Originally posted on Fox Sports North  |  Last updated 10/2/12
MINNEAPOLIS With the University of Minnesota football team in the midst of its bye week, Gophers head coach Jerry Kill didn't hold his usual weekly press conference Tuesday. But Kill did address the media during the Big Ten coaches teleconference. On the call, Kill was asked plenty about sophomore quarterback Max Shortell, who made his second start of the year last Saturday at Iowa, a 31-13 Gophers loss. In that game, Shortell threw three interceptions -- including one that was returned 68 yards for a touchdown. But Kill didn't put much blame on the sophomore quarterback for those interceptions. The first one was a deep pass intended for A.J. Barker that was taken away by Iowa's Tanner Miller along the sideline. "I think that as you watch film, the first interception's really not an interception. Our receiver caught the ball, A.J. Barker, and the defensive back made a great play and took it out of A.J.'s hands," Kill said. "The next interception, we throw a fade route, which is a route that's hard to get an interception, and our wide receiver doesn't go and get the ball. And then the third interception we threw, the receiver ran the wrong route. He was anticipating doing one thing and it went the wrong way. . . . "We've got to make some plays. I don't think we tell him anything different because I think we've got to do a better job of route running and catching the football." It remains to be seen whether Shortell will get the start next Saturday when Minnesota hosts the currently undefeated Northwestern Wildcats. Senior quarterback MarQueis Gray has missed the last two games with a high ankle sprain, but the bye week will give him a chance to heal. Until Gray is healthy, Shortell will be the Gophers' top option. The bye week serves as a chance for him to gain more chemistry with his receiving corps. "I think Max has been put in a tough situation," Kill said. "I just think the big thing Max has to continue to do is just continue to learn offensively where the check-downs are and do the little things and just continue to execute and get familiar with the receivers." Gophers 'shell shocked' by Hawkeyes, especially on the ground: During Minnesota's 4-0 start, the Gophers faced a number of pass-oriented offenses. But in their first game of the Big Ten season, the Gophers couldn't slow down Iowa's rushing attack -- particularly running back Mark Weisman, who ran for 177 yards and a touchdown on 21 carries. "When you play a team like Iowa, you're not going to be able to stop the run with seven people," Kill said. "You've got to be able to get a safety involved. We didn't tackle. We'd been very good at tackling at the safety spot, and we didn't tackle in the first half very well at all." Kill noted the difference in Weisman's first-half and second-half numbers. Weisman piled up a good chunk of his yardage on back-to-back runs of 27 and 44 yards late in the first quarter. "The second half, we went in and talked to our kids. We gave up 38 yards rushing in the second half," Kill said. ". . . I think our football team got an education in the first half at Iowa. I think that we got shell shocked a little bit and settled down in the second half and were able to play a little bit better." Bye week comes at a good time: Aside from Gray, the Gophers have several players who have been banged up through five games of the 2012 season. That includes safety Brock Vereen, who Kill said was used only in nickel situations against Iowa. Minnesota should also get cornerback Martez Shabazz back on the field for the Northwestern game. In the meantime, Kill said his team's goals are to clean up the fundamentals and get healthy this week as he lightens the workload in practice. "We're not deep enough to think about a lot of personnel changes. Our big thing is fundamentally, in the Iowa game, they blocked better than we did, they tackled better than we did," Kill said. "Offensively, we've just got to build some continuity up front. This is a good week to do it." Follow Tyler Mason on Twitter.
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Arian Foster: It's hard for me to watch football

Isaiah Thomas recruiting players at All-Star weekend

Report: Charles Woodson joining ESPN's Sunday NFL crew

Best and worst from NBA All-Star Saturday night

WATCH: Klay Thompson can't go home unless he beats Steph Curry in 3-Point contest

Star players are hurting Houston Rockets


Emmitt Smith: Adrian Peterson only current player who could break rushing record

Coach K gets buzzer-beater win over Virginia for his birthday

Baylor approves new measures to deal with sexual assault

Joe Mauer: Concussions blurred vision, affected hitting

LeBron James says Kevin Love-Celtics trade rumor is false

Michael Jordan gifts Kobe Bryant full set of Air Jordans

NY Post writer takes harsh shot at Jason Pierre-Paul

LaVine, Gordon put on best NBA dunk contest in years

WATCH: Thompson beats teammate Curry in 3-point contest

NFL teams, players hand out awesome Valentines

Earl Campbell ‘disappointed’ in Johnny Manziel, wants to help

Big man Karl-Anthony Towns wins NBA skills challenge

MLB commish: Cubs will host All-Star Game in near future

WATCH: Memphis forward recreates Vince Carter's elbow dunk in game

Bruins forward is goal scoring machine after suspension

Michael Jordan gives Kobe Bryant complete set of Air Jordans

Drake has Kentucky edition of custom ‘OVO’ Air Jordan 8s

QUIZ: Name every NBA All-Star Game MVP

Watch rare footage of Stephen Curry from 2001-02 emerges

College Football News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Ranking the ten best free agent pitcher signings

Who had the best NBA All-Star Game of the last 40 years?

The winners and losers of the 2016 MLB offseason

On Kobe Bryant and taking greatness for granted

Bucks need to choose between wins, development

Fantasy booking WrestleMania 32

Unrestricted free agents each team must consider re-signing

QUIZ: Name the winners of the NBA Slam Dunk Contest

Thank you Daniel Bryan

The timeless greatness of Jaromir Jagr

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Follow Yardbarker