Expectations are so dangerous. Life is always easiest when expectations are perpetually low. Why? Cause exceeding expectations makes people happy. But when expectations rise, even a little bit, then you get into the dangerous territory of what happens when they are not met? For Gopher fans this is a cycle that we should be very familiar with.
Here is today's perspective.
I completely agree that this year sucks and is rather disappointing. But the real key thing to understand is that progress is not necessarily linear. Improved in year 2, year 3 and year 4 before seeing a regression in year 5. This year being one where we will have fewer wins than the year before is not proof that there cannot be sustained success under Jerry Kill. Winning consistently in the Big Ten is not easy, especially when your starting point is at the bottom of the league. It is particularly frustrating because the Big Ten West appeared more vulnerable than in year's and we failed to seize that opportunity. But be patient and come to terms with the fact that there will be years where expectations are not met and we are disappointed. One year is not an indictment on the overall success of the program under Jerry Kill.
Jerry Kill is not God's gift to coaching but there is absolutely no sane reason to believe that he isn't building something here that is sustainable and competitive. There are some areas that are not where they should be or where we'd all like to see them. But in four years he has also accomplished things that had not been accomplished in 50+ years. Remember just last year? Was it a Rose Bowl season? No, but getting to a January 1st Bowl Game is a significant thing particularly when you realize it hasn't been done since the 60s! Even if you want to somehow try to convince me he somehow lucked into it, nobody else lucked into it over the last 50 years. Winning the Jug and Floyd in the same year, an accomplishment. Beating Nebraska two years in a row, an accomplishment. And for years we hear people and/or media saying that every once in a while you should be competing for a Big Ten championship. Well, playing on the final week of the season for a spot in the conference championship game is something.
Does all that mean we should erect a statue? No but that would be less crazy than talking about firing him because this year has been disappointing. It should also be noted that it isn't like this is a trainwreck of a season either. It is pretty clear that we aren't going to be playing in Indianapolis, but this is still a bowl season with chances to win a rivalry trophy or two along the way.
Now, this staff has completely whiffed on getting the quarterback position figured out. Four and a half years into the program and Mitch Leidner is the best option to put out there is proof that they have made some recruiting mistakes or misses along the way. But here is the other side of that argument...it isn't easy. If it were easy to find a quarterback that we all love, who doesn't make mistakes and one who can carry an offense on his back; well everyone would be doing it. They have made some poor choices in the past when it comes to recruiting this position and they should be accountable for it. Other skill position players on offense also need further development to get this offense in position to be more successful in the Big Ten.
But to assume that this should be a complete team in year five is still not exactly fair. Should it be dramatically better than when he started? Absolutely and it is. Many positions are very good, with guys who are going to be drafted and playing on Sundays. But it isn't a complete team, and we may rarely see a complete team. This one has a few holes and they have been compounded by several injuries. This season isn't over, the book has not been written (I remember writing that exact line last year at one point). Still plenty of reason to think the program is on solid ground, this is just a rough year. Have some patience. I'm pissed at this season as well, but lets not make grandiose about the future of this program because we aren't playing well this season.