Jerry Kill was asked how he plans to fix his offense, and the Gophers coach rambled before mentioning that he should be fired if he can't find a solution.

Kill was asked about his starting quarterback three times and he declined comment three times without mentioning his quarterback's name.

Kill was asked about loud booing from fans and whether he understood their frustration. Kill responded tersely by repeating that he probably should be fired, though he noted that he doesn't have an athletic director who could fire him (hello, Beth Goetz), so he felt safe for the time being.

A school official then declined to make Mitch Leidner available for interviews, a rare occurrence for a starting quarterback at any level of college football.

Oh, by the way, the Gophers won Saturday.

Are we having fun yet?

Never has a victory felt more like a loss than what the Gophers put on display in a 10-7 snoozer against mighty Kent State at TCF Bank Stadium.

The Gophers had to sweat out the final minutes as a 24-point favorite even though Kent State's offense managed zero points, 142 total yards and crossed midfield only one time — in the fourth quarter thanks to a pass interference penalty.

The Gophers offense was only slightly better, which led to a tense and strange postgame news conference in which Kill handled things poorly on the podium.

"I probably deserve to be fired today, so is that good enough for you?" he said. "I'm just asking. You can put that in the [newspaper]."

Nobody is calling for Kill to be fired. That's an absurd suggestion — whether he was being sarcastic, flippant or whatever — as a response to appropriate and fair questions about his struggling offense. A little criticism is not a call for his ouster.

The Gophers offense stinks right now. That's a fact. And it's not just Leidner's fault, though he had another shaky performance that included two interceptions on poorly thrown passes.

The failure of the offense belongs to Kill, and Leidner, and offensive coordinator Matt Limegrover, and a porous offensive line, and young receivers.

This is not just a Mitch Leidner issue. It's a collective effort.

The Gophers won't win many, if any, Big Ten games with the offensive execution they showed Saturday and for long stretches in the first two games.

"I don't have the magical answer right now," Kill said, "but I better get it."

Offense has never been more prolific or easy in college football. The Gophers make it look onerous.

In this age of glitzy, run-and-gun offensive schemes, the Gophers resemble a horse-and-buggy operation. Everything is a struggle right now and not very imaginative.

It's hard to know whether that's a product of Limegrover's play-calling or a sign of his lack of trust in the quarterback and offensive line. Perhaps it's some of both.

One series in the third quarter highlighted their issues. Handed terrific field position at their own 42, here's what they did with it:

First down: Rodrick Williams up the middle for 3 yards.

Second down: Williams up the middle for 1 yard.

Third down: Leidner throws a pass at KJ Maye's ankles for an incompletion.


Rinse and repeat.

"It was a struggle," Kill said.

Leidner has become an obvious target for criticism, and justifiably so, but his linemen gave the offense no chance to succeed. Yes, the Gophers played without two injured starters, but that's still no excuse for what happened against an allegedly inferior opponent.

Leidner was sacked twice and pressured many other times. Embarrassingly, the Gophers allowed a sack on a play on which Kent State rushed only three defenders.

Tailback Rodney Smith twice ran into one of his linemen in the backfield after they were pushed backward.

How is that group going to handle Ohio State? Heck, or even Ohio next week?

"Physically, I thought we got it handed to us," Kill said.

That's an alarming notion because Kent State is the worst team the Gophers will face this season. Luckily for them, their defense is good enough to save their bacon. That won't always be the case, especially once they enter Big Ten play.

Their entire offense is a mess right now, and their coach is clearly agitated.

"I'll get 105 e-mails when I walk out of here that I should be fired," Kill said, concluding his news conference. "... But we did win."

Hardly felt like it.