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Monday, November 29, 2010

After rough 2010 football season, Jayhawks optimistic about future

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Though it might seem the end of such a rough season would bring a little relief, that wasn’t the case for Kansas University’s football team.

In addition to the sadness of saying goodbye to 20 seniors after Saturday’s 35-7 loss to Missouri in Kansas City, Mo., the end of the 2010 season marked the beginning of 2011.

“It’s a continuing deal, evaluating our football team and also recruiting,” said Kansas coach Turner Gill, who finished 3-9 overall and 1-7 in Big 12 play during his first season with the Jayhawks. “Recruiting’s always going all the time. We’re all disappointed. We didn’t win this ballgame. We didn’t have the season we would like to have had. Guys are sad, too. Especially the seniors. The last time you put on that uniform, that’s a different feeling.”

But because this was such a young Kansas team — KU’s season-ending, two-deep depth chart featured 20 sophomores and freshmen — there were very few tears in the locker room following Saturday’s loss and a heavy dose of optimism about the future.

“It’s definitely been a hard season,” senior Chris Harris said. “We’re very young. We had a lot of new coaches. The way (former KU coach Mark) Mangino ran his (program) is totally opposite of how coach Gill ran his. So it’s something that we had to get used to. But I see a bright future here, and the program is just gonna go up.”

Some of that mind-set came from the fact that so many key players on this year’s team are scheduled to return in 2011. Most of it, though, came from something much more important.

“It’s not the way we wanted to finish, 3-9, sending our seniors out on that note,” sophomore safety Bradley McDougald said. “But, I mean, we fought all year. We stuck together; that’s the main thing. We just gotta come in next year (ready to work), and it starts right now, the offseason. That’s gonna be the biggest thing, making sure guys are getting bigger, faster, stronger for next year.”

Sophomore cornerback Greg Brown agreed with McDougald and said, if anything, he was upset, not relieved, the season was over.

“I felt we played with harmony and came together and played as hard as we could,” Brown said. “We’re ready for next year. We start workouts next week, so I just hope everybody goes hard.”

Added Gill, asked if he knew how long it would take to get things going in the right direction again: “I’m anticipating next year. I don’t know what’s gonna take place with the wins and the losses, but we will be a better football team next year. We will get this thing turned around.”

Recent history is not exactly the best indicator for what’s ahead. Of the last three head coaches to lead the Jayhawks — Glen Mason, Terry Allen and Mark Mangino — Mangino and Mason each improved dramatically during their second seasons. Mason opened 1-10 in 1988 and followed that up with a 4-7 mark in 1989. Mangino started 2-10 in 2002 and jumped to 6-7 in 2003, which included a trip to the Tangerine Bowl.

Allen, on the other hand, finished 5-6 in 1997 and dropped off to 4-7 in 1998.

Gill, who improved from 2-10 to 5-7 from Season 1 to Season 2 at Buffalo, offered up the following evidence for why he believed the best is still ahead.

“I can’t say every game we had the same intensity,” he said. “But I thought our guys played hard in every ballgame. They were in tune with what we were doing. They were engaged with us as a coaching staff. I like the way they came to work on Sundays and Tuesdays. They were ready. Their eyes were focused on us, and they were like, ‘Give me information. Teach me. Teach me.’ And that’s what we want to see from our guys.”

Comments

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jayhawkinnebr 3 years, 4 months ago

Remlap101, Gill will be gone????????

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Roy Scherff 3 years, 4 months ago

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arkhawk 3 years, 4 months ago

Whether the cupboard was empty or full or half full is not the issue that concerns me. This team was not in physical condition to play more than one half of football in the majority of games. We need a coach (leader) not a talker. This was not present this year. After Gill arrived I read about all the great recuits he was signing. This reminds me of another program which every year during the off season talks about their great recuits and the player dedication to winning. But talk does not win games and that program has not improved in several years. They continue to be the best off season team (in their own minds) and one of the worst in the won-lost record. I will be very surprised if next year is not more of the same for KU football. I hope not but if it is it is time to buy out the contract and find a winning head coach.

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hailtoku 3 years, 4 months ago

Gill is making about 1 MILLION DOLLARS per WIN.

