Saturday, July 9, 2011

Bad press: Previews universal in disdain for KU

The Big 12 football season-preview magazines are out, and they’re unanimous in their low expectations for the Jayhawks.

The Big 12 football season-preview magazines are out, and they’re unanimous in their low expectations for the Jayhawks.



Lawrence Journal World

The Big 12 football season-preview magazines are out, and they’re unanimous in their low expectations for the Jayhawks.

Posting a 3-9 record one season usually doesn’t get a team a lot of preseason publicity the next.

The good news for Kansas University football, which won just 25 percent of its games during head coach Turner Gill’s first year in town in 2010, is that those preseason magazines that hit news stands in mid-June examine and analyze every Div. I team out there.

However, a quick glance at a few of those publications reveals that’s about where the good news stops for Kansas, as Phil Steele, Athlon Sports and Lindy’s all picked the Jayhawks to finish dead last in the Big 12 this season.

“Kansas was last in the Big 12 at -219 (yards per game) (and was) outscored by 27.4 (points per game) so they have a huge amount of ground to make up on the rest of the conference,” Steele writes in his evaluation of the Jayhawks.

Added Athlon: “Kansas should be more competitive in 2011, but the Jayhawks could struggle to win more than three games.”

That outlook should come as no surprise. For starters, the Jayhawks still have question marks at key positions and did very little to answer them in 2010. Beyond that, with Nebraska and Colorado leaving the Big 12, the Jayhawks will play every team in the former Big 12 South — Baylor, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Texas, Texas A&M; and Texas Tech — along with the three schools that remain from the Big 12 North — Iowa State, Kansas State and Missouri.

Playing everyone in the conference make the Jayhawks’ schedule more difficult, plus it also takes away a precious chance at an early victory by knocking the number of nonconference games from four to three.

The schedule is just one gauge the magazines use to determine their preseason rankings. They also analyze a number of statistical categories including the big ones, such as points per game, yards per game, points allowed and turnovers, along with more obscure stats, such as yard differential per game and an overview of each team’s offensive and defensive numbers from the last seven years.

Steele also includes a section in which he ranks each unit, with a one given to the best of the bunch and a 10 to the cellar dwellar. Of the nine units Steele ranked — QB, RB, WR, OL, DL, LB, DB, Special Teams and Coaching — KU did not receive higher than a 7 and also was given three 10s.

The 7s came at running back and defensive back, areas that are unquestionable strengths for this year’s Jayhawks. The 10s came at linebacker, special teams and coaching.

Quarterback, wide receiver and defensive line received 9s, while the offensive line was given an 8.

No other Big 12 school was saddled with more than one 10, and all nine others received at least as high as a 4 in at least one category.

In the Athlon unit ratings, KU did not receive higher than an 8 at any position but earned just one 10 (quarterback).

As far as all-conference players, none of the magazines had any Jayhawks on the first team. Tim Biere was named a second-teamer by Steele. James Sims appeared on Athlon’s third team and Steele’s fourth team. D.J. Beshears was tapped third-team special teams by both Athlon and Steele, and Toben Opurum, Jeremiah Hatch and Steven Johnson also earned all-conference nods.

As for breakout player, freshman running back Darrian Miller, of Blue Springs, Mo., is the preferred pick there, with linebacker Darius Willis, a transfer from Buffalo, also receiving a mention.

In addition to picking the Jayhawks to finish last in the Big 12, the publications also seem to agree that three is the ceiling for KU’s win total this year.

In his Phil’s Forecast segment, Steele says, “Although this is a much stronger KU team with 15 returning starters in Gill’s second season, the schedule does them no favors and they will struggle to top last year’s three-win total.”

Athlon, which ranks KU 81st nationally, predicts a 3-9 overall record and 1-8 mark in conference play. Lindy’s did not offer a prediction for KU’s record but seemed to be in line with the others by saying, “Turner Gill has his work cut out as Jayhawks staring down the barrel of another losing season.”

Don’t put too much stock into what these magazines say, however entertaining they might be. Most years, they possess a few reaches and some out-dated information, largely because of the early print deadline.

