Saturday, October 8, 2011


No defense for KU coach Turner Gill

Kansas head coach Turner Gill watches from the sidelines during the second quarter against Oklahoma State on Saturday, Oct. 8, 2011 at Boone Pickens Stadium.

Kansas head coach Turner Gill watches from the sidelines during the second quarter against Oklahoma State on Saturday, Oct. 8, 2011 at Boone Pickens Stadium.


Podcast episode

Press Conferences & Post-Game Interviews

KU coach Turner Gill

Kansas coach Turner Gill talks to reporters following the Jayhawks' 70-28 loss to Oklahoma State on Oct. 8, 2011.

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Toben Opurum on OSU loss: 'It's embarrassing'

Kansas outside linebacker Toben Opurum talks to reporters following the Jayhawks' 70-28 loss to Oklahoma State on Oct. 8, 2011.

KU cornerback Greg Brown defends coach Turner Gill

KU cornerback Greg Brown defends coach Turner Gill following the Jayhawks' 70-28 loss to Oklahoma State on Oct. 8, 2011.

Somewhere, two large men had to be experiencing unspoken, non-stop “told-you-so” moments Saturday as score updates crawled across the bottom of their TV screens or iPhones, or however they get their information.

The men weren’t in attendance at T. Boone Pickens Stadium to see Oklahoma State’s merciful, 70-28 beating of Kansas University, but could have predicted it.

One is Mark Mangino, forced out of his job as Kansas football coach by former athletic director Lew Perkins, just two years after a 12-1 Orange Bowl season. At some level, it must be comforting to him to know that everybody now knows what he always knew: He was the right man for the job.

The other is columnist Jason Whitlock, now working for Fox Sports and living in Los Angeles. Writing in Kansas City at the time of Turner Gill’s hiring by KU, the insightful Whitlock shared with his audience that he had seen Gill’s University at Buffalo teams play many times and not once had been impressed. (A former lineman at Ball State, Whitlock watches MAC football regularly.) Although Whitlock said he would wait two years to form a strong opinion, it was clear which way he strongly leaned, especially when he talked about the new KU coach on the radio.

Well, it hasn’t been two years, and it’s not too early to form a strong opinion. It looks as if Perkins didn’t hire the right man for an extremely difficult job. Gill was the right man to raise Buffalo’s program from the ashes and give it some national visibility, but nothing suggests he’s the right man to follow a coach who had such a different approach to one of the three or four toughest jobs in the Big 12.

It’s not Gill’s 5-12 record in one season and five games that makes that clear. It’s not as if he and his staff inherited impressive talent. Mangino and his assistants, led by current Northern Illinois head coach Dave Doeren, recruited phenomenally well early. In retrospect, the 2004 recruiting class ranked second to no other school in the nation. After Doeren left to become an assistant at Wisconsin, the recruiting never quite recovered and slipped quite a bit in the final two seasons.

That might explain a losing record, but it doesn’t excuse the uninspired play, the ridiculously one-sided outcomes and the shoddy fundamentals, most loudly evident in poor tackling.

Poor performances that come with a litany of all-time worst figures for the KU defense, and school records for the opposing offenses mount.

Perkins, who believed in paying for what he deemed the position to be worth, instead of negotiating as good a deal as possible for the athletic department, guaranteed Gill $10 million for five seasons, even though the Buffalo coach made just $450,000 per season. In so doing, Perkins handcuffed his successor, Sheahon Zenger.

Most believe Zenger will take a hard look at Gill’s performance after the 2012 season, but if the Jayhawks stay on such a sharp decline, and if the AD is approached by an angry pack of wealthy boosters willing to pool resources to buy out the head coach, what then?

If that doesn’t happen, Zenger has no choice but to let Gill stay through next season and hope that he and his coaches score as many standout defensive recruits as they already have offensive players in such a short time.

If Gill stays on the job through next season and hasn’t made significant strides, Zenger will be forced to execute an extremely difficult firing in that Gill’s such an easy man to like, and in many ways admire. At his two most important jobs in life, father and husband, it’s clear Gill’s a natural, a straight-A performer. He consistently practices his strong religious beliefs more than he preaches them. He’s no showoff, no hypocrite. In terms of caring about the lives of his players, more good grades. They find the experience of playing for him an enjoyable one, except on Saturdays, when the losses too often are so lopsided.

Gill measures up admirably as a man, but he’s getting paid $2 million a year to coach football and that’s the job for which he must be evaluated by his boss.

Gill’s first chance to establish a foundation for winning came in selecting his coaching staff and in that regard, it looks as if he’s batting .500. Offensive coordinator Chuck Long has done an excellent job of instructing quarterback Jordan Webb and in calling plays. Running backs coach Reggie Mitchell ranks as an elite recruiter and the backs he coaches make up the best unit on the team. Line coach J.B. Grimes knows how to build a running game. Bringing back receivers coach David Beaty made perfect sense.

Gill decided against keeping anybody from Mangino’s defensive staff, even though linebackers coach Bill Miller would have brought with him the top recruit in the state of Kansas, Geneo Grissom of Hutchinson. When MIller wasn’t retained, Grissom, a defensive end, committed to Oklahoma.

In seven of his 10 Big 12 games, Gill’s defense has allowed 45 points or more.

The score could have been so much worse Saturday. Oklahoma State coach Mike Gundy pulled starting quarterback Brandon Weeden before the half to slow down the rate of KU’s bleeding. Had Gundy felt like it, he could have coached his Cowboys to 100 points.

In the first half, all eight OSU offensive possessions ended with a touchdown. The Cowboys had 35 points by the end of the first quarter, 56 at the half.

Three weeks after surrendering 66 points to Georgia Tech, the defense proved it has gotten worse, not better since then.

I asked Gill if the lack of improvement indicated that the players aren’t listening to what they’re being told, aren’t being told the right things or are physically overmatched.

“Probably a little of all of the above,” Gill said.

You have to admit it’s getting worse, a little worse all the time. No easy way out presents itself.


ahpersecoachingexperience 10 years, 10 months ago

You can chalk me up as a stunningly handsome, ultra sophisticated, redicuouls wealthily, big (giggity) man that said "told-yo-so"

hawk316 10 years, 10 months ago

Here's the key, Tom, in your own words:

"If that doesn’t happen, Zenger has no choice but to let Gill stay through next season and hope that he and his coaches score as many standout defensive recruits as they already have offensive players in such a short time."

In one season the KU offense has made remarkable improvement. Indeed, they are now actually very competitive. Why? Upgrade in talent is a big factor. Give Gill and staff time to accomplish the same on the defensive side of the ball.

As you said, KU is "one of the three or four toughest jobs in the Big 12." I say let's give Coach Gill more time to climb this huge mountain before we give up on him.

DocBean 10 years, 10 months ago

Are you saying it's ok that Gill and his assistants haven't acquired any defensive players during their recruiting? They should focus on offense one year, and defense the following year?

Where is this remarkable improvement? They are dead last in DIV 1 football on defense in both yards per game, and points per game!!!! That's counting teams like Buffalo, and other DIV 1 schools that schedule games they know they can't win because they need the money!!!

Pull your head out and actually look at what's happening!

Robert Brock 10 years, 10 months ago

Gill is like Terry Allen - without the toughness.

Andy Tweedy 10 years, 10 months ago

No way is Gill worse than Val. If Gill is fired, at least the next coach will have some talent. Val couldn't coach, couldn't inspire, AND couldn't recruit. One of the best DBs in the country went to Lawrence High in 1986 and he quit the football team his first year to play only baseball. Val couldn't even recruit guys in his own back yard.

Robert Brock 10 years, 10 months ago

Don't you think that Venables will set his sights a little higher?

Eric Dawson 10 years, 10 months ago

Brent is a good option of we could get him.. Thoughts on Bill Young as HC?

ahpersecoachingexperience 10 years, 10 months ago

Remember 5 days ago when gill "insisted" the defense was improved?

