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UNIVERSITY OF MINNESOTA MEDIA CONFERENCE


November 11, 2014


Jerry Kill


COACH KILL:¬† I think, you know, I said this a little bit earlier, and you know, we come off a good win, and then you go home, and you're going to kickback and relax and get you a bowl of ice cream and then you put on the TV and then you watch Ohio State.¬† So‑‑ then you don't sleep the rest of the night, you don't get a chance to enjoy the win, and now all you do is worry about what you're going to do.¬† So it's been a beautiful weekend, and a long few days, and now I'll take any questions about why we've had those particular mike gods.

Q.  What flavor ice cream?
COACH KILL:  What type.  A little bit of yogurt, and then I slide a little bit of chocolate chip cookie dough in there.

Q.  Senior day is Saturday.  What every senior class probably means a lot, but this is your first recruiting class.
COACH KILL:  Well, you know, it was a scramble, really when we got here, a lot of the kids, you know, had been committed, and we honored those commitments, and then we scrambled around to get some.
With that said, they've gone through a whole lot, I mean a whole lot, and they helped us change the culture, and they had to accept what we were trying to do, which I'm sure it wasn't easy for them. ¬†And you know, look what they've done the last four years of where we started and where we're at right now, you know.¬† I can't tell you how much I appreciate them and what they've done, and you know, they've got a lot of‑‑ a lot of great memories, and we need to make some more.
But great group of guys, being able to handle a coaching transition, and along with some of the ones that came in.  So I'm very proud of what they've accomplished, and they've helped move the program forward.

Q.  Best quarterback in the league right now?
COACH KILL:¬† You know, let's see.¬† You know, the kid from‑‑ we haven't played the kid from‑‑ you know, we haven't played everybody, and as far as the ones we've played, I will tell you this is that I said Braxton Miller when we started the year was the best quarterback, and maybe one of the best in the country, you know.
It's one of those things, I would tell you is that Braxton is very, very good, but this young man, they've done a great job of bringing him along, and he has the same type of running ability, but he throws the ball better right now, I believe, than what Braxton did, and Braxton threw it good.¬† But this kid's on fire right now.¬† And his receivers are‑‑ you know, we haven't seen anybody receiver like, like this since we played TCU, I mean that type of speed.
So they're built for speed.¬† They do a great job of recruiting, and you know, there's‑‑ and they've done a great job of developing that young man.¬† And from the start to where he's at now.

Q.  Does it surprise you that they put up the points and the production they had against the defense like Michigan's?
COACH KILL:¬† Well, I knew they were pretty good, but that just emphasized how good they are, because I know how good Michigan State's defense is.¬† You know, but they‑‑ you know, they were able to run the ball.¬† They were able to throw it.¬† And again, we threw it with such accuracy.¬† And they keep you off balance because you gotta stop him on the run game or he's going to run, and their tailback's very good.¬† And then about the time you have to line up and stop the run, you gotta play coverage, and he gets people one on one and he hits them all the time.
And it doesn't matter‑‑ and his receivers are good.¬† I mean they're just executing at a high level, so yes, I mean I didn't think that they would be able to put that many points on the board.

Q.  When you look at the offense putts up that kind of points, everybody is going to focus on your defense, but how important is it that your own offense can control the ball on those drives?
COACH KILL:  I think it's essential.  I think you have to be patient, you gotta be smart.  It's the same thing as last week.  You cannot turn over the ball.  You just can't.  You can't do that in any game.  If you look at is, when we don't turn it over and we're able to run the ball, and I don't know exactly what the stats, over 100 yards or 200 yards, we've been pretty successful.  And then the other thing is just like we did last week, you cannot get in third and long against them because of their pass rushing abilities.  They've got great defensive ends.  You can't do that and you gotta be able to handle them.
So it's really kind of the same principles we went into last week, field position.  They do a great job with the kicking game.  A lot of people don't talk about their kicking game.  Their kicking game is very good, and you know, we take pride in our kicking game.  So it's going to be a very similar, as far as plan, to beat them.
And then on defense, you just can't‑‑ you can't give them the big play.¬† You can't give them the big play.¬† And you've gotta find a way to keep that quarterback under control.¬† I mean there's no question.¬† Get them in third and long so you can deal with them a little bit easier.

