Saturday, October 23, 2010

Similar struggles: A&M, Kansas flounder along with QBs


Kansas University’s Jordan Webb and Texas A&M;’s Jerrod Johnson are different in just about every way imaginable.

However, when Webb’s Jayhawks and Johnson’s Aggies face off at 6 tonight at Memorial Stadium, the two quarterbacks have one thing in common: Both are struggling.

“You know, just the same old (things),” Johnson said. “They’ve been bugging us for a while. A lack of execution. We’ve got to find a way to execute.”

Sound familiar? Webb and the Jayhawks also have talked a lot about trouble executing during the first six games. And as the two QBs continue to feel their way through their recent rough patches, KU coach Turner Gill drew on his own experience as a quarterback when attempting to explain how to navigate the bumpy road.

“You keep playing,” Gill said. “Keep playing, keep being competitive, keep having confidence in what you’re doing. Stay within the framework of what your coaches are teaching you and what your reads are.”

Webb admitted Tuesday he has had moments this season when he has gotten out of the system. In each instance, he said it was just him trying too hard to make something happen. He also said he needed to do a better job of keeping that in check and doing what the coaches ask.

“It definitely is easier said than done,” Webb said. “Competitors want to make plays any chance we can, and sometimes it’ll take you out of the system. But you just can’t let that happen.”

A lot of what has plagued Johnson has been his obsession with eliminating mistakes altogether. Johnson was voted by the media as the Big 12’s preseason offensive player of the year and, at times, he has played as if trying to live up to that.

“He wants to play a perfect game,” A&M; coach Mike Sherman said. “And you’re not going to play perfect. Sometimes you have to cut it loose.”

Based on film studies and the haunting reality of his raw size — 6-foot-5, 245 pounds — the Jayhawks are well aware of what can happen if Johnson gets on track. Their hope is that the KU defense can frustrate him for at least one more week.

“Everybody has their struggles,” KU linebacker Steven Johnson said. “But I’m pretty sure he’s a monster, so if you wake him up, that’s it.”

Added defensive coordinator Carl Torbush: “He’s a great force to be reckoned with, and I still believe he’s what makes Texas A&M;’s offense tick.”

As for Webb, KU offensive coordinator Chuck Long said the surest way for the red-shirt freshman to overcome his current struggles is to relax.

“He’s hard on himself, and that’s part of it,” Long said. “He’s competitor, and part of the teaching is, ‘Hey, move on. We’ll watch the tape on Sunday. But you gotta move on to the next thing.’ What happens to a young quarterback is they let one play affect the next play. And that’s creeping in a little bit right now.”

While Gill and Long — both former college quarterbacks who can remember being in Webb’s shoes — are doing everything in their power to guide their young QB out of his funk, a few other players on the KU roster have started to see their role in it, as well.

“I can help Jordan,” senior co-captain Angus Quigley said. “I can catch the ball. I can be an outlet for him. I can help sew up some of the protection so he can get the ball off. And I can kinda just talk to him. If he gets down on himself or frustrated, I’m right there to tell him to calm down. and let’s make this happen. or let’s put a drive together. Those are small things that may go unseen but those are big things that’ll help Jordan be successful.”


Janet Scott 9 years, 4 months ago

How about KU recruiting for their QB that Flamingo Club [buffed] babe shown in the ad adjacent to this article?! Hot dang, she would be an exceptional replacement for Webb. She would be a better "under center" QB then she would be operating out of the "shotgun". Shoot, she would "manhandle" all opposing defenses, and would be at her best if she wore a very skimpy bikini on the field. Adorned in such, she would bring new meaning to the "quarterback sneak", the "end around", and the "bootleg" plays. Turner and Chuck might even want to create a few other playsfor her to run, like the "bare bottom", the "lawnmower" and the "Texas rodeo" (for today's Texas A&M game). With her "under center", Jordan could then be moved to defensive tackle to play along with Kale Pick at that position.

