Saturday, October 8, 2011

Matt Tait’s football notebook: Players say fans should be patient with KU coach Turner Gill

Kansas quarterback Jordan Webb throws against Oklahoma State during the fourth quarter on Saturday, Oct. 8, 2011 at Boone Pickens Stadium.

Kansas quarterback Jordan Webb throws against Oklahoma State during the fourth quarter on Saturday, Oct. 8, 2011 at Boone Pickens Stadium.


Podcast episode

Press Conferences & Post-Game Interviews

KU coach Turner Gill

Kansas coach Turner Gill talks to reporters following the Jayhawks' 70-28 loss to Oklahoma State on Oct. 8, 2011.

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Toben Opurum on OSU loss: 'It's embarrassing'

Kansas outside linebacker Toben Opurum talks to reporters following the Jayhawks' 70-28 loss to Oklahoma State on Oct. 8, 2011.

KU cornerback Greg Brown defends coach Turner Gill

KU cornerback Greg Brown defends coach Turner Gill following the Jayhawks' 70-28 loss to Oklahoma State on Oct. 8, 2011.

— Message boards, Twitter feeds and a variety of KU websites raged with a similar message during and after the Kansas University football team's latest lopsided loss, a 70-28 setback at Oklahoma State on Saturday.

That message? Fire Turner Gill.

Although Gill is just five games into his second season as head coach at Kansas, it's clear that the fan base has grown tired of watching his team give up huge yardage and point totals on a weekly basis. While the Jayhawks' performance has taken a toll on the players themselves, several said it's far too simple-minded to pinpoint Gill as the main problem.

"It's definitely too soon," said sophomore quarterback Jordan Webb. "People who are questioning us outside of the program, they can say what they want, but we're going to keep working hard and try our best. We're just gonna shut their opinions out because it really doesn't matter. If they knew half of what they thought they knew, they'd be in the coaching profession."

Added junior cornerback Greg Brown: "Coach Gill, he's the least of our problems. We just have to keep things positive and go out there and face what you have in front of you."

Why the hurry?

Despite squaring off against an offense that tries to get in as many as 100 plays per game, the KU offense seemed to be equally up-tempo throughout Saturday's game.

Asked why he didn't try to counter OSU's fast pace by milking the clock on every possession, Gill said he chose to stick with what had worked for his offense all season.

"It's a rhythm," Gill said. "I'm not gonna say we never will change our plan to maybe slow it down, but that's the way we have practiced, and, if you do that, you may be a little off-kilter. There's time to do that, slow it down. We're not necessarily in a fast pace sometimes. We're trying to get in the right play call."

He continued: "Looking at the overall picture, what's best for our football team, at this time I feel like we need to continue to have a rhythm and I think this first five ballgames, offensively, we've played well. So there hasn't been a specific reason to say, 'The offense is struggling. Let's change this up a little bit and try this or try that.'"

Webb, Biere lead KU offense

Both Gill and offensive coordinator Chuck Long said they were impressed with Webb's performance Saturday, as much from a competitive standpoint as from his final stat line.

Webb finished 25-of-36 passing for a career-high 316 yards and two touchdowns. He also threw two interceptions and lost a fumble.

"I thought Jordan, overall, threw the ball well," Long said. "Thirty-six attempts is probably our top end. We'd like to keep that around 30 or less, but it was just one of those games."

Webb's best drive of the day came in the first quarter, when he led the Jayhawks on a 10-play, 80-yard touchdown drive that gave Kansas a 7-0 lead to open the game. Webb was 6-of-7 on the possession, which included a 10-yard touchdown pass to tight end Tim Biere.

"We always talk about starting fast and we did just that," Webb said. "It's frustrating that we didn't build on that."

Speaking of Biere, the senior from Omaha recorded career-highs in both receptions (seven) and yards (93) to lead KU's receivers. His 35-yard catch on the opening drive also was a career long, and he became the 13th different Jayhawk to score a TD this season.

