Wednesday, July 27, 2011

KU football notebook: Turner Gill still thinking big for Jayhawks

Kansas head coach Tuner Gill answers questions during NCAA college football Big 12 Media Days, Tuesday, July 26, 2011, in Dallas.

Kansas head coach Tuner Gill answers questions during NCAA college football Big 12 Media Days, Tuesday, July 26, 2011, in Dallas.


— Since the day he arrived in Lawrence as the head football coach at Kansas University, Turner Gill has talked the talk.

He often has dropped words like “championships” and “dynasty” and, anytime people have asked, he has stuck by them and emphasized that winning, and winning big, was and always would be one of his top goals.

Speaking to a small group of reporters at Day Two of Big 12 media days on Tuesday, Gill continued to push such thoughts.

“I think every single year we’re gonna have a chance to win a championship because if you get on a roll, you see things can happen,” he said.

For a brief moment after he uttered those words, he backed off and explained that he understood the reality of the situation.

“My expectation is to win the Big 12 championship,” he said. “To say what is probably a true reality of being successful, it’s being bowl-eligible. That’s what I expect for us. Whether that happens or not, I guess that’s why they play the games.”

Gill then took that a step farther.

“I’d be disappointed if we don’t get this done fairly quickly in terms of being bowl-eligible,” he said. “Whether that’s gonna happen this year, I don’t know. But I definitely know here in the next few years we should be able to get some things accomplished.”

Brock talk

With new information about the legal trouble surrounding Brock Berglund seeming to pop up every day, Gill offered his thoughts about his incoming freshman QB from Highlands Ranch, Colo.

Asked if it were realistic to think that Berglund — or fellow freshman Michael Cummings of Killeen, Texas — could overtake sophomore Jordan Webb in four weeks of preseason camp, Gill left the door cracked.

“Anything can happen,” he said. “I’ve seen it. I’d say it’s a chance. I’m open to it, first of all. But, again, I’m not going to put somebody in there who isn’t ready. I’m not going to do it just to be doing it. I’m here to win football games, and I’m here to put the best people out there that give us the best chance to win.”

Gill has said he would handle whatever discipline may come Berglund’s way internally. He reiterated that stance Tuesday and then sent a subtle tip of his cap to the rest of the Class of 2011.

“I’m not gonna share how we’re gonna handle our business, but I’m gonna handle that the right way,” he said. “Brock is just one guy on our football team. We’ve got other quality people on our football team and a lot of other quality young guys who are gonna be very, very important to our football program.”

Webb in good shape

Though Gill has not announced him as his starting quarterback officially, it continues to look as if the job is Webb’s to lose.

Webb, a sophomore from Union, Mo., started seven games last season. His season had as many good moments as bad.

This offseason, Gill and offensive coordinator Chuck Long have lauded the sophomore QB’s improvement and newfound maturity.

Tuesday, asked about his quarterback situation, Gill said he’d give the ball to Webb if they had to play today. But they don’t. Camp doesn’t open until Aug. 3, and the season opener is a month after that.

“With Jordan Webb, I just want to make sure, as he comes back from spring football the first couple weeks, is he still at that same high level?” Gill said. “Because that’s important. Every week I want to see him being consistent. He’s had more reps, and we shouldn’t see as much of the up-and-down inconsistency.”

Gill likes league’s new look

Two of the hottest topics at this year’s media days were the controversy over the birth of The Longhorn Network and the adjustment the Big 12’s 10 remaining members face as they prepare to enter the first season of round-robin play.

Gill had little to say about the network but was happy to chime in on the advantages of the new setup.

“I think that’s a plus for the Big 12 Conference,” he said. “Now we’re going to know each other a little bit deeper, not only from a football standpoint. Now you know each other, the teams, how they are, what they do, and you get to know the players even better.”

Thorson inks with Cards

Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel reporters Tweeted on Tuesday night that former KU offensive lineman Brad Thorson had signed a free-agent deal with the NFL’s Arizona Cardinals. Thorson, a native of Mequon, Wisc., began his college career at Wisconsin.


JHWKDW 6 years, 10 months ago

Good job for Thorson first off!