John Brown 10 years, 10 months ago

Everything is relative. To what you ask?

Dillon Davis 10 years, 10 months ago

Thank you Tom Keegan for this hard truth of an article. I hope Gill takes a look at this and his staff and Zenger. It's ridiculous

flyingfinn 10 years, 10 months ago

I don't often agree with Keegan but this article is spot on!!!

ahpersecoachingexperience 10 years, 10 months ago

In two years there is going to be a similar article written about Sheahorn.

Dillon Davis 10 years, 10 months ago

Yeah i think our AD is about as soft as Gill is. I have my doubts about his football knowledge too coming from Southern Illinois.

ahpersecoachingexperience 10 years, 10 months ago

Hahaha, you mean Illinois State! But the fact that "average" fan cannot name where he came from speaks volumes!

(About him. Not you)

jhox 10 years, 10 months ago

Did our AD not coach at K State for Bill Snyder, probably the best college football coach in history (you have to be the greatest to do what he's done in the arm pit of college football.) As for Gill, it is still too early to judge. He was left with horrible talent on both sides of the ball and lost his D coordinator just prior to the season. As painful as it is to watch, he needs to be given at least one more season to get it turned around (and get a real defensive coordinator back in place.) I'm not saying Gill is without blame here, as clearly he's not pulling the right strings so far, but one and a half seasons is too soon to push the panic button. The last thing we need is to start playing coaching musical chairs like we have done in the past.

jhox 10 years, 10 months ago

Did our AD not coach at K State for Bill Snyder, probably the best college football coach in history (you have to be the greatest to do what he's done in the arm pit of college football.) As for Gill, it is still too early to judge. He was left with horrible talent on both sides of the ball and lost his D coordinator just prior to the season. As painful as it is to watch, he needs to be given at least one more season to get it turned around (and get a real defensive coordinator back in place.) I'm not saying Gill is without blame here, as clearly he's not pulling the right strings so far, but one and a half seasons is too soon to push the panic button. The last thing we need is to start playing coaching musical chairs like we have done in the past.

Jaminrawk 10 years, 10 months ago

You can't get on the AD (that didn't hire him) so early in his tenure. I don't think Zenger has done anything to warrant fan complaining about him. He did have that little ticket scandal issue to clean up and the whole conference realignment thing to deal with.

ahpersecoachingexperience 10 years, 10 months ago

Exact same scenario. Small time dude hired to do big time work. He's actually more inexperienced for his position when compared to Gill.

Dillon Davis 10 years, 10 months ago

hit it on the head there. Not to mention he's a KSU alum

Kirk 10 years, 10 months ago

He was probably hired with the understanding that he wouldn't mess with Gill, or do anything else besides ask for money and oversee administrative stuff.

Alex Berger 10 years, 10 months ago

Well first off he may be a KSU alum but he also has a doctorates from KU. Also, what do you mean small time dude? Illinois State is a school of 20,000+. It's not like we were gonna get Texas' AD or anything. Not to mention being an AD is more about fundraising, making business decisions, and making good hires.

gardenjay 10 years, 10 months ago

Gill has his supporters, and that would include the football team. Who is doing the work, anyway? I doubt most fans know what a mind-crushing, brutal game this is; and if this is what we have right now in the building phase, I'm good. Besides, being a KU fan is not many of the things being posted here.

At least it comes clear now; Keegan wants a Mangino-style coach. Our former AD whom I did not care for either, wanted Gill. Give him a chance.

Maracas 10 years, 10 months ago

A contract guaranteeing a coach $2M a year for 5 years should come with higher expectations than "a chance". That's performance/journeyman money, not apprentice/probation money.

Micky Baker 10 years, 10 months ago


Gill has a had a chance. No improvement in second season on the defense. I assume you live in Garden City. How about that 30-3 loss Scott City handed the Buffaloes. Do you want to give that coach a chance? At least Liberal's high school coach has his kids playing hard, and they know how to tackle(something KU doesn't have in common with a team that has one only one high school football game) with a tough schedule playing the likes of Ulysses, Garden City, Great Bend, Dodge City, Hays and then their next three district games. Gill couldn't coach Ulysses, Scott City, or Garden City and have the same records they currently have.

gardenjay 10 years, 10 months ago

Oh, and Mangino never beat Oklahoma. He never beat Texas. He only beat OSU once, and speaking of OSU, in the game all y'all are trashing, we made the first touchdown, and Opurum sacked their QB on their first down. Did he ever beat TA&M, or Texas Tech? Well, if so, he only did so once.

In his final season at KU he only won a single Big 12 game, not that the university wasn't breathing down his neck at the time, oh joy. IN that case we should all give Mangino a break. Give these coaches a break! Also, it would be sad if the kids felt reflected by your ire.

Kirk 10 years, 10 months ago

What a coherent thought! (Are you on the coaching staff?)

Dillon Davis 10 years, 10 months ago

We were at least somewhat competitive. Besides getting spanked by OU and Texas we at least gave the other teams good games. And we were beating K-state for the first time in 20 years! The man took us to like 3 or 4 bowls. I think we won all of the ones that we went to. We were definitely better off when the big guy was here

Andy Hess 10 years, 10 months ago

Tangerine Bowl, Fort Worth Bowl, Orange Bowl, Bowl. I only count 4, with three wins. Which Bowl am I missing?

Kevin Long 10 years, 10 months ago

Mangino never got 70 hung on him. Gill has to go!

djhawk75 10 years, 10 months ago

No, but he was close a few times. Got a 63 vs. Tx Tech, at home.

djhawk75 10 years, 10 months ago

No, but he was close a few times. Got a 63 vs. Tx Tech, at home.

Lynn Stuart 10 years, 10 months ago

you want to bring up the Texas game? that the refs gave a fifth down to in order to beat Mangino's team to go on and win the national title really garden? under mangino KU finally beat Nebraska um twice if I remember won every bowl they went to I know for a fact that has never happened at kansas at least since 1970 when we went to the biggest bowl since the 50's and that bowl we went to and got screwed? the liberty bowl if you want the football team in the gutter fine stop going to the games wait for basketball and maybe in 5 more yrs we can win another title

roosey 10 years, 10 months ago

Mangino's teams didn't win every bowl they went to. They lost the very first bowl they went to.

Fred Whitehead Jr. 10 years, 10 months ago

The fault is not Coach Gill, who is like a fish out of water here. The plain and awful truth is that most anyone who comes to the University of Kansas to coach football is doomed. The focus here is and always has been the basketball team. The myopic and tunnelvisioned fans who only support the basketball program that has become the school for the NBA with it's one-and-done highschool wonders.

Mangino was a good coach. Whether he was a kind and gentle human being is up for debate, but in the world of sports, I can't remember who said it, but "nice guys finish last". People who are looking for a warm and fuzzy and lovable football coach that will not annoy their little darling football player kids, are smoking some sort of noxious weed.

The problem is far beyond any one coach or AD. It is the focus of the University and it's values as to which sports are important and which are not.

Eric Dawson 10 years, 10 months ago

I believe that what you have written was true as little as 8 years ago. Hoops was everything to the KU leadership, especially Bob Frederick, who let every other sport fail as long as men's hoops excelled. (I'm not saying it was necessarily intentional on his part, but I am stating the facts of what happened on his watch.)

I think that changed under Perkins, and I think we will see that FB has stayed important under Zenger. I like Gill, but since the first two noncon games this has been a horrific season. Little improvement seems likely. If none occurs,and KU finishes 2-10/0-9 as it seems sure to as of today, Gill must be fired. This is the 3rd straight game of decreasing quality of play, and this is simply unacceptable.

Definitely keep Beaty and keep Mitchell, even keep Long, but everyone else needs to go.

