MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Minnesota coach Jerry Kill still looks a little worn out from the seizures he’s had over the last 10 days, and his face appears a little thinner.
He hasn’t tempered his intensity, though, and his push to improve the young Gophers is as relentless as ever.
“What the hell am I supposed to do? Stop? I mean, sit in the chair and wait for the next dang seizure to come along?” Kill said Tuesday afternoon.
Kill estimated, sounding a bit hyperbolic, he’s had “about 20” of the episodes in the last six days.
“And I’m still walking. Still coaching,” he said.
Later, after practice, Kill clarified that he wasn’t exaggerating — but stressed again he’s merely tired of the seizures and not worried about them.
“I’ll be fine. I hope that we can get all this under control,” he said, adding: “It’s not like a heroic thing. I think anybody that’s coaching football would do the same thing.”
Kill had a seizure on the sideline at the end of Minnesota’s game Sept. 10 against New Mexico State, was taken away on a stretcher and spent five days in a hospital before being released and rejoining the team last week. He coached the Gophers in their win Saturday over Miami of Ohio, but he was hardly beaming after picking up his first Minnesota victory.
“We have got to learn the little things before we get the big things,” Kill said. “And hell, it’s going to take us a whole year to do that.”
Kill’s weekly news conference was perhaps the most colorful of his brief time at the school, peppering much of his analysis and many of his anecdotes with curse words. Later, providing a perfect snapshot of his personality and background, Kill politely asked the assembled media members not to use his salty language in their reports.
He stressed, too, that he’s satisfied with the effort put forth so far by the Gophers (1-2). But as he’s done many times since taking the job last December, Kill gave a frank assessment of the program he inherited, painting a picture of talent level and game experience that leaves a lot of room to grow headed into Saturday’s home game against North Dakota State.
“There is no room for error, in any game we play,” Kill said.
Asked how he’s feeling, Kill said he’s OK but tired. Doctors are working on adjusting his medication to help keep the seizures under better control, and Kill said he’s left his care in their hands — and with his wife, Rebecca.
“I can’t control what I can’t control. I believe in one man, and that’s the big man upstairs, and I’m going to go like hell until I go down,” Kill said. “And when I go down, they can do whatever they do, and I’m going to go again. That’s who I am, and I ain’t changing.”
Kill’s assistant coaches, having worked with him through several seizures when he was the head coach at Northern Illinois and Southern Illinois, have tried to keep the practice and preparation routine on track despite the potential distraction of the coach’s condition.
“Really, we didn’t miss a step,” cornerback Kyle Henderson said.
NOTES: Kill recently was visited by famed former college basketball coach Bob Knight, through an arrangement by Minneapolis Star Tribune columnist Sid Hartman, a longtime friend of Knight’s. Kill said he learned a lot from Knight in their conversation. “He said, `There’s very few left that are old school,’ and he said, `Coach, I think you’re a little bit old school,”‘ Kill said. “I said, `I take that as a compliment.”‘ … Kill said backup RB Lamonte Edwards, who has played some as a DE in pass-rush situations, will practice at LB this week. Injuries to Brendan Beal and Aaron Hill have sapped the Gophers’ depth at that position. Donnell Kirkwood has played well behind Duane Bennett at RB, another reason for the switch.
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