Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Defense holds player-only talk

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.


On most Tuesdays, Mrkonic Auditorium in Kansas University’s Anderson Family Football Complex is the spot where KU players and coaches talk to the media from 11:30 a.m. until well after 1 p.m.

Not this week.

Tuesday, after KU coach Turner Gill addressed reporters about the Jayhawks’ upcoming battle with No. 3 Oklahoma — kickoff is set for 8:15 p.m. Saturday at Memorial Stadium — the usual action shifted to the chancellor’s lounge and wrapped up before 1. The reason? The auditorium was booked for a special meeting involving the KU defense. Before heading to the auditorium, sophomore cornerback Tyler Patmon said the meeting was called by the players.

“We want to respond to what’s been going on, and we want to accept the challenge that people are putting on us by saying we’re such a bad defense,” Patmon said. “We want to come together and see what’s going on and try to fix our problems.”

Asked what the meeting was about, Patmon kept it vague.

“That’s a defensive meeting,” he said with a smile.

Asked if any coaches would be present, Patmon’s smile grew.

“I don’t think so,” he said. “Just players.”

These types of meetings are common throughout sports and often come when teams are in tough situations. The Jayhawks, 2-3 overall and 0-2 in Big 12 play, qualify, since they’ve been outscored 108-42 in the past seven quarters and 181-86 during the past three games.

Another way the Jayhawks have tried to fight through their recent struggles is by encouraging one another. Junior safety Lubbock Smith, who may start this week if red-shirt freshman Keeston Terry (questionable) is unable to go, wrote the words “Show up or shut up” on the wall of the locker room to get his point across.

“I’m just trying to motivate the other guys around me,” Smith said. “I wasn’t trying to point fingers at anybody. If we lose, we all lose together. It’s just a matter of trying to separate the boys from the men. It was just supposed to be like, ‘Hey, we play OU this week, they’re the No. 1 team in the country, either you’re going to show up or you’re going to shut up.’ Now, if you make mistakes on the field, that’s understandable. But people are going to see if you’re really pushing and really trying to win. You can’t really control what other people are going to do, but you can control your focus and whether or not you’ve been in the film room watching film or working hard in practice.”

Gill talks TCU

Monday’s announcement that Texas Christian University officially had accepted an invitation to join the Big 12 brought a smile to the face of Gill, a native of Fort Worth, Texas, where TCU is located.

“It will be interesting when we play TCU at (their) home,” Gill said Tuesday. “That’s my hometown, probably a five- to 10-minute drive from where I grew up. It’s good to have them in. They’ve earned it and deserve it. They’re going to be a good addition to our league.”

Biere honored as top TE

Earlier this week, senior tight end Tim Biere was named the nation’s top tight end for the week by the College Football Performance Awards. Biere, who shares the team lead in receptions, with 19, finished last week’s 70-28 loss at Oklahoma State with 93 yards and a touchdown on seven receptions. The yardage and reception totals were career-highs, but Biere was not overly impressed.

“It feels good to earn the honor,” he said Tuesday. “But it’s kind of bittersweet because my performance came in a blowout.”

His head coach was much more moved by the honor.

“It’s good exposure for the University of Kansas,” Gill said. “It’s good recognition for him. He’s a captain, leader, playmaker; he’s very good, and he makes plays. We’ve seen that a lot in the first five games. He’s been able to produce for us, and I hope he continues to do that.”

Asked if he’d search for more ways to get the ball in Biere’s hands, Gill drummed up an analogy from another sport in which tight ends are known to excel.

“You hear the statements in basketball, if you have a hot guy, you’re going to try and get him the ball and let him go do his thing,” Gill said. “It’s a little bit harder in football, but you still try to get those things done, and we will try to do that.”

Fresh faces?

Part of the ongoing process of improving a defense that ranks dead last in the FBS in total defense includes evaluating new faces and tinkering with the idea of putting some of them in new places.

The KU coaching staff is prepared to do that. Defensive coordinator Vic Shealy said Tuesday that true freshmen Ben Heeney (LB), Michael Reynolds (DE) and Victor Simmons (S) may get a longer look during live action in the coming weeks simply because of their speed and tenacity.

