By: Aj Mansour | KFAN.com
Minneapolis, MN - When the Minnesota Golden Gophers stepped into TCF Bank Stadium last Thursday night to open up their 2013 season against UNLV, each coach, player and manager had different expectations for what the game would bring. Some saw their name gracing the headlines of the next morning's newspaper. Some envisioned the final steps into the endzone as they crossed in to score the game winning touchdown. And some pictured mom, dad, auntie and uncle up in the crowd like a proud peacock watching their boy playing Division 1 football.
No matter what the players and coaches dreamed about as they stepped onto that field for week one, all of them had some similar visions in their heads. It was UNLV's rapid-fire, hurry-up offense and their tough nosed aggressive defense. Why were they all sharing this vision? Because leading up to that game, they spent time in the film preparing for it.
Sixty minutes later, the Gophers stepped back off that field with a 51-23 victory under their belt, but the euphoric feeling of victory was short lived. Led by the example showcased by their head coach Jerry Kill, it was now time to get back on the same wavelength with their teammates and prepare for their next opponent, New Mexico State.
"I just put on the film and go back to work," Coach Kill said of his post game routine following last week's impressive home win. "Usually as a coach, as soon as you get done talking to your team that night, it's time to go home and you go sit in your chair and you're already thinking about getting ready for [the next game]."
Tuesday afternoon, Jerry Kill met the media and explained the importance of film study and even how much more important the video is after a blow out victory.
"Film don't lie," Kill exclaimed with a sly smirk on his face. "Sometimes when you win, that's when you have to evaluate the most because you think you did really well and then [when you watch the film], you didn't play so well."
Kill has developed his knack for the film room throughout his twenty-eight year coaching career. He dabbled with it at Webb City High School in Missouri back in the eighties, refined it as the head coach of Saginaw Valley State and Emporia State in the nineties and then made it his own as he coached Southern Illinois and Northern Illinois into the FCS Playoffs and ultimately into FCS Bowl Games.
Now that he mans the helm of the University of Minnesota Golden Gopher's football team, the film study is second nature to him.
"When the kids come in [the day after a game] you teach them," Kill said Tuesday. "It's just like being in the classroom really, it's no different. You're just coaching football. You want your kids to get A's all the time, not D's and F's."
Even coming off of a 28-point victory, Kill stresses the film study. But it's a two way street. If the players don't hone in and retain the information, it's all for naught.
"Our players right now, they want to be coached," Kill said. "They want to get better. They want to do well. They don't want to disappoint. It's easier to teach when you have a win. You can be tougher and so forth. When you lose, mentally they get in the tank and then you're in a two-way battle so to speak."
Because of this film work, Minnesota is able to develop a pretty good idea of what to expect from the Aggies on Saturday night.
"They're a little bit different on defense," Kill explained. "They play with the nose guard in there and give you different looks. [On offense], it's option out of the pistol and bubble screens...similar to UNLV."
So as we sat at the University of Minnesota on a Tuesday afternoon, it was clear to us that the Golden Gophers were already mentally prepared to take on New Mexico State in Las Cruces, NM this coming Saturday. Not because of the hits they've withstood on the practice field or the laps they ran on the track, but because of the studying and the preparation they've done in the film room.
Aj Mansour covers Minnesota Sports for KFAN.com. Feel free to leave comments and questions regarding this post in the space provided below. For Vikings updates and breaking Vikings news, follow Aj on Twitter. @AjKFAN