Some of this year’s highlights include: from Athlon Sports: “Nobody is saying it, because it isn’t the kind of thing you say about freshmen in spring ball, but Brock Berglund is the favorite to be Kansas’ starting quarterback.” Steele also lists Berglund ahead of Webb, but sophomore Jordan Webb currently leads in that race. And, from Lindy’s: “Defensive coordinator: Carl Torbush.” Torbush retired this spring because of health issues and was replaced by cornerbacks coach Vic Shealy.

Though most painted a gloomy picture for the Jayhawks this season, the news wasn’t all bad. Lindy’s praised KU’s secondary by saying, “All four secondary positions feature players with strong ball skills, good speed, a knack for making plays and very high ceilings.” Lindy’s also included two KU games in its “The Big Ones” section, which highlights the top Big 12 contests of 2011. The two that earned the nod on KU’s schedule? Home against K-State on Oct. 22: “Sunflower State showdown always big, regardless of records,” and Nov. 26 vs. Missouri: “Fifth straight time these two will meet in Arrowhead.”


onlylookin2score 9 years, 7 months ago

Sounds like experts echoing APHerse...wait it is. If it's 1-11 as APHerse predicts the we need to bring on Ed Warriner...Hopefully the new AD will be able pull the funding together for it... God I hope both the experts and APH are wrong. I'm heading to ATL to see the Georgia Tech game in 2 months. I'll root and rep Jhawk pride all the way. But if this top 35 class cant pull out more than 3 wins I think it will be a failure of a season. We should be able to pull out suprise victories in the Big 12 this season. I don't think KSU or TT are as good as advertised. Nor do I think we ever should be considered underdogs against ISU... the cyclones are the very definition of inconsistancy and have been for some history.

100 9 years, 7 months ago

If you plant seeds of the biggest & prettiest sunflowers in the world, you can't be mad the next morning if all you see is dirt.

ahpersecoachingexperience 9 years, 7 months ago

Hire Turner to be groundskeeper and that field of sunflower seeds will be responsible for the next dust bowl.

jaydee909 9 years, 7 months ago

And we can use you to be the fertilizer.

onlylookin2score 9 years, 7 months ago

I get what you're saying. Believe me I want nothing more than to rise back to glory. I mean less than 3 years ago we we're 2 wins away from playing in the national championship game and still had a helluvah season. Orange Bowl champs. My friends and I have watched the DVD of that game 50 times at least. SO...forgive me if I don't think we could be a dominant BB and FB school. Hell, we won the National Championship that year. Like I need to remind anybody here of that.

No one wants Gill to prove himself more than me. But seriously, we should win more than 3 games this year. We should win at least 2 Non Con. games and like I said I think we have a good shot at beating ISU, KSUCK, and TT. That is if HCTG is worthy of his position.... and

100 9 years, 7 months ago

All I know is I like the big "mothas" (as my fifteen year old grandson says) he's bringin in on the line, the 8 foot QB who runs the 40 faster than Jesse Owens & throws a spiral with more velocity than Goose Gossage not to mention the hybrid cheetah-pit bulls he's signed to the backfield.....

I honestly don't care "all that much" about the record this year... I want to see passion, attackability, a love for football and TEAM....

The records will take care of themselves as the years go by....

Right now we're just waterin that beautiful green that's poppin out of the ground and adding an inch of Ahperse brand fertilizer per day.

SeaJHawk 9 years, 7 months ago

Boy, thanks for posting. You're the HeMan to AhPer,etc...'s Skeletor. Though together you don't unlock Castle GraySkull. Cheers from a J-Hawk in Sydney, Australia.

Kirk 9 years, 7 months ago

Yeah, but if you plant a bunch of rocks, you won't see anything sprouting up the next morning either.

Brandon Avey 9 years, 7 months ago

I'll be at the KU/GT in Atlanta game as well. Hopefully the Hawks can pull it off again! Rock Chalk!

UmbertoConforti 9 years, 7 months ago

I hope they don't lose by more than five touchdowns.

