Sunday, October 16, 2011


This time, Kansas not punch line


Podcast episode

Press Conferences & Post-Game Interviews

KU coach Turner Gill

Kansas coach Turner Gill talks to reporters following the Jayhawks' 47-17 loss to Oklahoma on Oct. 15, 2011.

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It sounds absurd to talk about a football team taking a step forward on a night in which it allowed 610 yards and 47 points, a night in which it had one second-half first down and lost by 30 points, but the fact is Kansas University looked significantly better Saturday in a 47-17 loss to Oklahoma in Memorial Stadium.

For this night at least, with the nation’s No. 3 team in town, the Jayhawks did nothing to be mistaken for a punching bag, nothing to qualify as a punch line in a joke about ineptitude.

“Only thing I can say is, I love my defense, and I love this team, and we fought,” senior inside linebacker Steven Johnson said. “After this game, I’m walking out of here with my head held high because we got a lot better.”

He’s right about that. The defense, particularly in the red zone, performed far better than it had in losses to Georgia Tech, Texas Tech and Oklahoma State.

Johnson was in on 13 tackles, one for a three-yard loss, and made an impressive interception. More teammates than usual brought the same intensity and passion on this night.

When Johnson talks about this team, 2-4 overall and 0-3 in the Big 12, he makes his coach, Turner Gill, sound like a pessimist by comparison. Johnson gets carried away. Before the losses began to mount he talked about winning a national championship and then about winning a Big 12 title. In short, he believes.

“After the game, when we talked as a defense, we felt as though, hey, we shouldn’t lose any more games,” Johnson said.

That, of course, is fantasy-based talk. But the way Kansas competed in the first half, trailing just 27-17, the chance of winning a Big 12 game took on a more realistic feel.

The defense, put in a better position by the coaching staff because things were simplified, looked faster.

Inside linebacker Darius Willis, the transfer from Buffalo, stood out, as did safety Bradley McDougald and outside linebacker Toben Opurum.

True freshmen mixed in — linebacker Collin Garrett and safety Victor Simmons also played a part in the defense having a sleeker look.

Sure, Oklahoma wide receiver Ryan Broyles had a Heisman Trophy-like night, but he’s a cut above anybody KU has on its roster, and the mix of a stale pass rush, an Isiah Barfield misstep here and there and the fresh arm of Landry Jones made that a combustible mix that won’t occur every week.

Gill, disappointed because “a loss is a loss,” acknowledged improvement. Defensive coordinator Vic Shealy wasn’t doing backflips, which is a good thing because the way his year has gone he might get hurt if he tried that.

“I don’t know if we played that good,” Shealy said. “You give up 600 yards and 47 points, that’s not a standard that makes you feel good.”

Still, one week after Kansas allowed eight first-half touchdowns on Oklahoma State’s eight first-half possessions, the difference was easy to see.

“I thought we made more plays,” Shealy said. “Until the last two scoring drives, third down was better.”

And for a half, the running game shined against a defense that held Florida State to 27 rushing yards and Texas to 36.

Freshmen Darrian Miller, he of the phenomenal balance, and Tony Pierson, such a burner, helped James Sims in giving KU 168 first-half rushing yards. The Sooners dominated the line of scrimmage in the second half, and Kansas regressed to a final total of 144 rushing yards for the night.

Still, as 30-point losses go, this wasn’t a bad one.


ku_foaf 2 years, 6 months ago

They did better than expected, and I believe did show some improvement, but it was still a similar story. The other losses went from close in the first half to blowout in the second half. This was an improvement in that it took longer to get to that point in the second half. Just my opinion.


Ralster Jayhawk 2 years, 6 months ago

A football coach needs 4-5yrs. We have alot of youth & inexperience on the field. Look for the good plays to accumulate more and more in the same game until we start to win games, then watch us win more and more in the same season.

Did anyone think it was a 1-season solution to contending?

Like Self said about this year's bball team also: patience!

I care less about 600yds/47pts, while I care alot more about the easily seen improvement in the defensive effort, compared to the OklaState implosion. Five 3-and-outs of the OU offense in the 2nd half, while our O couldnt do anything. It was a game thru 3 qtrs, much to Stoops chagrin.