"Tim's one of our best offensive players," Webb said. "He definitely is. And I feel like we've gotta keep finding ways to get him the ball."

Injury update

Red-shirt freshman running back Brandon Bourbon got his bell rung on a kickoff return during Saturday's loss.

"Obviously, I think he had a little concussion," Gill said. "He didn't really know where he was at, and we'll get that reassessed. When you have something like that, we're all going to protect him, and he's not going to go back in at that time. We'll see how it all goes in the next week."

Safety Keeston Terry also left Saturday's game because of injury. Gill said after the game he did not know the type or severity of Terry's injury.

This and that ...

For the first time in five games, the Jayhawks lost Saturday's coin toss. Oklahoma State chose to defer its choice to the second halfm and Kansas elected to receive. ... Nick Sizemore's blocked punt in the third quarter was KU's first since the 2008 Insight Bowl. ... The 68-yard touchdown pass from Webb to freshman JaCorey Shepherd in the fourth quarter marked a career long for both players. ... Junior wide receiver Kale Pick recorded a career-high five receptions for 49 yards. ... Red-shirt freshman Ricki Herod snagged his first career reception. ... Temperature at kickoff was 83 degrees, under partly cloudy skies with winds gusting from 21-31 miles per hour out of the east.


Kirk 8 years, 7 months ago

The players are defending the coaches (who are more or less pointing the finger at them for poor execution.)

Well, the ball is rolling now. What next? A statement from Zenger supporting the head coach?

That's when you really know.

Next week is a write off, but the KSU game will probably be pivotal. A blowout loss to them could be it.

johnnyhrdwd 8 years, 7 months ago

We're losing too much momentum with Gill, there is economics behind a football program. Let's take some of that new television money and hire someone from the Snyder tree again. We getting beat too bad to wait and see how things turn out.

GridironHawk 8 years, 7 months ago

I agree that a blow out against KSU like the last one might doom Gill but I still believe in giving a guy at least 4 years to get his players in place. Let's not forget that the last two recruiting classes have been pretty nice and, although a small class, the next doesn't look bad either (really need a DT though). We are the youngest team in the Big 12. Having 3 DCs in the last 3 years can really make a head spin and that's exactly what our D is doing. I wish the coordinators would stop playing chess with each other and just let the players play. There is way too much "gameday" coaching in college football these days.

Frankenhawk 8 years, 7 months ago

of course they are defending him. especially the ones who played for mangino. he takes them to Dave and Busters', gives them candy, and generally does nothing a football coach usually does such as make them play football.

they are afraid they might actually have to work if they get a new coach, that would just be horrible.

ahpersecoachingexperience 8 years, 7 months ago

Hey current players. If you are reading this... Transfer!!!

Pitthawk34 8 years, 7 months ago

This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.

Dan Cook 8 years, 7 months ago

I really wish you would transfer to another message board.

Martin Hanna 8 years, 7 months ago

Good teams depend upon juniors and seniors while throwing in a few sophomores and freshman. Most teams red shirt one year. That being said, we are judging Gill on Mangino’s post orange bowl recruits. Do not count last year due to the fact that Gill was maintaining Mangino’s recruiting commitments. Only the true freshmen playing this year are Gill’s recruits. I will judge him once the freshmen get to their senior year. That’s four years from now. I would like to see Gill red shirt more and attempt to load up on his players. No coach can throw current players under the bus and state these are not my guy’s. Reality is that the current players are not Gill’s players. Gill is playing the hand Mangino left.

bradh 8 years, 7 months ago

You're right, but I'm giving him one more year before I expect to see significant improvement or I think he should be gone. We're getting beat regularly by 30+ points and if he can't do better than that he shouldn't be coaching in the Big 12. I'm hoping he can get it done, but I'm not seeing the improvement and there has been a decline with the product on the field.

mjhawkchalk 8 years, 7 months ago

Finally someone on here has common sense.

Mike Nicco 8 years, 7 months ago

No way he gets that chance now. The fan base won't give him time to see his 1st recruiting class make it to their senior year.