And for the love of all you hold dear, hope that KU can get Chris Dawson -- or one of his disciples, if he has any -- back from KSU to be KU's Strength & Conditioning coach again. His was perhaps the worst coaching loss of any when KU cleaned house after Mangino. If not, it was second only to losing Beaty, whom we've been fortunate enough to get back.

If Zenger does not fire Gill under the above circumstances, then you will have been proved right, the climate has not changed.

Recently someone suggested KU hire Mike Leach to replace Gill. The way things are going, I'm not sure we could get Leach. Then again, I understand he does love a challenge, so...

FLJHK 10 years, 10 months ago

Your post are consistently well-written and well-reasoned. Even when I don't agree, I appreciate the high quality of your input. Regarding this post, I agree with you completely.

Vernon Riggs 10 years, 10 months ago

LTCUSARet is 100% right on Coach Dawson. Last season the D-Line and O-Line was gaining weight during the season. No Strenght and Conditioning Coach worth his salt would allow that. He is a KU man. He would come back with a raise and chance to wear blue again.

TKELuke 10 years, 10 months ago

Yes, the focus will always be on basketball... however, it is up to the football coach and team to make football relevant. Back when KU was winning under Mangino the stadium was full (for most of the game). A new state of the art football facility was added. There was even a push to add club seating to the East Side of the stadium.

Fans want to support winners. A football coach is not doomed at KU. They need to be able to win games and not get blown out by the top tier teams in our league. Yes, fan support is great but not required to win games. Winning games falls on the shoulders of the coaching staff and the team.

It's easy to be a fan of KU basketball because they are proven winners. When KU looks at hiring its next coach we might be better served looking for coaches that are proven winners. Gill was 20-30 as a head coach when arriving at KU. Additionally, he has only made one bowl appearance, in which his team lost.

Interestingly enough, Tommy Tuberville was available when Gill was hired. So for the same price as a losing coach we could have gotten a winning coach. Thanks Lew... glad our coach is nice... but being nice only gets you so far. You have to be able to win games.

Micky Baker 10 years, 10 months ago


Tech lost to A&M by, what was it, 12 points? Tech only stopped scoring because they knew they didn't need to score any more. Gill is losing the confidence of some of the players, and Jordan Webb was one of the better quarter backs but our offense, as good as it is at times, still isn't ready for this level.

TKELuke 10 years, 10 months ago

trojanhawk ... Tuberville is 12-5 @ Tech... Gill is 5-11. He also isn't getting blown out every other week.

TKELuke 10 years, 10 months ago

And Gill has 1, in a game that he was getting blown out of until CU totally fell apart and let us score 35 points in the fourth quarter.

John Boyle 10 years, 10 months ago

"the basketball program that has become the school for the NBA with it's one-and-done highschool wonders" Really? We have had how many one and dones? Oh yea its two in the history of KU basketball. We are definitely becoming a one and done school. Just because we have a tremendous basketball fan based (one of the best in the country) doesn't mean we can't have passionate football fans as well. It is not an either or situation. If you don't like basketball as much as you do football, that is your choice but you can't say that the basketball fans are responsible for the football team being bad.

milwaukeeJAYHAWK 10 years, 10 months ago

I say we just forget about improving the rest of the team, and just recruit some stud Brazilian soccer players, brutally train them to hit 80-yard field goals (as we have no offense) and hope the 3's pile up and give us some W's.

Crappy plan? Yeah, maybe. But better than what we're doing now.

LAJayhawk 10 years, 10 months ago

Um... the defense is a FAR bigger problem. The offense really isn't that bad. We're young, and need a more consistent QB (which our current one could become as he gains more experience), but the O-Line is becoming solid and the running back committee is easily the best thing on the team.

But that defense is just atrocious. I would call them a paper sieve, except paper is far too strong a material for such an analogy.

80-yard FGs do you absolutely no good when you are giving up 49.4 points per game....

LAJayhawk 10 years, 10 months ago

And P.S. The offense, I believe, is ranked 28th in the nation in points scored per game, while the D is dead last in the FBS is points given up.....

Kyle Berthusen 10 years, 10 months ago

In the last two games (not to try and give the defense credit for it's terribleness) our offense has been giving their offense the ball in great field position. The offense has talent and is good, but it's being poorly coached on fundamentals, like say, hanging onto the ball and catching the ball. The defense is terrible though.

LAJayhawk 10 years, 10 months ago

No, you're right. The O certainly is far from perfect, but they are light years ahead of the D. As I said the offense is young and inconsistent. Webb can toggle between patiently reading the opposing defense to forcing terrible passes into triple coverage. He usually does the latter after making a mistake in the previous possession, or when we are starting to fall behind. He has a tendency to force.

That being said, our defense is absolutely atrocious. Even IF they touch someone (and that is often a big IF) they tackle like crap. Any offense with the smallest amount of competency makes them look like they are glued to the turf. It's just god-awful. One of the worst I've seen.

mae 10 years, 10 months ago

I'd like to see our AD booted before gill. Lew and Mangino may have been called old school mafia but they did build a program. Instead of paying off our junk that they left us, we should get an AD that puts so much pressure on him that he leaves. If he's truly religious or a righteous man he will recognize he sucks at this size and caliber of a program. Step down my good man.

BarkingHawk 10 years, 10 months ago

Please, people. Going back to North Dakota State - the first example of not having a team ready to play - to today, our nice, decent, but inept head coach simply lacks the ability to instill the single quality that every team that plays this game must have: Toughness.

Historically at Kansas, the talent level is rarely superior. Historically at Kansas State, the talent level is rarely superior. However, there is an enormous emphasis on physical, mental and emotional toughness at the latter. The results speak for themselves.

It is becoming readily apparent that this team is not physically tough, notably the defense. Many, particularly in the secondary, shy from tackles. Few at any position deliver the blows typical of even outmanned Mangino or Mason teams. Their strength and conditioning is suspect at best.

It also appears mentally lacking, too often out of position, compounded by poor angles in tackling with coverage errors abounding.

Finally, it has, too often, given every indication of flat out quitting, most notably last year vs. KSU, last month at Georgia Tech and today. When things start to get tough, too many check out. Not going to get hurt today.

The better coaches, most of whom are not as nice as Coach Gill, may abide a talent deficiency, but will not tolerate a lack of these qualities of toughness. Players have to fear the consequences of a failure to exemplify them enough on Saturday to dread the following week of practice. It's evident that, with this Coach, they do not. He has failed to show an ability to instill these most essential qualities for success on a football field, and this shortcoming has caused the illness that started last year to reach epidemic proportions within this team.

The only way those of us - who contribute money to the Williams Fund, buy football season tickets and attend the games - can show the level of our dissatisfaction is by refusing to do any of them until the clearly necessary change is made. I'll give the minimum to the Williams Fund, but Sheahon, if you allow this to go any longer, you've lost my four-seat season ticket purchases and attendance until you make the move.

I like our head coach, just not as a head coach. We can't tolerate being the league and national joke. We rapidly are becoming so.

The Chancellor and the A.D. are now on the clock.

mae 10 years, 10 months ago

puh lease. we don't have the best trainer in the country with hudy? if these guys want to work out, they would know where to go. unless maybe they play football. nevermind, conner tried out didn't he....

Jaminrawk 10 years, 10 months ago

Hudy trains the basketball team. Not the football team.

