Will Minnesota Gophers Head Coach Jerry Kill Return to Sidelines This Season?

Andrew Coppens@@andycoppensContributor INovember 13, 2013

Nov 2, 2013; Bloomington, IN, USA;  Minnesota Golden Gophers head coach Jerry Kill and Indiana Hoosiers head coach Kevin Wilson talk before the game at Memorial Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Pat Lovell-USA TODAY Sports
Pat Lovell-USA TODAY Sports

When a team draws headlines for what is happening with their head coach's health and not for what the team is doing on the field, chances are things aren't going the way they would want them to. 

That was what the Minnesota Gophers were facing in the wake of another seizure suffered by their head coach Jerry Kill prior to the Michigan game. 

Since that 42-13 loss, things have taken a turn for the better—not just for Jerry Kill and his health, but for the Gophers football team, as well. 

Minnesota is in the throes of a four-game win streak, its longest since another four-game streak back in 1973.

It has even led to the Gophers being ranked for the first time in years, coming in at No. 25 in the latest USA Today Coaches Poll.

Minnesota was last ranked in the Top 25 in October of 2005, coming in at No. 22 before losing the Battle for the Axe against Wisconsin on October 15. 

All of this has happened without Kill roaming the sidelines on Saturday afternoons. 

However, coach Kill's role has become ever increasing in the past few weeks. It has culminated in his reappearance on the weekly coaches teleconference this week and this post-game dance video after the win over Penn State on Saturday: 

Minnesota has a bye this week before battling for Paul Bunyan's Axe against Wisconsin on November 23. 

It would make sense that if Kill does return to the sidelines, it would be for that game—the one game that matters most to the Gophers and Badgers every year. 

However, Minnesota has a 4-1 record without Kill on the sidelines and a 4-0 record with Kill being seen up in the coaches press box. 

So maybe there is something to the saying, "if it ain't broke, don't fix it?"

According to the St. Paul Pioneer Press, the decision on Kill returning to the sidelines is still something all of those involved, including Kill, are taking day-to-day:

I think it's just something we have to take day by day... Jerry is in the middle of really making some good strides health-wise. He's evaluating his progress all of the time. He's learned a ton about his situation this year, more than any other year. ... I'm still not convinced he can do any more on the field than what he does in the booth.

That last part may be the biggest indication of exactly where the program feels Kill is best to help this program from.

Call it superstition, call it looking out for Jerry Kill's health, call it whatever you want—Minnesota football is suddenly relevant again. And who thought that was going to happen at the start of this season?

It may be unconventional, but to Jerry Kill and his coaching staff, the results are all that matter at the end of the day. And the results since Kill has left the sidelines for the press box are undeniable. 


*Andy Coppens is Bleacher Report's lead writer for the Big Ten. You can follow him on Twitter: @ andycoppens.


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