GridironHawk 8 years, 7 months ago

I'm both a Gill supporter and Mangino (yes we do exist). However, it is very obvious that the cupboard was bare and that was on Mangino's watch. Maybe he had plans to fix that but can't argue that the talent level is just not there. Also, the Big 12 Gill is currently facing is not the same Big 12 that Mangino used to face (also only 3 non-conf. games now and GT wasn't one of those non-conf games back in '03) so it is very tough to compare. I hate the blowouts as much as the next person but I do not agree with selling out and getting JUCO players for immediate success. There are some good players available but most just don't pan out and bring more headaches than 'Ws' (see Jocques Crawford). It's like any get-rich-quick scheme. Sounds great but usually is too good to be true. Give the man 5 years and thus cuze at him all you want. Either Gill works out or we start rebuilding in 5 years (3 more). What do we have to lose? Don't say "Set us back or losing momentum" (1 good season where we played half the big 12 and 4 no names is a powerhouse).

Lynn Stuart 8 years, 7 months ago

Look Mangino took some really horrible players put in some J U C O players and still won more than 2 games TG hasnt figured that out yet and he never will he remembers how nebraska was under osborn but he is not osborn and this is not nebraska if he is such a religous man then it seems that he is feeding the lambs to the lions !!!! suck it up and get the fat man back cause no one else will want the job the way mangino was treated, Leach yeah odd as he is who in their rite mind would want to coach here when the admin wont stand behind them when little whinny kids would rather play xbox and chase girls then be a top notch football team

mjhawkchalk 8 years, 7 months ago

Nice grammar, eurojayhawk. Although I think your argument was just as worse as your grammar.

Andy Tweedy 8 years, 7 months ago

You actually have to use grammar before it can be considered "nice!"

David Atchley 8 years, 7 months ago

Kansas has been a "punch line" ever since the hiring of Turner Gill....his antics have been "Mike Singletary" like and with the Ticket scandal, the convenient resignation of Lew Perkins to avoid facing any charges,

makes Kirk Herbestreit's comment on national TV "Is Kansas still playing football...that program is a train wreck" ring loud and clear.

The addition of TCU has pushed Kansas farther down the list of consideration for any "Tier 2 and 3" high school football player from Texas.

Kansas should consider hiring Mike Leach or Chad Morris. Leach took over a dismal Texas Tech program, and created an electric offense that put many players into the NFL.. He's available, and has very deep high school football coach relationships in Texas.

The other candidate to consider is "Chad Morris." Google this guy if you don't know him. He won State Football Championships in high school football with 2 different schools, and was "Todd Reesing's" coach at Lake Travis High School.

He was hired to be the OC at Tulsa, and quickly turned that program around. To the point, he was hired away by Clemson to be their OC this year. He is well respected in the high school coaching ranks in Texas and is considered one of the rising stars in the college coaching ranks.

It is imperative to have influence and relationships to have any high school player consider your school, and that goes double in the State of Texas.

Mike Nicco 8 years, 7 months ago

TCU already got the highest rated player in KS and #8 rated "Pro-style" QB in the country to commit!! Tyler Matthews from McPherson.

Andy Tweedy 8 years, 7 months ago

If Turner Gill is fired, we will be in much better shape than we were when he was hired. It has been a pretty rough ride so far, but the recruiting has been a bright spot. The foundation for a solid offense has been laid for years to come, and while the defense has been pretty awful, there is a lot of young speed on the roster.

danmoore 8 years, 7 months ago


Let's see what he can do with his own players.

GridironHawk 8 years, 7 months ago

Yea so why fire Gill then considering he is the one who laid the "foundation" you mention. Let those players mature and then see what Gill can do with them. Just imagine who he could bring in if they start winning....

boknowssports 8 years, 7 months ago

Gill was below average at Buffalo and he is record setting bad at KU. I've tired of hearing about our offense has improved as an excuse. Well, it was pathetic last year, it had to improve. Last I checked, a head coach was responsible for the play on both sides of the ball. Gill has no clue about what to do. He is lost. The KU football ship is adrift at sea and taking on water. Gill clearly was not ready for a BCS conference team. He still needs much more seasoning in a lower division.

