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Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Keegan

Can’t quite ‘believe’

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Jayhawks try to put big loss behind them

The Kansas football players and coaching staff are doing their best to move on from loss to Oklahoma State and prepare for their next opponent, the daunting Oklahoma Sooners.

Credit Kansas University football coach Turner Gill with consistency. He arrived in Lawrence from Buffalo sharing a one-word acronym, and there he stood again Tuesday touting the same.

“As we prepare for this game, I know we’re referring to our mission statement,” Gill said. “As we know about the word ‘believe,’ it’s something that you got to carry on and keep you moving forward, and I know that’s what our players are (doing) and our coaching staff.”

One of Gill’s first assignments for his players was to have them memorize what each letter in the word ‘believe’ stands for in his mission statement.

“The first letter of the word believe is ‘B,’ (and it stands for) believe in each other and things not yet seen, and that’s kind of where we’re at,” he said.

Still.

Things not yet seen, such as sound tackling. If you don’t believe you can tackle, you never will, but if you believe you can, that doesn’t guarantee you will.

“A good quote that I kind of looked up here, and I think really kind of hits me in a good spot and our football team too,” Gill said, “it says, ‘He who believes is strong. Strong convictions precede great actions.’ That’s why that word, ‘belief.’ You gotta have some strong convictions.”

I’ve been accused over the years of being a Doubting Thomas, not necessarily always a fair criticism. For example, I used to firmly believe I was going to win the lottery. Now I’m starting to wonder if I ever will. Lately, I’ve started to think that maybe rather than just believe that my numbers will come in, I need to pursue another means of dealing with financial pressure.

KU’s football coach’s pressure is not of the financial variety, rather from the unrest swirling around the state of his football team. If he’s feeling any of that heat, he doesn’t show it. His outlook remains positive, his temperament even. He continues to treat people the way he would like to be treated.

Those of us who don’t have access to coaches meetings, film sessions and practices tend to focus on the numbers on the scoreboard, such as the 56-7 halftime score Saturday in Stillwater, Okla.

Coaches study the numbers more deeply, Gill explained.

“After five ballgames, we’re No. 1 in the conference in net punting,” Gill said, referring to the aspect of the game the opposition rarely shows against Kansas.

He added that KU has the fewest penalty yards in the conference.

Next, Gill compared the Kansas offense favorably to that of the next opponent, third-ranked Oklahoma.

“Comparing per attempt, we’re at 9.5 yards and they’re at 8.5; per completion we’re at 13.8 and they’re at 12.5; per play, 6.1, they’re at 6.7,” he said. “Third-down conversion, we’re at 51 percent, they’re at 47 percent. Pass efficiency, we’re second in the conference, they’re fifth in the conference.”

He didn’t mention that Kansas allows 49.4 points per game, Oklahoma 15.6, or that the Jayhawks allow 556 yards a game, compared to the Sooners’ 330, or that KU opponents have a 55-percent success rate on third down, compared to 32 percent for OU foes.

Those numbers fly in the face of blind faith and could undermine the mission statement.

Comments

squawkhawk 2 years, 6 months ago

If Gill truly believes maybe he'll click his heels together and then he won't be in Kansas anymore.

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kuhawks28 2 years, 6 months ago

I believe too.

I believe Turner Gill is our Ron Prince or our Bill Callahan.

I believe quite a few of us knew he wasn't ready for this job.

I believe he's plunging what we had into ruin.

I believe one day the moving vans with his family and belongings will be escorted to the state border as they cross into 'safe' Nebraska territory when our A.D. with the Star Trek character's name decides to do something instead of playing sudoku all day.

That's what I believe.

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BarkingHawk 2 years, 6 months ago

I 'believe.' I believe that on Saturday evening, we are - once again - going to get the living crap kicked out of us.

And I believe it is going to continue for say, another two weeks, or until Emaw Snyder administers the coup de gras to this coaching regime and any remaining support for its continuance.

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Ralster Jayhawk 2 years, 6 months ago

Look, whatever positives the offense might be doing is sorely overshadowed in the mountain of negative milestones the defense is busy generating. Even NFL cornerbacks cannot cover recievers beyond a certain amt of seconds--well known fact. You have to have pressure on the QB. We need a D-line. We need a pass rush.

