Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Kansas football turns page, looks to future

Head Kansas football coach Turner Gill said the month of November will give the Jayhawks an opportunity to improve.


Kansas University’s football team, which has lost six games in a row and been outscored by an average of 55-21 in those losses, has found a way to flip the focus in its favor: by turning the page on the calendar.

“I just wanted to talk about what I am telling our team and our coaches as we finish this season,” KU coach Turner Gill said in his opening remarks at Tuesday’s news conference. “First of all, I am just telling them that it is a new month. We are looking forward to the month of November because it is about how you finish. We need to finish this in a positive way.”

KU will carry a 2-6 overall record, 0-5 in the Big 12, into Saturday’s game at Iowa State.

Although Gill has proven to be an open and honest man no matter the circumstance, he turned to some frequently used cliches to get his team going this week.

“Basically, he wants us to forget about all the games we’ve played up until this point and just start over from scratch,” senior cornerback Isiah Barfield said. “The season starts 0-0, and we want to look at it that way, rather than we’re coming in on a losing streak. We want to come in with the same passion that we had at the very beginning of the season and win the month of November.”

Considering how things have gone lately, that sounds like a pretty good game plan. Although it has long since been forgotten, Kansas opened the season 2-0 and racked up 981 yards of total offense — 554 on the ground — and 87 points during the season’s first two weeks.

Despite recent struggles, offensive coordinator Chuck Long said the Jayhawks did not plan to make drastic changes and would continue to emphasize the running game.

“We don’t want them to change their attitude,” Long said. “Right now, we like where we’re at, offensively, as far as attitude. But we’re implementing a new game plan, and we expect a good week of practice.”

Attitude may not be changing, but expectations are. Sunday, the day after KU’s 43-0 loss at Texas, defensive coordinator Vic Shealy informed KU’s players that they should expect to see a new coaching style during the next four weeks.

“The coaching staff isn’t going to change who they are just because we’re losing,” said Barfield, translating the message. “But coach Shealy said he’s going to coach as hard as he can because we really need to win this month. If the younger players can’t take that, then I don’t know what to tell them.”

Added Shealy: “When I said that to our football team, it wasn’t geared just to the corners. It was kind of geared to our defense. As coaches, we have to stomp the gas pedal down.”

While the task of forgetting about the past sounds simple enough, the players, who have felt the pain of every blowout loss and every failed opportunity, said it would take some work.

“It’s not easy,” junior linebacker Tunde Bakare said. “But it’s not as difficult as people make it. Basically, when things don’t go your way, you gotta start over again and just make sure you do it right the second time. And I think we can do that in November. I think it’s just not accepting anything but perfect. If you do things wrong, it’s not going to be like, ‘Oh well.’ You don’t get a second try in games. I think this week’s gonna be like, ‘You either do it right or you don’t play.’”

Why defer?

Winning the opening coin toss has been pretty common for KU this season. Until Saturday, starting the game on defense had not. Prior to the game at Texas, KU had won the toss in five of its seven games and elected to receive each time. Saturday, the Jayhawks again won the toss but this time chose to defer. Asked why Tuesday, Gill hammered home the theme of the week.

“That was mainly for change,” he said. “I think we were talking about the third quarter and just trying to do something a little bit different. We wanted to see if that would make a difference in how we would come out from the opposite side of it, having our offense have the ball versus our defense. A small victory, if you want to call it that, because there were some pluses that come out of it compared to what he had been doing in the third quarter.”

CB to de-commit?

The fallout from a disappointing season and uncertain future already might have made its way to Kansas.

Lauderdale Lakes (Fla.) cornerback Daniel Gray, 6-foot, 170 pounds, who committed to KU in May, told Monday that he was on the verge of de-committing.

“I’m not really solid (with Kansas),” Gray said. “I’ll put it out (Wednesday) whether I’m still committed or not. I’m going to take a trip to Nebraska on Nov. 25. That’s going to be the first official visit I take.”

Others may follow. Gray told the website he had offers from Florida International, Mississippi and Texas Tech. North Carolina and Tennessee also have shown interest.

Gray is one of eight commitments that KU has landed from the Class of 2012.

Sunday night, Gill was asked if he thought KU’s six-game losing streak had hurt recruiting. While his answer may have been true at the time, it now seems clear that things are changing.