Paul Christiansen 8 years, 7 months ago

What Turner Gill did at Buffalo was actually
Pretty impressive, except nobody cares about Buffalo.

Now, he needs to recruit people who can play immediately.

I still believe Mark Manginos recruiting after The Orange bowl victory was subpar.

How does Gill overcome bad recruiting by the former coaching staff?

squawkhawk 8 years, 7 months ago

"How does Gill overcome bad recruiting by the former coaching staff?"

It's called coaching. It is what Bill Snyder does every day of every week of every year. If Turner Gill can't do this then he needs to give his two weeks notice and forfeit the rest of his contract.

Andy Tweedy 8 years, 7 months ago

Dangerous to compare anybody to Bill Snyder. While I hate KSU, a Bill Snyder only comes along once in a lifetime. The dude is a genius...

Kirk 8 years, 7 months ago

Looks like the guys who coached under Snyder learned a thing or two also. We should hire one of them again.

squawkhawk 8 years, 7 months ago

Good point, there are plenty around the country in head coaching or assistant jobs.

kranny 8 years, 7 months ago

Snyder goes after very good JUCO players and gets them coached up. I personally think this is what Gill needs to do for the D-line. We can't wait to get 225 pound redshirt freshmen to fatten up and play D-line. We need to get D linemen now. Two really fast linebackers that weigh around 250 would be cool also.

squawkhawk 8 years, 7 months ago

That is a good idea but I think Gill and staff will still struggle with the "coach them up" part.

actorman 8 years, 7 months ago

Gill was NOT below average at Buffalo, and if you say that you're displaying complete ignorance. "Average" at Buffalo was 1 or 2 wins a year for a decade or more, and what he did there was actually quite a feat, as pchris pointed out. Unfortunately, it doesn't seem to have transferred to KU, at least so far.

There are a lot of legitimate things you can say at this point to criticize TG, but saying he was below average at Buffalo is not one of them.

Rob Kanavy 8 years, 7 months ago

I can't help but feel that if the Fat man was still here, we wouldn't all be on this site every day waiting for the other shoe to drop when it comes to the dissolution of the Big 12. As much as I want to give TG a chance, let's face the fact that if our football program was even considered "average", guys like me who are on East Coast time wouldn't be fretting about one day having to stay up till one in the morning to watch KU play at Air Force during basketball season.

Jayhawker111 8 years, 7 months ago

Turner Gill is a class guy --give him 5 years to prove what he can do.

Would you rather have a guy like Bo Pelini at Nebraska who is an embarrassment to the university and is a Woody Hayes waiting to happen.

Gill will be fine ---he can recruit.

Micky Baker 8 years, 7 months ago

He might be able to recruit, but he hasn't proved he can coach.

Micky Baker 8 years, 7 months ago

Players want fans to be patient? I bet so if Gill keeps telling them their good, when they play terribly on game day.

Micky Baker 8 years, 7 months ago

I agree. If you want a snickers, go buy one. They're barely a $1.50. If you want to win games, START PLAYING FOOTBALL.

There is economics to college sports. If the fan base bails on the team, Kansas will lose more than $10 million a year in revenues. This isn't "we like a coach that keeps telling us that we're good when we know we really suck".

Don't take it wrong. Turner Gill isn't courageous enough to make the players work hard, and there is no discipline on the defense. NONE. The basics should have been learned in Junior High Football. But, you're going to have to get back to the basics and work on tackling technique, coverage technique, pass rushing technique. This should be half of the practices for the rest of this season. Watching tape, well players, you don't need anyone to tell you can. YOU CAN! You don't have to ask for permission!

MorganR 8 years, 7 months ago

As much as I would like to see KU win, I urge fans to give deference to the players and give coach Gill the benefit of additional time. From my perspective, KU’s habit of hiring and firing coaches that don't immediately produce desired results is not good for the University or the football program.

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