Thursday, May 19, 2011


Top 10 KU football positives


DeAndre Daniels’ delay until today in making a decision on where he will play college basketball makes “incomplete” the only reasonable grade for this Kansas University recruiting class.

So while Daniels makes up his mind, it’s time to take a look at another aspect of producing a winner that too often is overlooked. In football, developing talent means every bit as much as recruiting it, and on that front, the outlook for Kansas football looks better than it did heading into last season.

A look at 10 factors that suggest Turner Gill will field a more competitive team in his second season than his first, even if the brutal schedule prevents his record from becoming any better than the 3-9 mark he posted in his first year at KU:

1. Team chemistry: It’s almost unavoidable this becomes an issue when a coaching change takes place. Seniors who have sweated their way through years of grueling workouts to earn starting jobs lose them overnight, which can create resentment. Now that Gill has established his way of doing things, everybody knows the rules, and nobody feels entitled to anything.

2. Jeremiah Hatch: The talented center took a step back last season when he played at such a high weight. His body looks completely different, a sign he has matured and is ready for the sort of senior season his early years portended.

3. Toben Opurum: Injured for much of spring a year ago, then changed to defense after leading the team in rushing as a true freshman, Opurum had to be wondering what he did to lose his spot. He’s coming off a dynamite spring at defensive end and graded out better than anybody on defense.

4. Greg Brown: When he showed he had made the transition from track sprinter to a cornerback who knows how to be quick and agile, not just fast running straight ahead, he earned a starting spot midway through last season. Once he masters the fundamentals, he has a chance to become a big-time playmaker.

5. Jeff Spikes: His blown-out Achilles left a huge hole in the offensive line last season and contributed to 37 quarterback sacks. He’s back at left tackle and will make a huge difference if his size, intelligence and quick feet blend to make him an efficient football player.

6. Kale Pick: It took him less than a full game to lose his spot as the starting quarterback and later was switched to receiver, but was he into it? He is now and showed a great aptitude and attitude at his new position during the spring.

7. Kevin Young: Sickness played a role in his never getting into shape as a redshirt freshman who was moved from defensive end to D-tackle. He’s healthy, talented and in far better condition already.

8. Brandon Bourbon: Playing in such a simple offense in high school left his head spinning during red-shirt season. It clicked for him in the spring, and he stood out until sidelined. He’s in the mix at running back. Still, it’s tough to look at him and not see a potential All-Big 12 linebacker.

9. Huldon Tharp: His speed would have helped at linebacker had he been healthy.

10. Christian Matthews: Such a graceful runner, he looks more natural at receiver now and has an excellent tutor in David Beaty.


fu7il3 7 years, 1 month ago

  1. By the time the season starts getting really ugly, it will almost be basketball season.

hawk316 7 years, 1 month ago

The season may turn ugly, but for a completely different reason than last year. As Keegan pointed out, "Turner Gill will field a more competitive team in his second season than his first, even if the brutal schedule prevents his record from becoming any better than the 3-9 mark he posted in his first year at KU."

We'll probably lose a bunch, but it will be fun to watch these guys play. We may even surprise a couple of teams along the way.

drewsmith84 7 years, 1 month ago

I think we'll be much more competitive this season, but until our Quarterback is at least on the top 10 positives, we're not going bowling.

oldvet 7 years, 1 month ago

If by "more competitive" you mean win more games, which 4 do you think we will win? I think it will be another 3-win season...

hailtoku 7 years, 1 month ago

I love how people say we are going to be more competitive this year. You do realize if we lost to Baylor 59-14, that would be considered more competitive than last year. If we lose to KState 35-0 it would be considered more competitive.

Blake Post 7 years, 1 month ago

Bowling? Look at our schedule...every year! We are worlds behind all of the south. So can we beat ISU? KSU? Don't even talk about a bowl. Hopefully we are much more competitive than last year, but to win enough for another bowl would shock me.

Jim Williamson 7 years, 1 month ago

The QB is position is one of the incoming QBs' for the taking. You don't necessarily want a freshman QB, but maybe you do when you look at what KU has coming back.

ahpersecoachingexperience 7 years, 1 month ago

Did you use ku football and positive in the same sentence?!?

midhawktx 7 years, 1 month ago

Sure..."I'm positive KU football will win no more than three games this year."

Jim Stauffer 7 years, 1 month ago

Our success will depend, as others have said, primarily on improvement at the QB position. No matter how good the RB's, O-Line, LB's, etc are, you cannot win if the QB cannot run the offense efficiently.

He doesn't need to be a star, but he has to be in charge and efficient.