JS82 2 years, 6 months ago

Turner Gill is a recycle or doppleganger of Terry Allen. Good guy who everyone loves but a terrible coach. Just admit it now and it will be easier to let him go in the future.


hihawk 2 years, 6 months ago

Oklahoma showed that it sometimes is hard to get up to play a team that is as bad as we are. It's nice to know that Kansas ST. is in the rankings and being talked about as a class program with Snyder. Holtz said that Bill Snyder is one of the best coaches in the nation and he has high regards for Bill. Then look at us, Holtz said that we are the nations worse football team in the nation and that is a compliment. When is a enough, enough. Holtz said when you have a bad coach you need to fire him even in midseason to get the program going, and that staying with the bad coach only hurts your school but, all programs.


kansasredlegs 2 years, 6 months ago

Football is a game of emotion, it was clear OU had none as it was coming off a beat down of its rival Texas to face a KU team its in-state rival Okie State beat down by 40 plus points, so not much to get up for.

KU had its chances, but when nice guys who make a ton of money to coach a kid's game & can't call anything but a misdirection handoff, it's time to fire 'em and bring Mike Leach here. May not win it all, but it'll be fun to watch. Leach calls plays from a crumpled up napkin standing on the sideline.


Webb, pull the ball once in a while when you read that end crashing down. You did that only one time & it resulted in a first down.

Coach Gill - I know you make $2M a year & you'll have forgot more football than I'll ever know, but after the OU fumble into the end zone, football gods say strike fast by throwing deep downfield, not 2 inside runs & pass to the flat & punt OU back to their 40 where it had started before the fumble. I was beginning to wonder if there was a glitch in the MATRIX when I inexplictedly said "dejavu"


bootlegger 2 years, 6 months ago

senior inside linebacker Steven Johnson said. “After this game, I’m walking out of here with my head held high because we got a lot better.” WTF; u just got your a$# beat again!!


Steve Brown 2 years, 6 months ago

Our secret plan to sucker Wildcats into thinking we stink this year has worked to perfection, no go out and strangle the purple kitty.


hawk316 2 years, 6 months ago

Tom, I know you indicated in a previous article that you were having trouble "believing" the message that Coach Gill was advocating. In the face of several lopsided losses, I can certainly understand why. But this game showed me why we must not make the mistake of giving up too soon on Turner Gill. Any coach who can create such a tremendous environment of self-confidence and determination following national embarrassment has something special going for him.

Gill's emphasis on the importance of believing may seem hokey to some, but this is exactly where a winning program begins. History is filled with examples of the underdog overcoming great odds to win because they believed they could. I have a feeling that we may be watching another unlikely success story slowly unfold before our eyes.


Scut Farkus 2 years, 6 months ago

Next year is the critical year for Gill. Another poor season and KU might eat the last 2 years of his contract ($4M), but I doubt it. On topic, I thought KU played well for about 2 Quarters on each side of the ball. Constant improvement will go a long way next year. This may the toughest KU schedule in the last 10 years and the players are getting a good look at what it takes to be at that elite level. It's sad that your only consolation are the few and far between good plays, but that's what needed.


topflight 2 years, 6 months ago

Say what you want Gill-Lovers, KU will get 50 points put on them this weekend by their in state rival KSU. We would all love to say that it will be a game and we could beat them, but face it, we don't stand a chance. When KU is bad, we always get stomped by KSU and this defense is not gonna help. This is not like most rivalries when the bad team gets up for the game and performs. That is not what KU does vs. MU or KSU. But we played with OU for a little while. But you still gave up over 600 yards and lost by 30 points.

I cannot believe those who say this is progress. I am sick and tired of hearing that. 600 yards folks. You can't win doing that. 42,45,66,45,70,47. Those are the points scored against us. 420,460,768,530,600,610, yards offensively put up against us. 565 yard average against up. Progress? Seriously?

Oh, but they played so hard. That is great. Maybe we find us some coaches who can put our hard working players in a much better position to win. Everyone knows we had no chance to beat OU. Very few teams do. But, KSU should be a game every year that we have a chance at winning. They are not that good, bottom line. Have they played well, yes. We are gonna make collin klein look like a Heisman candidate. His 5.2 second 40 yard dash, is gonna make us look stupid. I cannot handle that. If we give up 50+ points to KSU and get destroyed AGAIN, I am going to root against us until Gill is gone. Hate to say it, but that is the only way things will get better. HELL, KU fans could live with mediocrity in football, but we will never even be there with GILL.


