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Monday Rewind: Texas Tech

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Texas Tech running back Kenny Williams eludes Kansas defenders Darius Willis (2) and Keba Agostinho (96) during the fourth quarter on Saturday, Oct. 1, 2011 at Kivisto Field.

Texas Tech running back Kenny Williams eludes Kansas defenders Darius Willis (2) and Keba Agostinho (96) during the fourth quarter on Saturday, Oct. 1, 2011 at Kivisto Field. by Nick Krug

Forget the specifics of last Saturday’s loss to Texas Tech.

By now, everybody knows the Jayhawks blew a 20-0 lead and gave up more than 500 yards of offense yet again. Flush it.

While I probably could sit here and analyze exactly what went wrong, where it broke down and why KU did not sustain its hot start, would it really matter? The Jayhawks still lost. They still have to regroup and get ready for Oklahoma State this weekend. And, provided they survive that, they have to start peeking into a future that features very few winnable games, if any.

Having said that, I want to share with you something that stood out to me during the postgame interviews last Saturday. Yeah, these guys were pissed. Senior linebacker Steven Johnson walked into the room looking like he wanted to put a hole in the wall. The rest of the guys spoke with disappointed tones and quiet voices. I’m telling you, this stuff hurts these guys.

But last year, all of that hurt and pain that piled on these guys week after week wound up burying them. When guys dropped their heads, they could not pick them back up again. When things got tough and the Jayhawks went looking for leaders, guys with true leadership qualities were hard to find.

That’s not the case this year. And that’s why, no matter how bad things get, these guys will keep fighting.

“All our goals are still attainable,” Johnson said. “We just have to keep on going.”

While that might sound like an empty statement, Johnson means it. And, remember, this team’s goal sheet was not limited to words like “get better.” It included phrases like “bowl game” and “Big 12 championship” and still does.

“I still feel like we have a chance to have a successful year,” sophomore QB Jordan Webb said. “When you look at it, we’ve got a lot of ballgames to play and a real young team and we’re only gonna get better throughout the year.”

While such a statement could be treated with a roll of the eyes, there’s plenty of reason for it to be taken serious. By all accounts, this is a better Kansas team than the one Gill and company fielded in 2010. The Jayhawks are more explosive and consistent on offense and, although it may not always show up on the scoreboard, they’re also improved on defense. They’re also going to continue to get better.

Remember last year when KU opened Big 12 play with a three-game stretch in which they were outscored 159-24? We all thought that was the beginning of an embarrassing run through conference play. But, somehow, the Jayhawks got better. They competed at Iowa State, played a great game defensively at Nebraska, ripped off a record-setting comeback to beat Colorado and even hung in their for a half with offensive juggernaut Oklahoma State. Not many of those feats are worth writing home about, but they did represent progress — progress that came after a stretch that said no hope was on the horizon.

And that kind of progress — and beyond — can be made again this season. If for no other reason than because these guys have an even better mindset and an even tighter locker room this season.

Does that mean they’ll win another game or two? It doesn’t. But it won’t be for lack of trying. No matter what the outcome has been the week before, this team has shown up on Sundays following gameday with the mentality of getting to work and getting better.

Expect it to remain that way the rest of the season, win or lose.

Comments

Jake Powell 9 years, 2 months ago

Good job Mr. Gill. You ran it up on us when you were playing QB at Nebraska.......and now you're running it up on us standing on our sideline. You've gotten over twice. Take your winnings............errrr salary............ and call it a career.

hawk316 9 years, 1 month ago

Exactly. "Progress and improvement" is exactly what this season is about. We knew going in that the wins might be few, but we can get behind these kids who are leaving it all on the field. We also knew that it would take a couple of years for all this young talent to develop into a consistently winning team, so patience remains the order of the day.

And Matt, I do like your optimism.

Ludwig Supraphonic 9 years, 2 months ago

I was delighted to get a chance to see the game on TV. Beautiful campus. Lovely Fall day. First B12 game of the season. I wish I could have been there. Disappointing to see empty seats in the student section. I don't know if a respectable showing at Georgia Tech would have made a difference. I watched the ISU/UT game from Ames. Similar size stadium and full. Of course ISU was undefeated. A common factor in both games was the fan exodus as soon as the game began to get out of hand. I think being competitive is the only way to keep fans in the seats in the second half. I am a hipocrite when it comes to fan support. I want a full stadium and intense fan support yet after the TTU first possession of the second half I was fast-forwarding seeking some evidence of recovery. I am looking for reasons to believe and am pitifully impatient. Thanks Matt for an article about motivation.

