Saturday, November 6, 2010

Onside kick turning point in KU’s 52-45 comeback over Colorado

Kansas safety Olaitan Oguntodu signals Jayhawks' ball as the Colorado special teams unit huddles over the pile following an onside kick by KU during the fourth quarter, Saturday, Nov. 6, 2010 at Kivisto Field.

Kansas safety Olaitan Oguntodu signals Jayhawks' ball as the Colorado special teams unit huddles over the pile following an onside kick by KU during the fourth quarter, Saturday, Nov. 6, 2010 at Kivisto Field.


KU-CU video clips

Video clips from the Jayhawks' 52-45 win over Colorado.

Chris Harris grinned sheepishly before sharing his secret following Kansas’ 52-45 victory over Colorado on Saturday.

So that surprise onside kick, the one KU executed so well with 11:05 left in the fourth quarter ...

“We’ve never practiced that at all,” the KU senior said. “Never.”

Down 45-24, Harris said many of the players were trying to convince KU coach Turner Gill to try for the onside kick.

After walking away for a second to think, Gill came back to the special teams huddle.

“Let’s do it,” he said.

There was one issue. Harris said KU had never attempted a surprise onside kick in practice.

“We pretty much just drew it up in the sand,” Harris said.

KU’s players still had seen the play executed before.

Two weeks ago, when preparing for Iowa State, KU special teams coordinator Aaron Stamn played video of Iowa State’s surprise onside kick against Texas Tech.

Stamn wanted to prepare his players in case the Cyclones tried to run the same play again; instead, Harris said it started a buzz around the room, as KU’s players talked about how they should run that play sometime themselves.

In the huddle Saturday, Stamn told everyone on the right side of KU’s formation to block except for one player: receiver Bradley McDougald. His job would be to recover the kick.

KU kicker Jacob Branstetter’s onside kick was nearly perfect, taking a high hop at 11 yards before McDougald recovered it.

“That definitely got us energized,” Harris said. “The momentum shifted right there.”

KU followed with a four-play, 59-yard touchdown drive to close the gap to 45-31. It was the second of five touchdowns for KU in the fourth quarter.

Gill said afterwards that the surprise onside kick was the turning point.

“This was really the chance for us to do it ... and say, ‘Hey, we’ve got to go for it, and go for the win. This is our opportunity to make something happen,’” Gill said. “We had a little momentum, and I thought once we got that, then I thought we had a great chance to be successful.”

Added Colorado coach Dan Hawkins: “We kind of thought that they might attempt (the onside kick). We were ready for it, and they did a good job of executing it.”

Harris, who was on the left side of KU’s kickoff return team, said the onside kick was a gamble that KU had to take.

“That’s something,” he said, “we might have to keep in our back pocket.”


Bryan Anderson 11 years, 7 months ago

Way to go, Hawks. I'm still skeptical of the current coaching staff, but you guys showed some intestinal fortitude. Hopefully my calls for the resignation of HCTG and staff are premature.

chriz 11 years, 7 months ago

I have no idea how our team could've done this. This is pretty amazing. Hopefully it's a sign of better days under Coach Gill.

flyingfinn 11 years, 7 months ago

I agree Mr A..jury still out on this coaching staff, but everyone that has been bashing the players instead of the coaching staff take another look these guys have a lot of guts

yates33333 11 years, 7 months ago

The fact that they had never practiced an on-side kick says loads about the coaching at KU, none of it good. What does the school pay the head coach? More importantly, why do they pay him?

Jesse Newell 11 years, 7 months ago

Just to clarify: They hadn't practiced a surprise onside kick, one where everyone was lined up like it was a normal kickoff. They had practiced an all-out onside kick, where more players line up on one side than the other.

Ashwin Rao 11 years, 7 months ago

Thanks for clarifying. I was wondering about the statement too! Now I feel better! :-)

Dan Pawlowski 11 years, 7 months ago

Thanks for the info. Perhaps the "experts" on this board will lay off the criticizing until they at least witness a few practices. I have heard and read several sports writers who have said this team practices hard. So when people call out the players on their desire I take that as a sign of their lack of knowledge.

GridironHawk 11 years, 7 months ago

Bet you feel pretty foolish. Jumped the gun a little early on the bash Gill post... The article states "surprise onside kick" 4 times...