Dirk Medema 9 years, 7 months ago

The second to last paragraph sounds about on par for ahper's comments.

ahpersecoachingexperience 9 years, 7 months ago

dude, you're doing the right thing and if ku football came my way i would be first in line to grab so tix. but imagine how nice it would be if you were able to have some pride in that team. to be able to talk a little trash in the office instead of receiving a beat down in it monday after the game. to have a team where 3 wins a season is not consider a success. to not have to hope for suprise wins over ksu or tt. to know it is a given we will be favored over isu every year and that the isu week would be treated as a bye week to get healthy and install new stuff for tougher opponets. ahthatwouldbenice

Ryan Gerstner 9 years, 7 months ago

I'm glad you're supporting the program at least because that puts you way ahead of most of the fair weather KU fans. However, Gill is getting 4 years minimum. You don't dump a roster devoid of talent in the upper classes and then fire a coach when those players don't win you games. I'm just dumbfounded by KU fans sometimes and the pure lack of understanding of how a roster is built over time. This isn't basketball where a couple stud freshmen instantly can turn a program around. It's football and it takes a lot of horses and it typically takes years for those horses to develop especially when you start off picking behind 5 or 6 schools in the league. I don't know how Gill will do, but after 4 years, we should at least have some insight into whether we think he'll be able to turn the corner here or not. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out when most of our units are rated among the lowest in the league, that's not the fault of the coach that inherited the roster.

ahpersecoachingexperience 9 years, 7 months ago

So your saying most of us could become doctors in the time it will take for Gill to produce a winner?

hawk316 9 years, 7 months ago

I'm with you, nj! I think KU may surprise us this season with five wins and a sense that the best is yet to come.

ahpersecoachingexperience 9 years, 7 months ago

if we win 5 games will there be a parade on mass st?

ohjayhawk 9 years, 7 months ago

Please keep in mind that it typically takes longer to see marked improvement from a highly-ranked football recruiting class than it does a highly-ranked basketball class. The transition between H.S. football and Div-I football is much more difficult than it is in basketball. So, while the team may show signs of improvement, it may not be reflected in the W/L record, especially with the brutal schedule. So, please give this Top 35 recruiting class/coach Gill a few seasons before deeming them failures. Unless, of course, the team and next year's recruiting class take steps backward.

jaydee909 9 years, 7 months ago

Excellent point about the time it will take to see significant improvement frrom the 2011 freshman class. There is no way you can expect that overall class to make a significant impact for a couple of years. But having said that, it is very possible we wil see valuable contributions this season from a few members of that class. Anthony Pierson and Darrian Miller (play making ability), Tanner Gibas (long-snapper where we struggled tremendously and had as much to do as anything with the number of punt blocks we incurred), and possibly an offensive lineman (lack depth) are candidates to see the field early. And if we don't get improved play from the QB position, I think you may well see Brock Berglund or Michael Cummings (if fully revovered from the ACL injury) on the field, although I would be surprised if at least one of them doesn't redshirt this season.

With this coaching staff having one season under their belt, there is every reason to expect some improvement on the field but not neccessarily in terms of wins and losses. We need to give this at least another 2-3 years for the coaching staff to have their systems and recruits in place before talking change.

beenahawk 9 years, 7 months ago

Sadly, the excuse heading into 2012 and likely even 2013, will be that Gill only had 12 schollies to give this year. Thus Gill will then need even more time to prove he knows what he is doing.

Kirk 9 years, 7 months ago

I see a long, long road of excuses ahead.

Dirk Medema 9 years, 7 months ago

Good point.

This team mirrors aTm v.08 in so man ways. New coach. Young team. Lots of freshmen. 09 they were better, but not until mid-10 did they really break out, and starting getting top competition comments in '11.

There should be improvement along the way, but it will take a couple years to really start to see things turn around, and a few more before it really starts to become a stronger program (vs. team).

ahpersecoachingexperience 9 years, 7 months ago

one problem, and it's a big one. there is top 35 recruiting talent already on the team. and gill did have a few seasons to prove him self, he went 20-30!

truefan 9 years, 7 months ago

That's true, but for many of those seasons he was trying to turn around the worst program in Div. I football in Buffalo. Before he got there they had never been to a bowl game and so far, they haven't been back to one since he's left. Mangino had a similar task here at KU and never ended up with an overall winning record, but we all agree he did some great things.