“I haven’t had anything in a negative way or anything of that nature at all,” Gill said Sunday. “Everybody’s still interested, the people we’ve been on, and we’ll see how it all shakes out. Everybody understands in recruiting and life and football and sports, you have ups and downs.”


OhioHawkfan 10 years, 6 months ago

"I B.E.L.I.E.V.E. you have my stapler!"

minipman 10 years, 6 months ago

o wow.. does that mean they are finally going to have the corners jam the recievers at the line.. its only taken half the year to figure out that what they were doing wasnt working. they should of known to change the coaching style after the first game..

Jeff Coffman 10 years, 6 months ago

I must say reading this article, i can't even figure out what the assistant coaches are saying. We aren't going to do anything different, and than in the next sentence they talk about changing.

The truth of the matter is that they have tried everything they know, and they just can't make the adjustments that are needed in Big XII football.

One thing I hope I am reading through the lines about is that TG said in November they really need to win. I hope SZ has basically said that if you don't win, we will be invoking the incompentence clause in your contract. I must say that if you can't win any games and go on a 10 game losing streak without any adjustments at all, I would invoke the incompetence strategy.

Additionally, when you have like 12-13 scholarships available and you haven't even been able to fulfill those and now you have 1-2 players of 8 starting to quesstion their commitments, I think TG is on the hotseat even more. I would say that TG has to start realizing he is in trouble, but my impression is that he is so clueless, he probably thinks everything is hunky dury and that he will be happy with a 2-10 season.

We don't want you Turner Gill...Go Away!!

KSseahawk 10 years, 6 months ago

I also struggled to understand what the assistant coaches were saying. Glad it's not just me...

This article seems to say that the players and coaches couldn't be further apart. The players comments are mocking TGill. I don't know...again, maybe just me.

actorman 10 years, 6 months ago

All meaningless drivel at this point ...

blackhawkjayhawk 10 years, 6 months ago

I do hope that they turn it around. A bad loss to ISU would probably seal the coaching staff's fate. To keep his job, Gill will need at least one win combined with a close loss and a respectable loss. It is possible. However, if recruits start de-committing, it's over.

Bring in June Jones.

Bville Hawk 10 years, 6 months ago

Maybe the O and D Coordinators have been given the green light by TG to be tough and demanding and hold players accountable for the next couple weeks to see how that works?

Just a thought (or maybe a hope?).

SCJayhawker 10 years, 6 months ago

You are so right. This needed to happen long ago. Its just unbelieveable to watch our players come off the field after they just blew an assignment and not get an ass rippin. Instead, it appears, that they walk off the field and head to the bench and sit down. Their position coach don't even say a thing to them. I have watched for years high school coaches hold their players more accountable then these KU coaches do. I guess they all are just like deer in the headlights. Beffuddled, dumbstruck, and in way, way over their heads. Boys, I hear the MAC calling you back!

Bville Hawk 10 years, 6 months ago

Yeah, it makes you wonder if they even grade the films. I mean, we've had coaches in the past say "so and so graded out really well the last couple games and is going to be seeing more playing time" or "we are going to make some changes because we have some people who haven't graded out very well."

We lack discipline and mental toughness.

Most head coaches in this situation say "we are going back to the fundamentals. It's all about blocking and tackling." Our coach is looking at the calendar!

Kevin Studer 10 years, 6 months ago

Ummm, we fired Mark Mangino for doing that, remember? We wanted an opposite. This is what we asked for.

Cmill1221 10 years, 6 months ago

Ummmm. No. Let the reccord reflect I NEVER asked for mangino to be fired and I sure as hell NEVER asked for Turner Gill.

Geekinout 10 years, 6 months ago

You simply can't be soft and nice for so long and then out of no where decide to go rigid and tough... That's the first thing leaders, coaches, teachers, etc. ought to know. The players will not respond to this in a positive way. This staff didn't set a tough mentality from the get go so I see no reason why they should take any of the coaches serious at this point. This team seems more lost than Mangino's last season!

ahpersecoachingexperience 10 years, 6 months ago

Things should really open up for us this month. We will only face:

A team desperately needing a win against us to (try to) become bowl eligible that is playing with the most confidence because of a huge road win.

A guy named RG3 who will be looking to pad some stats

The 12th man.