John Boyle 10 years, 10 months ago

Strength and Conditioning Assistant Athletics Director - Sports Performance Andrea Hudy, MA, CSCS, USAW 1 864-7127
Head Football Strength Coach John Williams 864-7126
Assistant Strength Coach Joe Vaughn, CSCS 864-7128
Assistant Strength Coach Ken Sheppard 864-7199
Assistant Strength Coach TBA 864-7391
Assistant Strength Coach Shaun McPherson 864-3318
Assistant Strength Coach Glenn Cain, Jr. 864-5013
Doctorial Assistant Strength Coach Patricia Dietz 864-8159

Jaminrawk 10 years, 10 months ago

Christ. If Zenger fires the staff KU pays them $8-9 million. In addition to all the money they paid Mangino and Lew. In addition to paying a new coaching staff. What some fans can't grasp in the economics of the situation. Lew SCREWED his successor with the Gill hiring. Now, Zenger probably would like to hire his own coach having been on Bill Snyder's staff back in the day and seeing his old boss winning big again. For that to happen the boosters are going to have to pool their money and make it known to the administration that they want Gill gone AND they're willing to help pay for it. Hell, even Notre Dame had the same issue with Weiss and they were Notre freaking Dame. I'm sick of this staff too but place the blame at the feet of the right people for chrissakes.

voiceofreason2 10 years, 10 months ago

I don't even know where to begin. Having been a Lawrence native and moving to Wichita, I learned a lot about the disdain of Lew Perkins and what he is capable of in regards to college football team(reference the lack of a WSU football program). I never realized what he was really able to do. He has sent our football program back to the Terry Allen days...but incredibly worse. Keegan, thank you for writing this. You hit the nail on the head, and I can only imagine what you would really like to say.

Firing Mark Mangino was possibly the biggest mistake in KU football history. I say possibly, because hiring Turner Gill was possibly the next or biggest mistake in KU football history. Take your pick.

Why is KU paying this coach 2 million a year guaranteed for 5 years based on his prior achievements? Look at his previous 5 years. Do the math on his career, at Buffalo, and please explain to me what "shines" on his resume. And please spare me the International Bowl where they lost to UCONN decidedly. He did 'OK' in the MAC....the MAC. And saying he did 'OK' is being generous.

Well done Coach Gill on being an upstanding Christian, family man, and all around supposed "nice guy". Does this make you a good coach? No. Are you way over your head in this league? Yes. Will you ever achieve greatness? I sincerely doubt it, and if I am wrong, then I sincerely apologize.

I am tired of people saying "give him a chance". How many records do we have to break allowing teams to score more on us than ever before? I don't care how bad your team or talent really are, coaching dictates losses like we have seen over the past 2 years.

I would love to go on...but I am just...plain...tired...

mae 10 years, 10 months ago

after we fire gill and pay out his retirement we should guarantee a church in topeka millions a year for nothing. nothing. I COULD PUT THESE PLAYERS ON THE FIELD. i wouldn't have to coach to get a win a year, but if you give me 2mill, i'll put a team on a field. fred phelps could put up a team of kids with sticks against gills christians. I honestly wonder if gill is man enough to stand up to a picketer. (hate that topeka church btw)

John Boyle 10 years, 10 months ago

This is just rambling stupidity. If you're trying to be funny, don't give up your day job.

ZDKC 10 years, 10 months ago

I just wanted to comment on the section of your post where you said, "Will you ever achieve greatness? I sincerely doubt it, and if I am wrong, then I sincerely apologize."

No apology should be given because this is what we are paying him 2M a year to do. One thing I never liked about the Gill lovers is they would defend him to the end of the earth in any argument based on what credentials and merits? His 2M job is to show us that he belongs by creating a 2M football team.

As a Gill doubter from day one, I was always secretly hoping he would prove me wrong. I still to this day hopes he proves me wrong because that would be ideal for KU football.

voiceofreason2 10 years, 10 months ago

I couldn't agree more. It would be ideal for him to prove us wrong...but that's kind of like expecting Charlie Sheen to quit drugs and hookers.

Funhawk 10 years, 10 months ago

Prior to Saturday's KU game, the Ok St quarterback came in as the nation's second-leading passer. Prior to the game, the Cowboys came in as the nation's sixth-highest scoring team (46.8 ppg), second in passing (415.5 ypg) and third in total offense (571.8 ypg).

Nine of the nation's top 10 teams played this weekend (Wisconsin had a bye). Those nine teams beat their opponents by an average margin of 34 points; winners total points 422; opponents, 113.

This was the 11th straight road loss for the Jayhawks, with the last six under second-year coach Turner Gill, the first five road losses under Mangino's senior laden team. Next up, OU who trounced #11 UT. This could be the toughest schedule ever.

Funhawk 10 years, 10 months ago

All numbers came off the ESPN website.

Steve Gantz 10 years, 10 months ago

I think we can upset OU. By upset them, I mean hold them under 50.

TKELuke 10 years, 10 months ago

Ha Ha... I was just thinking to myself I wonder what Leach is up to these days.

Funhawk 10 years, 10 months ago

We had a good defensive co-ordinator in 2007, but our head coach at the time chased him off. In 2007 the Jayhawks ranked 12th in the country in yards allowed per ESPN's website. Now Bill Young is the OSU defensive coach.

John Boyle 10 years, 10 months ago

And their defense was that good Saturday. So even Bell Young doesn't always get it done. The guys on ESPN are saying that OSU poor defense is going to keep them from being in national championship contention.

FLJHK 10 years, 10 months ago

Basketball is and will always be the most important sport at KU. It is our heritage and in our DNA and I'm perfectly content with that. The same can be said about numerous other schools, e.g. Kentucky, Duke, UNC, Louisville, UConn, Indiana and others.

That being said, the condition of the football program is simply unacceptable. I don't expect a consistently strong team, but I don't expect a consistent embarrassment either.

I had no real basis to evaluate the legitimacy of the Gill hire at the time it was made. I was actually OK with it due to reports about his character and integrity, and testimonials from ex-players in Buffalo. I hoped at the time that it would be like when the Tampa Bay Bucs hired a guy named Tony Dungy. He was hardly a household name at the time, but was a person of great integrity. Results didn't come quickly for Dungy, but he never wavered in his style or message, and after awhile it paid off. The long-dismal Bucs soon became an NFL power. I truly hoped a similar path would occur with Gill.

Of course, pro vs. college comparisons are inherently flawed. In the pros, the crummy teams get to draft the best players; in college it works pretty much the opposite. Nonetheless, Gill seems to have done a decent job in recruiting, but the results on the field are not there.

Unfortunately, I find it difficult to see the current path changing. I see no signs of progress, no reason for optimism. It is a sad situation for all, but something has to be done to inject some reason for hope, some life into this program. If the dollars could somehow be found, I would support a coaching change, and think a Mike Leach would bring some instant notariety and energy into a moribund situation.

If a change cannot be afforded, I will be very happy if Coach Gill proves me wrong. I just find it increasingly difficult to believe that will happen.

jaybate 10 years, 10 months ago


Glen Mason and Mangino both proved KU could win. Bill Snyder proved long ago the hapless could be turned into solid programs. Texas, OU and Nebraska have proven that without a special coach they can't stay on top.

Mangino lost his ER, left the cupboard bare, was going down the chute his last season.

Gill has some offensive players. He needs two years of defensive recruits. He is in a four year rebuild.

Perk gave him the big bones to make him tough for KU to fire. Perk knew CBernie was going to run Perk when he hired Gill. That salary was the only way to ensure Perks hire would get a fair shot once Perk retired.

The first big question is why was Mangino able to get talent and then not? Was Dave Doeren really that great of a recruiter, or did a money supply for hiring players dry up? Like say, maybe ticket scalping?

The second is: can Gill recruit uphill given conference instabilityand scalpinggate?

Even Self seems to be struggling with conference instability and scalpinggate?

I reckon Gill can't be judged till after this recruiting season. Can he land a ton of defensive studs? If he can, then two seasons from now, KU will win ten games and the Gill era will be on its way.

jaybate 10 years, 10 months ago

Post script: there are just two ways to rebuild in football.

Build offense first two years and suffer high scoring losses like this year.

Build defense first and have two years of low scoring losses.

There is no short cut, when the cupboard is bare.