NorthStarHawk 9 years, 4 months ago

Dork....You are either still in middle school or suffer from arrested development because you're thinking like you are.

ahpersecoachingexperience 9 years, 4 months ago

i've spent many nights at the "dirty bird" while i was in college. maybe times have changed but back then there was nothing close to that girl in the ad. i smell a false advertising lawsuit

ahpersecoachingexperience 9 years, 4 months ago

Um I didn't read the article but this guy is struggling against Arkansas and osu. My man Webb is not getting it done against d2 opponents

Jack Wilson 9 years, 4 months ago

Have to get this off my chest. I was in Lawrence last night, and talked to my brother. He knows someone who is involved deeply in the football program. This person told him that the difference between Gill's approach and Mangino's approach is like night and day. He said that Gill permits laziness, that the team is generally not in good cardiovascular shape, that sprints amount to 4 40 yarders at the end of practice, that on the bye week the players got an inordinate amount of time off, that players that are supposed to get treatment don't show and aren't held accountable, and generally that mood is one of tolerance .. that is that the players have too much say, that perfection is not expected, and that the players are given way too much rope.

This person was significantly concerned about the program, without even mentioning wins and losses.

He told my brother that "none of this (b.s.) would have been tolerated by Mangino." And that it was a "totally different environment."

Get what you ask for, I guess. Really sad.

hawk316 9 years, 4 months ago

High, I would balance this view with the many reports of physical and emotional abuse that the players suffered under Mangino. Personally, I'm quite thankful that our players are no longer subjected to that kind of demeaning treatment.

hawk316 9 years, 4 months ago

In case you missed it, I refer you to this interesting observation shared by Mr. Truefan on another post:

"I was upset that Mangino got fired, but I was in school at that time and took some classes with some of the football players. They weren't happy and some were saying the team was in shambles and this was months before the news broke about player abuse."

Again, this might help alleviate some of your concerns and serve as a balance to the comments from your brother's inside "source."

hawk316 9 years, 4 months ago

One final comment: if indeed our football program was "in shambles" under Mangino, do you think this might have contributed to seven straight losses at the end of last season? During our current struggles, those calling for a return to the Mangino era conveniently forget that little detail.

Gill does not bully, demean, intimidate and misuse his power. And some people think this is a negative? Go figure.

gchawk 9 years, 4 months ago

I don't think HighElite was necessarily condoning Mangino's approach, merely pointing out the lack of leadership and training that we appear to have right now. Off topic, ISU just beat Texas down there, just shows that anything can happen. Rock Chalk, go out and kick some butt.

Brian Conrad 9 years, 4 months ago

Gill is awful... you do not have to abuse players , but it is obvious watching 5 minutes the coaching is awful. constant mistakes , he takes NO responsibility and calls his team bad , should be calling himself and his staff terrible. Every KU fan should be very upset. we are in for 100 to zip beatings by MU and NU

ahpersecoachingexperience 9 years, 4 months ago

i would love to blast your "source, someone involved, brother, person in the know, etc" story except everything you described is totally visiable on the field! really sad is right.

minnhawk84 9 years, 4 months ago

Are they men, or are they boys? Full ride scholarship, and they are not in good cardio-vascular shape? Where is the personal accountability here? Not showing for treatment? Lazy? Now, who told the basketball team to work their butts off during the off-season? Who told the twins to put in the work they continue to put in? Is HCBS standing there with a clipboard and demanding these basketball players work their butts off in the off-season? I don't think so. Mangino treated his team like a bunch of kids, forcing them to be accountable to him, not to themselves. If these football players have to be forced to get in great shape and hone their personal skills, it is time to sweep the locker room clean.