Funhawk 7 years, 1 month ago

“For myself I am an optimist - it does not seem to be much use being anything else” - Winston Churchill

KU football and Tom Keegan are fun.

ISellDrugs 7 years, 1 month ago

Kevin Young was not a true freshman last year.

Ludwig Supraphonic 7 years, 1 month ago

Thanks for the set-up Tom. You posted an article noting positives about KU sports and distracted folks from bear-baiting and baby seal beating. Everyone knows the best way to upgrade a program is to be the first on the website to post snide remarks about student athletes and college coaching.

Ben Kliewer 7 years, 1 month ago

+1 I'm sure Keegs realized that he was just setting up a "Poop on Gill" Fest when he posted this article. But for those of us who are actually fans, we appreciate it. I know we're going to have a disappointing season again this year, but this time it's expected, and I like hearing the positives...realistically, which is what this article is. Simply put, we'll probably be a better team this year than we were last year. Not necessarily difficult to do in theory, but often times hard to accomplish on the field. That's why good college coaches get paid so much, because they know how to do it. We haven't actually had a chance to see if Gill can do it yet...this season will tell all...or at least most. I enjoy reading comments by people who talk about how dumb it is to talk about KU going to a bowl game, when the article stated nothing about going to a bowl game. Seriously, did Keegan actually write anything about a bowl game? The answer is no. In fact, the only mention of bowl games came from people talking about how we won't be going to a bowl game. It is the simple and uncreative who attack this program. It's easy to do, which is why the people of lowest integrity, with the least amount to actually do in their real lives are the ones who contribute attacks the most on the KUSports message boards. It's even easier when you just make something up and run with it. Those of us trying to keep an open mind about the program and the imminent season are not delusional. Nobody ever said "We're going to a bowl." What was said, simply, is that things are looking up. That does not translate into more wins (brutal schedule), a bowl game (6+ win season) or a conference championship (No B12 champ game anymore, sad face). It just means we'll be a team this year that could beat last year's team. You know, North Dakota State...or better... :)

Steve Gantz 7 years, 1 month ago

11. Haven't lost since November.

12 Haven't fought with the BBall team.

13 Other teams feel very positive about seeing us on their schedule next year.

I could go on, sorry for the negativity :)

hayjawk 7 years, 1 month ago

Well said! The naysayers can sure get tedious.

100 7 years, 1 month ago

Wickedson & drewdun (below)...

For the record if "KU fans" are doing that they are trolls from Mizzou, doing their best to show some antlers.

They do the same stuff on the basketball boards.

This is more of a LJW problem.

Any KU fan with a half brain knows it is important for the KU football team to do well as the years go by. We witnessed the fallout from that last summer.

And any KU fan that is paying attention will notice the class & dignity that Gill has brought back to the hill. Also we smacked Mizzou & Kstate in recruiting last year. 4th in the big 12.

One of the greatest classes in the history of kansas football.

And it will only get better. Speeeeed!!!!!!

If trolls are on our site, call them out, we all are Jayhawks here, right?

Laurence Cooley 7 years, 1 month ago

i question if some of these posters are actual fans or just trolls. people make their living on talking down their rival on a board, it seems. its upsetting. i am a ku fan and i know that we were pretty horrible last year, but we can only get better and addressing a lot of the problems that we had on both sides of the ball (speed, size and conditioning) i think will get us back to a bowl. the other north teams are not too far ahead of us and i think that we can compete with the south teams if we just keep our heads up and know that we can compete. football has a bigger mental aspect that a lot of people don't realize is as important as knowing your assignment on a play. the players seem to all be a team again and back on the same page as the coaching staff and the remaining freshmen coming in will contribute. so before everyone gets down on our football team (and basketball team as i saw in an earlier post on here) let the season start and give them a chance before you get all debbie downer on us. what ever happened to being a real fan? i can guarantee that the texas fans aren't acting this way and they had five wins last year (which might as well be zero wins in texas). so if you cant cheer for our football team, don't cheer for ku at all. go back and cheer for mizzou or k-state or who ever you actually cheer for and get off my team's boards.

Adam Evans 7 years ago

First, your grammar and sentance structure make you sound like a Chinese World of Warcraft gold seller. Second, if at any time, anyone chooses to watch a Kansas bastetball game on TV as opposed to being there in person at AFH, regardless of the temperature or chance of slinging mud, they are not a true fan and are exposed as a troll.

Jason Spangler 7 years, 1 month ago

I love how KU basketball fans get on the football talk and act like they're so great.

VCU you dumb sh#ts. and Northern Iowa, and Bucknell, and Bradley....give me a break.

