Monday, December 14, 2009

Current Jayhawks believe new coach Turner Gill will instill confidence in them

Junior, other Jayhawks optimistic about new coach's tactics, reputation

Kansas receiver Johnathan Wilson goes up for a catch against UTEP during second the quarter Saturday, Sept. 12, 2009 at the Sun Bowl in El Paso, Texas. The catch helped set up a touchdown by Jake Sharp.

Kansas receiver Johnathan Wilson goes up for a catch against UTEP during second the quarter Saturday, Sept. 12, 2009 at the Sun Bowl in El Paso, Texas. The catch helped set up a touchdown by Jake Sharp.



Turner Gill: A new era

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Turner Gill is officially the new head coach of KU football.

In the last few days, Johnathan Wilson sent some Facebook messages back and forth to high-school friend Alan Hayes, who is a defensive back on the Buffalo Bulls football team.

The KU junior receiver Wilson wanted to get the scouting report on his new coach Turner Gill.

“Basically, Alan told me, ‘You can play your game. Coach Gill’s going to let you play your game. He’s going to be a disciplinarian, but he’s going to let you play your game,’” Wilson said Monday after Gill’s introductory press conference. “Sometimes, I feel like not all of our players got to do that. I’m excited about that. I’m going to respect coach Gill as a disciplinarian, because every coach is like that. But I’m excited to play for him.”

Wilson said he’s most excited about transitioning away from a coaching style that he believed hampered his performance.

“It was playing more not to mess up,” Wilson said. “We were scared to mess up. That’s a big problem. We were scared to mess up.”

Though the results of the formal investigation of coach Mark Mangino never were made public, Mangino had the reputation of being an intimidating figure.

Wilson believes the former coach’s tactics hindered more than they helped.

“You’re thinking about what mistakes could happen,” Wilson said. “ ... When you line up out there and you say, ‘I’m going to make this play,’ then most of the time, it’s going to happen. But when you line up like, ‘I don’t know. What if I don’t make this play? What’s coach going to say?’ Stuff like that. That’s when stuff happens, you make a mistake.”

Wilson said he wasn’t the only one that played to avoid mistakes.

“I was like that. A lot of players were like that,” Wilson said. “I don’t think we were loose at all times.”

It’s why the Houston native was relieved to hear Hayes’ comforting words about Gill.

“I told (Hayes) about our situation, and some of the stuff he couldn’t believe,” Wilson said. “He was like, ‘He (Gill) is nothing like that. He’s a players’ coach, and you’re going to really enjoy him.’

“One of the biggest things he said to me is that he’s going to install confidence in you guys. You don’t have to be worried about stuff like your confidence. He believes in you, and he’s going to make you believe in your team. That’s what I was excited about. I told my teammates that, too.”

KU junior cornerback Chris Harris echoed Wilson’s assertion that many players were playing in fear of making errors last season.

“That was just the culture here. ‘We can’t mess up. We can’t do anything.’ I would say a lot of players played like that,” Harris said.

“It just builds stuff in your head to where, ‘I can’t go make this play, because if I end up making the wrong play, I’m going to come out.’ You can see it with the players out there that it does affect them. Y’all have seen it first-hand.”

Harris didn’t like worrying all the time about a potential miscue.

“I couldn’t play like that,” Harris said. “I’m pretty sure my teammates didn’t have a good [time] playing like that either.”

KU freshman quarterback Kale Pick also seemed pleased with Gill’s first comments as KU coach.

“I want good relationships with my coaches and to be close to them,” Pick said. “I think that’ll make our team that much better.”


LakeShawnee 11 years, 1 month ago

Yes, hawknhutch, because every "players' coach" is just like Terry Allen. I agree that teams need discipline, but surely that is different than needing to be "afraid of him" as you suggest.

Players can respect their coach and play with discipline all the while not walking around fearing him.

jayhawkjoe98 11 years, 1 month ago

Chris Harris made plenty of mistakes and he still saw the football field plenty.

Layne Pierce 11 years, 1 month ago

If players think Turner Gill does not require discipline, they are wrong. Discipline, however, is not a function of screaming, intimidating, and generally terrorizing your team. If is a matter of responsibilities and consequences.

Turner learned from Tom O, and Tom O demanded discipline on the field, or you did not get onto the field.

Trust implies self-discipline, otherwise there can be no trust. Trust on the part of your fellow teammates, and the coaching staff.

Jaminrawk 11 years, 1 month ago

John Wilson stated that his old teammate said that Gill was a diciplinarian. There is definitley a difference between coaches that simply belittle their players and coaches that hold them accountable.