Buffalo didn't want to let him go because he improved their program tenfold. He hasn't done that here, but I'm willing to give him more than one season to prove that he can or cannot succeed.

eastcoasthawk 9 years, 7 months ago

Wait a minute. Steele listed Biere as a second teamer but we didn't have a ranking higher than 7?? Oh, that's right. It was for the TE unit. THAT is why it is not worth the money for these magazines.

Best news is that we have plenty to prove and nowhere to go but up!

Dirk Medema 9 years, 7 months ago

Good point. They must think there is absolutely no one behind Tim. Hopefully Mundine, Smiley, or someone else can step up to provide depth behind Biere.

I'd add LB to the positions ranking question as well. Willis & Johnson receive special comments and Tharp was freshmen Big12, but they're worst in the Big12? It maybe downplayed for the same reason - lack of depth. Hopefully, Bakare, Walker, Kande or some of the young speed can show up and turn the lack of depth into a strength as well.

If the OL can stay healthy this year (Spikes, Hatch, Marrongelli), and get the 4 jr's + 1 sr get some rest from some of the younger guys (f to rs-so), then it could become a fairly strong group and make everything else look that much stronger.

ahpersecoachingexperience 9 years, 7 months ago

steele also picked us to be a top 30 team last year and aaaaaaaaaaah how'd that work for him. not saying we are going to prove him wrong this year and be a top dog. just saying dude has no clue!

mikehawk 9 years, 7 months ago

Coach, put this all up on the team message board this summer. Something to think about when you want to start letting up on the workouts in the brutal summer heat.

ahpersecoachingexperience 9 years, 7 months ago

and text it to BB. something for him to read while traveling back and fourth to denver all these times

Jeff Coffman 9 years, 7 months ago

I must say...and aph....might agree is one of the most disappointing things in all of this is that we just replaced our Heach Coach and we have a 10 as our head coach. I admit that there are some superb head coaches in the Big XII, but usually when you have to have turnover in the Head Coach you have to roll the dice. We surely rolled the dice, and I hope for the best. I know there are a lot of optomists, and I must say that I try to be. I still look at wins and losses and competiveness. We basically hired a 20-30 head coach that went 3-9 in his first year. The first year was a hard year and usually is for any first year head coach. However, my concern is in the 9 losses we had, we were out of it in basically in the first quarter.

I could see us getting more wins this year, but I could also see more losses. One thing that I hope that occurs is that I am still watching games in the 4th quarter.

Good Luck Jayhawks, lets prove all of these papers that we have got some experience under our belts and with it we can win some games.

I think Bowl elgible would be an incredible year.

100 9 years, 7 months ago

Tell me our new line Gill has signed the last couple years averages 5'3" and 140 pounds & I might agree with you....

Tell me the running backs he's signed average running a 9.3 forty & I might agree with you....

Tell me we don't have a QB who can see over a D line & I might (possibly) agree with you that Gill knows nothing about the QB position.

Tell me Coach Gill is "scared" to move an athlete to help our TEAM. Tell me Gill has never helped a player move into a future career (the NFL) by moving said player into a different position.....

Tell me Coach Gill doesn't recruit size & speed & tell me he doesn't develop kids for a life beyond football as well as a shot at the NFL & I might believe you.....

Tell me Coach Gill has never worked for the NFL & I might believe you....

Tell me Coach Gill hasn't been an assistant coach for an NCAA D1 National Champion TEAM... And I might believe you.

Jeff Coffman 9 years, 7 months ago

All great recruiting points. I'm talking about Heach Coaching abilities.

I would argue that Head Coach Turner Gill has two really great strengths. 1) His ability to get in the door and recruit at a high level (as he did with Nebraska). 2) His ability to see that football is not the end game for most individuals, that he is teaching them about life.