Our most hated rival that will be looking to send a message because it could be the last time we ever play them.


SCJayhawker 10 years, 6 months ago

Yeah! You are exactly right. We got 'em right where we want 'em. Not only that but I hear rumor that Coach Gill is a shoe in for Big 12 coach of the year!

NebraskaJayhawk 10 years, 6 months ago

They seriously need to consider bringing someone in right now...before the season's end if they are indeed considering replacing Gill & Co.

Kc Ticketguy 10 years, 6 months ago

“But coach Shealy said he’s going to coach as hard as he can because we really need to win this month. If the younger players can’t take that, then I don’t know what to tell them.”

What does this even mean? Don't you REALLY need to win every month? Is somehow this month more important than last month, or the month before that?

"SHEALY SAID HE'S GOING TO COACH AS HARD AS HE CAN" Has he not been coaching as hard as he can? Has he been somehow holding back his "hardest" coaching for when the team really needs it? I'm not a coach but I assume when we are getting blow out by 40-50 a game every game you might want to pull out all the stops and coach as hard as you can...

The content of this article is just stupid. I'm so tired of this coaching staff. They have proven one thing to me this year. That they aren't up to the task of coaching in the big 12.

boknowssports 10 years, 6 months ago

you forgot..."its time to stomp the gas pedal down"....say what??? I think the engine has not even been on! These coaches are a joke! Classic, they wanna say we are .500 now...0-0... really grasping for straws here....

Martin Shupert 10 years, 6 months ago

This has been a disaster. There's no excuse for the level of play. I've seen ends covered better in touch football games, and there was more tackling in those touch football games too. I'm serious. That isn't a joke. I see no reason to keep Gill in place. There might be good reasons. I just don't see any. Which direction is this program going? It appears to be in free fall.

Jaminrawk 10 years, 6 months ago

I'm not even worried about losing recruits at this point. If KU brings in a capable coach and staff, players will come. I don't blame recruits for being wary of KU at this point. This team is awful and things look bleak with Gill. Any new coach needs to be concerned with getting some JUCO talent in here unitl the youngsters we already have develop a bit. That's how Bill Snyder has done it and that's how Mangino did it when he got here.

Bville Hawk 10 years, 6 months ago

Not promoting Mike Stoops here, but was just looking at the circumstances of his mid-season firing at Arizona. He was 1-5 at the time, but the scores were all competitive (at least a lot more "competitive" than the ones we have been putting up).

I suppose the advantage of a mid-season firing is that you can officially start your search immediately. Has any school that's done this ever announced the new coach before season's end? You could probably only do that if you were hiring someone who was out of football. If you were going after an FBS coach or a BCS top assistant you would have to wait til season's end to announce.

If you hired someone from out of football mid-season could they start to work immediately? Has that ever happened in major college football? It's kind of MLB-like, but our circumstances are rather dire...

Robert Brock 10 years, 6 months ago

Hey, Mike Stoops might consider taking the Kansas defensive coordinator job as a challenge: like climbing Mount Everest wearing nothing but a tutu.

David Atchley 10 years, 6 months ago

Arizona found themselves at a crossroads, much like Kansas....they have been primarily a "basketball school" with Lute Olsen for many years. Their Conference and Larry Scott its Commissioner is requiring all of their schools to improve their facilities, and their level of play.

The realignment and influence in TV revenue is demanding such standards. Arizona is building a new football facility and stadium and their in-state rival with Dennis Erichsen as HC, has moved ahead.

Kansas fans and officials would be very well served to watch what is happening in Arizona. Its a basketball school that has learned in order to have a voice at the table, they must improve their football program. Many of their deep pocket boosters didn't believe they could accomplish that with a Mike Stoopes.

David Atchley 10 years, 6 months ago

Again....the first question by the "crack" search committee assembled by Kansas and the AD from Illinois State, is "how many tier 1 and 2 high school football players have you successfully attracted to a program you were coaching and please show your work."

The bigger issue is in the SEC and the top teams in the Big 12 consider their football program "the front porch to their University." There has to be a united front from the President, Athletic Director, Head Football Coach, and most of all, the deepest pocket KU boosters. Most of all, the State of Kansas has to make sure Kansas has all the construction materials it needs to build a front porch.

