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.


William James 11 years, 1 month 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.

Ben Kliewer 11 years, 1 month ago

Hey, remember Colorado's slogan last year? "10 Wins, no excuses!" Hahahahahahaha.

David Robinett 11 years, 1 month 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.

DocBean 11 years, 1 month ago

Let me ask, how bad will this season have to end for you to say Gill isn't the right guy? Put it out there now, because too many people are judging him by these last two loses, and too many will judge him by his personality. He's getting paid enough to have SOME expectations. What are yours?

If we don't win another game, and get blown out multiple times will you still say "Give Gill time to recruit?"

Bottom line is, if you can't coach up the kids you have, then you won't be able to coach up the recruits you bring in. There is a BIG difference between high school (no matter what level) and Division 1 college Football. ALL kids will need to be coached up, and Gill is showing that he doesn't know how to do that. How will he recruit anyone if he doesn't win another game this year.

alcart21 11 years, 1 month ago

Time to recruit? Don't forget. It's not like Gill came in to the program with no talent like Mangino did. When Mangino got to KU, the football talent wasn't even equal to Emporia State or Fort Hays. But he still got what ever guys he had to put in the effort. Gill came in and has what most recruiting experts considered as our best 2 or 3 years worth of recruits thanks to the Orange Bowl victory. How's he going to recruit when they're getting beat by 50 points a game?

Kevin Kelly 11 years, 1 month ago

How's the next guy going to recruit when we change coaches every year? Seriously guys. You have no idea what the heck you are talking about. Be mad. Go ahead and be mad.

But lets save the crazy talk. ND dosn't even overreact this bad. This is not a tough team that won the Orange Bowl. This is a team that quit last year and there appear to be people here who want them to do that all over again like it could be, in any way, helpful to the team or the University.

This article out of Omaha is an absolute embarrasment. Way over half the people who post on here should be ashamed of this crap. Come to the game...cheer loud...or just walk away until it meets with your approval. Those are your choices. You don't get to pick up a better coach just because you live in Candy Land and you say so. Just shake your head, admit you don't have a clue what running a football team is about or what our situation is, and give it the 3 years every damn coach deserves.

Jayhawk nation dosn't need a tea party people.

Ben Kliewer 11 years, 1 month ago

Let me offer another viewpoint. I was all for Gill, after NDSU, after GaTech, after SoMiss, after NMSU. But after Conference play started, it's obvious that this man does not have the ability to inspire young men to play football. As a former football player myself, I can tell what I am seeing from these kids on the field. They may respect their coach, but they sure as heck don't feel inspired enough to win football games...or even play well in them for that matter. It's not as if Gill had a blank slate to start with and is playing with a bunch of Terry Allen players. He has good athletes. And it has become clear that he just doesn't have the coaching ability to tap into that talent. I certainly hope that we don't lose out the rest of the season. I really don't want to see Gill crash and burn. But I think it's become more than clear that this man doesn't have the skills to coach in the Big 12. That's not being rash, that's being realistic. Go back to my previous posts. You'll see me saying "Give Gill a Chance" and "Wait a few years." But it's painfully clear that his coaching ability is the issue. Get rid of him in November and let the new AD hire somebody else.

DocBean 11 years, 1 month ago

I say give the guy this year. Then evaluate if his first season was a success or a failure. He is making a BIG time salary. He needs to be held accountable for the teams success or failure.

If he doesn't win another game, and for the most part gets blown out like we've seen, then he's got to go. If he can't prove that players have improved, and can't prove that this team is turning the corner by the end of the year, then he has to go.

You cash the check, you take responsibility for your football program. It's as simple as that.

aviebs51 11 years, 1 month 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!

Allin Herring 11 years, 1 month ago

You are right we should not ever hope that KU will loose a game. Unfortunately we will not have to do that as Coach Gill and his staff will ensure we will lose the rest of the year! Yes I think any of those three possible coaches we had a shot at would have done a much better job than Gills 2 win performance. Under normal circumstances I agree with you that a coach is good for 2 wins at least a year but that is assuming that the coach has properly motivated and prepared the team for each game and I am afraid Gill and his staff are really lacking in that area and is the reason he needs to go now! This crap about pulling players aside asking them "how am I doing" and the cell phone and girl rules as just three examples of a coaching staff that needs to go.

Fruity22 11 years, 1 month 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.

