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Continued: College Football Insider: Kill has history of success

  • Article by: JOE CHRISTENSEN , Star Tribune
  • Last update: November 15, 2013 - 12:24 AM

Southern comfort

Southern Illinois

Before: The Salukis went 14-30 under Jan Quarless from 1997 to 2000.

During (2001-07): Kill went 1-10 his first year and 10-2 his third year. His teams went 50-14 over his final five seasons, reaching the Division I-AA playoffs each time.

After: Dale Lennon led the Salukis to conference titles in 2008 and 2009, but the team has leveled off and currently sits at 5-5.

Northern exposure

Northern Illinois

Before: The Huskies went 2-10 in 2007 under then-coach Joe Novak.

During (2008-10): Kill’s teams went 6-7, 7-6 and 11-3.

After: The Huskies went 11-3 and 12-2 under Dave Doeren, reaching the Orange Bowl last season before he jumped to North Carolina State. Rod Carey, a Wayzata High graduate, has taken over for Doeren, and the Huskies currently rank 20th in the nation.

Kill has had defensive coordinator Tracy Claeys, offensive coordinator Matt Limegrover, tight ends coach Rob Reeves and strength and conditioning coach Eric Klein with him since Saginaw Valley State.

Kill said he has told each administration to take care of his assistant coaches financially and upgrade the practice facilities. He’s proud of the facilities upgrades at Southern Illinois and Northern Illinois, which both came after he left.

Kill’s staff has made academics a priority and pushed players to get bigger and stronger in the weight room. The Gophers went 3-9 and 6-7 under Kill their first two years and currently sit 8-2 heading into next week’s showdown with Wisconsin.

“Coach Claeys said it, and I’ve said it, ‘We know we can still get a lot better,’ ” Kill said. “That’s what we did at Northern and Southern. We built a heck of a foundation, a heck of a base, and then you can continue to win.””

Big Ten short takes

• Michigan’s running game is going backward, literally. The Wolverines rushed for minus-48 yards in their loss to Michigan State two weeks ago, and minus-21 yards in last week’s loss to Nebraska.

Michigan boasts one of the nation’s best offensive linemen in left tackle Taylor Lewan, but the interior line has been suspect all season. Michigan will try to rebound on Saturday at Northwestern.

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