Today is the first spring practice for new Gopher football coach Jerry Kill, and he is not going into it impressed.
According to remarks he made before the practice, he's concerned his players are a bunch of video-game-playing slackers who don't prioritize academics.
"What have we gotten ourselves into?" he said he thought after his first meeting with the team.[jump]
It's all part of the swagger of being the new coach. There were plenty of naysayers when Kill was hired away from Northern Illinois University -- fans had hoped U Athletic Director Joel Maturi would go for a national-name coach to save the floundering team. Now Kill is getting the chance to fire back -- and it starts with his own players.
Kill says biggest worry is getting the players in class. He hinted that several may miss this week's practices because of poor academic performance. His second concern is that the guys are lazy and out of shape. He said he flipped when he found out they spent most of the post-season playing video games and eating.
If his assessment is accurate, it may explain former coach Tim Brewster abysmal final season before he was fired in October. Highlights included a six straight losses and an embarrassing fall to Purdue that had fans howling for Brewster's head. The U eventually served it up.
Rehabilitation starts now, said Kill, who promises to put the players through the wringer starting today. He says he anticipates defectors and for the guys to get a little "bloodied."
"We're not going to take a damn short cut," he said. "I may get fired doing it that way, but I'll go down my way."
Anyone can go watch the carnage -- practices are open to the public.