Another fact is you cannot fire a coach until you fully judge his "product". Well, Gill has some good things going on the offensive side, although the play calling vs. TxTech was odd. It is sad when you beat yourself in that mental chessmatch of trying to outfox the opposition by going against conventional wisdom. That may work on a well-rehearsed trick play, like Sean Payton did with the Saints in their SuperBowl, but it wont work all game long to go against football wisdom. We dont have to think this up--it already exists.

Gill gets 2 more years. The D has to improve, and it must do so against the real BigXII, not the asterisk* seasons that Mangino had. We want to do it for real. If Gill cant do it by then, he goes.

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hihawk 2 years, 6 months ago

Tom K. does a good job, I like his articles and he brings out some good points. I believe Tom's articles are right on the spot.

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hihawk 2 years, 6 months ago

I think the stupid idiot really belives he is doing a good job. Just keep those pay checks coming.

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Benjamin Piehler 2 years, 6 months ago

I don't usually Keegan bash, but isn't this like the exact same article as a week ago?

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zturner29 2 years, 6 months ago

Keagan's articles are a waste of time.... How about we start a fire keagan website?!

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willite 2 years, 6 months ago

Anymore if an article has Keagan's name attached to it, I just skip it.

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Kevin Long 2 years, 6 months ago

I hope OU drops 100 on us! I know O State could have. I want Gill gone and massive losses are going to be the only way it will happen sooner rather than later.

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johnnyhrdwd 2 years, 6 months ago

Lets ask Kirk Herbstreit what he thinks, oh wait he said our program was an absolute trainwreck. Is Herbstreit more qualified than Keegan? Where do we draw the line, I was behind Gill but this is more than he can handle. Gill was never even a coordinator for the huskers. I saw Gill play in 83 and trust me I was rooting for him to succeed. Repeating something over and over again that doesn't work is the definition of insanity.

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Kirk 2 years, 6 months ago

Those who criticize Keegan as a journalist are the same people who disagree with his point of view (which is not merely that KU sucks today, but that he doesn't "believe" Kansas is on a path of meaningful improvement.)

Get over yourselves. It's a short opinion piece that doesn't pretend to inside knowledge.

Two steps back. One step forward. That's KU football "improvement."

When's tip off?

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W Keith Swinehart II 2 years, 6 months ago

I can't 'believe' that Keegan is trying to pull off the act that he is the voice of Kansas University sports. It is clear that he is unhappy with the current program. But, it is also clear that he doesn't know the bounds of his job as a sports reporter.

Good reporters give good reports on what's going on in the local sports world. They talk about players and coaches and events, upcoming and past in interesting and inciteful ways. They are supposed to build interest and excitement and... and hope about the future of the various sports programs and events occurring within the scope of the locality they are covering. I think they should try to show support for the sports program and let the AD and other administrative people do the opining behind closed doors, with all information at hand.

Casting a pall around a program is the last thing they want to do. The blackness of such commentary spreads to all readers, all being players, coaches, alumni and reporters and supporters of opposing programs. Keegan is spreading gloom and doom about a program he knows little about.

I like lots of Keegan articles. But the kind of journalism in his latest article is not within the scope of his duties. You can tell from the comments of REAL people above (not just the usual assortment of wannabe coaches and former players) who love their school and want to believe and hope for glory days that Keegan overstepped. I do think that the LJW, also, has a responsibility to be a strong supporter of their local sports, and let the school directors and administrators worry about the direction of the particular program or head coach (maybe 5 years minimum opportunity).

Regarding Coach Gill, I think he is a fine man, from a top-notch football program, with great experience from actual duty. He is new, with just a few players of his own choosing. He must have the experience and time to determine what he needs and then deliver. Nobody hurts more than the coach when things go wrong. So, give him his due respect. I have hope, and 'believe' he can deliver if given a chance.

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kureader 2 years, 6 months ago

Scarletbhound and LTCUSARet wrote really good posts here.

I don't live in Lawrence. I come to the LJW site to find detailed information and insight that only a Lawrence newspaper could have. LJW reporters attend practices and have special access to players, coaches and administrators almost every day. An evening doesn't pass when there isn't some kind of KU activity to attend. And, they live in Lawrence. LJW staffers can't run errands, shop, attend school activities, or go to dinner without bumping into coaches, players, administrators, alumni, former players, and others with inside information about KU athletics.

Additionally, there are more sports reporters at the LJW than I can name. LJW sports articles could be filled with great information ... every single day. Instead, we're getting lazy, uninformative stuff ... sometimes mean-spirited articles about coaches and players (like those written about Berglund before his freshman year even began) ... gossip about former players (like the Patterson article from yesterday) ... and, shallow opinion pieces that provide very little insight into KU athletics (like the article above).