AzNHawk 9 years, 2 months ago

Well then, help us find some new coaches. Pull 8 mil out of your gluteus maximus, express and voice your concerns to Zenger and Little-Gray and convince them to bring us a "home run hire" and bring this ku football team to national championship contention.

Put up the 8 mil or shut up, complain complain, complain, or SUPPORT SUPPORT SUPPORT.

AzNHawk 9 years, 2 months ago

What? People that are incompetent usually get fired and replaced. You seem like one of those who want to bring in a new guy. So start the petition, protest, raise some funds, sell your body and do what it takes to make it happen. It’s only 8 million dollars.

In the meantime, I’m going to practice patience with Gill and co. and support KU football. And when the contract runs out after year 5 and the results aren’t there then okay bring in a new guy.

After all, Patience is a virtue.

texashawk10 9 years, 1 month ago

It's actually more than $8 million because you would also have to buyout the rest of the coaching staff and their contracts add another 2-3 million and then there is also the cost of bringing in a new coaching staff which means realistically, it will cost over $15 million for the total overhaul.

Mike Skiles 9 years, 2 months ago

You apparently have forgotten the mess which the Mangino firing left us in (as if it was all that great before he left)? KU is in a major rebuilding mode, which isn't a new thing unfortunately. While you are ready to fire everyone in sight, what does a better solution look like? I'm tired of complaining and whining - at least this KU team shows spirit, fight, and actually has some flashes of talent (more on offense than defense at present).

AzNHawk 9 years, 2 months ago

Actually, the connotation behind that post was meant in a walk the walk talk the talk sense. I hear ALL THE TIME about “fans” want to fire Gill and co. They want to fire him? Then do what it takes. SHOW ME THE MONEY!

I for one actually support Jayhawk football and am aware of the circumstances that occurred during the departure of Mangino. I also get sick of the “FIRE THE COACH” card when I know it will not happen because no one is going to front 8 mil unless there is a wealth KU booster who just has 8 mil laying around and says “oh here is 8 mil here you go. Goodbye.”

Which is why I say to those who want to fire the coach – put up or shut up. Put up the 8 mil of STFU and continue to support jayhawk football.

Ive said before and I’ll say it again. Win, lose, total blow out and obliteration, sold out stadium, empty stadium or being the only fan in a 50,000 seat stadium I’ll still be watching ALL 4 quarters of jayhawk football.

Michael Maris 9 years, 1 month ago

HawkfromHays, do you understand how much money that would take to hire Jim Tressel or Butch Davis?

More money than it took to hire Turner Gill.

I think that Gill needs to hire a Defensive Coordinator that can recruit (as you mentioned in the very last of your post) and coach players up.

Surely, Gill knows someone (from his former Nebraska days)? That is my suggestion.

Kansas is showing that they can score on offense. But, the Defense is just in disarray.

I understand, 4 DC's in 5 years. But, someone is going to have to take the fall for the lack of defense.

So Gill, you are going to have to spend the money to get a top-tier DC. That is what Mike Leach failed to do (in his tenure at Texas Tech).

I was all in favor of hiring T. Tubberville at KU (before Gill was hired). Cause, I knew that Tubberville would bring his Defensive Mind to KU. Then, he could hire a OC to run the ship. Tubberville is recruiting nicely at TTU (as well). But, Lew Perkins wanted to hire T. Gill.

I have NO doubt that T. Gill knows football. So, I don't question his ability to coach on the Offensive side. He is an Offensive guy.

Irregardless, as to what alot of the negative post are saying on this site (this year), those individuals (that are posing on here) can NOT say that the KU Offensive side of the ball has NOT improved this year (compared to last year). KU is averaging 36.25 points this season (through 4 games).

But, you need to hire a DC that can get the job done on that side of the ball.

