Monday, November 14, 2011

KU, A&M football coming off OT losses

Kansas offensive lineman Tanner Hawkinson is slow to get up from the turf as the Baylor Bears rush the field in celebration of their overtime win after a failed two-point conversion by the Jayhawks on Saturday, Nov. 12, 2011 at Kivisto Field.

Kansas offensive lineman Tanner Hawkinson is slow to get up from the turf as the Baylor Bears rush the field in celebration of their overtime win after a failed two-point conversion by the Jayhawks on Saturday, Nov. 12, 2011 at Kivisto Field.


Each week, there are different elements that go into preparing a game plan for a college football game.

This week, healing figures to be near to the top of the list for both Kansas University and Texas A&M.;

When the Jayhawks and Aggies square off at 11 a.m. Saturday in College Station, Texas, it figures to be business as usual.

What KU coach Turner Gill and A&M; coach Mike Sherman do during the week leading up to the game, however, might be a departure from the norm.

Last week, both teams lost overtime games, with Kansas falling, 31-30, to Baylor, and A&M; falling, 53-50 in four OTs, at Kansas State. Bouncing back after losses has been challenging for both programs this season, but doing so after coming so close the week before figures to make the mental hurdle higher.

“Since the (K-State) game ended to this moment, I’ve been thinking about that part of it,” said Sherman on Monday morning’s Big 12 coaches teleconference. “There’s so much of the game that’s mental. We had different opportunities during the course of that game to win it, and we didn’t. Certainly in overtime, it’s an even ballgame, and you have as good a chance to win it as they do. We didn’t get that done. That carries over into this week.”

The Aggies (5-5 overall, 3-4 Big 12) enter this weekend needing one victory in their final two games to become bowl-eligible. With a home game against Texas on the docket in A&M;’s regular-season finale, the Aggies figure to put plenty of emphasis on this week’s golden opportunity against Kansas (2-8, 0-7), and Sherman said getting his players’ minds right before kickoff would be as important as game-planning for the Jayhawks.

“I think, as a coach, you have to walk a fine line,” Sherman said. “(Players) have to be held accountable, we have to be held accountable for the predicament that we’re in but, at the same time, (we have to) build up their confidence, as well. We’ve been close too many times to not have won those games. It’s inexcusable.”

Four of A&M;’s five losses have come by a combined 14 points, making the fragile mental state of the Aggies’ players and coaches something that has lingered.

“I’ve never, as an assistant or head coach, been through a situation like this,” Sherman said. “This is certainly a first in my career and something I don’t wish on anybody. I think every coach will go back after his season and say, ‘Could’ve, would’ve, should’ve done this.’ But not with the frequency that I’m gonna have to do at the end of this season.”

For Gill, rebuilding confidence after such a close defeat isn’t as daunting. In fact, in many ways just being close against Baylor was a confidence boost for the Jayhawks, who have dropped five games by 30 or more points. Still, Gill said he recognized the importance of refocusing after the emotional loss on Senior Day.

“That’s gonna be our challenge,” Gill said. “We know these 18- to 22-year-old young men, in most cases, are pretty resilient. More of us adults may hold on to it a little bit longer than the young men.”

Gill said he would continue to focus on the future.

“You talk about the good things, improvement,” he said. “In the Iowa State game, we played four quarters and just came up short. Last week, we played four quarters and got a chance to play in overtime and came up close. So now, we’re getting closer. Earlier in the year we were not close. And now we’re in a situation where we have a chance to win. So if we continue to close that gap, which we have, hopefully this week is when we’ll be able to finish a football game and get a W.”


texashawk10 10 years, 6 months ago

At least Gill didn't use Modern Warfare 3 as the excuse to why KU failed against Baylor like Charlie Strong did for Louisville against Pitt.

Cmill1221 10 years, 6 months ago

I was told by a Kansas City Sports personality and Kansas alum that the university has secured the funds for the Buy Out of Turner Gills contract. And come December he will no longer be the head football coach. Any one else hear anything like this?