LJW does have good writers. Matt Tait comes closest to hitting the target for writing informative pieces. There are others. As for Keegan, he may write lazy articles sometimes, but he's not dumb. And, he's a nice guy. My disapointment isn't just with Keegan, it's LJW. We frequently get better information from the bloggers than from the LJW staff. LJW goals just seem to be different from those of many readers. Com'on LJW, you're in a unique position to do a great job with KU sports reporting. Do it.

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bville_hawk 2 years, 6 months ago

I'm not a journalist, but since at least half the posters here are Keegan bashers I have to ask: Is Keegan a reporter or a columnist? I think his job if he's a columnist is to write columns that provoke thought and conversation. In that regard I would view him as mainly successful. If he's a reporter then, yeah, I pretty much agree with the bashers.

Curious thing is, though, that columnists that I don't like on the editorial page I just don't read their columns. You bashers can't seem to get enough of his columns. If you don't like what he writes just don't read it.

Like most of the rest of you I want to read about KU sports and thoughtful comments about KU sports. All this bitching, and pissing, and moaning about every column that TK writes is tiresome reading.

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nuleafjhawk 2 years, 6 months ago

“The first letter of the word believe is ‘B,’ (and it stands for) believe in each other and things not yet seen, and that’s kind of where we’re at,” he said.

The last letter of the word believe is " E " (and it stands for) EXIT. As in, the exits are located at the front and rear of Lawrence, Ks and lead to places not yet seen, and that's kind of where we're at, I said.

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squawkhawk 2 years, 6 months ago

I think Gill needs to adopt Snyder's 16 rules. It seems to work for them while Gill's attempts to motivate...well, not so much.

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Hatter8333 2 years, 6 months ago

Good coaching should certainly begin to be evident by this time in the Gill regime. If you look at Coach Synder in his second year (last year) the team was making huge progress in many areas and not getting blown out. They even blew us out in our stadium. This is not going in the right direction and its going to go from bad to worse. The hiring of Turner Gill was a huge gamble and one that we are going to pay for for a long time.

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iamakufan 2 years, 6 months ago

Did you really mean to call it an "acronym?" As a journalist you should know better!

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Eric Dawson 2 years, 6 months ago

Mr. Simons,

Poster scarletbhound has it right in his comment above.

"Good reporting is not stating the obvious; it is getting inside, knowing the people, taking the pulse of the program. The LJW really needs to find a columnist who can back up opinions with solid, informed reporting. That's what we look for in KU's hometown newspaper. Instead, we get nothing but mindless bloviating from someone who clearly has not done the work he was hired to do."

Mr. Simons. LJW Sports and KUSports.com needs help as much as KUFB needs help.

At least you can do something about it NOW, since Keegan doesn't have a huge buyout in his contract.

Please, PLEASE get rid of him and get someone decent as Sports editor.

Thank you from a paid subscriber.

PS to other Posters -- Are you also tired of TK? Let Dolph Simons, Jr know. dsimonsjr@ljworld.com

I did.

Rock Chalk Jayhawk KU!

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Ron Prichard 2 years, 6 months ago

Hello pot, I mean Tom? The kettle's calling. He says you need to leave now. Yes, you are a good man, but the effort--or lack thereof--you put into your articles makes it impossible to "believe" you will ever produce anything more than an uninformed, half-hearted, redundant opinion piece.

Your writing flies in the face of blind faith and could undermine the mission statement.

.

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Kenneth Hillman 2 years, 6 months ago

Please go grab Mike Stoops as our DC for the rest of the season.

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jgkojak 2 years, 6 months ago

One good thing about our 10 team B12...

We'll be able to get a fair evaluation every year on where our team is - no "down years" where we miss Oklahoma or Texas.

I've often thought its hard to chart your team's progress in a system like that.

I'm willing to give him 1 more year. 5 wins he gets 1 more year. A bowl game = we're on track.

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chalky 2 years, 6 months ago

Teams are to us, from Midfield!!! to pin us inside our twenty. We are punting from, our twenty. Why would we not be first in "net punting"?

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Mizzou4Life 2 years, 6 months ago

Jaybate, if you run away again and don't return to our discussion, I'm never going to let this go quiet.

