I wrote earlier about Jerry Kill signing a seven-year deal with Minnesota. The first-year Gophers coach talked about his new deal during his weekly news conference and on the Big Ten coaches' call this afternoon.
Kill said he, school president Eric Kaler and athletic director Joel Maturi were all on board with a longer contract to help the rebuilding process.
"The situation that we are in -- and I'm not blaming anybody, it's just the situation that we are in -- is that we have some things that we've got to get corrected," Kill said. "I think that coming in, there were more things than I thought and even probably Joel thought. There were some things in there that's going to take time. We have got some issues from academics to different things."
At his previous stops, Kill said, the key to winning has always been having strong leadership at the top, starting with the school president. Now he has a vote of confidence from the man in charge and knows there will be at least some patience in this process, though that can always change if too many losses continue to mount.
"It gives you time," Kill said. "Sometimes if you don't think you have time, you try to do things the quick-fix way. We're all that way. This allows us to make sure we don't go the quick-fix route and make sure we're sound in the decisions we're making."
Kill said everything from the academic center to weight training must be addressed. He'll also have to change the defeatist attitude around the Gophers. Kill's brother came to town and attended a pep rally on Friday night before the Nebraska game. While walking out, he was spotted by a security guard who asked if he was the coach's brother. When he said yes, the security guard told him, "They ain't never going to win here at Minnesota. Ain't happening."
Kill understands the frustration and wants to reward some loyalty. He said he and his wife will pay to feed lunch to the students who attend Gophers' games, a cost of about $4,000.
"We need everybody to help us go this direction," he said. "I can't tell you the number of kids that come up through my office and say, 'Hey, thanks, Coach,' and I'm sitting there going, 'Wait a minute. We're 1-5, we are not doing very well. What are you thanking me for?'
"So there's some good youngsters at this school, and you know, it's been tough times for them, too. And we want to try to hold them in there and we need them."