Well look is it to early to talk championships yeah, but I like his enthusiasm!So far hes assembled a decent coaching/recruiting staff so far!It took 5 years for Mangino to get where he was and I appreciate his time and for him winning a Orange Bowl!People just got to give him time and Patience!The thing Im looking for is win or lose Im looking for close games, and the team looking like they know whats going on and a look that thw coaching staff knows what they are doing and the players look comfortable!Also the thing I think Coach Gill must do and learned from Nebraska is show and appear better in the trenches I mean Offensive line opening more holes and not allowing as many QB sacks, and on the Defensive line getting sacks and stuffing the middle that is something I hope he brings form Nebraska to Kansas!

It took Pinkel in Missouri 3 years before he had a winning program over there and after that he had a losing season the next season but after that he has been winning Is he as good as Pinkel we do not know yet but we got to give a guy time and patience!

Well Rock Jayhawks in 11 and Beyond Win or Lose Forever Jayhawaks!

squawkhawk 6 years, 10 months ago

I'll have some of what he's smoking please.

squawkhawk 6 years, 10 months ago

I'll have some of what he's smoking please.

Jayhawk1116 6 years, 10 months ago

JHWKDW, I like your enthusiasm! You sound very excited! You yell a lot! And, it's called punctuation! Look into it!

Chris Bailey 6 years, 10 months ago

I like Gill's words too but most of all I like ahperse being beat to the punch on this article!

minnhawk84 6 years, 10 months ago

7-5 this year. We're gonna have some fun.

troutsee 6 years, 10 months ago

This is how a CEO should be thinking. We want to be the best. Our goal is to win the B 12 championship in FOOTBALL. I say, Gill has set his goals and goals for the team at the highest level. One will never achieve to the highest level unless the goal is set there. Go Hawks and bring on football. This team is going to be ready to play this year.

squawkhawk 6 years, 10 months ago

But first it has to be realistic, otherwise it is just a bunch of senseless talk.

RedleggerJayhawk 6 years, 10 months ago

For now, just beat Mcneese.

**Then suprise some people, beat Misery for our sixth win, and this fan will be on cloud nine.

Marcia Parsons 6 years, 10 months ago

I read somewhere that Chris Harris signed with Denver, but I don't think I've ever seen it on here. Anyone else hear anything about that?

squawkhawk 6 years, 10 months ago

Gill sounds just like Ron Prince did at KSU...all the talk of playing for and winning championships is just a bunch of smoke. KU will never play for any kind of a championship under Gill. With all his chest pumping and big talk all Prince did was run KSU into the ground. Gill will do the same at KU. Mark my words!

truefan 6 years, 10 months ago

True, but Prince hadn't ever done it before, Gill has. Gill changed the mindset at Buffalo and got them a league championship in 3 seasons after being the worst football team in the country for years.

Prince also never assembled a good coaching staff. Oklahoma fans always used to complain about Chuck Long, but Long still holds the record at Oklahoma for orchestrating an offense that averaged more points per game than any other in OU history...and that's a long history.

I wasn't thrilled with Torbush, but he held his own in the SEC, and he also led one of the best defenses in the country when he coached under Mac Brown at UNC so he's done it before.

Pulling one of the best recruiters in the country in Reggie Mitchell was an amazing feat, and it speaks volumes to Gill's potential as Reggie could have gone anywhere he wanted.

I'm not guaranteeing Gill's success, but he's set himself up for success and I'm willing to give him more than one season to prove whether or not he belongs.

squawkhawk 6 years, 10 months ago

After this abysmal season the KU coaching staff will begin to defect just like Prince's did. And by the way, Prince's first set of coaches was very good, similar to Gill's. And please remind me who the head coach is at Tampa Bay...oh right, a former KSU defensive coordinator under Prince. As the saying goes..."mark my words".

truefan 6 years, 10 months ago

What does a former coordinator have to do with Gill or Prince? So he got another job...good for him.

Prince had a decent first season and missed out on a bowl game in his second year and immediately started signing juco players by the handful. I don't see how this matches what has happened here so far. Gill signed a top 30 class his first year while going 3-9, and after a 3-9 season he's off to a good start with this small class.

We didn't have good defensive players before Gill got here, and without Reesing, Meier, and Briscoe to score boatloads of points and keep the other team off the field, our bad defense looked worse. And that's not even including the injury bug our team was hit with on both sides of the ball last season.

