Column: Kill’s record tells bigger story, ya feel me?

by Samuel Gordon

Jerry Kill’s most recent seizure Saturday highlighted the Gophers football program again for the wrong reasons.

His seizures — not the games — have become national news, but pundits around the country have lauded Kill’s bravery and his position as a role
model.

And it’s easy to see why.

He’s a man of integrity, and he fights through his epilepsy to guide the program in accordance with his strong morals.

But his seizure on Saturday was his fifth on a game day and the first that forced him out of an entire game during his tenure at Minnesota.

Kill and Minnesota’s athletics department have been transparent about their approach to his epilepsy since his first public seizure with the Gophers in September 2011.

Now that he’s missed an entire game — a rivalry game against a ranked opponent — it’s silly to pretend that his seizures don’t have an effect on his ability to coach this football team. If he’s missing games, then he can’t do his job. Kill has said this publicly.

But even when Kill is on the sideline, the team continues to struggle in the Big Ten, and that’s the bigger picture.

This is a results-based business, and under Kill there are little signs of improvement.

Demolishing inferior nonconference competition doesn’t indicate legitimate progress.

If Michigan — a Big Ten powerhouse — is a measuring stick the Gophers use to chart progress, then there has been no progress in Kill’s three seasons.

Three years. Three carnages.

The Gophers hung around on Saturday for a couple quarters, but Michigan eventually asserted its dominance and toyed with Minnesota in the second
half.

A tough schedule the rest of the way isn’t doing the Gophers any favors, either, and they could be in for another long year in the Big Ten.

If Kill was leading Minnesota to a 6-2 or 7-1 record in the conference, his wins would be tangible evidence that the seizures aren’t negatively affecting the program.

This, however, is his third year, and meaningful wins are few and far between.

The Gophers are 4-14 in the Big Ten in the Kill era, and only a handful of the conference games have been remotely close.

Still, Minnesota athletics director Norwood Teague said he backs Kill “100 percent,” and his players hold him in high reverence as well.

While the loyalty is commendable, it’s all rhetoric when the team isn’t competitive in the Big Ten.

It’s time to stop examining Kill’s epilepsy and start examining his win-loss record.

Ya feel me?