It's completely fine with me that we wait months and months before watching another basketball disaster. please

meastland 7 years, 1 month ago

I've had season football tickets for the last decade and all I have to say to this clown is...2008 National Champions.

As far as I'm concerned, the basketball team has another two years left on the automatic 5-year pass they earned with that win.

drewdun 7 years, 1 month ago

I agree with Maxhawk and Wickedson. The basketball only fans that show up on these threads to take giant craps on KUFB really should just take a step back and re-evaluate their standing to criticize - last time I checked, the FB team represented the same university as the BB team. I will never understand the mindset of a KU "fan" that just loves the BB team but just isn't that into the FB team...oh wait, I completely understand - they are fairweather frontrunners, losers in my book.

And to add to the...unfortunate stats thrown out by Maxhawk and Wickedson - KUBB's best-program-all-time-blueblood-to-the-point-its-fans-can-look-down-their-noses-at-li'l-old-KUFB = 3 (three) NCAA titles, all-time. UConn (freaking University of Connecticut!) = 3 NCAA titles, last fifteen years. Duke = 4 NCAA titles in the last two decades. UNC = 2/3 of the number of titles KU has won all-time in the last six years. In short, KUBB fans, get over yourselves.

100 7 years, 1 month ago

Wickedson... Your post below isn't anywhere close to true.

It's quite obvious you don't support the University of Kansas. We are #2 on the all-time wins list & Allen Fieldhouse, year by year, gets the nod from non biased publications for the best sports venue in America.

We have 5 titles. Take away UK's point shaving death penalty titles & pay-for play scandals & we are left at the top in all time wins, & 2nd in titles to UCLA if this kind of thing is that important to you.

Oh and we're 300 or so games ahead of UCLA. They had one incredible decade. A major dynasty built by John Wooden, a man who himself helped pour the football stadium at ku (the current one). And Phog Allen loved football. Even hurt his back at KU playing football. And it was Naismith's favorite game in so many ways. He played it & loved it. Phog & Naismith helped coach an early 1920's team which came back to tie Nebraska. Got the funds rolling in for our current stadium which Wooden poured.

Any KU fan knows.... Football & Basketball are together in our history like brothers (Naismith took the job to come here in 1897 with an agreement to also coach the freshman football team). Naismith also discovered Kreb's, ironically, which propelled us to an undefeated football season in 1910 or so. Of course later we found out Kreb's had planted himself to get noticed & was an illegal player who had ran out of college eligibility.

Any ku fan knows we don't have an epic basketball tradition without basketball 's inventor being first involved with our football team. Most of us know, great as our 1988 team was, we do not win that championship game against OU without a perfect five minutes from Clint Normore, a football player who joined our basketball team due to injury. And we all know football keeps us in a BCS conference & can be a huge money maker for our university & community.

And don't forget... Even Wilt used to sell programs at each & every home football game for 3 years....

Jayhawks flock together... We always have.

Jason Spangler 7 years, 1 month ago

KUBBall may be blue blood but it's not nearly on the level of UNC, UCLA, Kentucky...even Duke at this point.

That's just fact unfortunately.

UNC, DUKE, and UK have played infinitely better competition over the last 100 years. The proof is Kansas' performance in the tourney year in and year out.

I'm KU through and through for all sports but thank god Derrick Rose couldn't make one free throw in 2008. Thank-freaking-god

Ludwig Supraphonic 7 years, 1 month ago

How does denigrating our hoops program help us in football?

Jason Spangler 7 years, 1 month ago

it doesn't. we're just responding to the initial anti-football posts. Have you not been following?

Laurence Cooley 7 years, 1 month ago

the acc is a stronger bball conference, just like the sec is a stronger football conference. so saying that our competition has dwindled over the past 100 years (which is a completely ridiculous statement) is saying more about the teams in our conference than it is about our team. we can't help the other teams in the big 12 can't recruit as well as us, just like we can't help that we haven't been able to recruit against the likes of the south teams. but all that is changing for the football team and HCBS is going to show just how good of a coach he is this coming season. i know that it sucks that we can't win the championship every year, but we have been able to win our conference which is something that not a lot of teams can say that they can do. and saying that you are ku through and through then following it to say that you thank god that derrick rose couldn't make a free throw shows just how not ku you truly are. that tourney wasn't the prettiest, but we grinded out wins as a team and took home the trophy. that is all that matters. and in that same tourney, didn't we destroy a unc team which lead to its head coach to come cheer on the jayhawks? it is fans like you at every school that down play real fans that cheer on their team no matter what. if you can't always cheer for the jayhawks, then i say you should never cheer for the jayhaws...afh will be just as loud without you.

hawkalumN2011 7 years, 1 month ago

I'm a huge KUFB fan.....but Wickedson's previous comment denigrating the tradition of KUBB is utterly ridiculous!

