Wednesday, September 22, 2010


KU’s Gill praises his staff…a lot


It never hurts to see how closely you’ve been studying your favorite football team’s new coach during Tuesday news conferences he uses to communicate to the public.

Each week, Turner Gill will:

a) Use the phrase “from that standpoint,” at least a half-dozen times.

b) Mix in “per se” more than once.

c) Cite a statistic that speaks to the past experience and/or success of his coaching staff.

d) Answer at least one question with “all of the above.”

e) All of the above.

The correct answer is e) All of the above.

Gill’s most interesting staple, going out of his way to praise his staff, leaves us guessing why he does so. First, let’s look at how he does it.

Week 1: “I just want to make one statement about our staff. That is probably the one big thing that we have going on in this football program right now. We have an outstanding staff. ... 225 years of experience as far as our coaches go. I know that we are somewhere in the top of the country when you talk about years of experience with our coaching staff.”

Week 2: “I know our staff is going to be the ones to help us move this program forward. They’ve coached over 123 NFL players. We have experience. We have guys who have been through the ups and downs. That’s why I feel very, very good about our staff and moving forward.”

Week 3: “Just one little tidbit about the staff together. They’ve coached 93 all-conference players.”

Week 4: “Our coaches have coached 75 bowl games. So again, I’m always going to bring up something about our staff because I think it’s a very, very special staff and I think you’ll continue to see our staff do things for our football team, not only this year, but also in the future.”

Gill’s motivation? For one, he might just be proud of the staff he has assembled, but it’s likely more than that. It could be his way of letting everyone know it’s not fair to judge him and his staff purely on what happens this year on the field. Transition years that include implementing new systems always present a difficult challenge. This one’s off to a rough start in the on-field communications department.

Plus, different coaches have different beliefs in terms of what sort of athletes they like to recruit.

Gill proved his recruiting ability by getting a number of proven recruiters to say yes to him. KU recruiting coordinator Reggie Mitchell held the same position at Illinois and Michigan State and knows how to communicate with teenagers. Receivers coach Darrell Wyatt, lured from Southern Miss where he was offensive coordinator, long has had a reputation as a hard-working recruiter whose honesty resonates with recruits. Defensive line coach Buddy Wyatt cashed in on his wide array of recruiting contacts while working for, among other schools, Texas A&M;, Alabama and Nebraska.

Parents of prospects who follow college football would be thrilled to have Gill and/or Chuck Long, a pair of Heisman finalists, in their living room.

This staff has the potential to upgrade recruiting so that better seasons than this one — which still looks as if it’s headed for 4-8 — will come.


hailtoku 9 years, 5 months ago

Keegan, you can't make the prediction 4-8. That's mine. I've been predicting 4-8 since March and took abuse from other posters as being a pessimist.

4-8 is a lofty expectation in my mind consider 2 of the 4 games I had us winning were at Southern Miss and NDSU. After watching Iowa State, I think we can win that. Other than that, after this week, I don't see us winning another ball game this year. Not being pessimistic, just being real.

Andy Tweedy 9 years, 5 months ago

I wouldn't say CU is less talented than KU. CU is TERRIBLE. That is not only a winnable game, that's a game I will be disappointed if we don't win.

Rick Arnoldy 9 years, 5 months ago

e) All of the above (according to keegan).

jaydee909 9 years, 5 months ago

Count me in as not interested in restating prediction of the final wins and lossses total for the season each week. Personally, I am more interested in seeing improvement each week. Then some consistency along with it. Keegan, you could have added "things of that nature" as another Gill commonly used phrase. But I still enjoy listening to Coach Gill each week.

DallasHawk 9 years, 5 months ago

Agreed. Let's see how it plays out and hope for improvement every week. Clearly this team is going to be tough to predict from week to week.

Nick Cole 9 years, 5 months ago

Add "execute" to list of Gill's Fav Vocab.

tophawk87 9 years, 5 months ago

This is obviously a rebuilding year. No worries for Coach Gill and his staff. It is year two and three where we should see some obvious progress. Rock Chalk!!