FLJHK 10 years, 10 months ago

As always you make some great points. But when the high scoring losses are at historical levels, it's a bit tough to remain patient. Though I was willing to give Gill a long rope, it's hard to continue believing this was a good hire. Hope I'm wrong.

P.S. On another topic, wouldn't MU leaving the Big 12 undermine the Super Corridor theory? Seems to me Missouri and K.C. are critical links.

DCJayhawk0208 10 years, 10 months ago

You HAVE to build the defense first. Two years of high scoring losses are blow-outs. They're not pretty. They humiliate the coaches, the players and the fan base. They make it harder to recruit players.

Two years of low scoring losses? Well, shoot, one more TD and a field goal wins a couple of those games.

For example, look at the 2006-2007 Jayhawks. They lost to:

Toledo by 6 (in 2OT) Nebraska by 7 (in OT) Texas A&M by 3 Oklahoma State by 10 Baylor by 1 Missouri by 25

Of those six losses, one more score wins 3 of them (assuming they came in regulation against Toledo and NU) and sends the fourth to OT. It's a heck of a lot easier to convince a star QB, RB or WR that they could have provided that extra boost to turn a 6 win team into a 10 win team.

Building the offense first is folly.

jaybate 10 years, 10 months ago


I suspect the infrastructure driver hypothesis could explain it, but the explanation would require delving into the nature of the Mississippi/Missouri river system infrastructure, and to the Super Corridor's potential impacts on the tonnage shipped on the river system, which would be pretty complicated and laborious. I lack the time and inclination to go into it further presently, and I reckon we would have more fun if we were to get back to basketball.

And it is just a hypothesis. :-)

Fred Whitehead Jr. 10 years, 10 months ago

Thanks for your contribution Jaybait.

I am a lifelong fan of the Oklahoma program. I remember Bud Wilkinson and the teams that had the longest winning streak that still remains today. And that terrible day in November when Notre Dame broke the Sooners longest winning streak.

Since that time, OU has had a long list of coaches, good ones like Chuck Fairbanks, Barry Switzer and the current coach, Bob Stoops. And there have been some real stinkers, Howard Schnellenbarger, Gary Gibbs, John Blake and good ole Gomer Jones. Jones was Wilkinson's assistant. I also remember Turner Gill as an outstanding quarterback at Nebraska, he was a real thorn to the Oklahoma fans, back when the yearly OU/ Nebraska game was a regular Thanksgiving Day event.

There was a book written some years back called the "Peter Principle" The basic thesis in that presentation was that, In a hierarchy, a person succeeds to his level of incompetance.Simply stated, the dude gets kicked upstairs until he reaches the point where he is clueless as to where he is. It would seem so with Coach Gill. I do not feel he is an ogre as some fans contend, nor any sort of saint as the religious fundies here would indicate. But he has bitten off more than he can chew.

Maybe this is too simplistic, but as a casual observer of the KU ptrgram (remember I am a Sooner fan) it would seem that some better criteria be formulated before any action is taken in this case, and that before the university leaps into a "new coach evolution".

Fred Whitehead Jr. 10 years, 10 months ago

Oops, "program". Even old "Okies" make a mistake occasionally.

Fred Whitehead Jr. 10 years, 10 months ago

Oops, "program". Even old "Okies" make a mistake occasionally.

John Boyle 10 years, 10 months ago

"Simply stated, the dude gets kicked upstairs until he reaches the point where he is clueless as to where he is." That is a poorly worded explanation of the peter principle. It leaves out an important part of it: they must succeed at the previous level to advance to the next level. As long as they keep succeeding they advance until they hit a level that they can't succeed. Your explanation of the peter principle makes it sound like they get "kicked" upstairs no matter what. Like the level below is somehow trying to get rid of them. That is not the peter principle. And you also got jaybate's name wrong. You spelled it jaybait like it stood for "jail bait" or something. Sorry, I couldn't help but pick on the OU guy after all I am jealous of your football program.

RockinChalkinLA 10 years, 10 months ago

I agree this is unacceptable. It's time for Coach Gill to stop being Mr Nice Guy and lay down the Law. Our Defensive Coaches are a complete failure. Gill needs to step in and be a Head Coach. Take the D and mold it to what talent is on this team. We obviously can't sit back and cover, keeping everything in front of us! ATTACK. What is the worst that will happen? 95 yard scoring plays? 4 over 80 yard 2 play drives? Already happening. Send the kitchen sink, fridge, oven, and whatever other appliance available at them and cause them to react. Gill will have to do this because even if there is a D coordinator worth his weight out there why in the world would he want to walk into this mess mid season? If he can't do what it takes to stop this bleeding now, then he IS the wrong coach for us.

G. Thomas Holland 10 years, 10 months ago

Having worked for the football team back in the day when Mangino first took over, I remember how long it took to get the team into decent shape. Does anyone remember how little offense we had last year? This team can move the ball a lot like the 2005 Tangerine Bowl team, and as I remember, we couldn't stop anyone then either.

Turner Gill brought in the highest recruiting class in years, and yes, out-did Mangino in this department. The speed is there; we just need a deeper bench and experience. To give any college football coach a chance you have to give them 4 years. If by then We have not gotten back to a bowl game, send Gill on his way.

But until then, Mr. Keegan, lets take it for what it is and look for the movements forward this team has taken instead of writing a soft piece about Gill on a bad afternoon. Nobody expected us to win this game, but the 28 points should be encouraging enough.

If all else fails remember that Late Night is only a week away.

Kirk 10 years, 10 months ago

Mangino's 2009 class was rated 31 in the nation by Rivals, which is about where Gill's latest great class was ranked.

And you're really encouraged by our 28 points today, 21 of which were scored during mercy time, when the only thing on oSu's minds was keeping players healthy for the UT game?

I think you're right about shifting into b-ball mode. That's our KU way!

G. Thomas Holland 10 years, 10 months ago

We couldn't score even during mercy time last year.

Kirk 10 years, 10 months ago

Next week (OU), we'll see our first real defense this year.

GTech and TTech couldn't care less about playing D.

Neither is oSu very good.

Many of the teams left on our schedule take it more seriously. So before we declare victory for Gill's offense (which yes, shows improvement, but perhaps not very meaningful improvement, not enough to make KU competitive, and not the right style to "outscore" spread teams even on the best of days), let's see how we do against OU and KSU in the next couple weeks.

KSAuburnFan 10 years, 10 months ago

Mangino's 2009 recruiting class ranked 31 by Rivals was also coming off back to back bowl trips. You would think he could have brought in better talent coming off of a 20-6 2 years span.

Coach Gill's 2011 recruiting class ranked 35 (I think) by Rivals is coming off of back to back losing seasons.

Just saying as far as the recruiting aspect of coaching, I think Coach Gill is doing a great job to bring in the talent he has coming off of horrible seasons.

Bion Ostrander 10 years, 10 months ago

KU has played a lot of bad football over the years, and this year's team is on schedule to be the worst ever in terms of defense. For those that are apologists for Gill and believe that Mangino is to blame for leaving the cupboard bare, the only way you can subscribe to that theory is to state that Mangino, arguably the most successful football coach at KU, "LEFT LESS TALENT BEHIND THAN ANY OTHER TERRIBLE COACH BEFORE HIM." And I do not believe that. If this team/defense turns out to be the worst ever, I don't buy the argument that it was due to Mangino leaving the worst talent behind than any other horrible coach before him - - sorry to belabor this point. It took a lot to go wrong by Mangino's successors, to turn KU's current team in to the worse defensive team ever. Terry Allen and Turner Gill are fine gentlemen and family men, but not everyone is cut out to be a Div. I BCS football coach, so lets just recognize that. TG is so overly obsessed with being the anti-Mangino and doing everything opposite of Mangino, this has negatively impacted KU football. I do not know of any direct correlation between winning football programs and eliminating names on uniforms. I don't want to be Nebraska-south, lets just play football.

