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Tuesday, September 7, 2010

KU football focus quickly shifts to Georgia Tech

Jayhawks coach Gill moving on after difficult loss

Head coach Turner Gill purses his lips as he makes his way from the field alongside tight end Bradley Dedeaux (87) and defensive coordinator Carl Torbush following the Jayhawks' 6-3 loss to North Dakota State, Saturday, Sept. 4, 2010 at Kivisto Field.

Head coach Turner Gill purses his lips as he makes his way from the field alongside tight end Bradley Dedeaux (87) and defensive coordinator Carl Torbush following the Jayhawks' 6-3 loss to North Dakota State, Saturday, Sept. 4, 2010 at Kivisto Field.

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Often times, after big victories, coaches will give their players a set amount of time to celebrate before requiring them to refocus and move on to the next game.

Jayhawk junior has rough football outing

Junior Tim Biere struggled in the first game of the Jayhawks' 2010 season. The tight end dropped passes and fumbled the two he managed to catch.

Evidently, coaches can do the same thing after bad losses, too.

Saturday night, after a shocking 6-3 setback to North Dakota State in the season opener, Kansas University football coach Turner Gill talked about his timetable for moving on.

“At 3 o’clock (Sunday), we’ll evaluate this, but after 6 o’clock (Sunday night), then this has got to be behind us,” Gill said after the game. “We’ve gotta look at the tape and see what we need to get corrected, but after (that) they need to be moving on and getting ready to play against Georgia Tech.”

Going by that line of thinking, the Jayhawks had less than 24 hours to sulk and stew over a loss that surely will go down as one of the most embarrassing defeats in school history.

Is that enough time?

“Whenever we’re playing Georgia Tech the next week, I think it is,” red-shirt freshman quarterback Jordan Webb said. “We’ve got a chance to show that this isn’t us.”

In some ways, the loss might have helped Gill and his coaching staff, though it may be hard to convince anyone of that just yet. For the past couple of years, thanks in large part to the incredible achievements of the 2007 team, the KU football program has carried with it a certain swagger. Because Todd Reesing, Kerry Meier and Dezmon Briscoe led a potent offense and because KU’s defenses played a blue-collar style of ball, many in crimson and blue simply expected the Jayhawks to be successful and relevant on Saturdays.

History, however, has shown that there’s still a long way to go before KU reaches that point on a consistent basis. So, with Gill in town and with his focus fixed on turning KU into a perennial contender, an attention-grabbing loss might be just the thing he needed to get his players to buy into the hard work and dedication it’s going to take. Asked Monday, during the Big 12 coaches teleconference, if he thought the loss served as a wake-up call, Gill said it would.

“Well, I think so,” he said. “With the two things, the unfortunate loss and then you’ve got a very good football team coming in this week, those two things are going to get you focused and get you in tune fairly easily. We didn’t play very well, and we have an outstanding opponent, Georgia Tech, coming into town, and I think those two things right there get all of us more focused.”

Instead of spending the week building on a victory, the Jayhawks have been left to answer their critics and sort out a quarterback controversy — starter Kale Pick was benched in the fourth quarter in favor of Webb — all while finding some way to get ready for the Yellow Jackets.

“We do have the potential, but potential’s nothing. That just means you can do something,” junior wideout Daymond Patterson said. “It’s not taking shots (in the passing game) or we need to run the ball or do this more. We need to hold on to the ball, we need to catch the ball, we need to make blocks and we need to execute. And that’s all it comes down to.”

Running back help on the way?

Kansas University running backs Angus Quigley and Deshaun Sands ran for 34 yards on 17 carries in Saturday’s 6-3 loss to North Dakota State. That output was considerably less than coach Turner Gill was looking for from the KU running game, and it might have inspired a change. Though Gill admitted he wasn’t comfortable with the idea of playing true freshmen Brandon Bourbon or James Sims at running back in Saturday’s game because it was so close, he said either player could be used this week against Georgia Tech.

“I’d for sure say we’re going to play one of them,” Gill said. “We’ll definitely do that.”

The same was true for sophomore linebacker Toben Opurum, who was moved from running back this preseason and is still trying to get settled in at his new position.

“Toben’s coming along,” Gill said. “But, again, the closeness of the score did prevent him from at least getting some reps.”

Safety ‘OK’ in debut

The Jayhawks played three true freshmen during Saturday’s loss: safety Keeston Terry, kicker Ron Doherty and defensive end Keba Agostinho. Agostinho rotated in on the defensive line, Doherty handled kickoffs, and Terry, who entered the game midway through the second quarter and finished with four tackles (two solo), played significant minutes in the secondary.