Eurekahwk 11 years, 1 month ago

TA was NOT a player's coach. He did not instill confidence either. He was a complete joke. There is a difference between having discipline with your team and crippling their ability to make plays. You know who else is a player's coach. Bill Self. Would you say the basketball team lacks discipline? He rips them sometimes, but are they afraid to make plays? You can be personable and still have control of your team. Sounds like between TA and MM, Gill is somewhere in the middle. Remember, moderation is the key.

kufootball 11 years, 1 month ago

Trust is one thing. But playing for your coach, and teammates will take you far. I loved MM, but you could see the fear some of these kids had of doing something wrong, especially on defense. They were robots and no one made plays. They were just playing to not mess up, but when you get yanked every other play you lose all the confidence you have. I hope that TG instills trust in these players between each other and the coaches.

jayhawkox 11 years, 1 month ago

nebhawk you're right on. There is a difference between disciplinarian and dictator. Discipline is a necessity in just about every walk of life, and football especially so. But I'm inclined to believe that players will work harder, and play tougher, for a coach they perceive as having their back and having trust in them to do the right thing than the other way around. A players' coach who just lets them do what they want if destined to be a failure. But a players' coach who has a clearly articulated system of expectations and consequences that reflect a desire to help players reach their goals as athletes and as people, that coach is going to succeed. That seems to be Gill's track record everywhere he goes, and it speaks volumes that Tom O thinks so highly of him and that he already has an O and D coordinator before even starting his job.

milehighhawk 11 years, 1 month ago

Hawknhutch - you say players need discipline.

The beginning of the article has a quote where the player says he's a "disciplinarian."

Not sure what your gripe is.

Michael Leiker 11 years, 1 month ago

Jonathan Wilson was scared to mess up because he dropped 60% of the balls that were thrown his way. Thank god you were scared to mess up Wilson!!

Kent Wells 11 years, 1 month ago

"Tom O demanded discipline on the field, or you did not get onto the field."

Riiiight. Just ask Lawrence Phillips... Or ask his girlfriend that he drug down the stairs. Who was the head coach at N when that happened? How many games was Phillips suspended???

psychoanalyst 11 years, 1 month ago

I do think this is a big reason for the lack of tenacity and turnovers generated on defense. If you are scared to take a risk you are always analyzing the situation and become rather hypervigilant. And we all know that paralysis by analysis causes poor play on both sides of the ball.

kupopp 11 years, 1 month ago

leikness is already doing his part to help build the team's confidence.

Jonathan Briles 11 years, 1 month ago

leikness-If you are scared to mess up you cant play well and receivers with low confidence are usually the one's that make the drops. If Wilson was scared he probably had unsteady hands. Good hands are soft hands and if he gets to relax and play his game his hands will get a little less stiff.

I really think that Gill gets a lot of respect from his players. It's not demanded from them I think he just gets and earns it. Everyone knows that you do more for someone that you respect and care about. I really think that with the assistants he brings in and his own nature are going to make this a really great team. I'm looking forward to it already.

Jonathan Briles 11 years, 1 month ago

Also about Wilson making drops. Does anybody remember that Wilson made most improved player on the team two years running. Every year it looked like he would be so great and he had improved yet every year it did not seem to translate onto the field. Wonder Why? Probably because practice especially in the summer is much more relaxed than a game. He was probably playing that game he was talking about and played relaxed. Once he got onto the field though he got scared and stiffened up. Look for some huge improvement from him next year.

Tribehawk 11 years, 1 month ago

It's interesting that so many players are saying they were scared to mess up under Mangino. Not surprising, but interesting. I think that says a lot about why we underachieved this year. You can't play "not to mess up." You have to play to win. Not a good sign our kids were second-guessing themselves so much. It sounds like Gill is the perfect medicine for us.

truefan 11 years, 1 month ago

I don't know why anyone is complaining yet anyway. He hasn't done anything to prove that he was a bad hire. If he does terrible over the next couple of seasons then complain away, but he hasn't even gotten to put together a playbook yet. At least give him a chance. Further, his recruiting is already paying off. What if he signs a killer class before next season? Are you all going to complain about that too?

Jaminrawk 11 years, 1 month ago

I think if you read this story, the player problems with Mangino went deeper that expected. At leas they did for me:

A guy like Angus Quigley deciding to forgo a 6th year because of Mangino kind of surprised me. I wonder how many guys actually liked playing for him.