We lost Wyatt to a dream job at Texas and one coach retired due to bad health. Gill promotes a couple of guys, brings back Beaty to take care of WRs and recruiting Texas and we've kept some recruiting momentum.

Yeah, we may have another bad year in the W/L column, but I'm willing to bet we'll be much more competitive in every aspect of the game. And if Alabama comes calling for one of our coaches, yeah they'll listen, but that has always been the case at KU regardless of Orange Bowl seasons or 3-9 seasons.

fromthatstandpoint 6 years, 10 months ago

Perhaps you might let the training camp start before you declare the season a failure.

mjhawkchalk 6 years, 10 months ago

Squawkhawk, compare both coaches backgrounds. Then do everyone a favor and stfu.

squawkhawk 6 years, 10 months ago

mj, thanks for the mature and coherent reply. I can see you've been taking your meds. Also, see my reply above and please learn to do your homework before you squawk about another post.

vd 6 years, 10 months ago

If he does like the previous coach and doesn't win a championship in his first 8 years, he should be fired.

Randy Bombardier 6 years, 10 months ago

Ron Prince was not even given a full three years. His teams smacked Texas each time they played. K-State was already sliding down under Snyder when he left. Think he was 4-7 at the end of his first era. Now I have a lot of respect for Coach Snyder but I also believe that Ron Prince was not given enough time. That is strictly an outsider's perspective as who knows what was going on internally over there. Tenure is critical. A head coach needs a minimum of 5 years. I would like to see more. I think that TG is already proving with his team he will be a better recruiter. I was very disappointed that our Orange Bowl win did not translate to a better recruiting class. It was a huge opportunity that was missed. If TG can go 7-5 every year on average, let alone win championships he will quickly become KU's winningest coach ever. He is the right guy for our program. I have no doubt. But we must give him time. Right now he is building a foundation.

truefan 6 years, 10 months ago

Yeah, unfortunately things have worked out after KSU's rash decision making. They wanted to "win right now" and Snyder brought that back somewhat, but most schools wouldn't have the option of hiring back their legendary coach to prop them up until the next hiring process. If we fired Gill right now, no coach in America would touch this job as the expectations are too high.

I don't care who we hired last year, it was not going to be a winning season.

Randy Bombardier 6 years, 10 months ago

I agree with that. I tried to tell people too that NDSU was not going to be a pushover but everyone seemed shocked that we lost to them. Although I have to say it did not seem like we were ready for football to start. I am not worried about W's right now. What would really satisfy me is to see competitiveness, toughness, sound decision-making. I am personally having a hard time giving up the spread as it was so exciting and gave us a lot of Ws, yet I think if we get to the type of offense that can control the ball AND we have an aggressive attacking D that we could shut down all the high-flying spread teams and that would be so enjoyable. I'd love to see us taking 8 minutes off the clock on a TD drive, stifle the opposing offense, then take another 8 minutes. By the late third quarter the opponent will be panicked. I suspect that is the direction we are going but can't say for sure. Makes sense to me. A bit of NU model.

squawkhawk 6 years, 10 months ago

I disagree, a recent article cited that the KU FB head coaching job was actually rates as a better job than the KSU job. Don't ask me how or why but that is how the experts rated them.

truefan 6 years, 10 months ago

Not if we rashly fire a coach after 1 year. You start doing that and coaches won't even bother coming here as they will expect that if they don't pull off a bowl game during their first year that they'll get canned too. That's what happened to Nebraska which left them with a has-been NFL coach that ran their program into the ground.

They had to suffer through him long enough to attract Pelini to the job.

fromthatstandpoint 6 years, 10 months ago

MM had one winning conf season and one non-losing conf season. Averaged 3-5 vs the league. Had a winning record against one Big XII program (Iowa State). The one great season had one quality win (the Orange Bowl) and wins over two 7-6 Big XII teams and one 8-6 MAC team. I fail to see what the big (no pun intended) deal is.

KURiggins 6 years, 10 months ago

Good for you Coach Gill. All dynasties start somewhere. Do NOT back off your statements, Go right after em. Everyone starts somewhere, Look out BIg 12 here we come . It may take a few years, but not long with speed and a great OL Go get em Coach Gill! Go get em Hawks!

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