U deserves more from Teague

Norwood Teague must be upfront about Jerry Kill and the future.

Last week, Gophers head coach Jerry Kill did not travel to Ann Arbor, Mich., for Saturday’s game following a seizure. As the Minnesota Daily reported, it was the first time in Kill’s Minnesota tenure he missed an entire game because of health. Thankfully, it appears Kill is recovering well.

Defensive coordinator Tracy Claeys, who served as interim head coach during the game against the Wolverines, said that he didn’t think Kill’s absence had a negative effect on the team, a strange statement given the Gophers were pummeled 42-13 on Saturday. Though at this point players are prepared for Kill to miss at least part of a game, it’s unlikely that a team without its head coach can perform at the same level.

Minnesota athletics director Norwood Teague said he is 100 percent behind Kill, the Star Tribune reported. This is only fair given that Kill is a tremendous role model to the entire University community and was instrumental in the culture shift that led to the Gophers’ academic turnaround.

With that in mind, Teague should feel compelled to keep the community informed and avoid dodging tough questions on this issue.

He told KFAN radio Saturday that he’s aware this is a setback for Kill, but that “we have a bye week next week. We’ll keep managing it and move forward.” Teague has used a variation of this line before, but after Kill’s fifth game-day seizure, Gophers fans wondering how much longer this pattern can continue deserve more.

Teague should provide a substantive answer regarding how the athletics department plans on handling the issue if Kill continues to miss games as a result of his health. At the very least, he should acknowledge, as Kill himself has, that a coach missing parts or all of multiple games a season is not a sustainable leadership model.