We will see at the end of the season, if the KU Defense is truely getting better. KU still has to play Okie State, OU, K-State, Texas, Iowa State, Baylor, aTm and Missouri.

tis4tim 9 years, 1 month ago

"It wouldn't be a bad idea to give a second chance to a proven winner who has been recently disgraced (Tressel, Butch Davis)."

You're right - it would be an awful idea. The only thing those guys proved is that they're cheaters. And do you honestly believe that the specter of lost scholarships and/or the death penalty that would surely rear its disfigured head under the leadership of those charlatans is the right approach for a program struggling to achieve some sort of national relevance? Ask UNC how that worked out for them.

As for your d-coordinator argument, I would support that notion if and only if there had been some semblance of continuity regarding that position over the past few years. At this point, all that bringing in a new d-coordinator will do is create more incongruity for a struggling unit. I'm not so sure that approach is the right one either at the moment.

Phoghorn 9 years, 1 month ago

  1. Fully agree on disgraced winners. If Coach Self should leave, we could hire a proven winner like Calipari to ensure that AFH stays packed for every game.

  2. Fully agree on the proven winner concept. Nebraska was terrible in the early 1990s and only one 3 National Championships while Coach Gill was their QB Coach. Keep im mind that he worked with no-name quarterbacks including Tommie Frazier and Eric Crouch. That's right! One measly Heisman Trophy between them! Unnaceptable! Nothing shows desperation more than hiring someone from the lowly cellar-dwelling NU Cornhusker football program.

Phoghorn 9 years, 1 month ago

If Mangino was the great coach you think he was, then KU FB would not have to go after damaged goods like you just proposed! Thank you for playing - and contradicting yourself while you were at it!

Phoghorn 9 years, 1 month ago

Hmmm...you did not make the following comment? "It took Mangino only 4 years. It would take Gill a lot longer. Plus we went to a bowl game in the second year and were competitive in about every game I can remember save for 3-4 over 8 years. Want to guess what will happen in the next two weeks? See KSU and Baylor games last year."

Or this one: "In Mangino's first four years we went to two bowl games, won one, beat Mizzou twice, KSU once, and posted a winning record in a season. None of those things happening with Gill."

Seems like you are quite the Mangino supporter. Don't hate on me because I am using your own words against you.

Kirk 9 years, 1 month ago

KU doesn't need a good coach. In order to truly compete in this conference, it needs an extraordinary coach, which Gill isn't.

hawk82 9 years, 2 months ago

Halftime adjustments are crucial. This team, defensively, appears incapable of same. Loss of the D Coordinator was devastating.

CardHawkFan 9 years, 2 months ago

Nice insight Matt. I was reasonably encouraged by what I saw in the first half. However, that encouragement was short-lived once the third quarter got rolling. Switch at safety seemed to make a difference, but when your leading tacklers continue to be members of the secondary, it doesn't bode well. Offensively, take a note from Reesing and Co. Sometimes you have to take what the defense gives you in the pass game instead of always looking down field. Remember, our best receiver is almost always going to be running an underneath or a seam route (Biere) and we will have explosive weapons in the flat if you just check down your reads. Any word on what the situation is with Miller? If he wasn't at full strength on that 25-yard scamper, it seems like he is better than most, even at 80%. Just a thought.

Michael Maris 9 years, 2 months ago

I remember back when Glenn Mason coached the Kansas Jayhawks and got up 21-0. But after that, I remember Nebraska waking up and recovering from their daze and going on to Steam Roll KU after getting down to KU.

But yet, Glenn went on to recruit some quality talent to Kansas and turning in some solid seasons. I just wonder how Glenn got Dana Stubblefield, Gilbert Brown and Chris Maumalanga to come to Kansas back in the early '90's.

If Gill can find 3 NT's like those 3 players, then I will once again ''BELIEVE''.

But, you better go and get some of them kids of that same nature.

sevenyearhawk 9 years, 1 month ago

Why the fcuk would someone of "that same nature" want to come here?

Stupid rules, no cell phones or women, no names on the jerseys and candybar rewards?

