Presser Quotes: Coach Jerry Kill

MINNEAPOLIS — Head coach Jerry Kill spoke with the Twin Cities media Tuesday, prior to the Gophers' trip to Northwestern Saturday.

Head coach Jerry Kill on what impresses you most about Northwestern:
"I think what Coach (Fitzgerald) has done, I know Coach very well, he's done a great job. He knows exactly what he needs to do at Northwestern. He played there. He knows the culture. He knows what he needs to recruit, who he needs to recruit, and he's put a system to it. He does an outstanding job of recruiting players to Northwestern that understand what he expects.

"When I was at Northwestern, I went over and spent time with him. I know coach quite well. I think the team is a reflection of him. He's a tough guy, a Northwestern guy. I just think it's a really good fit for Northwestern.

"I think he's done a good job identifying who they're going to be and how they're going to do it. He's done an excellent job. Same thing we have to do here."

Kill on Da'Jon McKnight's plays this season:
"Da'Jon has made some plays. He's playing with an injury right now so that has slowed him down a little bit. He dislocated his kneecap way back in the spring. He's battled through that all year. It's not been easy for him.

"He's done a good job. Certainly has come on, again, as the quarterback as gotten better. He's gotten better. That's all a part of going through it.

"He had Adam Weber for three years, however long he played. Going through a new quarterback, that's always a difficult situation for a receiver."

Kill on the health of MarQueis Gray:
"I'll know more today. I felt watching the film from Saturday, there's no question in the first quarter he was very tentative in what he was doing. He took a big shot to the back. I think it certainly disrupted his preparation through the week.

"It hurt us in the fact he was able to practice but not full speed. I think the timing of those situations when you haven't played, it's not like Aaron Rodgers where you've played quarterback for a long, long time. He's still learning. Any missed opportunities and reps is important.

"I was pleased with the toughness he showed. He's playing with a very difficult situation. Anytime you get hit in the back like he has, that's a tough injury. It's like a dang hip pointer. It sometimes lingers. So we hope that he'll move around fairly good today. We'll see."

Kill on if other Big 10 teams getting extra practice time leading up to their bowl games bothers him:
"This will be the first time, I don't know, in a long time. You turn it to a positive. We'll be recruiting. What are you going to do? We'll take it as a positive. We'll still be here. We'll be farther along than we were last year. I wasn't here at the time. We'll have a good recruiting base. Our kids will be working in the off-season.

"We need to get in the weight room and get stronger and faster anyway. Sometimes if you're 6-6, going to a bowl game... Right now we need to be in the weight room getting bigger, stronger, faster. We'll take it and turn it into a positive, to be honest with you. Nothing else we can do about it."


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