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History, fishing and PB&Js

Jerry Kill can share some stories about his life and his plans, but today's weekly news conference took a few entertaining avenues we haven't heard before.

First, we'll get to some of the news of the day and then the title of this post.

Kill said the big emphasis entering Saturday's home-opener against Western Illinois will be on limiting the mental mistakes that he says cost the Huskies early against Wisconsin.

"I think missed assignments and missed alignments will beat you long before mismatches," Kill said. "I thought we played hard. I thought we played physical and I thought we did some good things. There was no question about that. But we made some mental errors."

Kill didn't rule out simplifying the playbook for his young and inexperienced players. We'll have more on that in Wednesday's Daily Chronicle.

Punter Josh Wilber has been punting with a bruise on the top of his kicking foot, suffered in camp on a punt rush, Kill said. Wilber punted five times for a 37.8-yard average against the Badgers.

"He did OK," Kill said. "I think part of it is he hurt his foot earlier in camp. He was really punting well and he got hit on a punt rush. He's had a bruised top of his foot and I think that's affected him a little bit. He did OK. I'd like to see us be even better in the net punt. It wasn't bad. But it could be better."

Kill also gave a brief scouting report on Western Illinois quarterback Matt Barr, who threw for 437 yards last week against Sam Houston State.

"He reminds me a little bit of Nick Hill, who we had at Southern [Illinois]," Kill said. "He's a shifty guy, can get out of trouble. He's what I call a designated scrambler, can step up in the pocket, slide out of it and then throw it deep on you."

Now, about the title of this post...

Kill was asked about his two-year contract extension that we first reported late last week. Again, he said it wasn't about money and it was just an extension. He feels that he and athletic director Jeff Compher are a good fit and the two extra years on his contract will allow him time to build his program the right way.

Kill also discussed some the differences and similarities between him and the coaches of NIU's football past.

"I'm not a coach [Joe] Novak and I'm certainly not a coach [Bill] Mallory," Kill said. "We're all different but I stand for the same values and the same hard work and hard ethic and [Jerry] Pettibone and all those guys have been successful, ... same kind of personalities in a lot of ways. So it's a good fit."

The conversation then drifted to Kill's eventual exit from coaching college football, whenever that is.

"Much like I said all my life, I'll be fishing on some lake in a one-room cabin eating peanut butter and jelly and I'll live a good life," he said. "If it came tomorrow and they told me, 'Hey coach, you're just not what we want.' I'm OK with it. I'm not going to have a press conference with me standing up here bellyaching and griping and complaining.

"When I come to work and it becomes work, I'll walk away from it. But I've got a lot of juice in me right now."

The natural next question was how often Kill gets to fish. The following is an edited transcript of his response:

"I get to fish one time a year. I need to do more of it but the way college football works, is that I meet my brother down in southern Illinois and we go to Lake Egypt. We bass fish for three days during the Fourth of July because that's the only time the football players aren't here in the summer. And I can get away and don't have to worry about somebody getting in trouble or something like that.

"That's my piece of mind. I look forward the Fourth of July. The second, third, fourth, fifth and sixth, don't call me. I'm on Lake Egypt. And I'm fishing. And I'm bass fishing and I enjoy it. I have to learn how to do it every year. He does a lot of it so he has to teach me how to do stuff right. I catch a few, just enough to keep me enjoying it."

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