I think my big point was that all of the experts are saying we have a 10 in our Coaching Position. That is a concern.

ahpersecoachingexperience 9 years, 7 months ago

top 5 coaching mistakes last season

5) having a punt/field goal blocked every game (numbers may not be exact) 4) 4th and goal, 3 men on the line of scrimmage against so miss 3) taking a timeout because the play was not in on time after there had been a stopage in play to review the previous play 2) the energy level during the ksu game 1) the recovery of an onside kick during the CO game. only to find out the team had never practiced onside kicks!!!

Jeff Coffman 9 years, 7 months ago

Thanks...notice these are coaching concerns. I don't think recruiting has been HCTG big issue, but rather orchestrating and executing a game plan.

Above are key points to individual actions that show lack of execution. However, I am more concerned about certain game plans, where we are out of it in the first quarter. That shows that the coach did not prepare well or identify key weaknesses that needed to be defended against.

Dirk Medema 9 years, 7 months ago

Maybe MM could get a post as metermaid handing out parking tickets. Heard he knows a lot about that. Maybe that's not a good "fit" - in the little traffic scooter.

ahpersecoachingexperience 9 years, 7 months ago

if mm become the broadcaster i am never sitting in the covered seats under the press box again!

Sparko 9 years, 7 months ago

This is a tough schedule; depth will be the difference and probably not in a good way. I think the new 10-team round robin will kill a lot of seasons though. The Big XII winner will likely have three losses on the year. No BCS championships in the future for the whole league. And despite the cr@p that teams should play hard preseason schedules, the only thing that matters in the BCS is not losing.

Kirk 9 years, 7 months ago

Why would the big xxii winner have three losses? The new round robin schedule doesn't make life more difficult for anyone except the (formerly) north teams.

OU ain't losin' no three games. If anything they'll enjoy coasting against isu, ku, ksu, and mu. Nice breathers.

Chris Bailey 9 years, 7 months ago

Pretty sure that means we had that many fewer than our competition. Kinda like the turnover ratio.

Ben Kliewer 9 years, 7 months ago

If there's anything we've all learned, it's that speculation and predictions are all completely accurate. (Sarcasm font) I'm not saying we should be looking forward to an undefeated season, or even a winning season for that matter. But I think a 3-9 record this year would represent an improvement over our 3-9 record last year, considering the schedule. It'll take time, but we'll get there. Every season is going to be like the Colorado game last year, we won't know how it's gone until it's over...

Chris Bailey 9 years, 7 months ago

I hope at some point we have a good enough team to look forward to again and that we don't have wait until the season ends to know if our team is good. Granted we have to play the games but hopefully we can begin to build something here and become a contender!

ahpersecoachingexperience 9 years, 7 months ago

but yet we do backflips with the rivals recruiting rankings!?!?!?!

waywardJay 9 years, 7 months ago

Did we expect to be predicted to be anything BUT dead last in a this conference after last year ?

If you did, then you should be ashamed of yourself.

The good news is, this can be used as motivation.

Dead last, boys, That's what they think of you.

Prove'em wrong.

ahpersecoachingexperience 9 years, 7 months ago

starting to fatigue. 5 hr energy please. aaaaaaaaaaaaaah! chase it with a little diet mt dew. and here we go!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

milehighhawk 9 years, 7 months ago

3 wins is realistic.

I still think we surprise at least one team this year.

It may take a while, but it's undeniable that we're bringing in better recruits than we've seen in a long, long time. We could be right in the mix in a couple years.

ahpersecoachingexperience 9 years, 7 months ago

honey (not you. i'm talking to my wife) i want ku football season tickets for my birthday. milehigh is predicting 3 maybe 4 wins this year. should be an exciting season!

Kenny Terry 9 years, 7 months ago

Hope the previews are wrong and we do better than there giving us credit for.

ahpersecoachingexperience 9 years, 7 months ago

those with low expectations are never disappointed

nuleafjhawk 9 years, 7 months ago

which is why many of us are greatly disappointed after basketball season.

ahpersecoachingexperience 9 years, 7 months ago

i really don't have the energy for this. . .but let's do it!

see above

milehighhawk 9 years, 7 months ago

looks like the little guy's all tuckered out.