Jack McEnaney 2 years, 6 months ago

I feel like this town has become disallusioned by the first two weeks. If we want to join the MAC, this will be an acceptable team. Personally, I would like to one day compete for a conference title. We need an attitude adjustment, where "we improved even though they played their worst game and still accidentally gained 600 yards." is not acceptable. I don't want to just go to a bowl game. Everyone gets to just go to a bowl game. This team has the talent to win games. Gil did recruit good talent this year. They have the potential to be a good football team. You saw it in spurts last night on the possessions where Landry Jones went three and out. However, this team is undisciplined, and can not make a tackle. Taking talent and getting them to overachieve is the result of good coaching. How many people think that Kansas state has number twelve in the country talent? How do they get to that ranking? Coaching.


cajayfan 2 years, 6 months ago

Anyone notice how June Jones has SMU playing? He probably was not soft spoken enough!


fu7il3 2 years, 6 months ago

Everyone keeps saying the defense wasn't the problem. You are rarely, if ever, going to score enough points to make up for 610 yards allowed and 47 points given up. The defense wasn't as bad as the offense, but it was pretty awful. KU is still the punchline. If the OU quarterback hadn't been overthrowing his targets, they would have put at least another two touchdowns on us.

We have the worst team in the conference, by far.


Michael Sillman 2 years, 6 months ago

Come on, Gill-haters. Even you thought that there was no way that Broyles and Jones would still be on the field in the 4th quarter. Stoops is not taking it easy when his two 1st round NFL draft choices are still playing.

Truth is that a bunch of incredibly young KU kids are gettting invaluable experience banging helmets with the best players in college football. That has to pay dividends over the coming 2-3 years regardless of who is coaching the team. Personally, I think that coach will be Gill.

I've never felt that red-shirting does all that much to develop a player. You only get better from playing. Obviously, we don't have much choice at this point in time.

The real season starts now. The team has to be show that it really has improved by staying competitive in the rest of the games especially that last one in Arrowhead.


danmoore 2 years, 6 months ago

The problem last night was the offense. Only 1 first down the entire second half. No defense could have stopped OU. I was very encouraged by the defensive effort. If they can duplicate that same intensity for the rest of the year this team will make progress. OU scored more points against Texas.


nocaljayhawk 2 years, 6 months ago

yeah, ignore the "haters" who see things for what they are. Lousy. To talk of this being better after getting dominated again is pathetic.

Oh, and someone from Nebraska dares invoke the saintly image of "T.O." and that's supposed to make me feel better? Save it. If Gill's so bloody great, why didn't NU fall all over themselves to hire him?


huskercarpenter 2 years, 6 months ago

KU football players continue to listen to your coaches and ignore the haters. The coaches want what is best for you and your team, they know what they are talking about, the haters don't care about you and definately don't care about your coaches they want them gone. Coach Gill's even keel on the sideline is exactly what you need, the way he is on the sidelines reminds me so much of T.O. Just keep listening and working hard and over time the haters will have nothing to say because they will have realized that they were wrong but I bet they won't admit it.

As far as the conference goes texas has been the cause of all the problems that has occured since the start of the conference. If you want to fix all the problems get rid of texas and everything else will take care of itself. You can't fix anything if the cause is still left to create problems. I don't like misery but getting rid of them doesn't fix anything.


Robert Brock 2 years, 6 months ago

Keegan - please stick with your ideas about KU joining the Big East. We want to hear more...


boknowssports 2 years, 6 months ago

jhawk43, that speaks to how low KU football has fallen, when we are actually encouraged by a performance where we give up 610 yards and 47 points on defense, and have one second half first down.


Jack McEnaney 2 years, 6 months ago

I dont want to hear anymore that the team is improving, I want to see results! Stop making excuses and make it happen. Media please light a spark under these players! They seem to love the spotlight given the way they celebrate a simple tackle when they are down two or three touchdowns? Ask them why they dont make more!