Good players are more likely to go to Boise State than to come here for that bullsh!t.

disgusted

Phoghorn 9 years, 1 month ago

Wanna know a secret? Technology policies are common in sports.
Wanna know why? See Tyshawn Taylor's Toxic Twitter Troubles. Wanna know about pretty girlfriends? KU players can still have them. Wanna know about mothers? If they don't trust you, their son ain't playing for you.

jaymar74 9 years, 1 month ago

How,then, did Gill have the 6th ranked recruiting class in the conference?

AzNHawk 9 years, 2 months ago

Great article Matt! This year's team just needs to improve every game, win, lose, or blowout. Improve in ALL ASPECTS even if it is in small increments.

tolawdjk 9 years, 2 months ago

If you cannot adjust enough to protect a 20 pt lead, you have issues.

And I'm sorry, you cannot flush giving up 500 yrds of offense, again.

That is not dumping on the guys on the field. They are where they are supposed to be, where their coaches tell them to be. No one can find fault with their effort.

But the guys in the booth. The guys with the cameras and the big eye view that make the call and react to the adjustments...those guys are dropping the ball. Giving up 500+ yrds of offense doesn't happen beause your guys on the field can't fight. It happens cause the guys that call the defense, are paid to know what the opponent is going to do, put the guys on the field in the wrong spot to where they can't even fight.

They end up getting sealed off, or in wrong coverages with the wrong personel on the field.

This is squarely on Gill and his staff's shoulders. Mangino may have had issues, but Mangino at least showed that KU was not going to be the pushover week after week that we have historically been. Our long ball may not have gone as deep, or our lines might have been 10 lbs lighter on average, or our recievers .3 seconds slower in a 40, but it didn't matter under Mangio because they made do.

If you give up 500 yrds against the "Techs", what the heck is the target against OU? It's a given (with this coaching staff) that it will be a loss, but is it a moral win if we keep them to less than 600 yrds of offense?

drnater 9 years, 1 month ago

Its hard for those guys in the booth to do much when the front 7 cant get much pressure on the QB. Which we have a problem with already, but you add in the hurry up offense and thats a nail in the coffin. If you watch any kinds of sports, listen to any kind of sports radio, or even knew football. Then you would know that the hurry up offense is the great equalizer. Whether you have the #1 defense or the last place. The hurry up stops you from making substitutions on the field, causing d-lineman to get dog tired, and not be allowed to make a push at all. This is especially problematic for us considering we are bare at the d-line anyways. This also has very little to do with conditioning, which seems to be everybodys complaint. Unless you run 1,000 40's a day, then your never gonna get those d-linemen to be in that great of shape. Even if you do, then they're not gonna be d-linemen anymore. The bottom line is, our offense couldnt sustain a drive to give our defense a chance to catch their breath. Yes, we scored 34 points, and had a higher time of possession, but against the spread offense that doesnt matter. They ran more plays which is the goal of the spread, not time of possession but how many plays your can run. They ran 14 more plays with 3 less minutes, thats more plays than either team had in their longest drive. If our offense can sustain drives and eat up more clock, then our defense wont look nearly as bad. You can only beat a dying horse so many times before it dies, and if we keep leaving our D out on the field without giving them much time to catch their breath. We're gonna continue to see them give up points like this.

doctorWho 9 years, 1 month ago

I agree. But that is what happens when you have a run obsessed offense.

Our offense is still much too predictable.

Jake Powell 9 years, 2 months ago

We just 'have to have guys make plays', 'execute better', 'have a better scheme', do 'things of that nature', and 'believe'.............from a 'football standpoint'. FYI, these Turner Gill catch phrases are being painted on the field..............

Stephen Young 9 years, 2 months ago

Great perspective, Matt. Thank you. I'm confident Turner Gill CAN & WILL turn this program around. But he can't do it overnight. Fact is, Mangino left the cupboard empty of talent; we got NO recruiting bounce whatsoever out of the Orange Bowl. By contrast, Coach Gill's first full class (which exceeded any realistic expectations) showed the man can recruit talented football players. Look at our vast improvement on offense! We all want KU Football to escape its mediocre past, but we never will IF (as we have done so often in our past) we impatiently flush coaches before giving them the time--measured in many years, not minutes--they need to turn a program around in one of the toughest FBS conferences.