Q.  It looks like your defense is coming off one of the best games since you've been here.  How much can that help you going against this team?
COACH KILL:¬† I think our kids are, you know, played with a great deal of confidence, with discipline, you know, on Saturday.¬† And we tackled well, created some turnovers, and again, against Ohio State, with the athletes they have, you're going to be in some one‑on‑one situations and we're going to have to tackle very well and we're going to have to be disciplined.¬† You jump everybody down there on the dive and the quarterback pulls it and he's one on one with somebody or somebody makes a mistake, you know, it's a big play.
We didn't do that against Iowa.  We played against a great deal of discipline, you know, as far as the run.  We got every gap filled.  Our safeties did a great job.  You know, we were able to take away what they do good.
The problem is with Ohio State they're double edged sword you take the run game away from them and they're going to hit you over the top.¬† They're very‑‑ they're different to defend, because their receivers and their skill people are as good as anybody in the country.¬† I think that's pretty evident after Saturday night's performance.

Q.  What do you think Max Williams has come the most from freshman into the sophomore year?
COACH KILL:  Well, he's been good when he's a freshman, and we probably hadn't done a good enough job with him, but you know, as you grow, and as your quarterback grows and protection grows, all that kind of stuff, it allows him to do more things.  He played a tremendous game on Saturday but one thing I would tell you a lot of people concentrated on his receptions, but he had a very good job executing his blocking assignments.
He's a great player, great athlete, and the biggest thing, he's put on weight.¬† I think Max weighed about 200 pounds, something like that, played quarterback.¬† And you know, he's in that, you know, 2‑‑ I'm guessing 240, 245, somewhere in there.¬† Maybe even 250.¬† I don't know, but he's‑‑ you know, he's gotten stronger.¬† He's gotten bigger, you know, and that's kind of the recruiting, you know, philosophy.¬† However you knew Coach Miller talked about that, you knew he was good because of his daddy, his daddy was good.¬† And everybody says his mom was the best athlete of all of them.¬† And his dad played in the NFL, so I'd say that's a pretty good blood line.¬† So he's just a good player.

Q.  The way you guys used K.J. Maye on Saturday is that something you guys have been holding onto or would you have liked to have done that earlier in the year?
COACH KILL:¬† It's more about what the defense gave us.¬† You're getting up the field defenses like Ohio State, they're going to play in the defensive line, like every snap is a pass rush.¬† They're going to get defensive ends up the field and those kind of things.¬† Iowa is a team that plays more on the line of scrimmage.¬† They're a different style than, you know, I gotta go back and think.¬† Most of the people we played have gotten up the field on us.¬† That's been their style.¬† But they're more of a team that bottles everything up inside.¬† They don't‑‑ not going to let you run inside, try not to let you run inside.¬† So that allows you to do more of the things that we did.¬† And so you know, that's the biggest‑‑ that's the biggest reason.

Q.  K.J. looked different, I don't know if he played faster Saturday or what, but is it just a sign of him being healthier?
COACH KILL:¬† Yeah.¬† I think he's healthier, you know, and it's a deal where, you know, he's an explosive player, but you know, he's had‑‑ I think he even surprised‑‑ I mean, wow, he did.¬† I mean, you know, and maybe the bye weeks and things have helped him.¬† And part of that again is him getting touches and so forth, and he's made some big catches for us this year.¬† But he looked extremely fast, you know, and quick on Saturday.
But I think a lot of‑‑ our whole team was much quicker and faster on Saturday, and I think the off week had to do with it, and I think our kids, towards the end of that regime where we made a good run, I think we got tired, you know, and it's evident in the game we didn't do as well on and got beat.¬† You know, we didn't play as fast and, you know, I mean sometimes you try to explain that.¬† We did some things different.
But you know, we just played faster.¬† And we have to be careful this week.¬† You know, I said, hey, we gotta make sure we're smart on practice schedule.¬† We can't‑‑ we gotta be careful how much time we put in, we gotta be careful on a lot of things so we can play fast, because we gotta play really fast this week.¬† So we certainly don't want to be, you know, not out there where we can run?

Q.  This time of year you can get cold, you can get snow, obviously in the BIG TEN.  Does that ever influence, not necessarily your game plan but just how you approach game day when it does get there?
COACH KILL:  It more affects what you do all along than what your philosophy is, because you know, you're going to have to recruit what you're playing in.
You know, the south schools, they recruit differently.  You know, if you're playing up here in this time of year, if you look at the teams that we're going to play, Ohio State runs the ball, Nebraska runs the ball, and Wisconsin runs the ball.  And guess where we're all located.
So I mean that's‑‑ you know, they may run it a different way, but you have to run the ball when you're where we're at, in the upper Midwest, where if you're in great weather all the time, you can do things a lot differently.¬† That's why I say we need to get some of those southern teams up here about this time of year.¬† Get them up here when it's snowing and cold and so forth.
But that's what you have to do, you know, and I think people say, hey, coach, why don't you do this, why don't you do that.  That's why you gotta play great defense and be able to run the ball this time of year.  I mean you just have to.