You don't accomplish this with a no-name HC who's high school coaching ties are tier 2-3 players in the Northeast. You don't get Kansas fans to rekindle those feelings they had when Todd Reesing was getting them on "Sports Center" on a regular basis, with this level of play and rhetoric. You don't get this with a :multi-purpose" stadium.

A lot of these kids being recruited from Texas are playing their high school games in stadiums that are jammed-packed with 10,000 - 20,000 fans. Key matchups in regular season and District and Regional high school games are being played in venues like UT Stadium, The Alamo Dome, and the State Finals are being played at the new Dallas Cowboy Stadium. Todd Reesing's high school alma mater "Lake Travis" has a 6 million...that's right, 6 million dollar indoor workout facility and practice field.

When you find yourself in a hole...the first thing to do is stop digging....The University of Kansas, its officials and fan base, have to decide if they want a football program, and if they do, they need to get some very forward-thinking, aggressive, key people at the helm. You are not going to get deep-pocket boosters and every day Williams Fund donors to dedicate any disposable income to the level of play and commitment to the program represented.

The current cast of characters, from Search Committee, President, interim AD, etc...decided a Missouri Valley AD, who's program last played in a playoff in 2006, and a Coach from the University of Buffalo were the answers....I am not sure they had a grasp on the landscape that is college football, much less what the question was being asked.

"If you're going to be the have to hire the best." Please put Mike "Leach" and Chad Morris on that short list.

blackhawkjayhawk 10 years, 6 months ago

June Jones has successfully built two "down" programs. No coach in the country is more qualified to take on this job.

David Atchley 10 years, 6 months ago

Why would June Jones leave SMU? He is in the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex surrounded by the top high school athletes in the country. He just officially announced yesterday, that "Garrett Gilbert" has transferred from Texas. Gilbert the National Gatorade Player of the Year" 2 years ago, and from the same high school as Todd Reesing, "Lake Travis" and was literally "ruined" by UT and their "former" OC "Greg Davis"

He'll take Gilbert and make him his next "Colt Brennan" as he did in Hawaii. He is sitting pretty surrounded by a beautiful SMU campus, lots of boosters that want to restore the football program.

However, you're on the is going to take a Mike Leach, or a Chad Morris like coach that is deep-rooted in Texas high schools, to have the desirable results at Kansas.

Bville Hawk 10 years, 6 months ago

Also, Wiki says that Jones is already earning $2 million per year at SMU.

jay381 10 years, 6 months ago

And we are paying Gill how much??? and for what???

Micky Baker 10 years, 6 months ago

To finish in a positive way? In other words, is the goal to not lose by more than 21? Would that be a positive way?

Bville Hawk 10 years, 6 months ago

Sadly enough that would be a reasonable goal for the remainder of this season.

Mat Davis 10 years, 6 months ago

Decommits happen all the time in college football. It's being blown out of proportion due to the losing. Also, sure it's coach speak, but every coach in America does essentially the same thing. Fans are pasting him for trying to motivate his players, which is ridiculous. He isn't making excuses nor is he complaining. If he was ranting and raving, fans would find fault in that too. Damned if you do, damned if you don't.

Andy Tweedy 10 years, 6 months ago

You got that right! He may not be the answer, but people are really piling on this guy for stuff that just isn't the problem.

Kevin Studer 10 years, 6 months ago

Fans are piling on because the team has been poorly coached. It has nothing to do with "recruiting" or "speed." It has everything to do with not making adjustments, not utilizing competent fundamentals, and not being prepared. These aren't talent problems. These are coaching problems.

Andy Tweedy 10 years, 6 months ago

I don't think we're on the same page here. I'm saying I agree with rcj in that a lot of the stuff HCTG is saying is what every coach says, and it's just being blown out of proportion BECAUSE of the losses. I'm not disagreeing with the fact that many of the problems can be pinned on coaching. But this coach could say "we're taking it one game at a time" and would be crucified for it, while every other coach in America says the same thing...or something like that.

AzNHawk 10 years, 6 months ago

Gill got a decent recruiting class amidst a 3-9 season. Decommits do happen alot and there just words. I dont put too much emphasis on that until the LOI (Letter of intent) is signed.