“I thought he showed up. That’s a good sign,” Gill said of the freshman from Blue Springs, Mo., who was moved from wide receiver to safety in August. “(He came) in and (showed) that he is physical and that he can move. I would say he played OK. I won’t say he played great or not bad, I would say he played OK. He did what he had to do, one or two misalignments, but other than that I think he did OK for his first game.”

Comments

Geekinout 4 years ago

Angus at fullback and Opurum at running back? We need power in the backfield considering how terrible the o-line is..

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TJWhatleyLives 4 years ago

Run a couple of option plays.

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sava12 4 years ago

I have a feeling that GT defense will be ready for the option. The GT offense runs the option better than anyone in college football.

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ryanzig 4 years ago

yes PUT OPURUM BACK AT RUNNING BACK, DUH!!!

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100 4 years ago

How about Toben as the blocking back & Sims as the running back?

Clear some holes with a freight train and let a little guy sneak through for 6 yards a pop!

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Dillon Davis 4 years ago

Is Sims better than Saunds? Cuz Sands is supposed to be a sneaky little guy too

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jhox 4 years ago

3 hours should be enough time. It won't take a rocket scientist to see that the offensive line stunk, and our tight end needs to both catch and hold on to the football, and we need to reduce the penalties and unnecessary time outs.

It all starts with the offensive line. If they do their jobs, we'll improve in a hurry.

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Randy Bombardier 4 years ago

That is exactly what I was thinking.

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khummel60 4 years ago

We all really need to chill out and have some patience. Folks are forgetting that we did not have a very good team last year (does anyone remember we lost the last 7 games in a row), and that isn't gonna change overnight. Kansas ranked 9th (In the Big-12) in rushing offense last year with virtually the same OL, so there's simply no way we were going to have a power running game out of the blocks. As for the passing game, only one school (Colorado) gave up more sacks than Kansas last year in the Big-12. That also doesn't change over night. By all accounts, KU did not show up last Saturday. Still, the KU offense out-gained NDSU 293-168, and the KU defense held them to 168 total yards. Take away 2 of the 3 turnovers, and 4 or 5 of the 8 penalties, and Kansas wins this game like we all expected. Do I think we'll beat Ga Tech? Of course not. But I don't think it will be the bloodbath everyone is predicting. Give Gill and his staff the time they deserve.

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OCJHAWK 4 years ago

You are right. We just lost to a FBS school who won three games last year, and scored 3 points. We also looked like crap in all aspects of the game.

Bring back coach Val.

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Sam Constance 4 years ago

I am going to scream if I see one more KU fan touting the "this isn't going to change overnight" line.

While technically correct--a team that finished on a seven game losing streak isn't going to improve overnight--using that logic as a crutch really downplays how bad of a loss and performance Saturday night really was.

They are a FCS team playing a Div-I BCS level team at home. Even if you want to give Gill and KU the benefit of a doubt and note that D-I teams occasionally lose to FCS-level teams, the way in which they lost pretty much destroys even that justification.

But what really gets me about this particular comment is the note about the o-line. Having "virtually the same" line should be a PLUS rather than a drawback. They are still young, and should be expected to improve with a year under their belts working together. The fact that they seem to have regressed against a sub-par opponent is a terrible, terrible sign.

I was on the ESPN conversation board after this game on Saturday night and there were NDSU fans trying to claim that this victory wasn't even an upset. That's how pathetic this loss was.

While we all know that Gill and team need some margin of error in terms of fan support for a not-great team, unfortunately it looks like they decided to use up that margin all in one game. I think fans would have been understanding of an underwhelming performance against NDSU, given the amount of change and loss of talent this program went through. But given the way that game went down, I feel that the onus is now squarely upon the team and coaching staff to prove they can even be competitive. They need to earn some fan trust back after that pathetic excuse for a game.

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KCHawk81 4 years ago

I agree to a point--this loss is unacceptable, no matter how you slice it. The o-line was a weak point as it was last season, but it also wasn't quite the same. Our left guard (Zlatnik) didn't play there last year, our center (Capra) didn't play there last year. We've had some injuries, and Hatch--who should have been an All-Big 12 pick this year, came in out of shape. Hawkinson didn't exactly dominate, and Thorson, who missed significant practice due to injury, didn't either. Capra had a false start. There were a lot of problems, and we have to get them fixed--fast.