Jeff Coffman 9 years, 1 month ago

Why are none of those recruits playing on defense?

drnater 9 years, 1 month ago

What do you mean? Tunde Bakare, Malcom Walker, Keeston Terry, Keba Augostinho, Darius Willis, Pat Lewandowski, Victor Simmons, Dextor Mcdonald, Ray Mitchell, and Michael Reynolds have all played. Yes, some of those are recruits orginally committed from Mangino, but Gill got them to sign. Thats 10 recruits that are playing on defense.

Kirk 9 years, 1 month ago

Mangino's 2009 class was ranked 31st nationally by Rivals.

But yeah. Go on.

boknowssports 9 years, 1 month ago

Matt, Does anyone ever ask Gill some tough questions? When will the honeymoon be over? We are dead last on defense of 120 FBS schools, yes worse than those in non BCS conferences. At what point does the Head Coach take responsibility? Why do we look gassed by the third quarter? Can Gill get our guys conditioned? Can he make in game adjustments? Are we looking at a 2-10 season?

drnater 9 years, 1 month ago

How about does boreallyknowsports? Do you understand the spread offense? Could you have done a better job? What does conditioning have to do when we dont have enough d-linemen to make it matter? Can our offense help out our D and sustain a drive so the d wont look gassed? Do you expect the D to be in good shape when the O only had 3 of their 13 drives last over 3 minutes? Is the D suppose to not be gassed when they had to play 14 more plays than the O? C'mon man!!!!! Are you serious?

boknowssports 9 years, 1 month ago

lol...touched a nerve there I see. What say you about our in game defense adjustments? Are you satisfied with Gill's defense recruiting? What record do you project for this year?

drnater 9 years, 1 month ago

no, you didnt strike a nerve. I just dont understand what your questioning is based off of. I think our defensive adjustments are right where they should be considering we just switched to a 3-4 defense this year. Half our d-tackles (the most important position in a 3-4) are injured, and we got a new d-coordinator a couple months before the season started. (whom has never coached at this level of football, the big 12) It takes longer than 4 games to adapt to that type of defensive system. You dont just pick it up overnight. Besides that, the blame on the offense isnt given nearly as much as it should be. Receivers dropping balls led to 2 interceptions, which in turn led to 2 touchdowns. I saw on numerous occasions receivers spending more energy on complaining to refs than trying to catch the ball. Also, as stated above, it really doesnt matter what adjustments you make if your defense cant suck down enough wind to play. Which circles back around to sustaining drives to give your D a breather. Everyone wants to focus on the D giving up a God awful amount of points, but nobody wants to point to the offense ultimately being the downfall to their defense. You cant have 13 possesions and only average 5.5 plays and expect your defense to not get tired. 7 of the 13 drives failed to get 20 yards. The longest drive of the game was 4:55 and it ended up in a missed field goal. By that time it was already too late. As far as his defensive recruiting, I think he's doing fine. He went out and tried to get a few dt's and none of them signed. That happens, he's out pushing hard for dt's right now. If we can get them, then we'll be better off. As far as record, i've stated ever since last year when the season ended, that this will be a year where we may have the same record, but we'll be a far better team. As far as the team, I believe its pretty obvious that this team is far better on the field. They are still making mental errors, and need to shore up their tackling, but that comes with comfort in a system. Once they get the 3-4 system down and dont have to think as much, then you'll notice significant improvement on D.

Funhawk 9 years, 1 month ago

Article subtitle: "Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the EVIDENCE of things not seen."

Matt Tait is a believer!

Dirk Medema 9 years, 1 month ago

Matt - Did anyone notice that we are a missed (gimme?) PAT, missed 42 yd FG (not a gimme but probable), and goalline stand away from a tie game.

This inspite of 3 INT's and as many fumbles tho only 1 (?) was lost.

It's disappointing that we blew the 20 point lead, but plenty encouraging that we got a 20 pt lead. Looking at the stats also gives plenty of reason to be encouraged. We obviously need to put it together better, but we are certainly better off than we were last year.

KU_Alumn_2000 9 years, 1 month ago

Improved defense ??? Really. Matt I really like this article...but this defense is far from improved ?

The loss of springer and lat hurt. We were bad last year but gosh Matt...were really thin up front..really thin.

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