While the three freshmen look great at times because of their natural gifts, it’s the mental side of the game that has kept them off the field for the majority of the season. During the past couple of weeks, Shealy and company have tried to change that by gradually giving them more work in practice.

“We have been repping them to try to knock down some of that mental wall,” Shealy said. “But on defense, it’s hard to play young kids because, even though they may be fast and may look great at times, if they’re going fast in the wrong direction it may end up hurting you more.”

Shealy also said Tuesday that freshman defensive end Javonte Daniel had shown great progress. These guys may not take over for the starters or even make their way into the depth chart permanently, but, as the season goes on, expect to see them on the field more often.


Micky Baker 6 years, 8 months ago

I hope the conversation was about "who really wants to be playing football"? If you don't want to play, please quit because there are others waiting in the wings with the heart.

As far as being in the film room, if you haven't figured out how to get there by now, its probably too late.

Micky Baker 6 years, 8 months ago

There are three 4 star athletes on this defense, and face it, losing by 69 and by 70 shows a lack of preparation and a lack of character.

I wouldn't be saying this if OSU won by say 51 to 28 or if Georgia Tech won by a tally of 49 to 24. That I could live with.

Not 69. Not 70.

And we must also face that against OSU, it was 49-7 in less than two quarters. Even Patmon said that it was to separate the men from the boys.

The late Al Davis taught something, and not to many around Lawrence like the man, "THE WILL TO WIN". It has to translate to the field, and doesn't mean they're going to win this year, but they sure as hell can win two or three more ball games this year with heart and learning from the mistakes they've made(WORK ETHIC).

They don't deserve a pat on the back yet, with all due respect.

There isn't a difference between sports in High School if there is an athletic department committed to teaching the kids how to play as a team (teamwork), how to prepare (Work Ethic), and how to admit that you make mistakes (Character) and improve from them and collegiate sports.

Right now, at this point, I would say there are three men on this defense.

Greg Brown Patmon Toben

The rest are still boys, and it is largely because of the coaching staff, but not all on them.

HEART! CHARACTER! And a Commitment to Excellence!

TG hasn't shown he has that commitment yet, and some of the players reflect TG's panziness.

willie_fu_fu 6 years, 8 months ago

“We want to respond to what’s been going on, and we want to accept the challenge that people are putting on us by saying we’re such a bad defense,” Patmon said. “We want to come together and see what’s going on and try to fix our problems.”


Mike Barnhart 6 years, 8 months ago

The defensive players took a vote at their meeting. The voted unanimously to hire Mike Stoops as defensive coordinator effective right N O W!

Pitthawk34 6 years, 8 months ago

Gill and Stoops...Want to talk about the odd couple. Never in a million years would that happen.

Cody Stumma 6 years, 8 months ago

Did they also agree to practice more tackling?

nuleafjhawk 6 years, 8 months ago

A lot of us have made some fairly rude comments lately about our football team. Not completely undeserved, but rude.

If I allow myself to stop and think about it, I know that they are a bunch of 18, 19, 20 year old kids ( couldn't say that if I was an OSU fan ! ) and I know this is personally very hard on them. I really feel badly for them, and I hope they know that if we would see them out in public somewhere, we would pat them on the back and tell them to keep their chins up.

As fans, it hurts us too - and I hope the kids understand that. Our rantings are not about them as individuals, it's just that we are tired of being embarrassed about our team. Anybody, who's not a troll, who takes the time to post on here regularly has a deep affection for all things KU and we use this as a means to vent our frustrations.

I hope this gets turned around soon!! It would be great if we could make a nice showing against OU - they're coming off a huge win against Texas and the usual emotion of a Big 12 game probably won't be there for them on Saturday.

I'm not a coach of a psychic - but I do know this, we need to put fans in the stands and make some noise. If you're able to go, please go and support our team. RCJH

Ron Prichard 6 years, 8 months ago

Great post. If we didn't care about KU so much, we wouldn't be passionate about our team. It's hard to remember sometimes most of these kids came to KU by choice and clearly invest much more of their lives than any of us. We have every right to vent on here, but we have to remember these are kids doing their best to represent KU and us as fans.