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ilikestuff 4 years ago

I agree, it's not like we inherited a powerhouse team and Gill took them down the wrong road. Last year, regardless of play called, within 0.2 sec of the ball being snapped it was Reesing scrambling for his life looking for Briscoe or Meier to throw to on 3rd and 30.

It's going to take a lot of work for this team to be as good as the '07 team but I can't remember when we ever had a consistent winner in football.

Why are we always thin on O-line?

NDSU headcoach got ran out of Lincoln on a rail a year or two after Solich took over, if you don't think he wanted this game against Turner, despite Gill being the nicest coach in D1 football, you're crazy.

So far, no reports of profanity directed at players or chest pokings.

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slowplay 4 years ago

"we lost the last 7 games in a row)"... With Briscoe, Meier and Reesing. It's going to be interesting to see how Gill Handles this.

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NebraskaJayhawk 4 years ago

Two-Back set. Said it all last year. Going to say it this year. Our offensive line is not good enough without that extra blocker. Not even sure that will cut it....this offensive line is horrible. And don't tell me to give them more time. That was North Dakota State people. Wake up to the reality.

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Tailback 4 years ago

I disagree. When an extra blocker is put in the backfield, the D moves an extra defender in position to play the run game.

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NebraskaJayhawk 4 years ago

You can disagree all you want. You obviously forget the 2007 season with BMAC and sharp in the backfield together. I will admit that we did have a couple decent offensive linemen that season, however. I'm not suggesting a "blocking type" fullback. I'm talking about putting Opurum back there in fullback and let the defense guess who is going to get the football. Please don't abandon the run, Coach Gill.

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Tailback 4 years ago

No, I didn't forget the 2007 season, but you distorted it. Generally, Sharp and McA played the same position and alternated.

Even if you use the second back not as a blocker, the D still positions another defender to stop the run.

That having been said, with poor O line play, it is irrelevant how many RB's play at one time. Tanner Hawkinson, who was a frosh All Am last year, stunk up the field Saturday.

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NebraskaJayhawk 4 years ago

They used a two back set quite often that season, so no they were not playing the same position.

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DevilHawk 4 years ago

We also played predominantly from the spread in 2007...

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NebraskaJayhawk 4 years ago

My point is that it gives the offense a different look with two different style of backs in the backfield regardless of what style of offense. And yes, we did run plays under center in 07. We were much more run oriented.

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OPJayhawk 4 years ago

Disgusting play, disgusting white shoes, jerseys with no names, and helmets without the red stripe. One of the most horrible things I've ever witnessed in my lifetime. KU should give season ticket holders a refund for the ticket price of that game.

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Andy Hess 4 years ago

we wore white on white pants away uniforms last year too. those and white on blue pants. didn't once wear white on silver/gray. silver/gray pants are gone, and thank God for that.

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Mike Ardis 4 years ago

Yes KU lost 7 in a row last year, to Texas, OU, Nebraska, Texas Tech, Missouri, KSU, and Colorado. Outside of Colorado, which KU wins if the final pass is caught, and KSU, those were pretty good teams and it wasn't like KU embarrassed themselves like they did on Saturday. After the play calling at the end of the Missouri game I was ready for Mangino to go but I thought KU would be able to get a decent coach. Good thing they passed on Tuberville and Holtz...

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jhawkrulz 4 years ago

Hopefully Leach is available next year.

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CatsEatBirds 4 years ago

It's good Gill didn't give other runners any reps because the game was so close. Great idea to wait until you're getting blown out by GT before seeing what the other options can bring to the table. Don't change anything, insanity is intertaining.

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KU_FanSince75 4 years ago

Asked Monday, during the Big 12 coaches teleconference, if he thought the loss would serve as a wake-up call, Gill said, "Well, I think so."

Really? Is there any doubt that it was a wake up call, Coach Gill. I got one for you---close to 400 frickin' comments made on the thread right after you lost to North Dakota State. I would think that would be a wake-up call. What happens if these so-called true freshmen running backs don't pan out. Is Toben going to even have the chance to run the ball? It's a "no-brainer." Put him, Coach! What do you have to lose?---your job is at stake here!

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dukehester 4 years ago

guess i may be one of the few who wonder if we will win ANY games this year!! when TWO guys can't figure out how to properly signal the plays to the starting QB after 4 months of practice..... when you opt for sweep plays on 3 and 1 knowing that you have held the opp....so therefore you have two plays to get one yard.....(and then lose a yard) !!!!!!!!!!
when you DON'T think of anything but outside passes.....nothing deep or over the middle... we will be very fortunate to win any games this year!
I don't want it that way..........just saying that

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Andrew Moore 4 years ago

When they threw deep over the middle it was usually to a guy named Biere...