Mike Barnhart 10 years, 10 months ago

Said it before and I'll keep saying it until someone explains why I'm wrong: Zenger should use the Colorado, Nebraska & A&M exit fee money to buy out Gill's contract.

Jaminrawk 10 years, 10 months ago

The exit fee money is supposed to be broken up to all of he Big XII schools and then it doesn't neccessarily go to the athletic programs.

Ashwin Rao 10 years, 10 months ago

Just out... the one word commands took too long, so it was decided to use guttural utterances instead. (jk)

nuleafjhawk 10 years, 10 months ago

“Show me a good and gracious loser, and I’ll show you a failure.” Knute Rockne / Notre Dame

Steve Yeakel 10 years, 10 months ago

Offense is obviously better. How about hiring a great defensive coordinator, defensive coaches, and defensive recruiters as top priority and as soon as possible for next season? I am guessing that we even have more defensive talent now than is showing up in the results. Go Hawks!

Ryan Gerstner 10 years, 10 months ago

Keegan, best article you ever wrote. Fairly explained the situation and it wasn't written in an over the top style.

The Gill experiment officially died yesterday. Blowouts to Oklahoma, K-State, and Missouri will only reinforce it. Most KU fans can deal with a lot of losing if you can beat K-State or Missouri, but when we start getting embarrassed in those games, even they think it's time to go.

For all the people that don't think Gill has anything at all to work with and these blowouts are acceptable, when the next coach comes in and is instantly more competitive, you'll see how inept this coaching staff is. KU certainly has some deficiencies, but we're not deficient enough to be a laughingstock of college football. Look for KU to appear on ESPN's bottom 10 list. That's great national publicity.

Jaminrawk 10 years, 10 months ago

Though I have my doubts that Zenger will get enough booster $upport to fire Gill even if he wants to, getting destroyed by 40-50 points the rest of the year will destroy any ticket revenue going forward. No one is going to pay money to see this anymore.

Andy Tweedy 10 years, 10 months ago

It's awfully hard to come to Gill's defense after the way we've played in the last two weeks! But what I find funny is the posters who are saying they're done with KU football this year or we should fire the entire administration and athletic staff at KU because the players are quitting. Really? The players are quitting, so to show you how lame that is...I QUIT!!! I will never be ashamed to be a Kansas Jayhawk and I will never shy away from telling people the love I have for the school, the state and the people that make it great! If our football team sucks, I hope and pray that it will turn around. But I sure won't quit now, and never will. ROCK CHALK JAYHAWK!!!

hawk1nation 10 years, 10 months ago

"You gotta BELIEVE"

1) I can't BELIEVE that OK State hung 70 points on us 2) I can't BELIEVE that OK State passed for 494 yards 3) I can't BELIEVE that GT rushed for a school record of 604 yards 4) I can't BELIEVE that our Defense is LAST on yards per game at 556 yards/game 5) I can't BELIEVE that our Defense is LAST in Yards per play at 7.81
6) I can't BELIEVE that our Defense is LAST in points per game at 49.4 can't 7) I can't BELIEVE that Turner Gill stated last week that our Defense has improved

As a result, I CAN'T 1) BELIEVE that anyone wants to watch this garbage 2) BELIEVE that Tuner Gill has not been fired 3) BELIEVE that top recruits would want to play for Kansas

hawk1nation 10 years, 10 months ago

"We are going to recruit speed" - Turner Gill

Can we just recruit someone that can tackle? Then again, who in the world wants to play for a team that allows 50 points per week?

nuleafjhawk 10 years, 10 months ago

After listening to Gill over and over again, I think what he really said was:

" Our recruits peed "

KSAuburnFan 10 years, 10 months ago

I understand the frustration that everyone is expressing in this message board, but I would challenge any of you to take a group of players in which nearly 3/4ths of them are underclassment, go on the road and compete against a Top 10 team that boasts 2 Heisman Candidates.

Everyone out here is saying "Gill has to go", ok fine who is going to replace him? f I saw Mike Leach and Brent Venebles (sp) as the only 2 names. Tommy Tuberville already has a job so he doesn't count. I don't know where KU fans get their thought process from. KU Football isn't the program you all want it to be yet. KU is not going to attract a big time, proven successful coach, that is simply the reality. I know it is a cliche' but a coach HAS to get at least 3-4 years, I can guarantee you, none of you on this message board were the best at your job after 1.5 years. Coach has proven he can obviously recruit, top 35 class coming off of back to back losing seasons. Give him and his staff a chance to grow with these young kids. I looked on the field yesterday and saw 2 freshman, 1 soph and 1 junior in the defensive backfield. I don't care who you are, it is tough to win with freshman and sophomores. If after these recruiting classes have time to gain experience and mature and KU is still getting beat by 30 each week, then make a change, but until then leave your expectations at the door, the Big 12 is tough enough to compete in with experienced veterans, much less young pups that some were playing high school ball a year ago.

By the way, where is the Fire Mack Brown and his staff, because they lost by 38, James Franklin and his staff at Vanderbilt lost by 34, Will Muschamp and his staff lost by 30, Fresno lost by 50, Colorado lost by 41, Cal lost by 28. So I guess going the road and playing a much more talented team and getting blown out, we should be looking for at least 7 new head coaches tomorrow.

danmoore 10 years, 10 months ago

Thank you for being the voice of reason.

JayDocMD 10 years, 10 months ago

Good points and all, but could you please add Gus Malzahn to that list of coaching candidates who we should have hired, but will never come? thanks.

jaymar74 10 years, 10 months ago

I give up, don't care anymore. I say we all stop going to games, stop caring, fire the entire staff, shut down the football program, leave the conference and become independent in the few sports we decide to continue beyond basketball.

There, now most of you on this site should be happy. You win. I'm out.

justajoe 10 years, 10 months ago

How about a column urging Lew Perkins to do the right thing and fork over half the money needed to buy out Gill's contract. Perks never hesitated to compensate himself with bonuses for the successes of coaches he never even hired (Mangino, Self to name two), so why shouldn't he be just as personally financially accountable for the expensive failures directly related to his hires? Why is accountability a one-way street around here? Reminds me of some executives at financial institutions. Given KU's history, it's probably more likely that we'll end up coughing up more money to engage Perks (excuse me, The Lew Perkins Team, and bow when you say it) to come up with a plan to extricate us from this mess.

ejlumus 10 years, 10 months ago

that's the best suggestion I have read.

SCJayhawker 10 years, 10 months ago

Wonderful article. Your dead on. Number one Turner is a great guy. Number two he is over his head as a head football coach at KU. You hit both out of the park. I agree totally with you. OK now what? After thinking this over for a while I think we need to look for a new coach who is out of the mold of a guy like Bill Snider. I know its hard to say this as a KU Fan but lets look at a few things. Snider had a proven track record as a coach for many years but never as a head coach. Magino too. Long track records of success. I hope the powers that be are already breaking out the fine tooth combs and beginning the search process for just such a guy. We don't need some pirate or some other big named nut to come in here who we are going to have to pay unbelievable millions. Lets get that guy who is hungry to win. Has a history of winning and would give his left *&%# to be a head football coach at a division 1 school. They are out there all over the place. Do your homework. Investigate and start the process now. This season is lost and its only going to get more ugly against OU, Texas, Baylor etc, etc, etc....

Andy Tweedy 10 years, 10 months ago

You described Turner Gill to a T! Maybe it isn't all that easy to identify a good head coach. Sometimes, they just don't work out like everyone thought they would.

djhawk75 10 years, 10 months ago

I understand what Keegan is saying, but I still see problems with this article.

Oklahoma State is a bona fide Top 5 team this year. I simply don't see how a second year coach with a team of primarily freshman and sophomores (just look at the roster and the depth chart) on the road against a Top 5 team is some sort of measuring stick about the coach's prowess. If this were year four of Coach Gill's tenure at KU and this embarrassing loss were to happen again, then we'll talk.