Mat Davis 10 years, 6 months ago

Also, why is the coin toss part of the article? I doubt that has any impact on the game. "If only we had won the coin toss, we might have won the game." We're really reaching for stories.

Bville Hawk 10 years, 6 months ago

Worse yet is that the Head Coach mentioned it as something they had "tried."

boknowssports 10 years, 6 months ago

what's sad is that winning a coin toss is somehow seen as a positve for this we grasping at straws or what??

haydenhawkco 10 years, 6 months ago

I saw Mike Leach yesterday in Tucson at a sandwich shop! I hope he was there playing golf.

ahpersecoachingexperience 10 years, 6 months ago

I saw you post the same thing yesterday while I was at a sandwich shop.

Robert Brown 10 years, 6 months ago

Jim Leavitt is probably a more likely candidate than Mike Leach. SZ used to work for Leavitt. I don't know he Leavitt, Leach and Mangino are damaged goods. It is not going to be easy to find a new coach. Anyone who has been successful would not come to KU and any rising assistant coach could be a bust as a head coach.

Mike Barnhart 10 years, 6 months ago

Kevin Sumlin!!!!

Texas ties. Big 12 roots. Houston dominates week after week. Finds great QB's.

What's there to think about. He's the man!

Ethan Berger 10 years, 6 months ago

When Keenum got hurt, they went 5-7 in the conf usa. I'm not a huge fan.

Mike Barnhart 10 years, 6 months ago

Loosing a stud QB has hurt a lot of good teams over the years. That's football!

Mat Davis 10 years, 6 months ago

I doubt Leavitt would be a good hire. He got fired for punching a player. That'll make recruiting significantly tougher. Plus, his teams were notorious for starting out well and then tanking later on in the season.

AzNHawk 10 years, 6 months ago

Supposedly, it was reported that Leavitt also tried to lie about that situation as well. Until an investigation was done.

KU has been in the headlines for all the wrong reasons that involved the ticket scandal and such. I would think that the university would want someone with a cleaner image.

Fred Davis 10 years, 6 months ago

Can someone explain to me why there is so much disdain towards Zenger? Everybody clowned him during the realignment mess because he wasn't texting fans and alumni the play-by-play of what was happening and it looks like the Big 12 is here to stay for the foreseeable future....

And as far as the football team is concerned - there are four football games left, what's he really going to do to move the football program forward in the next four weeks? The dude has to get what, $6 million together when/if he decides to fire Gill and then come up with who knows how much more for a new guy? Yeah, that shouldn't be a problem... Please. Give the man a break. He didn't hire Gill, he'll do the right thing, let Gill play out the season, and he'll more than likely can him at the end of the season. Don't knock the Zeng... He'll get this thing figured out.

Micky Baker 10 years, 6 months ago

It isn't about the next four weeks. Its making an announcement that Gill is terminated so that he can go talk to people with certainty that the job is open. This isn't rocket science.

$6 million is a bargain compared to having fewer than 40,000 people at games.

$55 x 10,000 is $550,000K per home game. In case you missed it, we have 6 home games. That is $3.3 million a year. Fire Gill now! Then get a coach willing to not only do what it takes at this level, but to be honest about how terrible things are when they're terrible.

Gill isn't the guy that's being honest right now, especially with himself.

Fred Davis 10 years, 6 months ago

$6 million is a bargain, that kind of money is usually stashed in a secret safe next to where Lew used to keep his exercise equipment. Give me a break. I get where low attendance means less revenue, but if you think that ADs can only talk to coaches when the job is "open", you're kidding yourself. If Zenger is firing Gill, he already knows it and there are people in place that are already putting feelers out through back channels to gauge others interest and how all of it's going to play out. Firing Gill now only makes more of a mess over the next four weeks - and as it's been said before, Zenger is a former coach himself, so he's going to let Gill finish the year out. And while you're right, this isn't rocket science, simple math tells me that there aren't six home games left over the next four weeks considering I wasn't proposing that we bring Gill back next season. So again, while I know everyone wants to fire Gill yesterday, there's no real reason to do it now, is Chuck Long going to lead the team to respectability over the last month of the season? Will Memorial Stadium suddenly be packed because Gill is gone? No. As I've said before and will continue to do so - Let the Zeng do his Thing.

