 carries for 40 yards.

“Mitch didn’t play today, but that kid’s as happy as anybody in the locker room,” Kill said. “That’s what’s neat about our kids right now.”

Offensive line changes

After losing starting center Jon Christenson for the season because of a broken left leg last week at Indiana, the Gophers also played Saturday’s game without starting right guard Caleb Bak because of a concussion.

Tommy Olson subbed for Christenson at center, and Foster Bush got his first career start at right guard. The Gophers didn’t seem to miss a beat, rushing 46 times for 195 yards, with 139 of those yards coming from David Cobb.

  • related content

  • Gophers stop Penn State, get used to handling success

    Sunday November 10, 2013

    Minnesota used the same formula Saturday as it did in victories over Northwestern, Nebraska and Indiana, holding the ball for 35 minutes, 28 seconds compared to 24:32 for Penn State.

  • Kill

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

Fla Southern 2 FINAL
Detroit 12
FIU 2 FINAL
Miami 7
Toronto 114 FINAL
Philadelphia 103
Golden State 108 FINAL
Brooklyn 110
Phoenix 98 FINAL
Miami 115
LA Clippers 110 FINAL
Minnesota 105
New Orleans 93 FINAL
Dallas 102
Nashville 1 FINAL
NY Rangers 4
Carolina 2 FINAL
Chicago 5
Montreal 0 3rd Prd 4:53
San Jose 4
Virginia 59 FINAL
Syracuse 47
Baylor 59 FINAL
Texas 61
SE Louisiana 79 FINAL
Northwestern St 92
Central Arkansas 49 FINAL
Sam Houston St 76
Norfolk State 59 FINAL
Howard 61
Bethune-Cookman 50 FINAL
NC A&T 67
Hampton 75 FINAL
Delaware State 85
Lamar 69 FINAL
McNeese State 70
Nicholls 89 FINAL
New Orleans 79
Incarnate Word 62 FINAL
Stephen F Austin 83
NC Central 62 FINAL
Savannah State 49
Texas Southern 77 FINAL
Alabama A&M 75
Prairie View 67 FINAL
Alabama State 65
Oklahoma 70 FINAL
Iowa State 77
Grambling St 62 FINAL
Miss Valley St 66
Boston College 66 FINAL
Virginia Tech 59
Jackson State 62 FINAL
Ark-Pine Bluff 64
Bethune-Cookman 55 FINAL
NC A&T 58
Hampton 78 FINAL
Delaware State 63
Norfolk State 63 FINAL
Howard 60
NC Central 54 FINAL
Savannah State 65
Texas Southern 83 FINAL
Alabama A&M 46
Prairie View 42 FINAL
Alabama State 60
Jackson State 78 FINAL
Ark-Pine Bluff 74
Grambling 56 FINAL
Miss Valley St 61
Tulsa 71 FINAL
Cincinnati 58
(1) Connecticut 88 FINAL
South Florida 65
UCF 57 FINAL
East Carolina 67
Central Conn St 53 FINAL
Bryant 55
Wagner 66 FINAL
Robert Morris 60
Sacred Heart 75 FINAL
Fairleigh Dickinson 84
St Francis-NY 73 FINAL
Long Island 49
Mount St Marys 87 FINAL
St Francis-PA 90
Temple 56 FINAL
Houston 45
Texas Tech 65 FINAL
(6) Baylor 75
Iowa State 64 FINAL
Kansas 68
SMU 60 FINAL
Memphis 53
Oklahoma 66 FINAL
Oklahoma St 56
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: Who is the best center on a Twin Cities sports team?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close