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Around the Web in 7 Days: Omaha writer says Gill's on shaky ground

Ten years ago — heck, maybe even five — it probably wouldn’t have gone down this way.

But times have changed, expectations are different and pressure, of both the good and bad variety, can create quite a mess in quite a hurry.

That we’ve seen already with first-year Kansas University football coach Turner Gill.

Though Gill’s time at KU got off to a rocky start, the Jayhawks regrouped quickly and Gill guided his team to an inspiring upset of nationally-ranked Georgia Tech one week after falling to FCS foe, North Dakota State. At the time, the prevailing thought from those around Lawrence was: “Here we go.”

My have times have changed. Three losses and two brutal blowout beatings later — including a 59-7 setback to in-state rival Kansas State last week — Gill finds his name associated with phrases like “fire him” and “buyout” on message boards and in newspapers throughout the area.

Not good.

While those close to the program — both in terms of proximity and familiarity — may be charged up a little by emotion, one place that most certainly is not is the Omaha World-Herald, where longtime writer Lee Barfknecht addressed the topic in his most recent Big 12 blog.

Just so you understand, this isn’t just some out-of-towner writing a tale about something he has no clue about. Barfknecht has known Gill for quite some time. He covered him when the KU coach was a star at Nebraska and has even been down to Lawrence for a game this season. So, though he might not be around for the day-to-day doings of the Jayhawk program, Barfknecht is a guy who has kept a close eye on Gill’s start at Kansas.

I know this blog entry typically is about the upcoming opponent and what the other side is saying about Kansas. But, right now, with the way things are going with the KU program, the ins and outs of each game aren’t nearly as important as the big picture.

For those still interested in following the Jayhawks and what others are saying about this week’s matchup with Texas A&M, listed below are our regular “Around the Web” links regarding Saturday’s homecoming contest.

Robert Cessna of The Eagle in College Station, draws a parallel between two programs making too many mistakes.

Cessna also examines the pressure A&M quarterback Jerrod Johnson is facing with his team off to a 3-3 start

Here’s one Jayhawk fans will like; Aggies embarrassed by loss to, of all teams, Missouri.

Austin Meek, of A&M school paper, The Battalion, writes that it’s time for the Aggies to pick up the pieces and move forward

Turner Gill’s not the only coach in the Big 12 feeling the pressure of a slow start. A&M's Mike Sherman also may be on the hot seat.

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Comments

Redlandsjhawk 3 years, 6 months ago

I think we've already seen all the wins we're going to see this year, but come on it's not time to panic. To give him a fair shot he has to get three years at least. And I mean three years of support, not looking over his shoulder for the pink slip. Without support no recruit will give us a second look.

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Andy Tweedy 3 years, 6 months ago

I live in Omaha, and Matt is right on about the writer. He is no Keegan, who is out for a good laugh or angry response, Lee Barfknecht is a good writer, and Turner Gill is absolutely LOVED in this part of the world. Either way, he's not going anywhere anytime soon...too much $$$. Look how long Hawkins has hung around because of a buyout! As for Mangino, we lost 7 in a row last year with Reesing, Briscoe, Meier, Stuckey, etc, and if you read some of these posts, you'd think the guy was getting the job done.

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jayhawkinnebr 3 years, 6 months ago

Ku donaters and alumni need to take action with all this mess, Gill, Perkings and tickets sales. Just where was the checks and balances and the president of the university??? Cutting the checks ($) will have a correction in their action that is needed at the present.

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HawkfromHays 3 years, 6 months ago

Matt,

Is there any chance they fire Gill after this year?

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Ben Kliewer 3 years, 6 months ago

mvjayhawk: "kleave....wow, that was WAY too optimistic..." Well I know that now! But lemme 'splain. No, there is no time, lemme summup. Last year's team should've been at least 8-4 if not 9-3 (instead of 5-7) with wins over the North teams, plus or minus Nebraska. I subscribe to a conspiracy theory that Reesing threw the season. And we can open up that can of worms if we want. But I won't at this moment. Sure, we lost key skill positions at QB, RB, WR, etc. But I thought that Pick would be moderately good, Quigley would take it to the house often, and BMac, JWil and DPatt would come into their prime. With receivers like that, Pick would've had plenty of options. Plus, there was a lot of hype about how inspiring Coach Gill was going to be, I thought we would pick up where we (should've) left off. In that scenario, I honestly thought we could've gone undefeated in non-conference play (plus or minus GaTech), plus get wins over CU, KSU, ISU and Mizzou (plus or minus Baylor), giving us an 8 win season. See, last June, that wouldn't have sounded so crazy!

