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Wednesday, November 24, 2010

KU’s Turner Gill all fired up for Border War rivalry debut at Arrowhead Stadium

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At his regular Tuesday news conferences, Kansas University football coach Turner Gill typically opens with a warm welcome followed by a short “I’d like to thank everybody for attending today.”

Not this Tuesday.

Gill, ever the steady personality, opened with a bang, showing in no uncertain terms that he understands what lies ahead as KU prepares to take on No. 15 Missouri at 11:30 a.m. Saturday at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City, Mo.

“I’m excited,” Gill said. “This week is here. This week is here. The Missouri game.”

Around these parts, nothing more really needs to be said. Although the Jayhawks enter the game with a 3-8 record, including a 1-6 mark in Big 12 play, you never would know it by listening to — and watching — Gill on Tuesday.

Eleven months ago, when Gill was introduced as KU’s new football coach in the Mrkonic Auditorium, he spoke about beating Missouri. Tuesday, at that same podium, Gill insisted those words were not cheap and shared a little insight into how he learned so quickly about the Border War rivalry.

“My daughter talked to me,” said Gill, referring to his oldest daughter, Jordan, a junior at KU. “She’s told me about that since she decided to come to Kansas, so I’ve had that for two or three years from the perspective of a student.”

In the days since his hire, Gill has heard dozens more pleas from diehard KU fans about the importance of beating the Tigers. But none resonated quite as loudly as six simple words from his daughter.

“‘Dad, you better win this one,’” Gill said, recalling exactly what words of wisdom Jordan gave him.

For the longest time, facing Missouri was like some mythical beast that Gill always imagined but never fully understand. That changed around 3 p.m. Saturday.

“It got turned on pretty quick after the Oklahoma State game,” Gill said. “My heart and everything is ready to get this one going. This is for our fans, our alumni, our players. On Sunday, they were very spirited, they were upbeat, they were focused, and they were ready.”

They weren’t the only ones. Several Jayhawks said they’ve seen their head coach operate with a different demeanor already this week.

“As soon as he got in the locker room after the last game, the first thing he talked about was Mizzou week,” junior defensive lineman Richard Johnson said.

Added quarterback Jordan Webb: “The way he’s approached this week, it’s a little bit different. We’re still as focused as we have been, but he told us he understands the rivalry and the importance. Everybody knows it’s a huge game.”

Jayhawks not taking the bait

Missouri week would not be complete without a little trash talk from both sides. Clearly willing to oblige, Missouri sophomore T.J. Moe had some rather scathing things to say about this week’s opponent during Monday’s media session in Columbia, Mo.

Asked on Tuesday to respond to Moe’s comments, many of the Jayhawks hadn’t even heard them yet.

Here they are:

“I don’t like them,” Moe told the Kansas City Star. “I can’t give them credit for anything. They don’t have an advantage anywhere. I don’t think being the underdog is an advantage. I just know that we’re going to go out there and give them our best shot And I hate them.”

Moe, who hails from O’Fallon, Mo., wasn’t finished.

“I’ve been a Mizzou fan my whole life,” he continued. “From day one. Every time I see a (KU) shirt I just want to burn it.”

The Jayhawks in attendance at Tuesday’s news conference had more questions than reaction.

“Who said that?” Johnson asked.

“T.J. Moe,” a reporter replied.

“That’s what he said?” Johnson said. “OK. Cool, cool. I’ll take note of that.”

Added junior linebacker Steven Johnson: “What is he? A wide receiver? What’s his name, Moe what? T.J. Moe? OK. Even though it’s a big rivalry, I respect Mizzou. They’re ranked No. 15 in the nation. But this week, it’s one game, and we’re gonna try the very hardest that we can to be the best team we can for that three hours or so that we’re on the football field. I’m not gonna talk any trash. I’m just gonna keep taking this coal in so I can get my fire burning.”

Gill said he had no regular routine for handling bulletin-board material. However, he added that creating one would not be that difficult.