We all know what happened to that guy when he caught the ball

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Phoggin_Loud 4 years ago

The most concerning part of this game was that the coaches seemed as lost as the players.

NDSU looked like Glen Mason's Kent State team the year before KU hired him. That game was equally ugly.

Surely this team is not THAT bad.

Oh geez.

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jhawk314 4 years ago

PLAY TOBEN OPURUM AT RUNNING BACK!!!!!

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honk_for_hawks 4 years ago

As embarrassing as that was, can someone please just realize that there was one positive in that game. The defense played pretty well. Especially considering the offense kept playing like crap and giving NDSU good field position. Did we dominate defensively? obviously not. they wouldn't have even gotten in field goal range if we dominated defensively. but considering the fact that everyone thought our defense was going to suck, i thought they played pretty well. All that being said, it is clear from that game that pick and webb are no reesing or meier. Its his first game so I guess you can't be too hard on him, but reesing led a comeback over colorado the first time he played. At least the offense couldn't possibly look any worse next week. (And when i keep referring to the offense, I am removing DP from blame. He played a solid game)

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Sam Constance 4 years ago

Actually, I think it's more correct to say that the defense played "acceptably". A team of KU's level shouldn't be allowing touchdowns to an FCS opponent.

So if your silver lining is the fact that when KU gets shutout against opponents, that they'll only lose by 3 touchdowns instead of 10 because the defense might be halfway respectable this year, then yes. I agree that is a minor positive.

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honk_for_hawks 4 years ago

I said they played "pretty well" as a relative term. considering how bad the defense was expected to be, they probably exceeded most people's expectations. I agree they aren't great or even upper-tier, but you're right, at least we will only be losing our games by 2 or 3 touchdowns instead of 63-0 and scores like that.

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Seth Peattie 4 years ago

we'll never win a game again. 40 years from now: "we haven't won a game in 40 years, how can they expect us to beat Prairie View A&M?"

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FreddyinLA 4 years ago

How did the track look?

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justinryman 4 years ago

I remember when a new coach would get 5 years to prove himself. Then it was three. As Kansas football fans, for some reason we are entilted to win National Championships in football now, think that a coach only gets one game.

I know it was a lower division team, it was at home, but the cupboard was bare for this staff, they are not only rebuilding a program, but a whole team from the ground up.

I said it before they made a hire at KU. No matter who the coach would be I would give them this whole season before I make any diecisions on the future.

Maybe some of you might want to try this too.

As for booing players? why? When was the last time a Kansas basketball player who mised a wide open 3 or miss handled a dunk got booed in Allen Field House?

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Sam Constance 4 years ago

If players did those things in a 32-26 loss to Washburn in basketball, you might hear some boos.

Not saying it's right, but it's to be expected. Fans can accept losing--it's the looking completely unfocused and unprepared that makes them angry.

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hawk316 4 years ago

justinryman, I'm glad you brought up the "booing" issue. I think it's so classless to boo your own college team. These are 18, 19, 20 year-old kids working their butts off in practice and trying their best. Then, when they make a mistake or play poorly, the very people from whom they should expect some support and encouragement dump on them. It's the equivalent of kicking someone when they're down.

I know the argument. The fans pay money to attend the games, and this gives them "the right" to boo if they're displeased with the "product." Well, as one wise sage has pointed out, "just because you have the right to do something does not mean that it is the right thing to do."

Memo to those who like to boo: if it were your son on the field hearing a chorus of boos, I suspect that you might have an entirely different perspective on the matter.

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Rivethead 4 years ago

While I agree that booing is bad and the same thing as kicking a player when they're down, aren't football players supposed to be tough?

I can guarantee you that the NDSU players were doing far worse things to our players than booing!

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shelleysue 4 years ago

Definitely we should not boo a Jayhawk. I also do not like booing the opponents when they take the field. I get just as into the game as the next person, but I think booing them is ridiculous. Missouri yes, but everyone, no.

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slowplay 4 years ago

Apparently KU fans want to be more like their counterparts in Missouri. Booing any college athlete for whatever reason is as classless as it gets. I'm a lot more disappointed in our fans than the football team. Rock chalk Tiger, go MU!