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jayhawkinnebr 3 years, 6 months ago

8 million for a buyout, pass the hat.

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Fruity22 3 years, 6 months ago

Gill's contract is 5 years at 2 mil per year guaranteed. It would be an 8 mil buyout if he was canned after this year. It isn't going to happen. He is getting atleast another year maybe 2 to prove himself.

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DocBean 3 years, 6 months ago

Here is the real question, at the beginning of the season, what were the expectations of this team?

At the end of the season you look at how the team did, and ask yourself if the team met those expectations?

If things continue the way they are, then you'll look back and say this coaching staff not only underachieved, it failed completely. However, there is still a lot of football to play, and we have a lot to see before we say fire him.

If you asked me now I'd say fire him. However, that's because I'm predicting the future games, which you cannot do. I believe by the end of the year we will know for sure if he deserves another year. He better start showing he can get these kids to buy in, because right now this team looks like a bunch of fat slow inept boys in pads.

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Dyrk Dugan 3 years, 6 months ago

kleave....wow, that was WAY too optimistic...my best case was always six...simply because of the learning curve standpoint. with four right now, i would be giddy.

but it is not to be. In certain areas, i believe Gill has lost this team. the cell phone and girl rules don't help, plus the fact that we basically punted the first game of the season away, prepared for GTech, and now the players are asking "now what?"

because we haven't been prepared against any decent teams since. USM, BU, and KSU are basically all the same games....just different degrees of deficit. we were down 21-3, 27-7 and 31-0 at the halves of each game. was anyone seriously thinking that we would comeback in any of those games and win?

This coach has six games to prove himself....six games to show that he can coach. A head coach, simply by his own team preparation and motivation, or what he does on game day, should be worth a couple of wins a season...the rest is talent and conditioning. So far I would say Gill has one of those wins under his belt, GTech. but we need another one. and beating ISU, aTm, CU or MU, one or more, with what we've seen so far...is a very tall order. all of those schools have experienced QBs, and better defenses than KU. So how can we possibly win?

that's what the coach has to figure out. this school hired him for now, and in the future. there is no way he'll be asked to leave after one year....but simply for the fans and students...and his own players sake, we HAVE to have something to build on for the future. there has to be reason for optimism. 'cause right now? our football program is null and void in the optimism dept.

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kureader 3 years, 6 months ago

Whether we like Gill or not, the guy's gonna be around for awhile. I don't see us coughing up $8 million at the end of this season to buy him out of his contract!

You gotta wonder why Perkins would give a $400,000 coach a $10,000,000 dollar, five year, contract. At the time, he had just paid Mangino a bundle ... NOT to coach. Then, he immidiately put KU into the same position of being unable to release a football coach without huge financial penalties. I'm not buyin' the idea that we had to pay this much money and offer a 5-year deal to get a guy who just finished with a losing season to leave beautiful Buffalo, New York and move back near his wife's aging parents and to the university that his daughter would attend.

We'll have to get used to this coach's style, and try to avoid watching him on tv as he butchers the English language and tells us very little about the game. Let's hope the rumors about his recruiting abilities are true.

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Ben Kliewer 3 years, 6 months ago

Actually, I do think Tubberville, Leach (Ew) or Harbaugh could've done alot better with this team. If you asked me before the season, I would've said Gill could win 8 games this year. But then I saw him coach...

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Fruity22 3 years, 6 months ago

I'd say they have about a 5 percent chance of beating A&M. Say what you want but they did go toe to toe with OSU in Stillwater and with Arkansas on a neutral field. I would guess KU's total margin of loss in those 2 games if they had been played to be over 100 points depending on when they decided to call of the dogs

Iowa State, about a 2 percent chance. Big 12 road game, this KU team, forget about it. Pretty sad when you feel that way about your team's chances of beating a team that just got pounded 52-0.

