MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – The Gopher football team went back to work on Monday, but without their head coach.
The Gophers were left to figure out how they let a home game against one of the worst teams in NCAA Division I football get away from them and drop to 0-2 on the season.
Minnesota players and coaches discovered winning and losing are secondary when your coach collapses on the sideline. The team is still dealing with the shock of seeing Jerry Kill go down with seizures on a searing hot day in Minneapolis.
“It definitely was scary. It was something I’ve never seen before,” said linebacker Mike Rallis. “To know that it was coach Kill, a guy that I care about so much and a guy that cares about us so much and really puts his heart into it, it was tough to see.”
The challenge now for the Gophers is to block the weird and scary ending to the loss to New Mexico State out of their mind. They are deeply concerned for coach Kill, but also need to focus on getting their first win of the season.
“I think that we just have to keep moving forward and do what he would want us to do, which is go out there and prepare as hard as we can and just do our best,” said Shady Salomon.
There’s no question it’s been a rough week for the Gopher football program. But one thing that makes it a little easier is the fact that the Gopher coaching staff has been together a long time. They’ve dealt with this before.
Defensive Coordinator Tracy Claeys and Offensive Coordinator Matt Limegrover are the impromptu head coaches. They’ve been with him long enough that they know exactly how to carry out Kill’s coaching mantra.
“Everybody knows the job they’ve got to do,” Claeys said. “That’s one great thing about working with coach (Kill). Everybody’s jobs, he’s got a little manual and they’re all lined out to a T of what’s expected of you and what your job is.”
Rallis said it’s up to the team and players to continue their season regardless of how long Kill is out.
“Business will be as usual, we’ll just keep rolling,” Rallis said. “The players know we have to put in the work and everything like that. These coaches have done a great job of going out there and preparing us each and every week, and they’re going to continue to do that.”
If he feels healthy enough, Kill could return to practice as early as Wednesday. He is also expected to be back on the sidelines Saturday afternoon when the Gophers host Miami (Ohio) at TCF Bank Stadium. It’s the same team that beat Kill when he was at Northern Illinois last year in the MAC title game.