Cmill1221 10 years, 6 months ago

Am I getting my hopes up, or is it common knoledge that he is gone in December?

Robert Brown 10 years, 6 months ago

I would hope the rich alums would put the money to better use by donating to improve the academics. No one should make any move unless there is a sure back up plan.

Cmill1221 10 years, 6 months ago

Like how? Pay a teacher 2 million a year to have her students fail? How would you spend 2 million a year to improve that area? Or should we cut our football program all together and just focous on academics? Just curious how the money could be better spent.

MDHawk 10 years, 6 months ago

You could fund a lot of research with that kind of money...however, investment in sports tends to yield longer and often larger financial gains.

I think the point, however, is that we shouldn't buy him out unless we have a replacement lined up.

Jeff Coffman 10 years, 6 months ago

The loser of this game is for sure canned at the end of the season. As bad as TG has been, Sherman has been worse, he had a Top-10 program and is playing .500 ball.

One thing I disagree with TG in his comments is that they played 4 quarters against Baylor.

Geekinout 10 years, 6 months ago

With what Sherman was handed in comparison to Gill, he should have been fired after season 1. I bet they miss R.C. Slocum these days.

Theonlythingthatexceedsyourbad 10 years, 6 months ago

A&M is going to murder us. Iowa St was the only close game we've had on the road his year. Iowa St last year was our closest road loss, 12. We get crushed this week at A&M. . . lose by at least 35. Missouri does the same next week.

Gill must Go! Gill must Go! Gill must Go!

Leach Leach Leach Leach

ahpersecoachingexperience 10 years, 6 months ago


Tanner Hawkinson "tebowing" while two Baylor plays recreate the Vancouver Riot Kiss picture.

JhawkalumJB 10 years, 6 months ago

Nice one, man. That's hilarious!!!! You win the caption of the week for sure!!!!

boknowssports 10 years, 6 months ago

"bouncing back after losses has been challenging for both" far Gill has not met that challenge.....

Kirk 10 years, 6 months ago

"...So if we continue to close that gap, which we have, hopefully this week is when we’ll be able to finish a football game and get a W.”

The only gap I'm looking forward to seeing closed is Gill's mouth. Take that gap back to Buffalo.

Unlike ISU and Baylor immediately prior to playing us, A&M is not coming off a big win against a superior opponent. They will not be complacent; they will be fighting for their lives (and for a bowl berth.)

So, while A&M will desperately be trying to win the game, KU will be trying to improve, to generate handsome statistics and keep it "close".

Lucas Town 10 years, 6 months ago

We are setting ourselves up for failure. Next year first year coach, young inexperienced players, in our league, spells another grimacing year of football. I say our players are inexperienced because obviously they will have to be taught to play correctly, and to play winning football. I hate to say it but K-State will serve up an even worse beating in Manhattan next year. If Paul Rhoads remians in Ames, going to Baylor and playing all the other Big 12 teams I see another 2 to 3 win season next year.

Let's look around at our other sports. I hate to say it but if we didn't have mens basketball what would we have? Just frustrated, someone other than Gill lift my spirits. Anyways, Rock Chalk Jayhawk! Go KU!

Lucas Town 10 years, 6 months ago

The mens basketball team will be just fine. I have wondered about how they would fair since the NC season, and every year Self shows why he is one of the best coaches in the nation.

But this is still football season and I root for everything, even baseball and womens sports. I am just disappointed I guess. Football will take several seasons to correct.

Geekinout 10 years, 6 months ago

I honestly think this years KU basketball team is going to be as competitive, if not more, than last years. Better leadership and better chemistry. So glad Morris twins, Morningstar, and Tyrel have moved on! It just all depends on Tyshawn "trouble-maker" Taylor...

MDHawk 10 years, 6 months ago

I feel like I kept up with the realignment mess as well as many, and not once did I read that any conference would prefer K-State over KU. In fact, if K-State was even mentioned, it was typically in reference to riding the coat-tails of KU's basketball program, which many thought to be our only saving grace.

