Even the worst seizure of Jerry Kill's life won't keep him from being with his football team at TCF Bank Stadium on Saturday, the Gophers coach told the Star Tribune on Friday.
"It's kind of knocked me out. This has been a haul," Kill said of the initial seizure he suffered in the final seconds of last Saturday's game -- and additional seizures he said he suffered in the day or two afterward -- but he intends to take part in the 0-2 Gophers' game with Miami (Ohio).
Kill hopes to be on the sidelines but said his condition might force him to remain in the press box, as he did after a similar attack in 2006.
The coach reiterated his determination to find a way to keep his seizure disorder under control.
"I'm not going to let these seizures end my coaching career," Kill said after an attack he described as "the toughest" he had ever suffered.
Kill said he does not remember the initial attack, nor subsequent seizures he suffered in the hospital in the first day or two afterward. In fact, from the end of the third quarter of Saturday's 28-21 loss to New Mexico State, the coach said his memory is a blank for a couple of days.
"It was kind of a fog there for a while," Kill said later in a televised interview with BTN. He awoke with his wife, Rebecca, at his bedside, he said.
"She said, 'Hey, you know where you're at?' " the Gophers coach said. "I go, 'No.' "
Kill suffered no lasting effects from the recurring seizures, doctors have said, though he remained in the hospital until Thursday, working with specialists who hope to keep his condition under control.
"They're trying to get medication balanced out to keep me seizure-free," Kill said. "That's the problem; they've got to get me leveled out. ... I don't want to lay up there and wait for the next seizure."
Kill attended Thursday's practice and Friday's walkthrough in TCF Bank Stadium, though he said he would not remain with the team at its customary night-before-the-game hotel stay. He spoke to the players.
"I said we can all learn from this. I'm not sure what the lesson is, but the one thing is, the closer we can come together, the better we can be," he told BTN. "You learn through adversity, and we've certainly had our fair share here the first couple of games, but hopefully we'll learn from it. The greatest thing is, we'll learn who we are and who's really in that ship, so to speak."
But the work of trying to win football games goes on, whether he's there or not, Kill said, crediting his coaching staff for preparing the team as usual.
"There's a lot of people a lot worse than I am," Kill said he told his players. "But here's the situation if it occurs: We've got great coaches, they've been through it, and they'll step it up. They've done that already this week. We've got a great game plan."
That plan includes trying to play with intensity from the opening kickoff, something that hasn't happened in the first two games.
"We've got to come out and not worry about anything but the first drive," quarterback MarQueis Gray said. "We've been starting out bad, and then we have to pick it up."
The Gophers fell behind 12-0 at USC, and 21-7 against New Mexico State.
"That's my responsibility," defensive coordinator Tracy Claeys said. "I was disappointed we didn't come out with a lot of aggressiveness. We had guys that were catching rather than delivering the blow. That's why they were able to take the ball down the field and score. I was really disappointed we didn't play better downhill football and get after people from the very beginning."
Presumably, the Gophers will be fired up to have their coach back for the game against 0-1 Miami. Kill won't have any trouble getting excited for the game -- and not just because the RedHawks rallied in the final minute to hand Kill's Northern Illinois Huskies a stunning 26-21 loss in the Mid-American Conference championship game in December.
"I want to be able to coach. [His doctors] have kind of given me the green light," Kill said. "I've kind of forced it a little bit, but that's me being the old ball coach."