David Atchley 9 years, 7 months ago

Really? That's the spin...Turner Gill won "25% of his games in 2010...that means he lost 75% of them!!! Whether these fumbling fools that call themselves a "Search Committee" at Kansas realized it or not (my contention is they're not that forward in thought) they cast the die for turning back the Kansas Football program at a minimum 10 years with the hire of Turner Gill. When you get outside the city limits of Lawrence and Kansas City, you realize the laughing-stock the Kansas Football Program has become.

beenahawk 9 years, 7 months ago

While I agree it takes time, and I don't think any staff should be fired after one season, but why oh WHY did we hire Gill in the first place?

nuleafjhawk 9 years, 7 months ago

Because he's not ......several hundred pounds (no - i'm not a fat-a-phobic) and in the eyes of whomever hired him, he's a better PR fit for KU than our last coach. Plus the fact that he's a smart, decent man who has been around football all his life.

beenahawk 9 years, 7 months ago

"Smart, decent man who has been around football..." geez, if that's the qualification, why didn't we just hire Max?

nuleafjhawk 9 years, 7 months ago

AtlJaybird - Very well thought out post. You are dead on about giving Gill a fair shot. To be honest, I could see this type of fan reaction if Coach Self had lost 20 games his first season - off with his head , but I am really kind surprised with the overall animosity towards Coach Gill. Believe it or not, many outstanding coaches have started their first seasons off with worse records than ours last year. He may not be the next Vince Lombardi, but we at least need to let him prove to us whether he will be or not.

Kirk 9 years, 7 months ago

Maybe we shouldn't have knee-jerked the orange bowl winner outta here?

nuleafjhawk 9 years, 7 months ago

Kirk, "We" didin't. "They" did. Mangino had one good season. True, it was the best season KU football had seen in a long time, but it wasn't the beginning, middle or end of a dynasty. It was the culmination of a lot of things, including some great players, a great schedule and a few lucky breaks.

I liked Mangino. He was witty, had a good sense of humor and was intelligent. I always enjoyed listening to his post game interviews and his radio show. I think he was good for KU for the time that he was here, but seriously, if he was a great football coach wouldn't he be coaching somewhere now? I don't know - maybe that's his decision. He may very well be working on his tan at some remote Florida beach and counting his money while sipping on a pina colada. ???

nuleafjhawk 9 years, 7 months ago

and I'm gonna go ahead and say I meant to say "didin't" - as in " oh no you did-int ". lol

Kirk 9 years, 7 months ago

Mangino had just "one good season?"

Agree to disagree. We played competitive football, filled the stands and went to bowls multiple years.

Competitive football is the key criterion as far as I'm concerned -- at least until KU becomes some kind of dynasty. Mangino made KU truly competitive even when we didn't win, and the fans knew it. That's why they came to the games.

I still maintain that running the guy out of town was a mistake, especially as "we" replaced him with Mr. average-at-best.

nuleafjhawk 9 years, 7 months ago

Kirk, Kirk, Kirk.....

Ok - an 8-5 record in 2008, and a 7-5 record in 2005 could theoretically, somewhere in some galaxy be considered "good". So, I'll give you that one.

He brought some attention to KU football, and in many people's eyes that made him a good coach. He is not a good coach. If he were, he would be coaching somewhere now. Did you hear his name brought up when Coach Cheaty McSweater got run out of Ohio? No. Do you think that Will Muschamp was Florida's second choice behind Mangino when Urban Meyer stepped down? Mmmmm - probably not. I'm also guessing he's not on the Texas AD's speedial either when Mack Brown finally unsaddles Bevo.

"We" really ought to give Coach "Mr. average-at-best" Gill a chance to prove himself. Or stumble. After all, he won more games (conference and overall) in his first year than did the Mighty Mangino. Plus, it won't take 8 cows to make his letterman's jacket.

nuleafjhawk 9 years, 7 months ago

Kirk, I know it's been a couple days and you may not read this, but if you do - I didn't write that above post with any animosity towards you! I'm not really upset at all, I just didn't think Mangino was a huge (pun intended) loss.

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