Allin Herring 11 years, 7 months ago

Still my question is why hadn't the coaching staff practiced the "surprise" on side kick before? It was a record setting game Saturday and all the players need to be congradulated for their supreme effort and emotion in the 4th quarter but this still does not remove the fact that the coaching staff has not been able to get this this team to the emotional level it needs to be on a consistant basis. It also seems that the play was suggested by some players and not by the coach. So should he get all the credit???

ahpersecoachingexperience 11 years, 7 months ago

funny! the best coaching decision of the season was a play that they were not coached on. and the players had to convince the coach to call it!

DocBean 11 years, 7 months ago

I'm glad I'm not the only one to see the irony in this story.

With that said, I'm glad we got the win. I can't believe after seeing the halftime score we ended up winning the game. I thought for sure the scores on the Big XII scoreboard show was some sort of mistake. Unfortunately, they didn't have any video of the game.

Eric Williams 11 years, 7 months ago

Or you could interpret it as Gill is confident in how his coaches have prepared the players.

Of course it wasn't a practiced play, but he trusted his guys enough to execute it.

That to me says more about being a coach/leader.

Dirk Medema 11 years, 7 months ago

Well said 613. Some will find a negative spin for anything.

KSseahawk 11 years, 7 months ago

Well played!

I think it was trust and finally putting his players in a position to succeed and more importantly, to be accountable.

Marcia Parsons 11 years, 7 months ago

And yet he respected the players enough to value their suggestion, and trusted them to make the play. I have a feeling that any player who dared to try suggesting a play last year with Mangino would never have seen the field again.

KSseahawk 11 years, 7 months ago

That's the ultimate in accountability. "It's your call...if it fails it's on you." At some point; however, TGill must take charge and coach like he wants to win, instead of like he's coaching the spring game.

We've seen what can be done in 11 try it for a full 60!

DXJhawk 11 years, 7 months ago

Yeah I'm pretty disappointed there has been nary a mention of this game on ESPN or Fox. I was hoping for some highlights since it was such a big comeback win.

Eric Williams 11 years, 7 months ago

It wasn't on TV, so I think only local KS stations have footage (if any).

Reminds me of the Baylor-A&M 5 OT basketball game from recent years...

Dirk Medema 11 years, 7 months ago

ESPN actually put that game on ESPNClassic about a month after the game, but it took major effort on A&M's (?) part, because they only had a couple inhouse video cameras. This is great for us, but not likely to see it on ESPN.

The good news tho is that Micah Brown has been rocking with "The Gridiron" this year. Amazing daily/weekly sort of documentary of the team. It's on vimeo. Should be great and long this week.

hawksince51 11 years, 7 months ago

They just reported on it and showed a few clips on Sports Center--just a few runs into the end zone and not the on-side kick.

RockChalkGumbyHawk 11 years, 7 months ago

Great be honest, I'd given up and gone outside to do yardwork. Imagine my surprise when I saw the ESPN App alert showing the final score!

The jury is still out on Gill, and I want him to be wildly successful. But some of the comments over the last few weeks have been WAY overboard. Anyone remember how hot a commodity Brian Kelly was...and now with all the 4- and 5-star recruits Notre Dame gets his team is struggling as they adjust to his schemes. Many first year coaches will struggle on the field and turn out to be solid. I'm rooting for you Turner.

Dirk Medema 11 years, 7 months ago

Good point about Kelly, not to mention the pick of so many whiners. Tuberville is not having anywhere near the success that TTech has been used to. Their record may be better than ours, but they weren't coming off a 7 game losing streak either.

HawkTronic 11 years, 7 months ago

I'd also point out how Chip Kelly at Oregon was viewed 5 games into last season. After dropping the game opener, Boise State said his team was not prepared and looked lost. And the fight after that game. Many thought he should be fired halfway through his 1st season. And this was a coach hand-picked by his predecessor. The Ducks seem to be doing OK this year. Closer to home, there were quite a few Chicken Littles during Bill Self's first year or two also. Coach Gill may not be the answer, but we owe it to ourselves to get get more data.