I share your frustration with our athletic success, however...I don't understand why KU has struggled so much athletically as of late, with the exception of basketball. But the reality is that the only thing of interest to other conferences in this state was KU basketball and the K.C. market, and even that struggled to garner us attention.

Jayhawker111 10 years, 6 months ago

Coach Gill deserves four years....

To get a fair shot a coach needs four years.

Anything less is bad business.....

On another note -- Here is hoping that Coach Gill will switch quarterbacks this week.

Try a new guy for some spark.

JhawkalumJB 10 years, 6 months ago

Unfortunately Webb appears to be our best option. (3 QBs coming in next year, if BB comes back).

I am expecting to see Gill on the sidelines for at least one more year.

Hopefully he takes some responsibility this off-season and cleans house with his coaches. He's the boss, and his subordinates are grossly under performing. I think if he doesn't replace some assistants then we can expect more of the same next year. I am hopeful that that's not the case and he will make some needed changes. I love football and I love KU, but having season tickets the last few years has been discouraging (with a few bright spots, G Tech, Colorado, N. Illinois)

Jeff Coffman 10 years, 6 months ago

Why? Anything more than two is bad business. You don't take companies that perform horribly and sink longer time into them, you get out.

On top of that help me understand a coach that after two years performed bad, but starting the third year he actually did well. I'll look forward to your answer.

Jayhawker111 10 years, 6 months ago

Coaches that were given a chance and were not fired too quickly. This is why Coach Gill needs 4 years...

.Mike Gundy, Bill Synder, Jim Harbaugh

1 Mike Gundy - Okie State

His first two years - below 500.....Since then every year above 500.

Head coaching record Oklahoma State Cowboys (Big 12 Conference) (2005–present) 2005 Oklahoma State 4–7 1–7 5th (South)
2006 Oklahoma State 7–6 3–5 T–5th (South) W Independence
2007 Oklahoma State 7–6 4–4 T–3rd (South) W Insight
2008 Oklahoma State 9–4 5–3 4th (South) L Holiday 18 16 2009 Oklahoma State 9–4 6–2 2nd (South) L Cotton 25
2010 Oklahoma State 11–2 6–2 T–1st (South) W Alamo 10 13 2011 Oklahoma State 10–0 7–0

  1. Bill Synder Kansas State Kansas State Wildcats (Big Eight Conference) (1989–1995) 1989 Kansas State 1–10 0–7 8th
    1990 Kansas State 5–6 2–5 6th
    1991 Kansas State 7–4 4–3 4th
    1992 Kansas State 5–6 2–5 T–6th
    1993 Kansas State 9–2–1 4–2–1 3rd W Copper 18 20 1994 Kansas State 9–3 5–2 3rd L Aloha 16 19 1995 Kansas State 10–2 5–2 T–2nd W Holiday 6 7

  2. Jim Harbaugh Stanford Cardinal (Pacific-10 Conference) (2007–2010) 2007 Stanford 4–8 3–6 T–7th
    2008 Stanford 5–7 4–5 T–6th
    2009 Stanford 8–5 6–3 T–2nd L Sun
    2010 Stanford 12–1 8–1 2nd W Orange † 4 4

Are these examples enough?

JhawkalumJB 10 years, 6 months ago

Solid examples Jayhawker111, the only trouble is all of those coaches did show some improvement in year two.

I think in Gill's case year 3 will be his make or break year.

He will have mostly 'his' players, and his recruited players will have experience in his system.

Trust me, I wanna win now too and patience is hard to come by, but I don't see SZ pulling the Gill plug this year (unless we finish the year in two blow-outs).

I am curious to see what Gill does this off-season. It will be telling about him. If he is soft and too nice he will not fire anyone and give it another shot next year. If he is serious about winning and competing he will be tough, a competitor, and make needed coaching changes. Stay tuned.

Also, if we beat MU no way he gets fired.

squawkhawk 10 years, 6 months ago

Snyder won 5 games at KSU in year 2 with 1/4 of the talent that Gill has right now and did so for about 1/4 of the salary. Why is Gill exempt?

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