Ben Kliewer 11 years, 1 month 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...

aviebs51 11 years, 1 month ago

Thats the problem...first of all you finally saw him coach...He's been an up and coming coach for a couple of years now. You think that had Auburn hired him he would have been 2-4? No, cuz they have more talent. The head coach is not the guy missing tackles, screwing up coverages, and missing blocks....I would also say that you obviously didn't look at the depth charts if you were predicting 8 wins this year....very optimistic actually the word is very unrealistic.

kureader 11 years, 1 month 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.

hailtoku 11 years, 1 month ago

That all depends on the situation.

After the conference realignment shuffle if we haven't learned to invest in our football program NOW, we never will.

If a reputable coach is willing to take the job, the best decesion for the entire university is to pay Gill, pat him on the back as he walks out the door, and start playing some football with a real coach.

kureader 11 years, 1 month ago

Easier said than done, I believe. Aside from the obvious problem of coming up with a whole bunch of money, KU donors are getting tired of paying people NOT to work ... first Mangino, then Perkins ... now Gill? I think we'll have him for awhile. So, I'm hoping his recruiting abilities are 'as advertised'.

DocBean 11 years, 1 month ago

Since when did Gill have an 8 Million dollar buyout?

Ashwin Rao 11 years, 1 month ago

One way to reduce the burden (just an option), is to fire everyone (asst. coaches, strength coach etc) and keep Gill, and have solid Asst. coaches who can not only recruit, but also run the game. Coach can sit happy with the 2Mil/yr... I don't care as long as we WIN!

kureader 11 years, 1 month ago

It's my understanding that Gill has a 5 year agreement at about 2 million per year. There may be performance bonuses assumed in the 2 million dollar figure that would not happen, making any buyout less. But, otherwise, I believe we're on the hook for another 4 years after this ... unless he's willing to negotiate something less than what his agreement calls for. The only "out" for an employer in a deal like this is to terminate 'for cause'. Losing lots of games doesn't constitute 'cause' ... though it probably should. I haven't seen his agreement ... just repeating what I've read a number of times.

Dyrk Dugan 11 years, 1 month ago, that was WAY too 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 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.

DocBean 11 years, 1 month 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.

Eric Williams 11 years, 1 month ago

considering almost all pre-season sources had us pegged at 5-7, i'd say we're on pace to meet expectations.

Gill is working with scraps. Patterson/Wilson are the only offensive skill players with a decent amount of experience and they barely played under Mangino.

We have a kid from Wichita, Dreamius Smith, who is one hell of an athlete. Gill recruited 9 O-Lineman already. So obviously he looked at the team and said, we need to improve the O-Line FAST!

How can a coaching staff fail completely in one season. Nick Saban's first year at Alabama? 6-6 in the regular season with a bowl win. They shoulda fired that guy right then.

DocBean 11 years, 1 month ago

On pace? Where is KU going to pick up 3 more wins?

Fruity22 11 years, 1 month 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.

Ashwin Rao 11 years, 1 month ago

Keep him and bring in new Assistants from SEC. Let him just be a figure head (recruits will like having a kinder/gentler coach). Let the Asst. coaches get some wins on the table! :-)

Ben Kliewer 11 years, 1 month ago

mvjayhawk: ", 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!

Andy Tweedy 11 years, 1 month ago

What does Gill have to do with the ticket sales?

Andy Tweedy 11 years, 1 month 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.

Omari Miller 11 years, 1 month ago

Agreed, rockchalk1990. A substantial buyout is actually something you're likely to see with scenario's like KU's last year. We keep talking about this expectation that the program should have been able to pick up where it left off. I remember being thoroughly frustrated as a die-hard KU fan last year too. Maybe we have picked up where we left off?

Not to make excuses for Coach Gill, but when we talk about all the talent KU was loaded with when he started, I'm having a hard time pairing up the rhetoric with reality. Yes, the stars aligned and we won the Orange Bowl two seasons ago. But it's like there's an epidemic of mass amnesia sweeping across Jayhawk Nation when it comes to recalling how we we did last year... and that was with players like Stuckey, Meier, Briscoe, Rivera and Reesing. So, add in injuries, inexperience at critical positions (like QB) and a new system... I can't sign on to this argument that Gill is in so much of a better position than Mason and Mangino were for us to be so appalled that we're 2-3, and may go with only 2 wins on the season. We were 1-10 in Mason's first year, 2-10 in Mangino's first (winless in conference).

Granted, the last two losses ALMOST made me remember when I was selling Cokes in the stands as a kid, watching KU teams routinely punt on 3rd down to try to catch the opponent off-guard since they obviously believed they couldn't safely make up 20 yards or more on one play. These last pair of losses, in particular, were hard to stomach, and it may get worse before the season is out... but I think if you're getting worked up about petitioning for his ouster after this year, you're setting yourself up for yet another disappointment.

Redlandsjhawk 11 years, 1 month 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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