12:00pm 11/13

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Yolanda Gay 2 years, 6 months ago

I'm still trying to understand if people think Tom is the worst columnist ever; why do they continue to read his columns?

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Robert Brock 2 years, 6 months ago

I'm still trying to understand why Keegan thinks KU should join the Big East.

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Jaminrawk 2 years, 6 months ago

It's funny that it seems like 55% success on 3rd down seems really low after watchig this team. I wonder how many of the opponents first downs are after 1st or 2nd downs then.

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troutsee 2 years, 6 months ago

So, the real issue here according to most of the comments, is that Keegan is not a true journalist. How petty! We have one of the worst defenses I have ever witnessed. The die-hard KU football fans are angry as hell that the team seems to be in disarray, and we focus on the writer of an article rather than the horrible play of our team. Talk about missing the point!!

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Dyrk Dugan 2 years, 6 months ago

this mantra is getting old. Keegan is already on record he should be fired. he's been on him since day one because of conditioning...and it's never stopped.

we have a bad defense right now...it's not a big stretch or newsworthy to point that out. is it explainable? absolutely.

should this coach be allowed to get some of his players in....get some experience.....and then solidify his defensive coordinator and staff? of course.

how many times can we say it: 3rd DC in three years. The DC that Gill hired, and was well respected throughout college football had to retire AFTER spring ball. The new DC, who had never been a DC before at the major college level, changed schemes.....and we're basically using all new players sans Steven Johnson, Toben and Richard Johnson.

this football team is so young....we're literally playing the future right now...and there's plenty of future that isn't even playing right now. does he need to land some DTs in recruiting? you bet he does. a new DC hire? probably.

let the man coach....let's get thru this season......and as i said last year, this coach will steal a football game this year...maybe two. let's give him the chance to do it.

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JS82 2 years, 6 months ago

If I had a guaranteed $10 million contract I probably would be optimistic too. I pretty much know I have a job or a very large payout. He has no worries. He is probably set for life whether he coaches in D-1 ever again. It allows him to look at the "sunny side" of what is going on. Obviously he wants to be successful but this was a bad contract for KU and Perkins made a big mistake in negotiating it.

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IrishDaddy 2 years, 6 months ago

Sure, throw the black guy under the bus!

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jgkojak 2 years, 6 months ago

Keegan - your articles just sound 'mean' - making fun of the "believe" piece.

Its a motivational technique. You sound like a schoolyard bully, really no better than the message board posters that used to make fun of Mangino for his weight.

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psychoanalyst 2 years, 6 months ago

Keegan has been on the job twice as long as Gill. He hasn't had to recruit anybody, hasn't had to coach anybody up, and yet the product that he prints off every few days is weak, lazy, and unimaginitive. I can no longer believe that he'll turn it around and give us some real journalism (like Tait, Newell, Bedore, etc). So, I think it's time to ask for him to "man up" and resign mid-season. After all, I'm just looking at the scoreboard Keegs.

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Mike Kendall 2 years, 6 months ago

"Believe." Ha. I believe that unfortunately, we fans and alumni will have to wait until next season for the next win. Just hope the K-State game is competitive. Good grief, these next two games are on TV.

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Keith Richards 2 years, 6 months ago

I still think Gill needs a solid 3 years before anyone says he is incompetent. He has improved recruiting, obviously improved the offense, and the defense has gone backward.

He only really has 1 recruiting class of his in the program. Give it time.

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Keith Hummel 2 years, 6 months ago

I share Tom's overall sentiment here, but it feels like piling on. If his goal was to echo the mood of the fans right now, then I think this column is a success. But that seems too easy. I'm looking for answers. What exactly needs to get fixed on this defense? I guess I'm expecting the sports reporters to do a little investigative journalism and find out.

I've given up on getting anything substantive out of Gill's pressers, and I'm not finding it here, so I've been looking elsewhere. This morning I listened to an interview of Darius Willis on Rivals, for example, hoping for some clues. Though the reporters asked good questions, Willis said almost nothing. I'm reluctant to get on his case for that because he's a kid, and I feel badly for him, and I'm sure they are taught to be evasive and non-informative. But if we can't get anything from the coaches and the players, can we at least get some informed analysis from the reporters?

To that end, is it possible to have more of "The Breakdown" series of articles that Jesse Newell did for awhile? We haven't seen one of those since the aftermath of the Ga Tech game. While those articles typically only give us a glimpse into one breakdown on one play, they might give us a hint into what is plaguing this defense overall.