Gary Wirsig 9 years, 5 months ago

Another reason Coach Gill praises his staff: the power of positive reinforcement. I know I'll get flak from some folks on this site, but this is further evidence that Coach has that figured out and practices it regularly - it's part of his life. Praising others has the effect of making others want to do even better and live up to their leaders' opinion of them.

Of course, negative reinforcement has its place as well, but this article is focusing on the positive.

khummel60 9 years, 5 months ago

Gill assembled a great coaching staff, and I believe we are fortunate to have them. Three of them have been head coaches before, several made lateral moves to come here, and several are famous for their recruiting skills. All of them could have gone to more established programs, but wanted to coach for Gill because of the type of man he is, and because they sense something special is about to happen at Kansas. Maybe Coach Gill compliments his staff so often because he knows how fortunate he is to have them. or maybe its because he knows they need encouragement like anyone else, particularly in the beginning stages of rebuilding process. That's especially true when your trying to take an inconsistent program and turn it into a perrennial winner, and everyone around you is an arm-chair quarterback. I think it's great that Kansas fans are impatient and critical, because that means they care. They didn't always care about Kansas football. They care now largely because of what Perkins and Mangino accomplished. But now its time to take the next step, and build a perennial winner, and I believe Gill and staff will do that. It's just gonna take some time.

jaymar74 9 years, 5 months ago

You're getting old and losing your impact. Time to move on to new sites. In other words, get the hel* off of my University's site!

Chris1955 9 years, 5 months ago

KHummel, I think you made a good point.

jaymar74 9 years, 5 months ago

Homers are for professional sports. For 18-20 year old college students, homers are called Alumni. These kids are Jayhawks, just like us and not like you.

Brad Farha 9 years, 5 months ago

Let's be real -- mulaza is a Tiger fan. mulaza? short for MU laser or something like that. The odd orca logo is black and gold.....and his posts are at best back handed compliments to the KU teams and fans. A Mizzou Troll by any other name is still a Mizzou troll.

waywardJay 9 years, 5 months ago

I'm sorry muzzle. It's just not right. everyday, you come and bash. Don't you have better things to be doing. we'd be 1-2 right now with your boy Mangino as the coach. We just wouldn't have had a top 25 win, because you know he just couldn't get that job done in the regular season. I mean if anything, Turner Gill has an Excuse to have a worse record. Not that he's big on excuses, anotehr way he's different from Mangino.

LAJayhawk 9 years, 5 months ago

How does a post which praises those critical of the program actually make one a Homer?? He (or she) is a fan, and, by definition, is allowed to look and hope for a positive outcome, and, yet, khummel states that criticism helps a program. Nothing about that says homer.

This post, more than any other, proves you are trolling, mulaza.

khummel60 9 years, 5 months ago

So that's it? That's what makes me a Homer? That I believe we have a good coaching staff and you don't? Is there anything positive I could say about Gill or his staff that would NOT qualify me as a Homer? If that's the criteria then I'll win the Mulaza Homer of the Week certificate in no time.

khummel60 9 years, 5 months ago

There is no greater honor for a KU fan than to win the mulaza homer award. Thank you! I'm truly touched by your kindness.

Brad Farha 9 years, 5 months ago

Let's be real -- mulaza is a Tiger fan. mulaza? short for MU laser or something like that. The odd orca logo is black and gold.....and his posts are at best back handed compliments to the KU teams and fans. A Mizzou Troll by any other name is still a Mizzou troll.

rockemchalkemrobots 9 years, 5 months ago

mulaza is azalum backwards. Speaking of heteropalindromes, Neewollah is right around the corner...

Rick Arnoldy 9 years, 5 months ago

Geez, folks, figure it out. mulaza is azalum spelled backwards. This interloper just changed the name so he could switch to one of his other psychotic alternative personalities.

Jeremy LeMaster 9 years, 5 months ago

Gill says all the right things... most of the time. However, I have to questions why the coaches are not taking the blame for the poor performances. Even if they are not the ones who recruited the kids they should at least be able to coach them to play solid football if they are actually worth their weight. What I hear from them is that..."Well our coaches are amazing but our kids really suck. They cannot play football to a level that they are capable of beating a Div 1-AA school. That isn't the coaches fault that they cannot coach them, it is their fault for not already being at the level they need to be at."