Hawk1969 11 years, 1 month ago

Please don't compare Gill to Allen. Allen had no clue and was a submisive coach, not a "players coach". Gill is a great hire.

siltom 11 years, 1 month ago

leikness...are you serious?!?!? Wilson probably had like 4-5 drops. What he didn't do was FUMBLE. I hope your degree wasn't in math. Besides, this article was more about how excited the players are about their new coach. Leave it to some of you to be NEGATIVE like you have been ever since they finally fired Mangino. I am excited for KU Football and think it was a great hire.

troutsee 11 years, 1 month ago

The players' statements do not surprise me. It was obvious to me at midseason that this team had lost its heart (see my posts). How is the heart lost? By making the game work and not fun. How do you make the game work and not fun? You destroy morale. How do you destroy morale? You tear down without building up. You intimidate and threaten. What happens then? Players play like robots, lose their team unity, and lose.

Look, we have the players to have a winning team next year. I don't care what the whiners say. I can't predict how Gill will perform as a coach, but I am certainly not going to condem him or express fears that we are going to return to the TA years.

OCJHAWK 11 years, 1 month ago

I am looking forward to KU football as always, but the reference in the rivals piece jaminrawk linked scares me as to expectations of the players. It reminds me of the notorious woman after the election stating she didn't think she would have to pay her mortgage anymore.

PS players, as many posters have already expressed, a players coach does not mean you can act any way you want on or off the field. Coach Gill would not be at this level if he overlooked things like fights with the BB team.

tical523 11 years, 1 month ago

The best coaches are the ones that you really respect and work hard for, but ones you can also let loose and joke with when the time is right. I do not hate Mangino, but I do not see him being the kind of guy players chill with in the office after practice. I can tell Coach Gill is the kind of coach that demands discipline and respect, but can be laid back and relaxed outside of football. If your players enjoy playing for you, they will stay disciplined and work hard for you. Even if for personal reasons these players play hard, to impress or to shut up doubters and haters or to impress family, friends and scouts!! But one thing that will make someone quit is frustration or disliking for the coach. I think our players are inspired by the change, but time to back up all the talk. I know we have some great basketball to watch , but I already cant wait til football season!!

grandpa 11 years, 1 month ago

troutsee, you and siltom had some good posts. leikness, I doubt if you ever played football, but you are a good expertSince I was a receiver and my son was a receiver, I enjoyed keeping stats on Wilson. He dropped 5 catchable balls all season. His average yards per catch were right behind Briscoe and ahead of Meiers and Sharp. I did not keep a record of all the balls thrown to him into the dirt but there were a number. I was at the Texas Tech game and watched the pitiful performance of our quarterback's throwing. To be successful, you need quarterback and receiver relationship like that of Colt McCoy and Shipley. Also, their coach, Mr. Brown helps a little bit. It is okay to discipline a boy, tell him what he did wrong and then send him back into the game. I am looking forward to next year and a lot of wins. We don't need anymore of you second guessers!!

ginger2015 11 years, 1 month ago

leikness: Where did you get that statistic?

actorman 11 years, 1 month ago

Well said, grandpa. One of the things I was most frustrated about this year was the underuse of Wilson. I thought he was one of the most consistent players on the team and came through time and again when they utilized him. Unfortunately, at times (e.g., the end of the Colorado game) they seemed to forget about him completely when he could have made the difference between winning and losing. Surely they would have had a better chance of completing a pass to him in single coverage (or wide open) then throwing alley-oop after alley-oop to Desmond in double and triple coverage.

I can't wait to see what Wilson does next year with a coach who actually gives him a chance to shine.

actorman 11 years, 1 month ago

Ginger, I'm not sure you want to know the answer to your question, because it could be from a fairly disgusting place.

mahkmood 11 years, 1 month ago

Interesting that yet another one-sided (no chance for self-defense) article was published concerning Mangino. Apparently guys like Meier, McAnderson, Reesing (with exception of TT benching), Aquib Talib, Charles Gordon, Nick Reid, Derek Fine, Marcus Henry, Briscoe, Whittemore and so on found a way to make plays and not get benched despite the "unbearable pressure".

Apparently some of the football players weren't so "scared of messing up" that it prevented them from getting into fights with the BB team and committing unsportsmanlike conduct penalties this year.

I want to be more positive with my posts, but this is sour-grapes and a very lame method of making MM the scapegoat for his (Jonathan Wilson's) inability to catch the ball more often. My gosh, how many times did Wilson drop Reesing's passes and still get another chance??? Stop publishing these one-sided articles. I hope Gill recruits some guys that won't blame their failure to make plays on someone else.

