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Jerry Kill at Big Ten Media Days: 'We Don't Want to Be Average'

Jerry Kill spoke about his program's stability and sounded excited for a future with Philip Nelson and Mitch Leidner at QB, comparing them to a pair of QB's he'd had in the past:


Hey all! Sorry for the unfamiliar face, but I'm Rodger Sherman, the guy who runs the @SBNB1G feed. I watched Jerry Kill's presser -- along with all the other pressers -- and here's what the Gophers' mustachioed leader had to say about Year 3.

Kill had nothing bad to say -- as to be expected, it's a season-opening press conference -- but for those of you who have bought in on the idea that Kill needed a few years to make some changes at Minnesota, Kill has too. He spoke of the stability he and his coaching staff have had, the future of Minnesota with brand new facilities, and exciting young faces at quarterback.

Kill opened by discussing the bowl game experience, and how it helped Minnesota enter the offseason. From there:

Did a great job in the offseason becoming bigger, stronger, and faster, then spring ball, we had the biggest crowd since coach Holtz was there, I just think our kids have come together over the two years, as a coaching staff, our staff's been together for a long time, I think we're the longest tenured staff in the country, our academic staff, so that's part of the building blocks of the program.

On the new facilities:

Our administration's done a great job, we just presented to the board of regents a project that's $190 million to improve our facilities and wer're moveing forward on that and that's tremendous for our program. The direction we're moving in is good. I'm looking forward to seeing this team this year, and this team's approach is certainly much better than it has been. We got better a year ago, and I'm looking forward to seeing it this year.

On QB1:

We pulled the redshirt of Philip the middle of the year and he played valuable time for us the last six ballgames and did very well. It was a great growing process for him, and it elads us into this season where wer'r not trying to break somebody in.

He sounded about Mitch Leidner. It's modestly surprising he didn't mention any of the other QB's on the roster, but it is what it is:

I'm trying to compare our QB situation to what we had at Northern Illinois with Jordan Lynch and Chandler Harnish. We feel good about our quarterback situation, and that's going to be a stretngth down the road here.

There was good news on the front of his health:

I'm doing great. I got a great doctor that's a specialist in epilepsy and I've been doing great looking forward to the season. I may not look it, but I feel like I'm in the best shape of my life.

He discussed the two players, Moses Alipate and Victor Keise, who joined the O'Bannon lawsuit:

I've had a little bit of interaction. I get locked into my own world and I don't understand all the things that are going on with that case. It's an NCAA issue and we live in a country where everybody's got their rights, so I'm goint tolet the process run its course. In college football, We've got a lot of discussions about a lot of isues, but its an NCAA issue and that's how we're going to approach it.

Ending the season with Wisconsin in future:

The great thing about our rivalry with Wisconsin is its history. At the end of the year it's a tremendous game for both schools. It's an exciting time. The great thing about the Big Ten is all the rivalry we have. We play a lot of bowl games within our system. It'll be an exciting time and I think our football team is getting better, and that makes rivalry games a lot more important.

On Donnell Kirkwood:

If you go back through the history of where I've coached and the Minnesota Gophers is that we've had great running backs. Donnell has emerged with Williams and big strong physical backs and that's who we are and that's who we want to be. He's done a great job on the field and also in leadership with younger players, it's a group of kids who have really changed the culture of our program. I expect a great year out of Donnell.

On future schedules:

If you look on our schedule the next couple of years it's very difficult. Where we're at is every game is important to us, every game, every week, we're moving forward as a program. With us, schedules, and nine games and 10 games and out of season is we're going to play who's put in front of us. I'm more worried about our team getting better and playing well and the rest will take care of itself.

On Zac Epping:

Zac's a uyoung man that in successes we've had as a coaching staff we've had offensive linemen like Zac. He's a hard nosed physical oung man, brings intensity every day. He's a type of guy like me, a hard hat lunchpail type guy, when I talk about the foundation of our program, it's kids like that. That'sw who we want to be. We're a very young team, starting maybe one or two seniors on offense, maybe three on defense, but it's a team that I don't think knows a lot obetter, and we've got a lot of kids like Zach. That will help us get where we want to go.

That's when my feed cut off, but luckily SB Nation's Matt Brown had more:

When asked about expanding practice facilities: We have a commitment at the top, including our university president. We don't want to be average. We need to improve academic facilities, practice facilities,

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