And about this hangover effect with Mangino...get over it. Mangino was not the guy who would keep KU relevant. In two years KU went from Orange Bowl Champs to no bowl 1-7 in the conference chumps. So the decline in KU's football program actually started on Mangino's watch.

Another tidbit to consider--Have you noticed that following 2007 season KU has had virtually no defense? 2007 was the last year that we had Bill Young as our defensive coordinator. Where is he now? Oh yes, with the team that just hammered us.

So it's still too early to say "I told you so." Not that I think that Gill is the man for the job--I still don't know. After a game like this how will his team respond, especially with such a difficult schedule ahead?

Kirk 10 years, 10 months ago

The KSU game will be a good measuring stick. There's a coach who's only 3 years into a program that was left in a weak state. They blew us out last year. If that happens again, especially in Lawrence, it's time for Gill to go immediately.

BarkingHawk 10 years, 10 months ago

When the chancellorship changed, political correctness took over the program. Mangino was not the politician, the 'deeds' were done (such as they were), Perkins needed some cover from his new boss (after all, 'they' did happen on his watch) and coach was fired. The hiring of the politically correct, anti-Mangino didn't save Perkins once the financial scandal(s) surfaced.

This problem will solve itself. The question is whether Zenger will prevent further damage before it does. This, as much or more than conference reallignment (which could be handled little differently than it was, since we had so few cards to play anyway), will be his first big test as AD.

Why will the problem solve itself?

First, people will simply not show up, buy tickets or support the Williams Fund. Hence, revenues, interest and support will drop. Bad, and at a particularly bad time.

Second, empty seats and unprecedented loss margins will brand the Gill program for what it is. Quality recruits will simply pass. Absent blind allegiance to KU, wouldn't you? I'm a lifelong Jayhawk, but if both Bill Snyder and Turner Gill knocked on my door to recruit one of my sons, it would take no more than a nanosecond to decide which one to let in, at least to be their football coach. And, I have heard no reason to not personally like Turner Gill.

The third reason melds with the second. KSU is enjoying a massive resurgence under the Master. Mizzou, assuming they stay in the league, is solid and will continue its run against us (4 of the last 5, and counting). Well-heeled Jayhawks, along with many others, will not tolerate the beatings we experienced last year and can only anticipate going forward. We have to compete with and beat these people, or why play at all? Booster money will be there to help prevent these intolerable embarrassments and buy Gill out. If not, or if otherwise needed, some of the new money from TV and buyout(s) should, rather must be used.

The question now is if Zenger will make this still gut-wrenching move sooner or later. There is precedent for mid-season firings (Allen, even Prince up the road) and after two years (Valesente being the most recent). If the AD does not act soon, he will set the next coach up for an even bigger job to rebuild what was torn down so quickly by the previous firing and this hiring. That would be a mistake, particularly in this atmosphere of conference musical chairs. Some quality candidates might just pass (they may have before).

The other, perhaps deeper questions? Will this chancellor, for a variety of reasons, let him? And what will he do if she won't?

Soon, we're going to find out a lot about the stomach and backbone of Dr. Zenger

John Boyle 10 years, 10 months ago

"if both Bill Snyder and Turner Gill knocked on my door to recruit one of my sons, it would take no more than a nanosecond to decide which one to let in, at least to be their football coach" Okay pick Gill because if that is the only two coaches that are coming to pay you a visit, your son isn't going to go pro so he should pick the coach that is going to help him grow to be the best man he can be and that would be Coach Gill no question about it.

Orangedog87 10 years, 10 months ago

I would like to make $2 million a year to be a nice person and not be held responsible for the results of my job because I have a guaranteed salary. I never got on the Perkins band wagon. He made a huge mistake with Gil, his salary and his contract and based on previous articles there are a lot of coaches at KU making a lot of money with no results.

But seriously KU, isnt there some oversight on contracts and salaries that goes beyond the AD? I thought the same thing about the ticket scandal...where was the oversight? There are some serious issues with KU and a lack of leadership and accountability. I am not sure that these have been fixed with employee changes.

JayHawk_from_SWKS 10 years, 10 months ago

I could accept the losses as long as there was some signs of improvement. There has to be an attempt at making adjustments both after the games (through watching tapes and practice), and during the games (through quarter and halftime adjustments). Is it possible that any signs of improvement are being overshadowed by the fact that we are playing tougher competition with each passing week? Maybe, but I don't think that is all the story. Eventually, the talent level of the opposing teams will level off as the season goes on. Then, we can truly judge whether or not any adjustments are being made. Having watched the other teams play tough games, I don't expect we will win any of the remaining games this season. But, as a fan, I do expect to see a closing of the gap. Good luck to the Jayhawks for the rest of the season. I will continue to support them, defend them, and watch any games that are televised, but I will definitely water down my expectations.

troutsee 10 years, 10 months ago

Embarrassing losses, no matter how young the team, are intolerable. Few fans will show up for the OU beat down. If possible, we should hire the Temple coach.

Bville Hawk 10 years, 10 months ago

1, I think those of you who are bashing SZ are grossly underestimating him. He is tough and demanding and I don't think will back away from any tough decisions.

2, What all are we red-shirting this year? Are there some potential defensive studs among them?

Clarence Haynes 10 years, 10 months ago

The prior coaching regime did not leave the current staff with any depth. Nonetheless, if we go for a new coach, Zenger will beforehand, have to put together a treasure chest of money committed to finance major upgrades to Memorial Stadium with a view toward attracting a highly regarded coaching staff and recruiting more consistently, the playing talent required to move this program forward. Think about it, five or so years ago, OK State and KU were on par with each other in the recruiting race and playing level. They have zoomed by us largely due to stadium and facilities upgrades funded by Pickens. I guess money talks and OK St has a good coach and is attracting first rate talent to now compete against OU and Texas. Financial Commitment to Excellence!

lama 10 years, 10 months ago

What exactly do we need in facilities? I'd love to pull the track out, but that's not what is keeping this team from winning. KU already has a top 10 football facility, and we still suck.

Dan Cook 10 years, 10 months ago

A top 10 football facility? If you include all of our practice and S&C facilities, we have certainly made ourselves competitive. If you're talking about Memorial Stadium, I'd be suprised if it's Top 64. Maybe worse.

Yes, pull the track out finally and get the fans closer to the action. Remodel the place to bring it into the current century. Do something with the bathrooms, concessions and walkways. Make the experience of going to the stadium something that is pleasurable regardless of the outcome of the game.

lama 10 years, 10 months ago

I think there's a plan to do all that -- but do you have another $40 million? Because that's big-time money. My point is the interior of the stadium is as nice as many college stadiums (go check out Arizona Stadium or Sun Devil Stadium -- total dumps). And the infrastructure of the stadium is not what is costing us recruits/games right now.

Clarence Haynes 10 years, 10 months ago

Where we raise $4o million is for Zenger to figure out!

Clarence Haynes 10 years, 10 months ago

Oldest stadium west of the Mississippi. I don't think that the best coaches and the best players want to have games in an unrefurbished antique!

lama 10 years, 10 months ago

Have you been the stadium in the last five years? It's been completely gutted. It's much nicer than K-State, yet they seem to be light years ahead.

CaramelMacchMan 10 years, 10 months ago

Young team. I would give them a year. I mean so young that your team leader is just sophomore.

I'll be there to support the guys that are wearing Kansas Jersey when they take the field on Sat. just like the past 7 seasons.

squawkhawk 10 years, 10 months ago

I think the snake oil salesman recently visited Lawrence and we're now just discovering it.

