Jerry Kill went 3-9 in his first season in Minneapolis, which might seem like a poor start to his tenure with the Gophers, but, when put in perspective, it wasn't all bad.
Yes, nine losses is always "bad," but consider the situation.
The Gophers were breaking in a new coach and that new coach's offensive system. This was after previous coach Tim Brewster went through three different offensive schemes in the previous four seasons.
As for Brewster, the guy was a terrible head coach. In fact, according to Minnesota Daily, Kill's "description of the program was simply that they have to dismantle everything in order to rebuild properly," which was a direct criticism of Brewster.
Kill may or may not be a quality head coach, but he's not a miracle worker. It will take him a season or two to work Brewster's shadow out of his program.
On top of that, Minnesota had to rebuild its offense, and it had a tough schedule that included five ranked teams.
With all of that in mind, consider that the Gophers did improve as the season went on, and they won two late-season conference upsets, much as some dimwitted amateur predicted back in May, 2011.
Yes, 3-9 is "bad," but hope springs eternal.
2011 Record: 3-9
2011 Conference Record: 2-6
2011 Home/Away/Neutral Record: 3-4/0-5
2011 Record vs. Ranked Teams: 0-5
Record Last Five Seasons: 20-42 (tied for 105th in country over that period of time)
Conference Record Last Five Seasons: 10-30
Home/Away/Neutral Record Last Five Seasons: 13-22/7-18/0-2
Record vs. Ranked Teams Last Five Seasons: 0-18
Best Record Last Five Seasons: 7-6 (2008)
Worst Record Last Five Seasons: 1-11 (2007)
Number of Coaches Last 10 Seasons: Three
Jerry Kill is another of the well-traveled Big Ten veteran coaches that have taken a while to get to an AQ program—albeit a lower-tier AQ program.
Originally from Kansas, Kill began his career as the defensive coordinator and later the offensive coordinator of the Division II Pittsburg (KS) State Gorillas.
He bumped around Division II for a number of years, including head coaching stints at Saginaw Valley (MI) State and Emporia (KS) State, before landing at FBS Southern Illinois in 2001.
In 2008, he moved on to the MAC's Northern Illinois, where, in 2010, he led the Huskies to their fourth-ever double-digit win season.
In 2011, he moved on to the big time—Minneapolis—where he presumably intends to prove that Minnesota can indeed be "good at football."
Kill has left each of the programs he's been with in better shape than when he started and has only left one program without a winning record—he went 11-11 in two seasons at Emporia State.
Coming next Monday, an overview and breakdown of Minnesota's offense.