Kill expects Gophers football to be better in his fourth season

  • Article by: JOE CHRISTENSEN , Star Tribune
  • Updated: January 10, 2014 - 1:04 AM

The U’s win total has gone from three to five to eight under coach Jerry Kill.

hide

Minnesota Gophers vs. Syracuse Orange in Texas Bowl. Syracuse won 21-17. Minnesota head coach Jerry Kill looked a bit disgruntled as he paced the sideline late in the game. (MARLIN LEVISON/STARTRIBUNE

Photo: Marlin Levison, Star Tribune

CameraStar Tribune photo galleries

Cameraview larger

With a disappointing loss to Syracuse in the Texas Bowl fresh in their minds, Gophers football coach Jerry Kill and his assistants have spent recent days evaluating the 2013 season, searching for ways to improve this fall.

“We think we’ll be better,” Kill said Thursday. “I said that last year, and we were better [in 2013], and I think we’ll be better this year.”

Kill said the schedule will be tougher. Besides moving to the Big Ten West — along with Illinois, Iowa, Nebraska, Northwestern, Purdue and Wisconsin — the Gophers play crossover games against Ohio State and Michigan, and a nonconference game at Texas Christian.

The Gophers have improved from 3-9 to 6-7 to 8-5 in Kill’s first three seasons.

“I’m not one that guarantees [a number of wins], but we’ll be better,” Kill said. “But our offseason’s got to be better, and our approach has got to be better. You’ve got to work harder.”

Still mum on QBs

Kill declined to discuss the team’s quarterback pecking order. Philip Nelson started nine games, including the final five, but struggled in the bowl loss before Mitch Leidner tossed two fourth-quarter touchdown passes.

“Our players, they need to come back [from winter break], and they need to be starving,” Kill said. “And I think they will be. You always want to talk about quarterbacks — they need to be starving. Somebody needs to [say], ‘Let’s go!’ ”

Kill also said, “We’ve got young quarterbacks, but the kid at Oklahoma [redshirt freshman Trevor Knight] — he’s a great example. He struggled and struggled and had a great bowl game, turned the corner. That’s what we need to do.”

Injury report

Kill is relieved that tight end Maxx Williams won’t need surgery after injuring his left knee in the last minute of the Syracuse game.

Among players scheduled for offseason surgery: cornerback Derrick Wells (shoulder), wide receiver KJ Maye (groin), tackle Jonah Pirsig (hand), tight end Alex Bisch (ankle), fullback Tyler Hartmann (shoulder).

Cornerback Briean-Boddy Calhoun (knee surgery) will be ready for spring practice, but Kill said the team will be careful with him.

Center Jon Christenson (broken leg) is doing well with his rehab but won’t participate in spring practice.

Center Matt Leidner (quarterback Mitch Leidner’s younger brother) has a foot injury but should be ready for spring practice.

Spring practice moved

One early change in 2014 will come with spring practice. Camp opens March 4, with the spring game on April 12. Last year, it opened March 26, with the spring game on April 27.

This year, the team will hold two weeks of camp before spring break (March 17-21) and three weeks after the break. Kill said that will help simulate a bye week; there are two of those again this fall. And it will be a chance to test the players’ intensity after an elongated break, something teams deal with during bowl season.

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

San Francisco - M. Bumgarner 7:07 PM
Kansas City - J. Shields
Houston 23 FINAL
Pittsburgh 30
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
Houston 7:00 PM
Miami
Indiana 7:00 PM
Minnesota
Utah 7:00 PM
Oklahoma City
Portland 8:00 PM
Denver
Phoenix 9:00 PM
LA Lakers
LA Clippers 9:30 PM
Golden State
San Jose 6:00 PM
Boston
NY Rangers 6:00 PM
New Jersey
Toronto 6:00 PM
NY Islanders
Detroit 6:30 PM
Montreal
Arizona 7:00 PM
Nashville
Carolina 7:00 PM
Winnipeg
Philadelphia 7:30 PM
Chicago
Vancouver 7:30 PM
Dallas
Florida 8:00 PM
Colorado
Tampa Bay 8:00 PM
Calgary
Arkansas State 7:00 PM
Louisiana
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
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