Mike Kendall 6 years, 8 months ago


You are a coach---can I play on your team? Well said, my man. Thanks for your post.

nuleafjhawk 6 years, 8 months ago

oops - " coach OR a psychic ". Actually, I'm not the coach OF a psychic either! lol

KGphoto 6 years, 8 months ago

I posted this before, but it seems appropriate here, and it goes for Turner Gill and the coaching staff as well. Keep it coming nuleaf!

Dennis Mahorney 6 years, 8 months ago

These are great kids and you hurt for them knowing they may be losing heart during this dismal season. I don't sense as much alarm as I would like from the coaches though. Mainly the "keep sawing wood" stuff is about as animated as they get. As to the players, they are out there giving it all for everyone, and we appreciate it. "Give em heck boys!"

gchawk 6 years, 8 months ago

Great post. If we didn't care about them, and our school, so much it wouldn't matter, but the fact of the matter is, we do. Best of luck this Saturday to our team.

danmoore 6 years, 8 months ago

If they ranked fan bases ours would be near the bottom. 50k stadium and we can't even fill it.

741hawk 6 years, 8 months ago

We filled Memorial Stadium (in spite of a track inside) for the Phat Man . . . whose teams we never questioned the effort of the players. It was fun. We had a chance to win every game. (I drove to Norman and wasn't disappointed.)

Every ten years or so, KU Football seems to building a quality program . . . then shoots itself in the foot!

texashawk10 6 years, 8 months ago

One problem with that argument, the crowd size at the end of games under Mangino were the same as they are for Gill. KU has never been able sustain any kind of fan interest among the students who care more about getting drunk instead of cheering for KU. I've been to some of the best atmospheres for college football games such as Tiger Stadium and Kyle Field among others and the atmosphere at those places is driven by the student section.

texashawk10 6 years, 8 months ago

One problem with that argument, the crowd size at the end of games under Mangino were the same as they are for Gill. KU has never been able sustain any kind of fan interest among the students who care more about getting drunk instead of cheering for KU. I've been to some of the best atmospheres for college football games such as Tiger Stadium and Kyle Field among others and the atmosphere at those places is driven by the student section.

Ryan Shelton 6 years, 8 months ago

Great post nuleaf! This is the kind of thinking we need to see out of our fans, not pot shots, junior high-level cussing, or weak attempts at humor by bashing a person. I love KU sports, and especially KU football and root for them passionately, and I may be one of a few who believes the Jayhawks actually have a chance each week, but that's the coach coming out in me. I never once came into a game of any kind not expecting to win, and I don't ever think that my players can't pull off the upset. Without expecting to win, how would upsets ever happen?

Go Jayhawks! Beat the Sooners. Please. I'm tired of the OU fans around here running their mouths. Anyone wanting to bring me back to earth, save your keyboard. I'm not listening.

Randy Bombardier 6 years, 8 months ago

I agree. Support the players. The heat belongs on the coaches. Nevertheless, always support the team.

Kevin Heath 6 years, 8 months ago

Rumor has it that as of 6 AM the meeting was ongoing. One player, who did not want his identity revealed as he is ashamed to be associated with the Kansas defense, emerged to make a pizza run shortly after 11 PM with the following statement: "We are working hard in there. We are willing to try anything. We are currently working to rewrite our offensive playbook to try to avoid big plays and maximize our time of posession."

Jeff Coffman 6 years, 8 months ago

I'm glad that they are coming together. I still think a lot of it is on the coaching staff. They aren't getting the players ready. All that being said, I don't think there is going to be much improvement. In fact, I believe that OU's defense is a Turnover machine, and it could get ugly more from the side of fumbles and interceptions. There is going to be some serious hitting in that game, and I'm not sure if KU is ready for that type of a physical game offensively.

I've been over the top against HCTG, but I beleive that this is a coaching problem, not a personnel issue.

I must say that the RB and Offensive Line have been doing well this year, let me give credit where credit is due. However, all that being said, watching OU play over the past month, I would bet that the OU defensive line spends a lot of time in our backfield. They don't how to make a push and get off blocks. I don't think Webb will have as much time, and it could lead to some poor decisions. Again there have been some vast improvements from RB and OL, but I think that is where OU excels and it could get ugly on both sides of the football this week.

nuleafjhawk 6 years, 8 months ago

Man - I LOVE that movie. I just wish the Titans didn't look so much like Sooners!! lol

ahpersecoachingexperience 6 years, 8 months ago

After watching this our defense should of drank the kool aide and waited for the space ship following the comet to take them to the motherland.