We (the fans) wage battle daily in the comment section of this site, arguing over who's to blame and what needs to be fixed. Is it due to youth, inexperience, lack of talent, coaching incompetence, schedule, bad luck, fan support, or all of the above? I for one don't know, but when your getting your lunch handed to you week in and week out, something fundamentally is wrong. Can we get more articles and columns that address that fundamental question, and fewer like this one?

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Andy Tweedy 2 years, 6 months ago

Tom, isn't this basically the same article you posted the other day titled "No defense for KU coach Turner Gill"

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miseryh8r 2 years, 6 months ago

I used to "believe" that keegan was the worst writer on the staff. Now I "know" he is. He is the biggest doubting Thomas in the world. I have always felt that a coach needs 3-4 years to prove himself and I want Gill to succeed more than ever now so that you have to eat your words.....something you should be good at.....

Do us all a favor and quit.....let the reporting up to the professionals. You report like Gill coaches so far and your 3-4 year window is up

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blackhawkjayhawk 2 years, 6 months ago

I looked up Mangino's record last night. Pretty mediocre to bad - though he was good at coaching bowl games. As stated by others, his greatest success was driven by a top-flight quarterback, just like it is in the NFL. Before Reesing arrived and after he left, the record is pretty bad.

Mangino may have started to believe his own press clippings and he may have gotten lazy on the recruiting, leaving a bare cupboard for Gill. Gill's coaching style appears to be built on building a foundation of believers, not so much on teaching technique. The result of Mangino's recruiting ineptitude and Gill's coaching style is a historically bad football team.

The answer to the question as to whether Gill should be kept for another year is pretty simple: Will the defense be dramatically better next year? If not, we'll go 0-9 in the Big 12 and we'll be looking for a coach then.

The issue of money comes up frequently as a reason for keeping TG. If the prospect for 2012 is 0-9, what damage do you do to KU by keeping him on?

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kusayzone 2 years, 6 months ago

Tom, are you saying TG is the Music Man and using the think method, you can play beautiful music?

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scarletbhound 2 years, 6 months ago

I spent several years as a sports reporter for one of the wire services on the East Coast, covering professional and college sports -- ACC basketball and football, the then-Baltimore Colts, Navy football. I give that background to support my belief that Tom Keegan is a lazy and not particularly bright columnist. He gives it away by admiting he doesn't know what goes on in the KU coaches meeting. When I was writing about sports I always had solid inside sources who could tell me what was going on within the program. Keegan admits he is not connected to the KU football program and only sees the scoreboard. To judge Gill solely by scoreboard after only two years into what everyone recognizes is a massive rebuilding program is shallow and insulting to the readers. What I want to know is whether Gill is making progress in the intangibles -- do players and coaches have confidence in Gill's leadership? Is he laying the foundation for long-term success? Is he developing good relationships with high school coaches that will pay off in recruting? Those are the issues a competent sports writer would be focusing on at this stage of Gill's tenure. But Keegan sees only what is apparent to everyone -- that KU is getting blown out. Good reporting is not stating the obvious; it is getting inside, knowing the people, taking the pulse of the program. The LJW really needs to find a columnist who can back up opinions with solid, informed reporting. That's what we look for in KU's hometown newspaper. Instead, we get nothing but mindless bloviating from someone who clearly has not done the work he was hired to do.

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willie_fu_fu 2 years, 6 months ago

“After five ballgames, we’re No. 1 in the conference in net punting,” Gill said, referring to the aspect of the game the opposition rarely shows against Kansas.

This is what he's basing the teams improvement on??? Gee I bet were #1 in Kickoff return attempts aswell, Huge props to you Turner Gill for bring us to new heights.

Can't wait to see we are #1 in points allowed and yards allowed at the end of the season.

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Micky Baker 2 years, 6 months ago

I believe that Turner Gill is incompetent to coach at this level.

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pepper_bar 2 years, 6 months ago

TK has revealed that KU's football team isn't very good. Thank you for this shocking expose.

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pepper_bar 2 years, 6 months ago

TK has revealed that KU's football team isn't very good. Thank you for this shocking expose.

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ahpersecoachingexperience 2 years, 6 months ago

TK, fellas like you and I hit the "genetic lottery" and that's all that matters!

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ahpersecoachingexperience 2 years, 6 months ago

Is it true that Third Eye Blind is going to preform there song "Jumper" at halftime to calm the crowd??? Or is someone pulling my leg???

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