I remember Roy Williams benching the entire starting 5 many, many times when they weren't making plays. He also screamed in guys' faces. There were guys who transferred-out of KU BB under Roy because they couldn't handle the pressure. Who had the problem? Roy? I'm excited about Gill. But I don't like this lingering attitude about how MM "was a meany". Grow a pair. Catch the ball. Stop making excuses.

actorman 11 years, 1 month ago

Actually, Wilson dropped the ball very few times and deserved far more chances than he got. Did you read any of the comments above or just skip them in order to make your pithy comments?

Perhaps you're right that there were a number of players who liked Mangino, but there were also clearly a number who didn't. A good leader knows how to deal with players individually and not just have one blanket (abusive) approach for everyone. Also, I'm still waiting for MM's defenders to justify the fact that he was an equal-opportunity abuser: he didn't just abuse players, he abused non-players such as parking officers, secretaries, etc.. Somehow that minor detail continues to escape his defenders' notice.

Jason Leib 11 years, 1 month ago

Pete Carroll is a "players coach" - he seems to have done OK with that style.

siltom 11 years, 1 month ago

mahkmood- this wasn't a one-sided article. The players were interviewed and they simply answered the questions they were asked. In addition, he never blamed MM for any of his dropped passes. He did say that it was a little distracting to go out there knowing if you messed up you would get screamed at and possibly benched. For all the MM supporters out only heard a little of what his FAT a** said tho those boys and they still played through it. Give it up. He was a jerk and he is GONE. Let's go Gill!

Jim Jackson 11 years, 1 month ago

Guys, Pete Carrol is a players coach to the tee. I'd say he's done pretty well for himself and USC

mahkmood 11 years, 1 month ago

If Turner Gill recruits like Pete Carroll, Jonathan Wilson won't have to worry about messing up in a game because he will be on the bench waiting for the 5-star recruits to go Pro. I'm sure Wilson will be unhappy about that, too.

With very rare exception I felt like MM put the best players on the field. MM may have been many things, including verbally abusive, but I have no question that he wanted to win. He put the players on the field that gave KU the best chance to win. The biggest problem was not MM's coaching style, it was his inability to recruit more Kerry Meier's and Aquib Talib's. There is a reason we don't hear Meier and Talib complaining.

Look at how many KU school records on offense were set under MM. How did that happen under his "reign of terror"? Meier had hands like glue. All this talk of "we couldn't perform because of fear" just doesn't add-up. Good players can perform under pressure, others can't. That is the nature of sports.

Everyone is tired of my posts containing stuff about MM, but Jesse Newell published this article containing Wilson's dislike of MM's coaching style. I'm just responding to what Newell wrote. I think it is better to have a coach who instills discipline w/o some of the tactics that MM used. Because of that I am excited about Gill.

From my experience in athletics, the people who don't get the playing time that they would like will be unhappy (along with their parents) with the coach no matter if he is a "player's coach" or not. It's not difficult to find team members who will be willing to complain about the leadership. Ever work with people who constantly complain about the boss? They are a dime a dozen.

100 11 years, 1 month ago

Posted earlier, just in case you missed it:

Anybody like Dynasties?

Well, Tom Osbourne has some knowledge on this topic. Why not get a quote from Tom Osbourne, Chuck... when asked if he (Osbourne) "made" those mid 1990's dynasties happen (3 NCAA championships), here's what he said. This is a story from 1999:

"Without Turner Gill recruiting for us & coaching the quarterbacks his little instinctual tricks, we would not have won any of those national titles in the mid '90s. None. I firmly believe that with all of my heart. We would have been good, but no national championships. Turner Gill made it happen with his heart, his recruiting, his belief & his help with the quarterbacks. Turner's gift to us, in tandem with our unified team belief, coupled with the hard work of our units in practice, magnified by the undying devotion of our walk ons giving our first two teams double the repetitions, not to mention the ceaseless support of our assistant coaching staff those years, made those teams the focused & talented group that they were. We believed. And we were good, partially thanks to all the hard work. But, more than anyone, if I was to single out one person, it wouldn't be me. It was Turner Gill... his recruiting & leadership made all the difference."

grandpa 11 years, 1 month ago

mahkmood. The most important thing you have said so far is in your fourth paragraph of your last post. You are correct. Everyone is tired of your ignorant remarks.

actorman 11 years, 1 month ago

Give him some credit, grandpa. At least he said he didn't approve of some of MM's tactics; that's better than most of MM's defenders have done.

grandpa 11 years, 1 month ago

you are right actoman. Sometimes I get a little carried away. We are going to have a very good team in 1010 with the new coaching staff and our returning boys.!!!

actorman 11 years, 1 month ago

No problem. I certainly understand the frustration with all the brain-dead comments that have been showing up recently. I am VERY psyched to see what TG can do!

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