Jaminrawk 11 years, 7 months ago

It makes me sick as a KU fan that the typical haters on these boards can't enjoy a win for 24 damned hours. We get it, you hate Gill. We know. Quit p*g on the parade.

ampthatman 11 years, 7 months ago

+1. Some posters appear to be angry we won. No wonder people make fun of our football fanbase.

steamboat 11 years, 7 months ago

My exact thoughts. GREAT post. Gee I wonder if Texas fans are calling for Mack Browns' head? They actually have cause too. I wonder if K-State fans were wanting Bill's head after his first year of winning one game? Hey we got a win in the most unusual way so let's just enjoy it OK?

slowplay 11 years, 7 months ago

Haters will be haters. It's their loss. If you can't enjoy a win like this why bother being a fan. Fantastic win. OC Long deserves a lot of credit for his second half play calling.

kuhawk4life 11 years, 7 months ago

Can you Gill haters give me a freakin' break? The guy already has a better record in his first year than Mangino. Give the guy a chance. Let him bring in HIS recruits, for HIS system. If he's still not producing wins after 3 or 4 years, then you can b**** and moan; for now give the guy some credit for keeping his team in the game and not letting them quit. Who knows, Colorado was the turning point for an awful ending to the season last year, maybe this Colorado game is the turning point for this team under Coach Gill.

yovoy 11 years, 7 months ago

Come on, everyone is an expert. They have the internets. The face at the head of this program reminds them too much of another face at the top, and the idea - the mere IDEA - of that face having success, or supporting that face is beyond the ability of the average Joe.

I've been high on him since he was at Buffalo (when they played UTEP), but our performances have had me scratching my head a little bit, but I'd never dream of saying some of the things said here. Granted, it sounded strange that the "surprise" onside hadn't been practiced (thanks for the clarification), but I didn't really care as it worked out AND we won. I just wanted to celebrate - not berate.

Gary Wirsig 11 years, 7 months ago

Note to jayhawkinnebr, njjayhawk, and hawknhutch - my last post to you three losers - please find another team to "support"; another website to do your pathetic trolling.

Ken Sedgwick 11 years, 7 months ago

Turning point? Hope so. However, " Never give up" has been tattooed in these young men`s minds.

ahpersecoachingexperience 11 years, 7 months ago

tuberville laid the wood to mu today (score not indicative of actuall game) i guess "his" system is easier to install. wonder what will happen to TT when he gets "his" recruits in?

ampthatman 11 years, 7 months ago

First of all, who cares? Secondly, I imagine they will get better. But that just brings me back to my first point--who cares?

Dan Pawlowski 11 years, 7 months ago

Everyone who hates Misery. Which includes the entire Jayhawk Nation!

Ibajayhawk 11 years, 7 months ago

I really wish that everyone could put their anger and need to criticize on the back burner until the end of the season. I personally can't stand Gill, but I believe that we aren't going to get rid of him for some time, so why punish the players. Those players read these blogs, which leaves either a feeling of support and confidence or a feeling of worthlessiness and being a loser. How about if we get together as 'FANS' and support these young men. If you don't like Gill, do like I have recently done. Meet hiim face to face and tell him of your displeasure. But for heck sakes lets stop bashing the players and what they are trying to do. Let them know that we believe in them. Nice job today Jayhawks. Keep up the good work.

amatxjayhawk 11 years, 7 months ago

Amen gdkadjayhawk,

There are too damn many folks on places like this who don't have the ability to play, the knowledge to coach, the skill to write, nor the clout to be influential. So they come here to dribble, piss and moan.

Check it out. Gill and his staff already have a better record than Mangino did at this point and when they are finished they'll have a better first year recruiting class -- if they don't already.

I'll bet you are among those who go home at the half. I hope you did today and missed a great win. Get off the coaches asses, celebrate the win, and support the program. Be part of the solution rather than the problem.

There, now I feel all better.

Jared Grillot 11 years, 7 months ago

I attended this game, with several members of my family, one of which left just shortly after our stolen touchdown with the phantom personal foul/blatant block in the back and the uncalled horsecollar (REFEREEING STUUUNNNNNK), who is now kicking himself for having done so. This game was intense. The players were intense, the crowd (eventually) was intense, and the coaching staff was literally hopping mad (including a sideline penalty after, you guessed it, outrageous refereeing). It was so wild in the 4th that people who had left in disgust shortly after halftime to go back to the tailgates came back when they heard what was going down - the stand actually filled back up! This team, our coaches, and our fans, unlike previous games and previous quarters, did everything right. It was awesome. Everyone here seems to be focusing on the "surprise" onside kick, and forgetting about the interceptions, the tackles for loss, the jumping over defenders into the end zone, even in the face of ludicrous yellow flag throwing (or not throwing, as the case may be), and FIVE TOUCHDOWNS in 1 quarter, showing that this team does, in fact, have the capability of doing damage. Anybody criticizing this game was obviously not there. Rock Chalk Jayhawk.