His is definitely showing his "Antlers".....those enviously green "Antlers"

Go back to Columbia, Poser!!!

JJHawq 7 years, 1 month ago

great thread! you've emulated the football and basketball TEAMS that you root for... Ironical.

shelleysue 7 years, 1 month ago

Wish the season tickets prices were more in line. Our tickets are almost as much Texas.

rob4lb 7 years, 1 month ago

Bowl formula for the near future:

  1. Schedule 3 non conference cupcakes and hopefully win all of them. This year- KU travels to Georgia Tech and Northern Illinois is no pushover.
  2. Beat K-State and Iowa State. I can't imagine a scenario in the future where KU goes to a bowl and doesn't beat both.
  3. Win one more game against the old Big 12 South and Missouri. Against OU, OSU, TT, A&M, and UT, KU has won 2, 1, 1, 1, and 0 games respectively in Big 12 play. The 2 OU wins were before Bob Stoops took over. Against Baylor and Missouri, KU has come close to break even, so the odds are that if KU is to make a bowl game, they will beat one of those two teams, both of which have upgraded their programs over the last 5-10 years.

hailtoku 7 years, 1 month ago

Seems simple enough doesn't it?

The fact that we have Baylor and Iowa State on our schedule every year plus 3 non conference games and are still unable to make a bowl game is pathetic. Beat the North Dakota States, the bottom teams in the conference and, God forbid, overachieve and beat Texas Tech or Kansas State.

hawkmaster 7 years, 1 month ago

Hmmm, I don't see Pick or Bourbon making much impact this year, Keegan had to dig to find 10 football positives is my guess. Bourbon broke his lower leg the end of April and while he may be technically ready to play who knows the lingering impact of this. I know Bourbon would be more of a fullback position, but I will be very disappointed if I don't see the ball in the hands of 5-star super fast freshman Darrian Miller - - and why isn't KU's best recruit listed as a top 10 positive by Keegan! Pick will not be a Kerry Meier or a starter at wide receiver and I don't see much impact. Yes, it will be very exciting to see the J-Hawks run it on 1st and 2nd downs, and put the q-back in a predictable 3rd down throwing situation - - I only hope the results are better than last year in this predictable offense. Playing all of the other teams in the conference should not be an excuse for poor play, this team's record better be improved. Most football teams fire their previous coach to upgrade and get a better coach to improve the team record, so no one should be looking for excuses for TG. But then we've seen total anarchy in the KU athletic dept. in the past few years, so who knows what to expect.....

David Atchley 7 years, 1 month ago

If KU was remotely serious about anything other than a break-even season, then the Jayhawk Nation would not tolerate such below average performance from their Athletic Department and Search Committee who manages to achieve mediocrity at every chance they're given. The UT fans wanted Mac Brown fired after a sub-par performance last year, and he's only won a national championship in the last 6 years, is nicknamed "Coach February" because he consistently is ranked in the Top 5 nationally in Recruiting, for 8 straight years he had seasons of 10 or more wins, etc. etc...The point being is when the fans demand a better result, a more quality performance, and hold their athletic departments and search committees to a higher standard, you tend to get expectations that far exceed "hoping" for a 5-5 season, or comments like "give the coach a chance" or "KU can't attract quality coaches or assistants to coach football, or recruiting is difficult, or the plethora of excuses that are spewed by the Jayhawk faithful. As long as you're content to make excuses for the historical embarassment that is Jayhawk Football and continue to be content with coaching hires from football powerhouses like the University of Buffalo....don't expect a different result.

hailtoku 7 years, 1 month ago

More competitive? Of course we are going to be more competitive.

We didn't just lose 9 games last year, we got demolished. And losing games the way we did is coaching.

Honestly, if Gill can't improve on 3-9 season, I want him out.

yates33333 7 years, 1 month ago

Keegan wrote: "the outlook for Kansas football looks better than it did heading into last season" I guess he means instead of a train wreck it'll be a car wreck this year!! Reminds me of the rhetorical question of whether you would rather be shot or poisoned.

Is there anyone in the remaining 10 of 12 KU might beat?

yates33333 7 years, 1 month ago

I guess it should be 9 of 11, although I don't know they may beat themselves.

Michael Leiker 7 years, 1 month ago

One year closer to the end of Turner Gill's contract.

Commenting has been disabled for this item.