Cmill1221 6 years, 8 months ago

3:45 LOOK AT THE FORMATION!!! WTF!! THE BALL IS ON THE 2 YARDLINE. That is a coaching problem!!!

troutsee 6 years, 8 months ago

We may not have the best players in the Big 12 but we don't have the worst either. Enough said. The pressure is on Gill to get this thing turned around quick. After watching his team under-perform over the last two years, it does not look like it is going to happen. All of us need a reason to hope, but hope is evaporating at a stunning speed.

I will be there as usual on Sat.

texashawk10 6 years, 8 months ago

One team has had over 76% percent of its starts (84/110) made by juniors and seniors and one team has had 62% of its starts (69/110) made by juniors and seniors. I'll let you decide which group is setup better for success regardless of coach.

flyingfinn 6 years, 8 months ago

The group that will have better success is the group with the MUCH better coach that being Coach Snyder!!!

Yolanda Gay 6 years, 8 months ago

I commend the defense on trying to work hard to fix the problems. It is embarrassing.

I don't know. I just don't know if the defense is fixable? I just don't think we have the talent to play at this level or is it coaching or what? It just appears we are weak in all aspects on defense: defensive line gets on pressure on the quarterback; the linebackers are out of position; and our safeties and d-backs get blown by like they are standing in quick sand.

psychoanalyst 6 years, 8 months ago

Is that true of Coach Self when the basketball players had players-only meetings? No. Having played college athletics, I can tell you players-only meetings are rarely about the coaching (or problems with it) and more about personal accountability.

jaymar74 6 years, 8 months ago

the 2008 basketball team had a player only meeting then went on to win the national championship. I did not hear any Fire Self! because of that meeting.

John Randall 6 years, 8 months ago

Just a few non sequiturs there – a player-only meeting of a 26-2 team late in the season doesn't segue to the here and now very smoothly.

It is completely condescending to write of any kind of championship.

It takes very little adversity to raise talk of firing coaches, especially on anonymous message boards. We've seen it after the last basketball game each season (but one) since HCBS arrived.

jaymar74 6 years, 8 months ago

Most of our best players are playing in their 4th, 5th, 6th division 1 game. Even the ones from last year are under a year of starting when you factor in when they got on the field last year, injuries, etc. There is a chance that at some point this year the light will begin to come on for about 75% of this team. IF it does then we may see a huge turnaround by this time next year. As they say, no pain-no gain. Well right now we have the pain.

ahpersecoachingexperience 6 years, 8 months ago

And let me play my "I'm smarter than you" card one again. The meeting takes place at the same time the building is full (figuratively) of media. Not when they got of the bus from Stillwater, the day after they got trounced, or freaking Monday. But! At the exact same time they now the media will be in the building.

Sounds like a gimmick from the top down. Turners pulling a captain aside and telling him to call a players only meeting so it appears to everyone that this team is doing everything and Turner can call it a "positive sign" durning his next press conference.

Not buying it!

And why is Patmon smiling?

Jayhawk1116 6 years, 8 months ago

I would hardly call that smiling, but you're right. Patmon had better damn well have suicidal thoughts after losing that game last week. I mean, don't any of those guys realize that they are living their lives for us, and not themselves?

I sure hope we can all be as smart as you someday. Wow, what a world it would be!

jaymar74 6 years, 8 months ago

Right! and also the US never set foot on the damn moon!!!!!

Dennis Mahorney 6 years, 8 months ago

Ben Heeney was unstoppable at hutch. A great athlete, fast and powerful.

Randy Bombardier 6 years, 8 months ago

Who is he? A prospect? A prospective coach?

Dennis Mahorney 6 years, 8 months ago

He was a running back/ linebacker for the Hutchinson Salthawks. He and Josh Smith (a KU fullback) helped them win six of the last seven state championships. Just very fast, and an angry runner according to at least one opposing coach. Probably slated to play linebacker or d-back, as we are loaded at running back.