Jared Grillot 11 years, 7 months ago


"The 35 points in the fourth quarter were the most in Jayhawks history."

"Kansas scored 35 unanswered points after trailing 45-17 early in the fourth quarter. The 35 points are the second-most scored in the 4th quarter by a team to win in FBS History

ESPN Stats & Information"

If that's not something to be excited about, I don't know what is.

hailtoku 11 years, 7 months ago

Oh my goodness the Gill fans come out from hiding.

Let's remember, we were down by four (4) touchdowns (or 28 points) in the 4th quarter to a terrible Colorado team.

Miraculous finish against the last place team in the Big XII doesn't equate great coaching.

Jared Grillot 11 years, 7 months ago

Nope. Not Gill fans. Just Jayhawk fans who witnessed the greatest quarter of football in KU history. Record breaking. Enjoy the win.

Tony Bandle 11 years, 7 months ago

What does a game like this say about Dan Hawkins, the Colorado coach????

Allow a team to score five TDs in one Quarter??!! Did the Buffs team leave early to try to beat the traffic to the airport??

Please don't forget, and I am thrilled as anyone over this unexpected miracle, but our defense allowed 45 points to a crappy Big 12 North rival!!

bad_dog 11 years, 7 months ago

That's the same "crappy Big 12 North rival" that should have beaten Baylor a few weeks back. You know, that same Baylor team that smoked the Hawks?

yovoy 11 years, 7 months ago

Those darned Gill fans! I'd say the KU fans came back out. The Gill-haters are going to be around. Like-Cough-you-Cough....

I remember we were down by 4 touchdowns....did we win? Oh, hard to tell...mea culpa.

We WERE the worst team in the league by far, and I hate to say that. I don't think anyone here is excited about the coaching as much as they are excited about a dramatic win. I know I am, and I bet I'm not the only one. I'm sure those that are happy for the Team are somehow wrong.

Ben Kliewer 11 years, 7 months ago

A few things... 1. Wow. 2. ahpersecoachingexperience, I understand the reference of the Auburn/Gill 09 icon...but why? 3. My brother was at the game, he and his family left at half time. Then he was really pssed. Or should I say, that doesn't make sense. 4. Did anyone notice that Iowa State, that team that "embarrassed us" by a whole 12 points nearly beat Nebraska today? 1 point OT loss to the Huskers. 5. Unable to watch the game today. Not on TV. I live in L.A. Of course, the game wasn't on TV anywhere. But over these last few months, after reading and observing articles, game footage, breakdowns, and all the posts on these message boards, I have realized something very important. None of us know s#t. Could today have been a fluke? Sure! Could it have been a breakthrough for our players? Perhaps! Could it have been a breakthrough for our coaching staff? Possibly! Will Kansas win any more football games this season? I don't know. And you sure as heck don't know (using the proverbial "You" regarding all of you...myself included) Will Gill be a terrible Ron Prince coach and be fired down the line? It's possible. Will Coach Gill actually succeed and build a successful program at Kansas? Also possible. Post anything you want after this. Post stats, post opinions, post praise, post criticism, post blatant hatred, post poetry, post your innermost secrets. I don't care. It won't change the fact that we slammed CU for 35 unanswered in the 4th. Nor will it change the fact that nobody would have/could have called it. Nor will it change the fact that Turner Gill and the Kansas Jayhawks had an electrifying victory today. Period. I hereby discredit all arguments in favor of, or against Turner Gill. You know why? Because none of us know s#t. You may think you know, and you'll spend a lot of time on your computer, typing on this white and grey background and clicking "Preview Comment" and then "Post Comment" like I am doing...right now. And you'll tell us all how you know, and why you know, and why you're right and everyone else who doesn't agree with you is wrong. But in reality, you don't know. I don't know. You know why? Because none of us know s#t. And as far as Jayhawk Football goes, that's pretty much all I know.

hailtoku 11 years, 7 months ago

Lost to North Dakota State and Southern Mississippi. Got dismantled by K-State 59-7, Baylor 55-7, Texas A&M 48-10 and were losing by 28 points to quite possibly the worst team in the Big XII in the 4th quarter.

Ranked 82nd in passing, 70th in rushing, 102nd in points scored, 107th in points against

One thing I do know, we stink.