Colorado maybe 25 percent chance here. If the hawks play a great game and the Buffs play like they don't care they might win with a last second FG. I doubt it though. I do like your scenario for the win Fabio, it might happen. Also didn't realize Hawkins was winless in big 12 road games.

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aviebs51 3 years, 6 months ago

Wow Hawk n Hutch....thats pretty much all I have to say to you. Why you would ever hope for KU to lose is beyond me. I ALWAYS hope that the hawks win and if they aren't than I hope not only the players but the coaches and adminn can learn from it. But to sit here and say that you hope they lose so we can get a new coach....come on man. You think Mangino would have won games with this team? You think Leach could have won with them? What about Tubberville, Harbaugh, or the coach from Central Michigan that was mentioned. NO. Thats the answer to that. So it doesn't matter who they hired....this team is probably a 3-9 4-8 squad. So your saying that you would have called for the head of any other of those coaches? I hope you would with your logic. So it doesn't matter that Gill is talking to kids that wouldn't have picked up the phone if Mangino was calling? It doesn't matter if he can recruit. Heres a question for you....You think that Urban Meyer is a much better coach than Bill Snyder or Gary Pinkell? Using your logic about W's and L's you would say yes. It doesn't matter that hey maybe Tait or Keeg's coulda won a national championship with some of those Florida teams.

My personal opinion is that a coach is good for say 2 W's a year and 2 L's a year....other than that it's the people blocking, tackling, and running....THE PLAYERS!

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Dickless Head 3 years, 6 months ago

The worse we do, the faster we'll rid ourselves of this man.

And I don't want to give him time to recruit. I have no interest in seeing what kind of player Gill can bring to Lawrence. I am so disgusted with this man, I want him to fail and fail miserably so we can move on and put this terrible hire behind us like the joke it is.

The worst thing that can happen is for Gill to recruit a few good players and we win a few games....literally a few...like 4 or 5. It's not bad enough to fire him on the spot, but it still sucks. That's a worse case scenario...far worse than Gill losing the rest of our games and recruiting turning south.

Sometimes in life, things have to totally fall apart for change to happen. This is one of those times. For the good of the Kansas football program, I hope Gill keeps on keeping on.

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daverinoku 3 years, 6 months ago

Agree Fabio. Next three game are possible, but gotta get our act together.

I repeat: we know we have no Dline and patchwork Oline. Therefore, skill players can't perform (making cupboard full or bare irrelevant). Even Reesing could not win last year with a better supporting cast.

Give Gill time to recruit.

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fabio 3 years, 6 months ago

I know I'm going to regret saying this, but I think KU has a very real shot at a 4 or 5 win season still. Sure, they are terrible right now, but lets look at 3 opponents still remaining on the schedule. Texas A&M- In a complete nose dive. So far A&Ms signature win half way through the season is a come from behind victory against Florida Atlantic. KU has a more impressive win over Georgia Tech. A&M has yet to beat a BCS school this year. The fact is A&Ms season, as well as Shermans career, saw the beginning of the end last week, getting blown out at home to a once inferior program. Sherman will be shown the door in less than two months no matter what happens in Lawrence on Saturday. There will NEVER be a better time to play the Aggies. Iowa State- Not as confident here. The Cyclones are why I am saying "4 or 5". They are vulnerable right now, but KU will have to come to play the way they did against Georgia Tech. Iowa State will be banged up from playing a brutal schedule, KU has had a much lighter schedule. It is no secret ISU is not going to be bowling this year. I have to give the edge here to Iowa State the more I think about it because I think they have the better coaching, and Jack Trice can be a pretty tough place to play when Iowa State is competitive. I'm not convinced KU has the toughness to win in an environment like that. Colorado- In a spiral similar to that of A&M. A lame duck coach finishing out his career. I cant see him rallying the troops on the road now. What in the world will they have to inspire them? 14 straight road losses under Hawkins. That streak will likely not end when Hawkins comes to Lawrence. As far as the two home games go, if they can stay in it until the end, the crowd will start to smell a victory and might inspire the team to finish in the 4th Qtr and make up for the lack of conditioning by the coaching staff.

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