That is horse-poop! Take some accountability! They may be right, when they get their kids in to the program the team may be stronger but the kids are not playing like they are well coached. Perfect example is not blocking a punt blocker. Apparently they didn't know their blocking assignment. I can stomach some losses this year, I know we are not winning the north. But take a look at Pelini up at NU. Why do you think they went with him over Gill? Pelini took a team that went 5-7 in the same division we are in to a 9-4 record the following year. I at least thougth if Gill was the next big thing that he would come in and at least hold serve and probably pick up a couple more games because of the easier slate of games. What should you expect from someone that didn't post a career winning record before being hired.

I was not a fan of the hire. After seeing Gill and how he handled things I thought he could be really good and he still might. But as a leader he has to take ownership of the failures and pass on praise for the successes to the players. Not pass on praise to his coaches for the inadequacies of the team.

truefan 9 years, 5 months ago

The coaches did take responsibility, maybe you didn't read all of the articles. Chuck Long took responsibility for slow play calling and safe play calling because he is trying to make the game as simple as possible for our Freshman QB. Give it time.

Jeremy LeMaster 9 years, 5 months ago

Thanks. You are probably right, it is not fair. I will give it time, I am a hawk football fan for life. I do not mean to be the same old "fire Gill" type of fan after three games which is also not at all what I was suggesting.

khummel60 9 years, 5 months ago

Here are some examples from just the past two days.

From "KU coaches keeping it simple for QB Jordan Webb", LJW, 9/22/10

>  Asked if focusing too much on simplifying things for Webb may have cost
    >  the Jayhawks during their most recent loss, Long whole-heartedly agreed.

>  “Looking back on it, we probably did,” he said. “I’m just trying to take as 
    >  much off of his plate as possible and just let him perform, just let him play
    >  and put the calls on us.”

From "Cliff's Notes: Turner Gill press conference", 9/21/10

>  KU needs to get plays in sooner. Some of it is mixed signals from coaches
    >  on sideline. Gill says KU has had enough football games to have that 
    >  cleaned up more than it is.

>  Gill said he and the coaching staff takes a majority of the blame for the 
    >  poor communication that took place last game on defense.

From "Communication problems costly for KU this season", KC Star, 9/21/10

>  “From a coaches’ standpoint, one thing we gotta do is make sure we get 
    >  the play in fast enough,” Gill said.

Perhaps this isn't what your looking for, but I don't think its accurate to suggest they aren't taking some accountability.

Jeremy LeMaster 9 years, 5 months ago

Thanks Hummel. I had not seen all of the articles especially the KC Star articles or the most recent press conference. I was jumping the gun and was mostly refering to his comments post game from loss's one and two where he specifically cited "execution" as the reason. That felt as though he was pinning it on the players.

It is probably not wholly accurate (or may not even be accurate in part). These were just some observations I had made concerning the subject of the article. When I started writing I started getting iritated hence going on about it and rambling.

I appreciate your response and information.

khummel60 9 years, 5 months ago

In fairness, I have had the same frustration with Coach Gill and his staff. Until very recently I hadn't heard them take public responsibility for the problems we've seen. But they do seem to taking some responsibility now. Like you, I would like to see more of that.

Ryan Shelton 9 years, 5 months ago

Nebraska went with Pelini because the first time they screwed up when hiring Calahan over Pelini. They weren't going to make the same mistake twice.

Andy Tweedy 9 years, 5 months ago

I live in Omaha, and if you had followed NU recruiting like I'm forced to, you would know that Bo had a considerably less empty cupboard than Gill does now. It's just not a fair comparison...yet! In a few years maybe. And as for who got picked, some things just work out. Osborne picked Bo, but he also picked Solich, who was not as lucky.

Tom Wilson 9 years, 5 months ago

I am fully prepared to wait 4 or 5 years for a turnaround of the football Jayhawks. That includes a lot of patience with the coach and his staff. 3 of the current 4 classes playing for the Jayhawks today were not recruited by the present coach; some of those were recruited as "window dressing" for those who have already opted for the NFL. Right now, as long as lessons are learned from a loss and those lessons learned are cumulative, my patience will be unshakeable.