Jack McEnaney 2 years, 6 months ago

Will the media please ask a challenging question for once in your pathetic careers? How about asking why the defense continually allows 40 points a game every game? Do your players realize they are going to set an NCAA record for most yards per game allowed in history? Why is that happening? How embarrasing is it to be a part of the worst defense in history? How does it make you feel watching players talk trash when they are apart of the worst defenses in history? Why does this team have such a difficult time making tackles? Do you teach the players to dive at the other teams feet or do they do that themselves? Is this team struggling to understand the concept of your defense, or are you failing to communicate to them how to succeed on defense? How many more games of 500 yards and 40 plus points can go on and you still expect to keep your job? What do you say to your team when they continue to self destruct with offensive penalties? Why does the offense seem to have so many false starts? Is that a communication issue? Why continue trying to run the ball on 3rd down when the offensive line is getting no push up front?


boknowssports 2 years, 6 months ago

I guess it was sort of a moral victory to only get throttled that bad. But moral victories won't get us to a bowl. Maybe next year?


Clarence Haynes 2 years, 6 months ago

I thought that we were in there up until Hatch was injured.


tical523 2 years, 6 months ago

We gave up 600 yards of offense!!!!! Is our defense really that much better???? The answer is YES. We looked a lot faster, tackled much better, created turnovers and played with passion. Maybe it was personnel or a simplified scheme but we looked better. Imagine how much better our defense would have looked, even stat wise, if our offense would not have had, I believe 6, straight 3-and-outs in the second half. It is hard to ask your defense to go out there in about 2 real-time minutes with no time to adjust or get rest. Great job D, keep improving everyday and play with passion!!!!


jhox 2 years, 6 months ago

The D actually played with a little enthusiasm. I was frustrated with the offensive play calling. Clearly we were playing to not get blown out, rather than to try to win. How about an occassional play action pass on first down? Also, while I like Sims, why is Miller not getting the bulk of the carries? He's clearly the best back we've had in years. Let's use him a little more. He'll break off a 15 yard run, then sit out the next 5 or 6 plays. It makes absolutely no sense. Running on 3rd and 15, with your back close to the end zone...I get that, but within 2 scores, 3rd and 6, why not throw a pass? Clearly the coaching staff doesn't have a lot of confidence in Webb taking care of the ball, but if you're still in the game, you need to play to win. Regardless, we took a little step forward last night.

It will be interesting to see how we do against the plow boys next week. After playing OU and OSU consecutive weeks, it will be nice to play a slower team without one of the best QB's in the country. Still, Snyder is a much better coach, and I'm sure he'll find ways to exploit us. What that guy does is purely smoke and mirrors, but it works.


LJD230 2 years, 6 months ago

Hows about the Big 10(really twelve) and the Big XII(really ten) just switch names?


rover 2 years, 6 months ago

Much better defense, to bad the offense couldn't get it together the second half.


LJD230 2 years, 6 months ago

The former big 12, now the big x jr. will have to re-brand itself.

Any suggestions for a new name for the once Big XII?

And when Missouri bolts, what then?


biggunz 2 years, 6 months ago

What a sad state KU football is. Get beat 47-17 and no longer a punchline?


Marc Frey 2 years, 6 months ago

Webb missed open receivers as well which also played into the final score. But KU plays former walk-ons (Johnson) while the last four teams we played have 4 and 5-star players. Talent does have a lot to do with this, even with our better recruiting classes.


yates33333 2 years, 6 months ago

Many of these comments illustrate the old saw about whistling past the graveyard. The spooks are still out there.


Steve Jacob 2 years, 6 months ago

Just looking at the stats, we got crushed. The score only looked "good" because the +3 turnover ratio and them kicking three short field goals.


johnnyhrdwd 2 years, 6 months ago

We need to stick with handing off to Sims to setup play action. Trick plays establish no consistency.


Lawkan 2 years, 6 months ago

To be honest Jones missed a lot of wide open recievers in the first half. The safeties are supposed to be the stars of the defense but constantly get beat deep.
The big question is what happens to the offense at halftime. Every game they seem to sleep through the third quarter.


John Randall 2 years, 6 months ago

Amazing how badly we can be beaten, and still feel the best we have for a month. Nothing about this game was cause for hanging heads or slinking off to lick our wounds. There were two FBS teams on the field tonight – one much better than the other, though I saw little reason for chagrin. Even with the score and the game way out of reach, our D was still making some plays now and then. It helped that Sooners were coming off a huge Red River Shootout, but most of the reason for "at least respectability" came from the Jayhawks stepping up.

Having the feeling again that another win or two (maybe even three) could happen this season is just so much more satisfying than the despondence of the past month that you have to count me in as one more Believer. Better times are on the way.

Rock Chalk! Go 'Hawks!


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