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Rutgers Football: A Closer Look at Jerry Kill

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Jesse Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

After the sudden departure of Drew Mehringer to the University of Texas, head coach Chris Ash was forced to find a new offensive coordinator. For Rutgers fans this will be the 8th offensive coordinator in as many years, making this arguably Ash’s most important hire to date. The man chosen for the job is Jerry Kill, former Minnesota head football coach, which was announced on Monday.

Coach Kill retired from Minnesota during the 2015 season due to health concerns, but spent this past season as associate athletic director at Kansas State. Despite the health concerns, this is a great hire, and one that adds a much needed veteran presence to the offensive side of the ball. Additionally, there are several reports citing Kill’s much improved health.

“I would say I feel about 90-percent better than I did a year ago,” Kill said. “I would probably still be coaching had I felt this good then. But I have changed a lot. I went from 2 1/2 hours of sleep for 12 years to six hours of sleep now. That is a huge deal.”

Here is a brief overview of Jerry Kill’s Resume:

  • 1985-1987: Pittsburg State (DC)
  • 1988-1990: Webb City HS
  • 1991-1993: Pittsburg State (OC)
  • 1994-1998: Saginaw Valley State (HC)
  • 1999-2000: Emporia State (HC)
  • 2001-2007: Southern Illinois (HC)
  • 2008-2010: Northern Illinois (HC)
  • 2011-2015: Minnesota (HC)
  • 2016: Kansas State (Associate AD)

As a Head Coach, Kill has amassed a record of 152-99 and has shown an uncanny ability to turnaround programs with losing records. In his previous four head coach positions he has not left the program with a sub .500 record.

At Minnesota Jerry Kill went 29-29 in 5 seasons as the head coach of the football program, which saw 3 bowl berths during his tenure and was named the 2014 Big Ten Coach of the Year. In 2015 the Minnesota Golden Gophers went 4-3 before Kill announced he was retiring from the game due to deteriorating health conditions:

"I don't want to be a liability, I don't want somebody to have to worry about if I'm going to drop on the field. I don't want to coach from the press box. I want to coach the way I coached my whole life.”

After going 3-9 in his first season as head coach, Kill turned the program around with back to back 8 win seasons in 2013 and 2014 respectively, the first time since 2002 and 2003, and only the fifth time since 1906.

Below we take a closer look at Kill’s most recent offensive production at Minnesota and Northern Illinois while he was head coach (the 2015 season was omitted from the analysis due to Kill’s early departure).

In Kill’s first season the Golden Gophers struggled going 3-9 overall and averaged only 310.30 yards per game (YPG). Year-over-year those numbers improved to 321.40, 343.40, and 357.40 YPG respectively, representing a 15.15% increase in YPG from 2011 to 2014.

Similarly at Northern Illinois the offense improved each season as measured by YPG, going from 335.10 in 2008 to 346 and 450 YPG in 2009 and 2010 respectively, representing a 34.29% increase in YPG from 2008 to 2010.

Stats Gathered from CFBStats.com

While head coach at Minnesota, Kill’s offensive philosophy was predicated on the run. From 2011-2014 the offense ran 2,172 run plays (65.88% of total plays), compared to 1,125 pass plays (34.12% of total plays). These percentages varied very little from season to season. Despite a slight drop off in 2012, yards-per-carry (YPC) increased year over year, and increased by 14.43% from 2011-2014. Similarly, pass yards-per-attempt (YPA) increased year over year, and increased by 10.27% from 2011-2014.

Minnesota Offensive Summary
Stats Gathered from CFBStats.com

While many believe Jerry Kill’s offensive philosophy to be a power run game, his philosophy was not all that different from the current power spread offense being implemented at Rutgers currently. Ryan Dunleavy from NJ.com had the chance to explain this in detail on the Big Ten Network. He also reiterated Kill’s improving health conditions:

Coach Ash expressed his excitement during the announcement of the hiring of Jerry Kill:

"I am excited to welcome Jerry and his family to Rutgers," said Ash. "Jerry brings years of experience and tremendous leadership to our offense. He is a veteran Big Ten coach and a proven winner. Our players and coaches will benefit from his wealth of knowledge."

Watching Jerry Kill’s Iowa pre-game speech in 2014 and its hard not to be excited to have a veteran leader on the staff.

Welcome to the Banks Coach Kill!