Sunday Night Stream of Consciousness

Jesse Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

This spot is normally reserved for a Monday morning Nugz session. I'm to give you the links you desire. But at this point you've read everything you care to read, and you've heard every opinion you care to hear, about the Gophers loss to Iowa on Saturday. There's nothing I can offer you that you haven't already found, most likely.

So instead of giving you Nugz, I'm giving you stream of consciousness.

And truthfully, I'm not interested in those links right now anyway. Here's the deal. After the game on Saturday, I dropped Jeffrick off at his house and began my drive home. I listened to the post-game call in show on KFAN and it hurt my head. Saturday night, I tweeted this...

I lied. I wasn't asking for a friend. I was asking for me. But with that tweet I decided that I was going to take a day off from the Gophers. 24 hours, for me, as it were.

For the past 24 hours I haven't read anything about the Gophers. I haven't read the Strib, the PiPress or even TDG for the past 24 hours.

So Sunday, Mrs. JDMill and I went out for a late breakfast and then we went for a road trip. A detour sent us through a small Southeast Minnesota town that had two bars (and no church and no grocery store). We decided to stop. We walked into one of the bars to about a dozen people sitting at a bar watching the Vikings. We sat down at the bar, ordered a couple of beers, and as I typically do I reached into my pocket to grab my phone.

No service. No wifi.

Next I began looking around the bar. Vikings posters. Nascar signs. Twins glassware.

Not a single piece of anything that would suggest the Gophers even existed.

Had I found it? Had a found the town that technology forgot and that had missed the messenger that sent word of the forming of a state funded university in 1851?

We had a great afternoon. We watched 1/2 of the Vikings game in this Gopherless town and then continued on our way. We visited the Mississippi River. We visited an orchard. We stopped into another small town bar. It was lovely.

Now it's time to face what happened at The Bank on Saturday.

Folks, I predicted the Gophers would win this game. In fact, I was the guy who predicted the Gophers would win 8 games this season. This is the part where I admit I was wrong, and probably a moron.

I've got some problems with what happened yesterday.

I'm disappointed in our defensive line. I thought they got gashed in the run game when I thought they'd hold their own. They did nothing as far as getting after Rudock. They looked completely over-matched all day long. It was a bit shocking.

I'm nervous about the health of our secondary. Like I said, I haven't read anything yet, but I saw a lot of plays where Wells was out and with Boddy-Calhoun out for the season, as we head into B1G play, having Wells miss plays is about the last thing we need.

I was really taken aback by Phillip Nelson's accuracy, or lack thereof. Guys, I thought Nelson was supposed to be a super accurate thrower, and yesterday, he just wasn't. Even then TD throw to Engel wasn't a very good throw. It was high and behind him. Engel made a fantastic adjustment to make that catch.

I couldn't believe that our offensive line wasn't able to open up some running lanes for the backs.  This was supposed to be the strength of our team. Our identity. It was embarrassing. Just a punch in the stomach. I don't even know if we broke 100 yards yesterday. I doubt it. (I just looked. 30 yards. Pardon my language, but HOLY SHIT, YOU GUYS.)

I hated the lack  of creativity in our offense. I didn't see Limegrover doing anything to break out of patterns. I didn't see him calling anything to change the momentum. I didn't see him making adjustments that might at least give Iowa something different to think about. It was painful.

So that 8 wins I predicted. I was wrong. I am an idiot.

But... The sky is not falling. The world is not over. This program is not getting worse. We shouldn't board up the doors. Coach Kill shouldn't be fired.

I can't think of much that went right yesterday so I'm not going to play the "hey, let's find the positives in a bad situation" game. (Okay, I will play that game for a minute. The crowd, specifically the student section, was absolutely outstanding yesterday. The student section is absolutely making the atmosphere at The Bank, exactly as it should be, and it's really fun to see.)

You know how Coach Kill is constantly reminding us during interviews that this is a young football team? I don't think that's a line of BS that Kill is feeding everyone to temper expectations. Okay, yeah, it is to temper expectations, but it's because this really is a young team. You've pretty much got one senior getting any kind of significant playing time on the offensive side of the ball, Engel. On the defensive side, you've basically got 3: Vereen, Hageman & Hill.

In Kill's 3rd year at the helm this is still a football team that is absolutely littered with Freshmen & Sophomores.

But let's put all of that aside. What of the notion that Coach Kill is the #Year3 guru? Isn't this supposed to be the year that Kill's work and program building prowess comes to fruition?

I'm only going to speak for myself here, but that's stupid talk. I walked right into it.

The situations at Southern Illinois and Northern Illinois were completely different than Minnesota. I know very little about the MAC conference, and even less about the Missouri Valley Conference, but here's what I think. I think the playing field among schools in those conferences is pretty even. I think the caliber of players, in general, across the teams in those conferences is pretty equal. I think in the MAC and in the MVC great coaching is what separates the good and bad teams.

But the B1G is very different. The playing field isn't even. We know this. Ohio State & Michigan are going to have the highest ranked recruiting classes in the conference every year.

But we know that at some point, if this Gopher program is going to make any noise in this conference, great coaching is going to have to coach up whatever speed and talent they can get their hands on in order to get us there.

And this is where I needed 24+ hours after yesterday's game to come to grips with something...

It's going to take longer than #Year3.

It's going to take more than 2 1/2 years (on the calendar) for Coach Kill & his staff get faster, smarter, more suitable players in all the positions on the field. It's going to take more than 2 1/2 years for the coaching staff to be able to implement all of the wrinkles and nuances they'd like to have in the game plan. And it's probably going to take more than 2 1/2 years for the coaching staff to really step up and figure out what it takes to win in the B1G on a weekly basis.

But this is where we are. We aren't Ohio State. An Urban Meyer isn't going to fall into our lap. A program like Minnesota, in the state that we were in when Brewster left, has no choice but to bring in a coach that, to some extent, has to learn on the job as far as coaching major conference football is concerned.

And you know what? It's okay.

We're impatient people, but we're passionate. And that's why being reminded of where our program stands in the pecking order, right now, is a tough lessen.

Tomorrow morning when I start reading some of the reactions to this game and I read comments from people who are ready to jump off of buildings and when I hear people say that they think Coach Kill should be fired and when I find that people are just generally sounding completely irrational, I'm going to choose to believe those reactions are coming from a place of passion.

Being a part of this program (and that's what I believe. Yeah, we're just fans. Yeah, we just buy tickets. But I do believe we are part of this program) is difficult. It's the opposite of fun sometimes. But the only way that I can rationalize continuing to be a part of it is if I believe that I'm in it with people who are as passionate as I am.

Even if their passion sometimes comes across as moronic. And just to be clear, my passion comes across as moronic sometimes too. I'm the guy that predicted an 8-win season.

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