I'd say that this program has fallen to a new low, but in reality we've been here before. I hope Jerry Kill enjoyed his honeymoon because it is over. Hats off to NDSU for winning the game. They out-worked the Gophers, they out-executed the Gophers and their coaching staff out-coached the Gophers. There is no denying that they wanted it more and they earned it.
Now we move to the Gophers, who we passionately care about despite the fact that they consistently infuriate us and make it hard to not be a little embarrassed at times. I'm not going to go through every BCS team over the last five years but I cannot believe there is another one with a 2-3 record against FCS teams over the last five years. This is infuriating and embarrassing. I went back over the last five years and realized I had forgotten about the Montana State win in 2008. But you know what? FCS games SHOULD BE FORGETTABLE. The fact that the 2007 loss to NDSU, the close win over SDSU in 2009 and the loss to USD in 2010 are so memorable is the problem. This needs to stop.
Stories or anecdotal examples of kids from an FCS school who outplay kids from an FBS school that didn't offer them a scholarship are cute. But there isn't one player on the Bison who was offered a Big Ten scholarship, there is nothing wrong with the Gophers not offering those kids out of high school. Nobody else was. It's not that Craig Bohl is that much better of a talent evaluator. If he could get kids who also have Big Ten scholarships he would take them. What is does is coaches them to be excellent players in his system. And fans who say look at how we travel to hundreds of miles away to get players when we let these guys go to NDSU and beat us, are the same fans who would not be pleased with a recruiting class full of undersized local kids who do not own another BCS level scholarship.
I am happy for these kids that they grew into fine football players but this game wasn't about NDSU having better players. It was about them executing better because they were well coached and because they wanted it more.
"I give North Dakota State a lot of credit. Coach out-coached me, their team out-played us and they deserved to win the game. I give them all the credit. They out played us and we gotta get better."
Coach Kill is taking the blame, but this disarming mechanism isn't going to serve him well forever. I admire him taking the heat and realizing that it is his responsibility to get this team playing with more discipline and better execution. I just hope we don't have to wait until next season to see some results.
"You have to play disciplined football...We have to change the culture and it's not going to happen overnight...We have to push through it."
This is going to be a long season. Coach Bohl is getting the best kids he is able to get and plugging them into a system that is the same year after year after year. This is what Coach Kill did at Southern Illinois and Northern Illinois and that is his plan here. We have to be patient. He may or may not be capable of doing it here, but it is still way too early to tell. I am not going to start railing on Kill or ripping Maturi for another failed hire or compare Kill to Mason/Brewster. WAY too early to start going down that road. If we expect to see significant improvements or turnarounds in four games we need to check our expectations again. I hope that I can get some of these rants out of the way early and we can sit back and enjoy the progress of the team as we look forward to next year. But this is going to be a long year.