Gary Wirsig 11 years, 7 months ago

Speak for yourself, hailtoku, speak for yourself.

hailtoku 11 years, 7 months ago

That's not my opinion.

Those are facts.

jayhawkintx73 11 years, 7 months ago

He did post facts. That doesn't mean the last two games don't show improvement, but it wasn't hard to improve from arguably the worst team in D1.

Doug Merrill 11 years, 7 months ago

Nope - you may 'know' that, but the intelligent football fan doesn't. If this KU team had laid down and accepted another blow out, then you could say that with some reason. But these teammates pulled together and played very well when the vast majority of "good" teams would have been disheartened and given up. You aren't right and you don't "know". Instead, you are one of the die-hard anti-KU posters who pretend to be KU boosters but who are "just upset with the coaches". In reality, you simply post this reactionary crap because you think it sounds more intelligent to write sarcastic negatives. As an analyst you are weak and as a fan you reek. Which is why you now officially join my "Honorary ahpersecoachingexperience list of The Unread". Some day KU will be really good and your posts will still be irrelevant.

hailtoku 11 years, 7 months ago

So you're choosing to ignore our record, our scores, and our rakings.

"Team X" is ranked 82nd in passing, 70th in rushing, 102nd in points scored, 107th in points against.

In your eyes, is that team good, or does that team stink?

hawksince51 11 years, 7 months ago

Finally, revenge for 1961 when we were highly-rated and led CU 19-0 going into the 4th quarter and lost 20-19. That was in Boulder's thin air though. Anyway, a great last game with CU, especially since I live in CO.

steamboat 11 years, 7 months ago

I listened to the whole game. Inasmuch as it sounded pretty bad at times I kept listening. I even heard the announcers say that most of the fans have left. But ya know what? I didn't quit and more importantly the players didn't quit the coaches didn't quit
& we got a much needed win. The CU game last year started the losing streak and the CU game this year has ended the losing streak. Will it be enough to have a successful season? Probably not. But could it be enough to build on and allow the kids a little time to feel good about themselves? You damn right. Success has to start somewhere it may as well be here and now.

dougr 11 years, 7 months ago

Sixth generation Coloradans, we grew up sitting in the snowy cheap seats of Mile High Stadium watching Floyd Little (Bronco Hall of Fame). In those days, Bronco fans knew better than to hope for wins, it was just asking too much. But when the Broncos won the Super Bowl twice, we learned that patience makes victory so much more fullfilling.

At KU, you have Turner Gill. One of two things will happen. In a few short years, KU will be a champion or Turner Gill will be coaching a champion elsewhere, hopefully not at our (KU's) expense. We're new to KU but Coach Gill and his players have it, cultivate it, be patient and great things will happen. You saw signs of it Saturday.

What should every Jayhawk take from Saturdays win? 'Never Quit, Never!' I remember John Elway and 'The Drive', 'The Comeback Kid.' There's a reason the team and the coaches are in the locker room and we fans are in the stands. It won't be easy but it'll never happen if you don't give it a chance.

We watched many Jayhawk fans leave early but something about these coaches and this team said we should stay and we're glad we did. Something in our gut told us, this team is going to find a way.

Our son is a proud Jayhawk drumline member. I hope the team and coaches will support the Jayhawk Marching Band with the same ferver the marching band has demonstrated during the 2010 football season, the band too, has no quit in them. If the football team and their coaches support their marching band, it'll fit right into that elusive but achievable winning formula, when everyone believes it can happen; there is room for success.

Doug and Miriam Rodriguez

bad_dog 11 years, 7 months ago

Hmm, home games are one thing but I wonder if they even went to Waco for the Baylor game...

dougr 11 years, 7 months ago

NDS, Yes. Baylor, No. Kansas St, Yes. The Jayhawk team I have made note of is the one that showed up for Georgia Tech and Colorado. When that group begins to show up consistently I'll pit them against anyone. While I respect your opinion, I still believe this Jayhawk group has demonstrated its ability. Fear of failure can be a virtue when a team is striving for success. Look at NDS, Baylor and K-state and it tends to scare a talented group into doing what they did to Colorado, it just doesn't happen in football unless you have a capable group. Sure it can be said that Colorado blew it but that dismisses the fact that the other team had everything to do with Colorado's historical collapse.


David Robinett 11 years, 7 months ago

Greatness happens when no one else believes but you.

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