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rob4lb 3 years, 4 months ago

No doubt, the new Big (12-2) will be much more competitive for KU. The long term pecking order looks to be: OU, UT, A&M. MU, OSU in the top half. Historically, you would expect OU and UT to be at the top, but the other three have clearly upgraded their program the last 5 years, something KU, under Mangino was not able to do. Texas Tech and Baylor are unknows. What will happen to Baylor when Robert Griffin leads- will they have sustained success? History says probably not. Texas Tech will probably remain solid, but a notch below the Top 5. I believe the bottom three will be KU, KSU and ISU. I'm not impressed with KSU even though they killed KU this year. This year's team had a worse conference record than last year.

I'm sure each school has plans to upgrade their program. To become bowl eligible, a team like KU will have to win the non-conference games, beat KSU and ISU, hold it's own against TT and Baylor and pull an upset against one of the Top 5. That's certainly not impossible.

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JayhawkBigXII 3 years, 4 months ago

From here on out, the schedule will be a lot tougher. Take a look at next year! If we beat McNeese State and Northern Illinois...2-9... maybe. Any takers?

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rob4lb 3 years, 4 months ago

It doesn't take and NFL scout to determine that KU's talent is not comparable to other Big 12 schools. The other schools are bigger, faster and stronger. Is that the coaching staff's fault. Our starting quarterback wanted to go to MU and never got a look. There is no comparison between Gabbert and Webb. Mangino NEVER took advantage of the Orange Bowl year to upgrade his recruiting. One writer theorized that Mangino, being an overachiever type, recruited similar athletes and did not feel comfortable with 4 and 5 star athletes. That makes sense to me. These players have to be motivated differently.

Let's be objective. The Reesing era was relatively successful because Reesing, Meier and company were able to outscore mainly inferior opponents. After Bill Young left, the defense was always horrible and during the last two years with Reesing, the O-line was nothing to brag about. How many times was Reesing running for his life and force to ad-lib? Take away the 12-1 year and Mangino basically elevated KU to a middle of the Big 12. Other than 2007, Mangino never had another winning conference record. He never beat the Big Boys in the South - UT, OU and TT and most of the time it wasn't even close.

It's revisionist history to say that Mangino elevated the program to a sustained Top 25-30 level. It's all about recruiting and talent and it is not there. We need to see if Turner Gill and staff can bring in bigger, faster and stronger players. If he can, the coaching staff has a good track record and we should see positive results.

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Layne Pierce 3 years, 4 months ago

What we should see next year is clarity and sharpness. Players have to get used to new coaches and new schemes. Maybe our team is a bunch of slow learners. It would have been easy for Gill to have come in and said we are going to just do everything like Mangino did. He had the guts to go for something better. I think sink or sail, Gill is going to do it differently. I think the vision he sees is a team that year in year out wins, and one that is always competititve. My question is does he know how to get there, and can he do it with the kind of players he is likely to be able to get.

I am still confused by why we did not run the ball more with a fullback. It would have made us a little stronger, helped to set up play action passes, and provided more protection for the quarterbacks.

Also,we need to see our window of opportunity for victory for what it is. Under Mangino it was score 28 give up 27. If that is the model Gill is using then that means we have to improve from averaging 18 points a game to 28 that is a big jump. Defense also often gave up more than 27. In fact on average 34 points a game. Ball control looks like the only variable that can quickly change both of these statistics. To do that we need a vastly improved offensive line.

Defensive tackles need one person who can cause problems for the defense. O-line and D-line that is where we are gonna make or break next year. I see in the stats that Dent who was listed on the depth chart did not make a single tackle?

One thing that drives me crazy is if somebody is on the chart then get them in the damn games, or just leave it blank.

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Ben Kane 3 years, 4 months ago

hopefully our O-line will be better next year. it doesn't matter who the qb is if he doesn't get 2 seconds to throw the ball.

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jayhawkinnebr 3 years, 4 months ago

What we saw this year with no improvement in the total teams play, it doesn't look good for next year with this coach.

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2Bnamedlater 3 years, 4 months ago

So was it the curfews? The White shoes? The faunt on the Helments? No names on the Jersey's? The infaltable tunnel? Is that where all the hate is coming from?