4everahawk 9 years, 5 months ago

As I have said from the first time I ever heard him speak.......WAY too much praise for his coaching hires..always sounds a bit like a politician trying to sell his platform.

TaCityHawkFan: I absolutely agree with you. Gill should can the praise for his coaching staff - enough is enough. They don't need reinforcement, they already know they are good at what they do. But give those kids some credit after a game for a change. They need the reinforcement. And, call them out for their mistakes as well. People want to hear what his thoughts are about the kids, not his coaches. He might be taking some of the blame for the mistakes, but he needs to talk about the athletes...period.

hawk316 9 years, 5 months ago said, "They don't need reinforcement, they already know they are good at what they do." Remind me to never work for you! :-) We all need continuing reinforcement and encouragement. Why? Because we're human beings. No matter how good of a job you're doing, you like to know that your boss approves and appreciates your efforts.

Gill is not only psychologically astute, emotionally affirming and a great boss, but I believe that he is genuine in his praise. Because of the type of person he is, Gill is being honest and sincere in showing his appreciation for his staff. That's my take.

CatsEatBirds 9 years, 5 months ago

Fun with Gill speak:

"Our coaching staff has done a mediocre job for our kids, per se."

"We have trouble calling plays and things of that nature."

"Even with 275 bowl games of experience, we're still struggling with all of the above."

"From that standpoint, I got a good football education at Lincoln."

"In our extreme coaching experience, we've found God controls all of the above and things of that nature per se."

Go Big Red Hawk Legs.

4everahawk 9 years, 5 months ago

Cats: That was hilarious even from the 'other' side.

hawk316: He can praise them and give them 'reinforcement' in his office privately. The fans want to hear about the kids...period. When he has a mic in front of him, please talk about the athletes and what you are going to do to make them better, not use it as a forum to flaunt how well you did hiring assistant coaches.

kuhawksr1 9 years, 5 months ago

Keegan ... you forgot to include "... and things of that nature" in your list.

flyingfinn 9 years, 5 months ago

"KU recruiting coordinator Reggie Mitchell held the same position at Illinois and Michigan State" whoopedy doo...we all know what powers those football teams have been in the last 4-5 years...great jobs of recruiting Reggie

khummel60 9 years, 5 months ago


Mitchell was assistant head coach/recruiting coordinator/running backs coach at Illinois for the past five years. He has been recognized by for his recruiting efforts earning a Top-Five Big 10 listing in 2007 and a Top-20 National ranking in 2006

According to, Illinois was in the top 5 in Big-10 recruiting every year he was there except his first year. During the same period Kansas was in the top 5 of Big-12 recruiting one time (2009, #5)..

I'll grant you he didn't come from Ohio State, or Texas, or USC, or similar, but it seems like he might be an upgrade over what we had.

Randy Bombardier 9 years, 5 months ago

I am certainly happy to see Gill pointing out the credentials of the staff because after we start winning North titles I don't want to see us losing all the staff. I hope they love it here, love TG and want to create that dynasty. Stability will be very important. I really feel like the departure of Bill Young hurt us badly for the two years following. Praising the staff and then, when we start winning titles, share the wealth. IF TG puts his money where his mouth is his staff should be content to keep winning. That can't be entirely on the AD, there has to be some sacrifice by what the Coach could get and it needs to be rolled into the staff's lap. If he does that when the time comes, then it will just keep the momentum going. Now, if only the Athletic Dept can stay out of trouble.

Randy Bombardier 9 years, 5 months ago

Need to also add props to the staff for the GA Tech win. Matt, has any of KU's past coaches had a win that big in their first year? How about an article on the struggles and records of new coaches. Might help the fan base be a bit more patient.

leenyong 9 years, 5 months ago

Let the scoreboard speak for how well a job the coaching staff has done.

d2psugrad 9 years, 5 months ago

When TG ws hired, I watched several interviews and thought a well spoken class act of a fellow. After listening to him in the weekly interviews, I hope he spends some time in the off season working on his vernacular. I believe he is a good leader and recruiter. He will improve, but it is imperative that he fields a team that competes and is in games. This may be a 2 win season, but I am not sure I am sold on a 4-5 year time frame for a turn around if we are not competing and improving.

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