“I mean, if we need to have that, we can make some arrangements,” he said. “But that’s all talk, the things that happen in the papers. It’s all about going and playing the game.”

Webb to start at QB

Gill said red-shirt freshman Jordan Webb would start at quarterback in KU’s finale, putting an end to a string of four straight starts by junior Quinn Mecham.

Webb, a Union, Mo., native, started six straight games earlier this season, but injured his left shoulder before halftime during KU’s loss to Texas A&M; and missed the next three games. He returned last week in a reserve role and finished 6-of-9 for 36 yards while playing the fourth quarter.

Webb said Tuesday he was 100 percent — he said he was last week, as well — and excited to face the Tigers.

“I’ve been looking forward to it all season,” Webb said. “And pretty much since I committed here. When I found out, I was definitely happy.”

KU offensive coordinator Chuck Long said the decision to go with Webb over Mecham was a tough one but that Webb ultimately got the nod because of his big-play ability and the things he showed against Oklahoma State.

“That helped, Long said. “Jordan did come in and did grade out well in the game in the limited snaps he did have.”

Injury update

It looks as if sophomore safety Lubbock Smith, who is still recovering from the effects of a concussion, will miss his third straight game Saturday. Smith was not listed on KU’s two-deep depth chart Tuesday.

In addition, senior offensive lineman Sal Capra was listed as questionable due to an ankle injury.

Gill said he expected Capra to play, and Capra backed that claim.

“I’m ready to go,” Capra said. “I’ve told people that they’d have to almost kill me to stop me from playing my last game as a Jayhawk against Missouri.”

Comments

KU_FanSince75 9 years, 3 months ago

Wow! "Every time I see a Jayhawk (KU) shirt, I just want to burn it."

You mean like Quantrill and his raiders? Man, you pretty bold in saying that. Let's go play the game! Best of luck, young fella!

JayHok 9 years, 3 months ago

Does Moe understand the principle of what happened in Lawrence in the middle of the night 150 years ago?

Does he know the money that came to fund Quantrill's raid to burn down the Free Slaves Headquarters and entire downtown in Lawrence was funded by the same pocketbook that set up the University of Missouri.

Is Moe aware that the same people's funding that funds his school also filed paperwork to be a slave state?

Make no mistake about it. This was not Quantrill's raid. Quantrill was the hired gun, but what is always swept under is who's raid this really was. This was an attack on a state by another state who wanted slavery of African American people to be part of our American fabric for generations to come.

This same funding set up Missouri.

Enjoy the game Moe.

gratefultyler 9 years, 3 months ago

From ESPN: http://m.espn.go.com/wireless/story?storyId=5841498

"Putting out an APB for … … Former Kansas All-America quarterback David Jaynes. Anyone with information on the 1970s slinger who used to own all the school's passing records, please apprise The Dash."

Now im curious? Anyone know?

Good luck boys! This victory would a great ending to Gills first year, and a fitting end to the season considering the way it began (G.Tech). Upset baby!

Ted Toulouse 9 years, 3 months ago

Loving the emotion from Gill - this team needs it! And yes, PLEASE put up the bulletin board.

KU_FanSince75 9 years, 3 months ago

Sometimes in these rivalry games, Missouri shoots themselves in the foot. A good example of this is when the Oakland Raiders play the Kansas City Chiefs. Big rivals, like KU/Missouri. I wouldn't be surprised if I see lots of personal foul penalties/unsportsmanlike conduct penalties during the game.

Dan Pawlowski 9 years, 3 months ago

Every time he sees a Jayhawk shirt he wants to burn it. I guess all of the shirts with no Jayhawk logo are safe. Without the Jayhawk character, kind of like a garanimal, he would have to be able to read them.

stuck88 9 years, 3 months ago

Im not sure if he actually knows how to read...he is going to Missouri after all.

KU_DScooze 9 years, 3 months ago

You know that they spell it Mizzouri right? At least they know how to sound out words when writing them down.

shimjhawk 9 years, 3 months ago

Matt or anyone know if Gill is going to let Coach Fambrough do his Mizzou speech? Sure hope so.

bigtex 9 years, 3 months ago

Cussing not permitted, Fambrough said scew it.