Q.  Talk about the timing when you played Ohio State and you played TCU this year.  Your program do you think is more ready talent wise to play those type of teams than it was your first two years?
COACH KILL:  Well, you know, I got asked that million dollar question, which one is better, all that kind of stuff, and I said, I don't know that.  We'll play and so forth.
I will tell you this is that Ohio State is playing a very high level right now and playing as good as anybody in the country.  But as far as us being more ready and so forth, you know, at TCU we turned the ball over five times, and you're not going to beat anybody turning the ball over five times, and they were tremendously athletic and did some good things, and we also did some good things except turn the ball over all the time.  And evidently they're pretty good because of what they're doing right now, but we didn't do ourselves any favors.
Going into this game we're going to play the unbelievable athletes and if we turn the ball over five times, it's going to be a long, long, long, long, day.  So are we better equipped to play these people better than we were our first year, I'd like to think so.  But you know, and we're longer in the year right now, too.  You know, we've improved, too, since early in the year.  But so have they.
So it's a deal where I think we all know we're going to have to play at a very high level, and our kids, they're fired up and, you know, they'll be ready to play.  And I don't know how you can't be.  So that's how we'll approach it?

Q.  Did you come out pretty good injury wise, I know Lauer has been hobbled and stuff.
COACH KILL:¬† I think Ben's in a position where he could give us some minutes, if necessary.¬† You know, we've got some bumps and bruises.¬† K.J. got bumped, carried the ball, bumped up a little bit, but as far as losing anybody for the game, not at this point.¬† Again, we play physical, so you got a few guys banged up, but‑‑ you know, we didn't lose anybody, which is about the first week we haven't lost somebody for either the year or something, so that's a good sign in itself.

Q.  Against TCU, Mitch turned the ball over a couple of times and struggled?
COACH KILL:  Five times.  Not two times.  (Laughs).

Q.  I thought I said that.
COACH KILL:  You said a couple.  (Laughs).  My hearing isn't that bad.

Q.  Check the tape.
COACH KILL:  (Laughs).

Q.  But since he's improving so much and gotten healthier, do you feel like his emergence is one of those factors that will allow you to pull off the upset as opposed to the TCU game?
COACH KILL:¬† Mitch?¬† Well, I think of the biggest thing is as long as we can‑‑ the quarterback gets judged, which we understand, but the reason he's gotten better, and he's a good player, is the offensive line has played better.¬† And if our offensive line plays as good, you know, plays like they did last week and they prove and we can protect him, he can throw it.¬† And I think he's proven that.¬† But when you got people hanging on you and in your face, and at TCU, man, you know, it didn't matter who we put back there.¬† You know, he got some heat and his mobility wasn't quite as good.
But it all starts, you know, up front.  I mean that's just the way it is.  And so our challenge is how good we're going to play up front, and you know, if we play good up front on both sides of the ball and we tackle out in space, you know, that's the key for us.  And as he matures as quarterback, yes.
He made‑‑ I guess the best part about it, he made great decisions on Saturday, you know, with all the options stuff that we did.¬† I mean he made excellent decisions.¬† I don't know‑‑ I think he missed one read, which is very unusual for what people are doing, you know, similar, but doing it a different way is what Ohio State does.¬† They just do it a little bit differently, but their quarterback has to read things, and he has to throw it, just like our guy right now.¬† Very similar really.
You know, you gotta be able to run the ball in play action, and that's what Ohio State does?

Q.¬† I think the only thing people are talking more about the Iowa win is your post‑game dance, so can you comment on your locker room celebration, where you got those smooth moves?
COACH KILL:  Well, first of all, there's nothing smooth about them.  No. 2, Paul Rovnak's job is on the line because he lets everybody in there after the game.  And third of all, you know, sometimes kids need to see that you're human and it'll probably be the last time because I figured out I'm stiff, old, and need to understand that I'm not a kidney more.  So with that being said, and it was a heck of a win, and you know, it is what it is, I guess.  But I blame it all on Rovnak.  That's the deal.  He hasn't been doing his job.  Plus he's a graduate of Ohio State, so he's not allowed in any meetings.  This is his last meeting.  I do not trust him one inch.  (Laughs).  We have a guy down on the other end that handles the money, so we're not going to ever give him money because he's from Ohio State.  So we got a couple buck eyes running around here and we're going to lock them in the closet until after the game.  That's the best answers I can give.  I'm kidding, Paul.  (Laughs).
No, they can come, you can't.  I have no problem with them coming.  You just can't be there.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports




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