"We played more physical. We always say you gotta be able to run the ball and you have to stop the run. We got better at it. From a physical standpoint, I think our recruiting continues to be better," Minnesota head coach Jerry Kill said as the Gophers look to make the next step against a tougher slate in the new look Big Ten.
While health concerns dogged Kill much of last season, he spoke to having a hungry team and a team that's willing to be a bit blue collar and put the work in necessary to meet the kind of lofty goals they hold themselves to.
"We made some great strides last year, we've done some things that haven't been done for a while. We set the tone where we've been before, we start the turn around process. Now we have to take it another step," Kill added.
Looking the best he had in sometime, Kill addressed the ballroom in his trademark folksy but keen manner spoke to their being no real shortcuts for he and his team.
"Work hard, that's the key to success."
We have a very tough schedule but competition makes you better." Kill added. "New team, new situation, with some veterans coming back."
Of course one of the big steps for the Gophers will be trying to get off the schneid against their rivals from Madison.
"We have to step our game up, and our kids are excited about that."
Though it won't come easy and there are no guarantees, if the 2014 Gophers becoming an extension of their head coach, they'll have a chance to play with just about anyone on their schedule.