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Big Ten notebook: Gophers, Kill agree to seven-year contract

BY SAM LOUWAGIE | OCTOBER 26, 2011 7:20 AM

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Minnesota football coach Jerry Kill signed a seven-year contract on Tuesday, the university said. The Gophers will pay their first-year coach $1.2 million per year.

The school formalized a contract for Kill, who had been working under a "memorandum of agreement" this season. But the official contract added two years to the original five-year deal offered to Kill.

He said the length of the deal gives him time to turn around the struggling program rather than seek a quick fix.

"It gives you time," he said in a Tuesday teleconference. "That's the most important thing in building a program and doing it right. Sometimes, if you don't think you have time, you do things the quick-fix way. This allows us to make sure we're sound in the decisions we're making."

The announced deal comes three days after a 41-14 Gophers loss to Nebraska. The loss dropped Minnesota to 1-6 on the season, 0-3 in conference play. In addition to the rough start on the field, Kill has been hospitalized twice this year after suffering seizures.

The Gophers are also struggling academically; Kill and his staff are monitoring 63 players in order to make sure they're going to class.

Kill and Athletics Director Joel Maturi said it will take time to fix all those issues, and Maturi told the Star Tribune university officials wanted to show Kill they were committed to giving him that time.

"Coach and I and President [Eric] Kaler assessed the status of the program and the commitment we felt was needed, and of convincing Coach Kill that we are committed," Maturi said. "Quite honestly, we can't afford the salary that some other institutions are able to afford, but our commitment to him was in the number of years, and I think he was pleased with that."

Boilermaker offense improves

Purdue's leading rusher had just 29 yards against Illinois on Oct. 22. That typically isn't a recipe for success. But the Boilermakers spread the ball to eight different rushers and outgained Illinois on the ground, 126-121, in a 21-14 upset.

That was reflective of the innovative offense Purdue is starting to show, featuring numerous formations and contributors.

"No one can key on one guy," head coach Danny Hope said in his weekly teleconference. "It's the way that our offensive staff and our offensive coordinator goes about their business in manufacturing different ways to get the ball into playmakers' hands. That's what it's all about."

Purdue ranked last in the Big Ten in scoring, passing, and total offense last season.

The development of quarterback Caleb TerBush is helping make the Boilermaker offense more multidimensional. He completed 16 passes to eight different receivers for 178 yards and two touchdowns without an interception against Illinois.

Purdue is sixth in the conference in scoring offense, and has improved to ninth in passing. Hope said the team's offense will only continue to improve.

"The potential of our passing game is getting better," Hope said. "We'll become a more wide-open offense as time goes on, but right now we're good at running the football."


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