David Robinett 6 years, 8 months ago

Coaching tenure / consistency is the only way to turn things around. Take Dan McCarney @ ISU -- a program with possibly even less history of success than Kansas.

I agree the D must improve next year, or even the most lenient of us TG supporters will begin to doubt.

Firing coaches after 2-3 years will mean KU will NEVER get a decent coach other than a guy stepping up from the MAC (and those guys usually leave -- Mason, Gottfried).

We have to do something different in order to get different results. And something differing IS believing.

What gets me is how everyone is saying how bad our (total) team and program is, when in fact the offense is statistically among the best in the conference and country.

The problem is D, and there is a very clear explanation for that - losing our DC right before the season started.

It is soooooooooooo easy to criticize, but very hard to do the long hard, sustained work of building a program, carving Mt Rushmore, building a business, etc.

I am for sticking with Gill for 5 years. Otherwise, we are doomed to repeat all this for eternity.

gardenjay 6 years, 8 months ago

Very well put - thanks for speaking for the reasonable minority on this site daverinoku.

sebuffaloes01 6 years, 8 months ago

Hate to tell you but Defense wins championships. This should have been priority number 1. And the excuse of a DC leaving is poor. Are you saying there isn't anyone else that can coach a defense? And like many others have said we should see improvement out of the defense by this point. We are only proving to be worse and worse each week. And where we lack isn't necessarily the defensive play calling its the fundamentals and you don't need a DC to teach anyone those. You also forget our offense has taken a step back each and every week since we entered D1 play with an increase in turnovers and outputs of less yards and points. Statistically our offense wouldn't be as good as stated if we didn't score 2 TDs against OSU's 2nd & 3rd string last week, 1 against TT's 2nd string and 1 against GT 2nd string.

I can tell you this; 5 record setting defeats in less than a year and a half is not defined as building a program it is embarrassing it.

AzNHawk 6 years, 8 months ago

you and me both daverinoku.

2 thumbs up!

johnnyhrdwd 6 years, 8 months ago

5 years of Gill might land us in the MAC in 6 years.

Lance Cheney 6 years, 8 months ago

Maybe we should change our motto from "Believe" to "False Hope," or "Guarded Optimism." I'll let you guys figure out what the letters should stand for...

Jo Ann Ortgies Stork 6 years, 8 months ago

If you don't want OU to have a home field advantage in Lawrence, go to the game, sit in the bleachers and make alot of noise to support our team.

Tony Bandle 6 years, 8 months ago

When you are seriously short-handed on defense, there is only one thing you can really do and that's just take something away.

Go into a soft cover 2 with a nickel back and make them run the ball or stack the line with a 5-2-4 and force the pass.

Forcing them to run will move the clock. Forcing them to pass may give you some turnovers. But playing a balanced defense when your out-manned will doom you to total failure.

To even make this game respectable, the Hawks will have to have few if any penalties, no turnovers, a reasonable running game, some takeaways, the defense playing it's best game of the year, a fired up attitude........and that's just to make it respectable.

All we can ask is they fight to the last second.

Phoggin_Loud 6 years, 8 months ago

Well stated, Oakville. In addition, the offense needs to slow down & move the clock as well. This game will be about keeping the clock running. Get a few turnovers with long, sustained drives and they just might be in it at the end.

SCJayhawker 6 years, 8 months ago

Great to hear Ben Heaney may get to see some action on D. This kid is something special. Keep an eye on No. 31 he will impress you.

Mike Nicco 6 years, 8 months ago

Statistics can be twisted. How many points has our offense scored against a Big 12 first team defense? The fact we scored on our opening drive against OSU means the coaches have some talent. The fact we can not make adjustments once the defense does is truly troubling. Who's traveling the longest distance to be at Saturday's game? I'm bringing the family from the Bay Area.