I am reminded of Head Coach John Gagliardi, a 2006 College Football Hall of Fame Inductee and College Football's All-Time Wins Leader with a 474-129-11 Record in 62 Seasons (.781) He coaches St. John's here in Minnesota. His coaching style is a proven commodity. No contact practices during the week. Offense and defenses do walk-through practices of offensive and defensive schemes, then go full speed in practice, without hitting. Practice, practice, practice each play over and over until it is automatic. And no conditioning drills. No one is on a scholarship, but everyone who straps on a helmet is personally accountable for being in top physical condition when they start practice in August. He gets the best high school players in Minnesota who didn't get a D1 offer, and they "just win" baby year in, and year out. HE TREATS THEM LIKE ADULTS, WITH HIGH PERSONAL EXPECTATIONS. They respond. Sounds like our own D1 Scholly kids wouldn't make the cut at little ol' St. Johns.

Brian Conrad 9 years, 4 months ago

this coach=worst in KU history. have watched through Terry Allen years , well several bad ones over last 40 years and this is the worst. open your eyes

hawk316 9 years, 4 months ago

Angus, good for you! Way to be a leader and a positive influence on the team.

KGphoto 9 years, 4 months ago

Exactly. Now give him the damn ball and let him start cracking skulls.

KGphoto 9 years, 4 months ago

I still think Pick needs another shot. I don't understand how Pick gets one try and Webb has now had 5 tries. He didn't even look impressive in the two wins. If you have a team struggling with experience, nerves and "moving on to the next play", why don't you go with the guy who's been here 3 years? Go with the experience. Go with the guy who has been around Reesing and Meier.

Especially since the tolerance for another painful and humiliating loss in Lawrence is decreasing rapidly.

Gill, man! You're switching all these guys and you're missing the one switch that could salvage a terrible season. Switch back to Pick and adjust the offense to run him often.

LAJayhawk 9 years, 4 months ago

While I'm not saying Pick would have gotten the opportunity had he been healthy, he was out last week with injury. If Webb struggles today, though, my guess is we see Kale in there, as he is supposedly healthy enough to compete.

KGphoto 9 years, 4 months ago

This is true, but I still want to see him running it. I want to see KU doing what so many other teams are having success with. Drop back until some space clears then take what they give you.

Instead of taking what the defense gives, we're trying to force a predictable offense. We just don't have the experience to execute well enough for that. Can you imagine how much easier the passing game would be if Pick was running it every 4th or 5th snap?

CatsEatBirds 9 years, 4 months ago

I wouldn't want to be KU right now. AtM is going to come for blood. They need to show they're not as bad as their record. If KU isn't confident and emotionally ready, expect a bloodbath.

gchawk 9 years, 4 months ago

Thanks for this incredible insight. Am on my to Coache's office with your memo.

leonard 9 years, 4 months ago

His insight was right on the money. the Hawks...forgot or were too lazy to perform your assignment. Get that memo delivered!

gchawk 9 years, 4 months ago

leonard, my comment was only that he was pointing out the painfully obvious. Bite me.

Mark Lindrud 9 years, 4 months ago

The team does look soft and even if we don't like what Mangino's old approach the team was physical and opposing teams were in for a battle. I can handle losing if we show heart and discipline, but when we lack both then there are issues.

Something needs to change and Gill needs to take charge of this team. If he won't then the players need to step up. Gill has said he is looking for leaders when I will agree with that statement especially if Gill isn't being the leader.

Marcia Parsons 9 years, 4 months ago

Gill tends to be somewhat stoic on the sidelines. There were at least two plays in the KState game he should have screamed about and demanded a review. Instead he just endures. I'm afraid the team is picking up that same attitude. No wonder they don't play with any intensity. The coach should stand up for them, and then maybe they'd develop a little fire.

Brian Conrad 9 years, 4 months ago

Gill igan would coach better. Skipper ... scooby doo ... jerry lewis .....anyone ... this guy would get trounched by Pitt State coach, Washburn , LHS , Central junior high .. any pee wee coach or player..

Dan Harris 9 years, 4 months ago

Hutch High would destroy this team! lol

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