New head football coach Jerry Kill brings with him a staff of experienced assistant coaches and a history of winning at every program under his command. The question still remains as to if, how, and to what extent he will win at the Big Ten level. Until the 2011 season begins, there is no way to know with certainty how Kill will fare.
While an uncertain science, there are two indicators that Gopher fans can watch which could indicate the direction that Kill is taking the program.
First, keep an eye on how many players transfer or leave from the current roster. Sure, there will be a few players that leave for various reasons. That will happen every year, and inevitably happens with most coaching changes. A mass exodus of players transferring out of or leaving the program would indicate that Kill and his staff are not relating well to the players. If more than a handfull of players defect, that's a bad omen of things to come.
Second, the ranking of the 2011 recruiting class relative to the rest of the Big Ten will indicate if Kill and his staff can recruit at a Big Ten level. One of Brewster's recruits, Matt LaCosse, switched his commitment to Illinois yesterday. There will be some defections from the recruiting class, as relationships with former coaches no longer exist. But with an early December hire date, an experienced coach like Kill should have plenty of time to add a few players to the 2011 class that fit his future plans.
According to Rivals.com, the Gophers are ranked 6th in the Big Ten for the 2011 recruiting class with 14 commits averaging 2.93 stars. If Kill and his staff can maintain that rank, expect even better classes in coming years when he established his style of a program. If he lands a few big recruits and gains in the rankings, expect a very bright future for Gopher football. If the 2011 recruiting class falls in the rankings, well, the future may not be very bright.
There is no way to know with certainty the future for coach Jerry Kill. Ultimately, in my opinion the realistic expectation should be seven win or better seasons. That shouldn't be unrealistic for a Big Ten team. Lose several key players and drop in the recruiting rankings, and Gopher fans could be experiencing the excitement of another coaching search four years from now. Retain the vast majority of the current team and gain in recruiting rankings, and the future could be golden.