Jerry Kill will be responsible for rebuilding one the worst offenses in college football.
The former Gophers head coach was announced as Rutgers new offensive coordinator Monday afternoon, just more than a year after retiring from coaching because of effects of epilepsy.
Kill’s absence from the game didn’t last long. He was hired in May by Kansas State as an associate athletic director overseeing football and Monday officially returns to coaching in the Big Ten.
"I know how to take care of myself better," Kill said in a teleconference Monday afternoon. "I've been seizure free for a long time and this is the best I've felt over a long time. ... I needed some time to see the right people and get on the right diet and get healthy."
Kill's contract is reportedly a three-year deal that will pay him an average of $625,000 per year, making him the highest paid assistant coach in program history. He was paid $150,000 in one year at Kansas State and earned $2.5 million annually at Minnesota before retiring.
Kill now has the large task of turning around a team offense that ranked last among the 128 Football Bowl Subdivision members and was last in nearly all offensive categories in the Big Ten this season.
"All the jobs I've ever taken are challenges. I'm a program builder," said Kill, who spent 22 seasons, five with the Gophers, as a head coach. "That's what I've done my whole life. ... I'm a competitive dude."
Rutgers was shut out in four Big Ten games this season, losing by a combined score of 224-0 against Ohio State, Michigan, Penn State and Michigan State. They were shut out in back-to-back weeks against the Buckeyes and Wolverines, then a month later shutout in back-to-back games yet again. The offense only scored 13 points in the final three games of the season.
Rutgers totaled just 3,398 offensive yards for an average of 283 yards per game. They averaged 138.3 passing yards and 144.9 rushing yards per game. Their 15.7 points per game were the second-worst in FBS.
Rutgers team offense ranked No. 93 in 2015 among FBS programs and hasn't ranked higher than No. 70 since 2008 when the Scarlet Knights ranked No. 36.
Kill's early plan to fix the offense is "To spread the field and get people out of the box. We won't go very far away from what Rutgers has been doing."
Rutgers head coach Chris Ash said. “Jerry brings years of experience and tremendous leadership to our offense. He is a veteran Big Ten coach and a proven winner. Our players and coaches will benefit from his wealth of knowledge.”
Offense hasn't been Rutgers only problem over the past several seasons. The team has endured off-field scandals that include former head coach Kyle Flood pressuring a teacher to change a student's grade and criminal charges against six former players.
Ash added in the teleconference that "Not everybody is willing to embrace challenges. Jerry is."
Kill doesn't plan on graduating to a head coaching role again one day. He said "There are a lot of differences between being an assistant coach and being a head coach. I've had my run [at being a head coach]."