Or is it coming from a bunch of people that still have thier t-shirts that read, "KU Football, a tradition since Sept. 2007"?

I get it this season was a let down, but compared to last years? This season was right on par. Last years team was to win the North, go to a bowl game, and as each game went so did the team. They fell apart, they quit fighting for each other.

This year, they got stronger as a team, played together, sure it wasn't a great season, but what did really expect? No one said that any coach would make us 12-0 at seasons end. Why was that I wonder????

Look you can have 20/20 vision in hindsight and say KU should have hired this guy or that guy. But they didn't. So instead of leaving a game midway through the second quarter stand behind the young fella's on the field and cheer them on. Maybe it wasn't the staff, but the lack of crowd support that caused this season to be so bad.

What? Looking in the mirror hurt to much?

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hammerhawk 3 years, 4 months ago

What on earth gives anyone even the barest hopes for KU football next year???!!! What kind of star players are going to come to this program??!! This coach thinks players are boys that need a "family" and he intends to be sure that they grow up "nice boys".

I would much prefer treating the players like the men they are. Set reasonable expecations and stick to them. But please, don't think everyone needs to be in teh same small hole. Players at this level want a coach who coaches wins on the field. The coach, my firends, is THE one to lead real players to the land of WINS. Just ask the OK bunch. Or the NE bunch. You get my drift.

And golly, please put the players names back on the Jerseys!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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yates33333 3 years, 4 months ago

Next season will be determined by Gill's and Gill's assistants' abilities to recruit. He needs to get into Texas and California and line up some top 50 of each state's high school seniors. Were he could recruit in the deep south!!

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swjhawk 3 years, 4 months ago

I've watched KU football for 49 years. It's not hard to tell a good team from a bad team. I've sure seen a plethora of bad ones. It's also easy to see that unless there is an avalanche of good recruits, this program is going nowhere, as in years past. Our forays into success are few and our failures are many. Next year, possibly the year after, will tell the tale of whether or not the football program can climb out of the basement.

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KU_FanSince75 3 years, 4 months ago

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Maracas 3 years, 4 months ago

Gill's making $2M a year guaranteed for 5 years. He'll say anything to keep that cash cow mooing.

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ahpersecoachingexperience 3 years, 4 months ago

What's more annoying? turner gill is still "evaluating" his team, or these freaking discount websites that are on every article?

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KU_FanSince75 3 years, 4 months ago

Wow! So what you're saying Matt, Gill's season next year, according to Buffalo standards, should be, let's say, 5-7, instead of 3-9. Oh, yeah! That gets me excited!

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flyingfinn 3 years, 4 months ago

I could not agree with you more HawkfromHays this program is in a shambles. Those Turner Gill lovers who think a coach needs to be a players best friend versus instilling motivation and toughness to be competative at Division one need to wake up, football is essentially war and why do we have tough drill sergeant prepare our troops for battle, because you need to be tough to win. We need to find a coach who can prepare players for the toughness of a Div 1 game or continue to play mamby pamby with players and maybe move to a touch football league ya jackwagons

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HawkfromHays 3 years, 4 months ago

I'm sorry but I'm sick of people comparing this year to Mangino's first year. When Mangino got here the cupboard was bereft of talent, the facilities were a joke, and there was no interest in the program. He took us from laughingstock to respectable. Gill was hired to take us to the next level. He inherited top-notch facilities, a wealth of talent compared to what Mangino found when he arrived, and an energized fan-base 3 years departed from witnessing a BCS Bowl win.

Instead of elevating us to a new plateau, we have regressed, and I hate to say it but the team was worse than its record indicated. During most of the year the players looked confused, out of place, and generally ill-prepared for the games. Whatever discernible game-plan was in place was pitiful and ineffective, and it seemed as though no adjustments at all were made at halftime (KU's worst quarter was the 3rd every game). Really, if not for teams playing their third-stringers, we would have been shut out in 2-3 games this year.

I don't see much hope for the future, especially when you can't find it within yourselves as "motivational" coaches to motivate your players to even compete with your two biggest rivals.

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