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Rebuilding Gophers will take longer than Kill thought

The Golden Gophers football team is getting set to host Nebraska this Saturday, but all eyes seem to be on the future. Brighter days for the struggling program might be on the way, but head coach Jerry Kill says rebuilding the team will take longer than he thought.
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The Golden Gophers football team is getting set to host Nebraska this Saturday, but all eyes seem to be on the future. Brighter days for the struggling program might be on the way, but head coach Jerry Kill says rebuilding the team will take longer than he thought.

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University of Minnesota football coach Jerry Kill checked out of Mayo Clinic Wednesday and was back in the Twin Cities in time for the Gophers' afternoon practice. Kill checked himself into Mayo Sunday after suffering another seizure. His coaches fully expect him to be on the sidelines Saturday in Michigan when the Gophers play the Wolverines.

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One former Gopher who knows what it’s like to suffer a big loss is sticking up for football coach Jerry Kill. Ray Hitchcock was a senior in 1986 when the team lost to Oklahoma 63-0. He tells the Pioneer Press he remains convinced Kill is the right guy to turn the team around despite Saturday’s memorable 58-0 fall to Michigan State. He says most other players and boosters he’s talked to feel the same way.

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Minnesota’s other 1-5 football team, the Golden Gophers, face a tough second half. Of their six remaining opponents this year, four are Top 25 teams. They’ll start with No. 13 Nebraska Saturday. The ‘Huskers are 25 point favorites.

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Gophers quarterback MarQueis Gray is taking advantage of the bye week to fully heal his injured left big toe. The junior didn't start the last two games because of turf toe. Gray says he's feeling much better and will be ready to start next Saturday when Minnesota hosts Nebraska.

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Nobody is questioning Jerry Kill's toughness, but he is hoping is players become mentally stronger. Kill says he believes 90-percent of the game is played above the shoulders and that's where his team is struggling the most.

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Gophers head coach Jerry Kill was released from the hospital on Thursday, five days after suffering a seizure during Minnesota’s home opener against New Mexico State. Kill was at practice Thursday and stayed the entire two hours. He will be coaching on Saturday against Miami (Ohio), but it might be from the press-box.

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Jerry Kills says the Gophers' football team has changed over the course of the season. Kill says his team has played with more confidence since the second half of a loss to Nebraska in October. Despite losing all but one game during the stretch, Kill says his team is tougher.