Posted by Adam Jacobi
It hasn't been a great start of the year for Minnesota and first-year head coach Jerry Kill. The Gophers are just 1-4 on the year, having suffered such ignominies as a loss to New Mexico State, a 13-point loss to FCS powerhouse North Dakota State, and just recently a 58-0 throttling at the hands of Michigan last Saturday. As far as the race to the bottom of the Big Ten goes, Minnesota looks even worse than Indiana, and that's saying a lot.
Now, college football is a sport where disparities in performance are mostly talent-related; if a coach can recruit better than his opponents and develop those recruits, he stands a decent chance of beating those opponents. And when the cupboard's bare, well, things can get ugly in a hurry. And that's where Minnesota finds itself now: pure on-field ugliness.
Kill pulled no punches when he talked on Wednesday about that talent disparity he's been left to work with. Here's more from the Minnesota Daily:
“We’re not athletically gifted enough. We’re getting slower. You have to recruit tough, you don’t make them tough. You have to recruit tacklers,” Kill said.
“We can’t practice the way I’m used to practicing. We don’t have the bodies in our program. We’re not gifted enough. We can’t do what we’ve done defensively. We got to quit trying to, because we can’t. We got to simplify some things,” Kill said.
Discipline is an area that Minnesota has lacked according to Kill, but that is where his change in culture must begin.
“We’re not disciplined off the field. I spend more time babysitting than coaching.”
Now, that's basically a nuke of criticism being dropped on Tim Brewster, the ousted head coach who spent the previous three years with the Gophers. And Kill's right: this team's talent level is pathetic. Brewster recruited a few athletes -- look at MarQueis Gray and the ceiling that someone of his physical prowess ought to have -- but in terms of sheer ability to play football, these guys just don't have it.
Astonishingly, Brewster disagrees with Kill's assessment.
“That’s a very talented football team that’s at the University of Minnesota right now. Coach Kill is very fortunate and he knows that,” Brewster told the Daily at Big Ten football media days in Chicago in July.
In an interview Tuesday with the Minnesota Daily, Brewster defended the players he recruited.
“This is the same group of kids that beat Illinois and Iowa. Same group of kids that played well to start the season at USC.”
Yep-- "Coach Kill is very fortunate and he knows that" in July... 1-4 record and a certified disaster zone of talent in October. Juuuust guessing that Kill and Brewster aren't sending each other Christmas cards this year.