cg1029 6 years, 8 months ago

You have to be FREAKING KIDDING ME... I HOPE AND PRAY OU HANGS 100 ON KU SATURDAY AND GILL IS SHAMED INTO QUITING or KU has little choice but to fire him. I am tired of excuses There are none for getting embarassed everytime we step on the field in the Big12, I am tired of Gill apoligists who make excuses for him and say "Well the Offense looks better" GET A CLUE, THE OFFENSE LOOKED GOOD VS A DII SCHOOL AND NORTHERN ILL, SINCE THEN IT HAS BEEN AN EMBARASSMENT, GTECH WAS PLAYING BACKUPS, TX TECH OUTSCORED KU 45-14 AFTER A HORRIBLE FIRST QUARTER AND VS OSU WE HAD FOUR TURNOVERS IN THE FIRST HALF...


texashawk10 6 years, 8 months ago

You "Jayhawk" fans who are cheering for OU to hang 100 on KU, what happens then if OU does do that? Because Gill isn't going anywhere unless you Jayhawk "fans" pony up the money to make it happen. All you people who have talked about no longer donating to the athletic department or attending games until changes are made, how do you think KU is going to pay for any of the changes you people want without the money to do so?

Right now, I'm actually ashamed to be a KU fan and alum and it has absolutely nothing to do with KU's on-field performance and everything to do with the way this "fanbase" has behaved over the past year and how poisonous and stupid this "fanbase" has become in regards to realignment and football. You don't like the coach, go to the game and hold up signs stating your displeasure with the way the coach is performing. You want KU to look attractive to other conferences for realignment, fill up Memorial Stadium every weekend and show other conferences that fans at KU care about football. All refusing to go the games and selling tickets to visiting fans does is continue to show the administration and other conferences that KU football "fans" don't care about the football program and have no interest in its fate. All refusing to show up for football games does is continue the status quo for KU football.

If you want to see true change and to have a real impact on KU football, money talks. Spend your money at Memorial Stadium going to KU football games so the school will have to money to make improvements that many of you have complained about and to pay a big named coach the $3-4 million dollar salary you want to see happen. Donate money to the athletic department and earmark for a specific use whether it be for the olympic village (that has to be done before there is any consideration of removing the track at Memorial Stadium), or for a buyout of Gill's contract, or to help pay Perkins or Mangino's settlements which are still being paid. Donate money so that KU can afford to offer a $3-4 million per year contract to Jim Tressel or Butch Davis or any other name that has been tossed out there. If all you are going to do is complain about SZ, BGL, and TG without doing anything about it (donating money), then you are just as guilty of fostering a environment of failure at KU as those who turn a blind eye to it.

Micky Baker 6 years, 8 months ago


See, that's the point. KU loses revenues if TG stays, and gets them if he's fired. See how that works?

Spending money at Memorial Stadium isn't going to help hire a new coach. Gill will cost $6 million to buy out. If he stays, fans will stop buying tickets. Its called economics. Fans want satisfaction out of going to a football game.

They have other ways to spend money to get satisfaction from it. That's a fact of life and neither you nor I can control what the fans will do with their money if the team goes 2-10 this year with games they can and should win this year on the schedule.

Do you remember how much money got from winning the Orange Bowl? Well, the winner got $12 million I believe. Do you think they're ever gonna make to another BCS bowl with this coaching staff with the way they have performed to date?

Fans leave, TG gets canned. If the team performs like this consistently,and they have, fans will stop paying for the product.

If TG gets it then Kansas will beat Kansas State, Missouri and Iowa State this year. They could even surprise against Baylor or Texas A&M. But if TG doesn't get it, the players should walk out on Gill.

kranny 6 years, 8 months ago

We have been repping them to try to knock down some of that mental wall,” Shealy said. “But on defense, it’s hard to play young kids because, even though they may be fast and may look great at times, if they’re going fast in the wrong direction it may end up hurting you more.” Don't think you can get hurt more than being outscored 108-42. Let them play, they can't hurt us any worse than what's happening now!!

okiedave 6 years, 8 months ago

If the coaches are out of ideas, which seems to be the case, its refreshing to see the players take matters into their own hands and start fixing the defense. Coaches, it appears the players think they can do a better job of fixing things. Can't be any worse.

boknowssports 6 years, 8 months ago

This coaching staff will not get it done. The sooner we start over the better. I've never seen such confusion on the KU sidelines during the game. These coaches stink! Quit blaming the players.

Commenting has been disabled for this item.