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Annette Lee 4 years ago

My 2 cents: Ed Warinner created an offense for Reesing. I feel that Long wants these players to adapt to his game. Both QB's come from spread offenses and now under the center changes the time they have to throw.. Tommy T at least had the sense to use the talent he had at TT as he brings his system in.

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KCHawk81 4 years ago

Fair enough point if it's true--but we ran a spread offense out of the shotgun all game. Did you watch it? I may be wrong, but I do not recall a single snap taken under center. We just couldn't get the ball to the receivers when we passed and couldn't take pressure off the quarterback by establishing a running game. Which comes down to this year's players being less talented as a group than last year's players. Aside from the o-line, anyone could have told you that would be the case for 2010 more than a year ago.

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jayhawkintexas 4 years ago

Does anyone believe that Dennis Francione would have gone into this game unprepared? I know he had problems at Texas A&M, but he was successful at Alabama and TCU. He is a tough, demanding coach in a tough, demanding business. He also is a Kansas native who really wanted the job but KU chose Terry Allen instead. We might want to keep Francione in mind when, not if, we go searching for a coach.

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jhawkrulz 4 years ago

My vote is for Leach.

Or Fulmer (who was available).

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bluestem244 4 years ago

Wow, saw only the last 8 or so minutes of the game. Frankly, it does not surprise me. There is a CW that Gill has been successful coach. There must be a new definition of successful because he had no significant resume before being hired and at this point as a coach he has no where to go but up.

Football is not a kind and gentle sport. Its top athletes are egotistical teenagers for the most part. They do not respond to reason or caresses by a head coach.

Plus, the coach has to be capable of managing the game.

Between ticket scandals, overpriced transportation, sweet heart deals that swept under the rug and the hiring of an incompetent boob as a head coach, anyone who devotes one second of time or one penny of money to Jayhawk sports while Lew Perkins continues his carpetbagging is a patsy.

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d_prowess 4 years ago

Wow... Lew just retired!

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DevilHawk 4 years ago

Perhaps we are just cursed against the MVC...

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DevilHawk 4 years ago

  • NDSU is actually part of the Missouri Valley Football Conference...similar enough for government work though.
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jayhawkintx73 4 years ago

Gill, What you have to get corrected is to light the fire that was put out under the rear ends of the players of this team. Aggressive blocking and pushing forward by the OL is a good thing to make holes for the running backs. You also have this guy who was a QB in high school that you made into a wide receiver. As far as the wide receivers go, use them more on some crossing plays, get Kale Pick out of the pocket and let him use his feet. You are right about one thing. Execution. But you have to motivate the players to do that. Saturday must be much better, and if you lose by 3 tds or more, it won't be better. You have to get the players to understand that its a physical game. If you don't perform well on Saturday, it would be safe to say that the fans won't show up in the number KU needs to be a proven program. You have a long way to go Turner. Its up to you and if you can get these guys to respond to you. Effort isn't enough. Just Win Baby! You have a second chance from me Turner. I'm giving you my expectations as a fan. You can lose this game but if its by 21 or more, its a massive fail.

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sava12 4 years ago

Setting ultimatums? No good deal ended on "or else....".

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jayhawkintx73 4 years ago

That is my feeling losing to a Division I-AA school at home. Not that we lost by a whole lot, but we only scored 3 points against them. 35 should have been a gimme in that game.

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Benjamin Piehler 4 years ago

gonna be ugly..... gotta love the flexbone game GT runs though.

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tophawk87 4 years ago

Let toben opurum run the rock, he's a beast at running back

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jchief40 4 years ago

I believe in Turner Gill. Those that know something about college football do to. Donors are getting impatient but I think KU's best years lie directly ahead. Gill's staff is top notch and if the quarterback play improves and we catch balls that hit the hands then I'd say the offensive play calls were darn good. The team was better than I thought but that's no excuse. The defense did good especially looking at the amount of time they spent on the field. I like the direction this team is headed.

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jayhawkintx73 4 years ago

Are you willing to say the same thing at the end of the season if its 0-12 in the standings? Before this game I believed Turner Gill would have those kids ready. I'm not sure he can unless he gets tough on them and the restore "Rip his ffin head off". Sure it may be offensive, but the fans are leaving at half time now. The team needs the home field crowd in order to have a home field advantage. This isn't tiddly winks.

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hawk316 4 years ago

"...I think KU's best years lie directly ahead." Amen, jchief40!

And jayhawkintx73, in response to your question about an 0-12 season, I would refer you to the excellent post by kc_wildfire under Matt Tait's column, "Monday Rewind" (Tale of the Tait).

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