MINNEAPOLIS — Jerry Kill's first season as the coach at Minnesota was rough.

But the Gophers finished on a winning note and expressed confidence and optimism going into 2012.

Kill says he's not worried about his health after a series of seizures that hospitalized him in September. He says has just as much enthusiasm for the rebuilding project as he did when he took over a year ago, despite a 3-9 record and several lopsided defeats for his team.

The improvement of quarterback MarQueis Gray is one of the most promising developments the Gophers will take into next season. They'll lose several key starters on defense, but the pass rush got a lot better down the stretch, another sign there could be better days ahead for the program.