AzNHawk 10 years, 6 months ago

Something tells me that since Zenger knows football or has been a coach (head coach, position, assistant, i dont remember what football title he had) that he might give Gill a 3rd year and the backing necessary to re-tool and rebuild the defense. With the stipulation that in 2012 it's improvement or else.

AzNHawk 10 years, 6 months ago

And here is why I feel that way:

Quoted from this article:

"During his six years at ISU, Zenger had plenty of opportunities to leave, but always decided to stay. That is, until Kansas called.

“I learned that it was important to learn what it felt like to make decisions in year one, two, three and then live with those decisions in year four, five and six,” he said. “In today’s world, that’s something people often miss. I now know and have the benefit of seeing how early decisions in your tenure affect what you’re trying to do in year five, year six and so on. What I learned was don’t make knee-jerk decisions about personnel. Observations you make early on in some cases are dead-on. In other cases, if you’d have had more time you’d have found out things were different.”

He continued: “I know from the outside it can look so obvious, people say, ‘We need to just trim, trim, trim and cut, cut, cut.’ But if you cut the wrong person or dismantle the structure in the wrong order, then the whole thing falls down. We have to remember that three short years ago we won the national championship in basketball, we won the Orange Bowl. We were considered one of the elite programs in the country. And, actually, we’re still considered that.

“There will be change in this department over time, but you have to be consistent with your message, and you have to treat people the right way, inside and outside.”

Bville Hawk 10 years, 6 months ago

As I've said here before, there is no doubt in my mind that SZ has the smarts, the work ethic, and the cajones to make the necessary moves to get us back on track.

boknowssports 10 years, 6 months ago

You could be right. Although he also said "Losing is not acceptable" "Complacency is for the weak". If he stays with Gill another year, Gill's poor performance globs onto him....

JayhawkGrad05 10 years, 6 months ago

With the title, "Kansas football turns page, looks to future", I was hoping to open this article and see the quietest firing of a coach ever....boy, was I disappointed...

Bville Hawk 10 years, 6 months ago

Yeah, me too. The headline writer at LJW is just a big tease. Either that or trying to mess with our collective minds.

Michael Maris 10 years, 6 months ago

How about with the B-East struggling to keep their Football Goldent Ticket, I would think that Skip Holtz has to be re-thinking his thoughts about taking the S. Florida job.

Skip comes from the College Football Pedigree and has a winning record as a head coach at every stop he has made. So, would Skip be interested (this time around) in interviewing for the Kansas Football Headcoaching position?

I would sure hope so. Larry Fedora might be alot more interested now (as well).

tauck 10 years, 6 months ago

Correct me if I'm wrong, but even as awful as we are, there has got to be a great coach out there that doesn't mind building a program while making 2 million dollars a year!!!

gardenjay 10 years, 6 months ago

I think KU would do a lot better without the downers provided by its ostracizing fan base. The team does poorly, gets criticized, and what, they feel good again and get ready for next week? Maybe in pro ball, but these are still kids.

LngTimeFan 10 years, 6 months ago

How about a head Coach who actually coachs during the game instead of being dead emotionless during time outs. How about a Coach who has a clue. Forget about the losses?!? He has to think we will all have amnesia at season end. Huge mistake hiring this guy, regardless of who hired him. Buy him out (many of us will gladly send in $ for that purpose) and get someone who knows what they are doing, that sure isn't Gill. Before the "haters be hatin" crap comes, I don't hate Gill. He is incompetent and has to go.

Kc Ticketguy 10 years, 6 months ago

I just thought of something. Remember when MU hired Frank Haith and we all laughed it up thinking what a dumb hire..Who is this guy and what does he bring to the table? Well Turner Gill = Frank Haith (- the violations of course). Everyone in the country is laughing at us for hiring a person who obviously isn't up to the job.

Gill has done nothing other than be a good quarterback himself and have one good season at Buffalo. We got totally screwed by Perkins.

Dennis Mahorney 10 years, 6 months ago

YEAH! We are 0-0 now! Lets go win the north!

Jeffrey Nichols 10 years, 6 months ago

Seems we should turn all the pages, skip November, and look toward a less embarrassing 2012. Recent post from a Minnesota fan who appears relieved to know the Gophers aren't the worse football team in an AQ conference. That distinction, by his estimation, goes to the Hawks. See link:

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