Jerry Kill asked the Athletic Director, Norwood Teague, to get out of a home and home series with the North Carolina Tar Heels. Many thought this was cowardly and embarrassing to the program, but after listening to some explanations, and Coach Kill himself, I have to believe that this is a strategy born of confidence in his ability to coach, and not in a dire need for attention, like what Tim Brewster had.
Teams get an extra two dozen (or so) practices when they make it to a Bowl game. This year, that means more time that Jerry Kill will get with his team as they prepare for their game against some mid level Big 12 or SEC team at a middling bowl in Texas. Does that take 3 weeks of practice? No. But they will have the chance to get better and learn a system and come into next season more prepared to be better leaders. A better team, a more confident organization stands a better chance of winning an extra game against a bad team like, say, Iowa or Northwestern in Big Ten.
Keep in mind that these players are only in their second year under Kill, and it only one of his recruiting classes in on the roster. With a year of coaching players that he may not have connected with as well as he wanted to (see: AJ Barker), he doubled their win total. More practice seems like a good solution, especially since the gifted recruiter Tim Brewster wasn’t able to do it with talent, which was his ultimate goal.
Brewster’s strategy, to boil it down a little bit more, was to get the Gophers on national TV more often by playing big name teams like USC. He figured if they could get some better recruits, the team would simply get better on it’s own. Kill’s strategy is to coach. He intends to make the team better by spending more time with the players he does have.
The only way teams in Minnesota are going to turn into anything, from the Twins to Minnesota Gophers programs (hockey aside) is with patience and development. This strategy of the cupcake schedule may seem like a gigantic step in the wrong direction, but it may provide the time to develop that the team needs.
(As for his health issues, I can’t believe they will be a legitimate issue for anyone but the fans. I’ve heard that the school knew about his condition ahead of time. Now with Kill doubling the teams win total, he has proven an ability to perform at a high level, and letting him go smacks of discrimination)