Jayhawk1075 9 years, 3 months ago

Matt:

"For the longest time, facing Missouri was like some mythical beast that Gill always imagined but never fully understand."

Should be "understood" instead of "understand".

bigjay83 9 years, 3 months ago

"Should be 'understood' instead of 'understand'."

That is a sentence fragment. Your correction should read as follows:

"The last word in that sentence should say 'understood' instead of 'understand'."

gchawk 9 years, 3 months ago

"you're". Be careful with name calling.

LAJayhawk 9 years, 3 months ago

If we pull off this upset, I truly, truly hope Colorado would have pulled of their upset first on Friday. Nothing would be sweeter for this season than dashing mizzou's hopes.

Again.

KU_DScooze 9 years, 3 months ago

Here here. That would make a win all the much sweeter ... but a loss all the much harder. Not to mention that if NU loses Friday, MU will probably get up for the War even more, but so would KU with the chance to knock them out. As if either side needs any more reason to get up for this game.

This could get interesting.

Layne Pierce 9 years, 3 months ago

I don't see it. I would rather anybody win other than Missouri. I live in Lincoln, and I root for Bo and the Boys unless they are playing KU. Missouri has always been the enemy and they always will. Bo is getting a real work over from the Perlmann and Tom. He is kind of crazy like Larry Brown, who used to get roasted for raising hell with refs and getting on a players a***. Fact is that if you asked the average Nebraska football fan, they would say, Bo is good. The only time I am ever conflicted is when KSt plays Missouri, then I hope the game is a scoreless tie.

shimjhawk 9 years, 3 months ago

Hatred of Mizzou > Hatred of Nebraska.

But I hate Nebraska too, bunch of cry babies going to the Big 10. I hope that Saturday both schools are found ineligible by the NCAA and thus K State or somebody plays in the Big XII championship game. Plus then we'll get 2 more Big 12 wins.

ahpersecoachingexperience 9 years, 3 months ago

"you better win this one" gills daughter is ahperblahbla (it's even to long for me to type)

KU_FanSince75 9 years, 3 months ago

Any thoughts about Jordan Webb starting against Mizzou? Here is a true freshman starting at a D1 program, which is enough pressure anyway, and now, he will be starting against his home state. I think it could be a stroke of genius for Coach Gill if Webb is successful. I hope TO disrupts Gabbert & Company---that would be sweet, too!

KSseahawk 9 years, 3 months ago

Not sure about genius, as he increased his chance to 50% by moving one of them to WR. A move that I don't mind...

Fact is, QB is the least of our concerns on this team, both are capable...and if one doesn't perform, replace him...TGill's done this all year.

I just hope TGill didn't show MU his hand with the first half of the OSU game. Take advice from your daughter Turner...beat those slavers.

KU_DScooze 9 years, 3 months ago

“I’ve been a Mizzou fan my whole life,” he continued. “From day one. Every time I see a (KU) shirt I just want to burn it.”

So what did he REALLY say (in place of KU as it is in parentheses)? Obviously something that couldn't be printed. And what was not stated in this article (but was in the KC Star's article):

"Moe ... said he went to a Columbia mall and took a picture of a Kansas T-shirt and posted it on his Twitter account. Along with the picture, Moe asked “Why would you even sell this stuff in Columbia?” Moe said “expensive toilet paper” was one response he received."

Because there are smart people that live in Columbia too ... and we're all Jayhawk fans! And I hope I run into you sometime Moe, because I'll be wearing my KU clothes from now until forever. I'd love to hear what you have to say about it.

footballfan10 9 years, 2 months ago

Enough with the Quantrill's raid thin from 150 years ago. Let's face it. Ku will lose & the brain trust in the sports dept. will give Gill 1 more year to get a winning season and then they'll fire him & get real coach. But talking about something that happened a century and a half ago as if it could happen again is silly.

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