Kill returns to Minnesota practice
The occasional seizure and subsequent hospital stay apparently aren't enough to keep Jerry Kill from his mission of turning around Minnesota's moribund football program.
Kill returned to practice Wednesday, three days after checking into the Mayo Clinic to seek more treatment for seizures that have been plaguing him the last three weeks.
He said he plans to be on the sideline when the Golden Gophers (1-3) play at No. 19 Michigan on Saturday.
''I'm in a position where right now I can't take two weeks off,'' Kill said. ''I can't take three weeks off. First of all, Minnesota hired me to turn a program around, all right. That's what I'm trying to do. And I can't do it not being here.''
Kill thanked the community and the university for support and concern throughout his situation, which first resurfaced Sept. 10 when he had a seizure on the sideline in the closing seconds of a loss to New Mexico State.
He said he has had more than 20 since then, including Sunday after a loss to North Dakota State that put him back in front of doctors in hopes of finding the right medications to control them.
Kill said his condition is not life-threatening and tried to downplay the severity of the seizures, even though they might look frightening.
''When you have a situation where you go down and go unconscious, there's not a whole lot you can do about it,'' Kill said, ''until you come conscious, then you get up and go to practice.''
Kill hasn't missed a game because of the seizures, including the three times he experienced them while coaching at Southern Illinois. After the Gophers lost to New Mexico State, he spent five days in the hospital but returned to coach against Miami (Ohio) and North Dakota State.
''We just carry on business like we carry on business,'' Kill said. ''I think we're on the right track, but they understand that. If it was hurting our football team or I was costing our football team, that's a different story. But that's not happening right now. I'm still very involved in what's going on.''
Linebacker Mike Rallis said the team is doing its best to take the uncertainty in stride.
''It is tough. Every team in the nation goes through it in some way or another,'' Rallis said. ''If you want to be a good team, that's something you've got to do. If you want to be a good player, that's something you've got to do. You've just got to focus.''
That's what Kill is stressing as well. He said he was getting tired of talking about his health and instead wanted to focus on the game against the Wolverines.
''I've done pretty good. I've already survived cancer,'' said Kill, who beat kidney cancer earlier in his coaching career. ''I've survived about three losses right now. I'm still out here and practicing and trying to coach them up. I still said too many cuss words today, so I'd say I'm still in it pretty good. But our focus needs to be on the University of Michigan and on getting our players better.''