Bion Ostrander 10 years, 10 months ago

Various Gill apologists on here point to excuses that the team is young with Gill's freshman/soph. recruits and they should be allowed to develop. WRONG. Gill should have recruited the jucos to plug immediate holes in defense. Bill Snyder has made a great living at recruiting juco kids to fill the gaps...and still does so successfully his 2nd time around. Did Gill honestly think he would attract 4 and 5 star freshman defensive linemen to KU....he is delusional! KU is at the bottom of the feeding trough, they will always have to rely on some level of juco recruits. Gill had no recruiting plan and is now paying the price...he thought his name and his former association with Neb. football was enough to impress recruits. From here to the end of the season, each team that KU plays will have 2 weeks off in their schedule, their regular week off and the week they play KU. Will big game Bob maybe just send his third-stringers to KU?

Jayandseahawk 10 years, 10 months ago

Before the 1st game, I said that I have no expectations of KU football this year. It's for real; I went all day yesterday watching some games in the SE (NC), went to a gathering, went to the store and NEVER ONCE thought of how KU was doing. Didn't even wear KU blue, as is custom on game days...I'm over it. Bring on a real coach/team, this is too embarrassing.

tngilmer 10 years, 10 months ago

Football is a tough sport. When you fire a coach for hurting his player's feelings by talking mean to them, you get a wuss coach and a wuss team. KU deserves no better than what its got now.

boknowssports 10 years, 10 months ago

its pretty sad when the margin of your upcoming loss is dictated by the amount of time the opposing coach decides to keep his starters in the game. Gill just looks clueless on the sideline, delivers jibberish coachspeak after the games and basically appears incompetent for the job he was hired. these Gill supporters remind me of the OJ jurors, you will never be able to reason with them, or understand their reasoning.

KU_Alumn_2000 10 years, 10 months ago

Coach Gill's lack of urgency to fix the D-Line in last years recruiting class will ultimately be the straw that broke the camel's back.

He needs to use any strategy possible to get some D-linemen in here. If that means picking up 5 or 6 JUCO d-linemen...then you do it.

I'm rooting for Coach...but I could tell all along that he wasn't getting any talent or depth on the d-line like he should of in last year's class.

Good Luck Coach...Lets just try to improve this week...and really work hard on getting some recruits on the line.

Travis Clementsmith 10 years, 10 months ago

I'm not a Turner Gill fan, but I am also not in the fire everyone now camp. Things to remember:

  1. The DC had to retire due to illness without a lot of time to replace him.

  2. The defense is very young with two new safeties trying to figure things out.

  3. Our DL was small and slow before Gill got here and has been often injured.

That's a lot for any defense to overcome. But, the defense shouldn't be this bad. I think Gill will and should be given the opportunity to hire a new DC next year and see if the recruiting can bring any hope.

That said, I think part of the problem is about the tone Gill sets for the team. Offense is about controlled aggression, so it is no wonder it is responding well to Gill's puritan viewpoint. Defense, however, is about passion and aggession, and I think policies like the "no swearing" rule tend to mute those qualities because the players (and coaches) are always having to censor themselves, which leads to self doubt in the ability to control one's passion. I'm not saying the inability to swear is the problem, I'm saying the overtone of constant self-control mutes the passion and aggression required for defensive players, much more than it does offensive ones. They are different mindsets.

I think this silly rule turns off top defensive players as well as coaches and I'm not sure if a simple change of defensive coaches is going to cure what ails us. But, I do think that opportunity has to be explored next year before you start over from scratch, pay a bunch of money, and potentially lose a lot of good players and recruits. I say you give Gill a year with the caveat to find a new DC and remove the "swearing" rule. That doesn't have to be publically announced, nor does the new hire have to be a "sailor". Surely there's a middle ground to this.

BarkingHawk 10 years, 10 months ago

Certainly, HCTG has removed the 'no swearing' mantra from most followers of this program. It's practically all I do when watching him speak or his defense play.

Steve Brown 10 years, 10 months ago

the difference between a first year freshman and a 5th year senior is vast. I hope HCTG has a barn full of redshirts getting faster stronger larger to plug into starting roles next year. If the red shirt barn is not loaded you will never catch up until your winning tradition attracts 5 star studs. how many KSate starters redshirt and how many of ours.

ejlumus 10 years, 10 months ago

You judge football progress by game organization, conditioning, fundamentals and special teams. Does KU show any prgress in these areas?

I gave TG a pass on the first game last year, no more, this is a train wreck!!!!

Note to Zenger fire all the defensive coaches by the end of the year. If TG refuses fire him for insubordination. Demand a minimum of 5 wins in 2012. If not TG is history.

Followed KU sports since 1961, basketball was on a roller coaster until LB came to town then RW and BS continued the tradition. KU needs to hire a great football coach. Unless you can hire a great coach we will go down the same path as the past 50 years.

ejlumus 10 years, 10 months ago

Another note.........layoff Zenger.... he is a football guy and will make the correct decision.

David Atchley 10 years, 10 months ago

Kansas has been a "punch line" ever since the hiring of Turner Gill....his antics have been "Mike Singletary" like and with the Ticket scandal, the convenient resignation of Lew Perkins to avoid facing any charges, makes Kirk Herbestreit's comment on national TV "Is Kansas still playing football...that program is a train wreck" ring loud and clear.

The addition of TCU has pushed Kansas farther down the list of consideration for any "Tier 2 and 3" high school football player from Texas.

Kansas should consider hiring Mike Leach or Chad Morris. Leach took over a dismal Texas Tech program, and created an electric offense that put many players into the NFL.. He's available, and has very deep high school football coach relationships in Texas.

The other candidate to consider is "Chad Morris." Google this guy if you don't know him. He won State Football Championships in high school football with 2 different schools, and was "Todd Reesing's" coach at Lake Travis High School.

He was hired to be the OC at Tulsa, and quickly turned that program around. To the point, he was hired away by Clemson to be their OC this year. He is well respected in the high school coaching ranks in Texas and is considered one of the rising stars in the college coaching ranks.

It is imperative to have influence and relationships to have any high school player consider your school, and that goes double in the State of Texas.

Travis Clementsmith 10 years, 10 months ago

Funny, but I don't remember Leach as much of a defensive guru. The offense is turning around, I really don't have any complaints there for the 2nd year of his tenure. What we need is some hot shot up and coming defensive coach whose a good recruiter. I'm not gonna blame Gill because Torbush got cance (I'm not blaming Torbush, of course, I either) and he gave Shealy a shot. We weren't going to find a suitable replacement in time. I agree with you, however, Texas connections are a must.

JenksHawk 10 years, 10 months ago

Its was sad to witness this game from the stands in Stillwater. The only thing that looked good on the field from our end was our uniforms.After we scored on our first drive I had some hope, not that we would win but that we would at least put up a good fight. After EIGHT consecutive Pokes TD's I had had enough. I remember that night in Miami after we beat VT, and never did I think I would witness the Hawks like this. Keep Gill or fire him, at this point I really dont care. But someone needs to get our boys' attention and at least have them play a full 60 minutes of football.

Mike Nicco 10 years, 10 months ago

Zenger learned from the best college coach. Nobody knows how to turn a toad into a handsome prince better than Snyder. Unfortunately, he coaches for K-State, making the pain of our season sting that much worse.

Does a head coach really coach or is he just a manager?

Who are our best recruiters? The offensive coaches.

I doubt Zenger fires Gill this year when he can lean on Gill to hire better defensive coaches, ones that can coach and recruit. That saves a ton of $$ (coaches have shorter and less iron-clad contracts) and keeps us from having to start all over again.

If the overall recruiting drops or never materializes on the defensive side of the ball even after coaching changes, then you give the head coach his pink slip because he is not a good judge of coaching talent.

Jeff Kilgore 10 years, 10 months ago

To be fair, the offense has improved noticeably. The problem for the defense, is three or four-fold. First off, they aren't very talented. At some point, coaching, scheming, yelling and screaming at players just doesn't work. Players make plays.

Secondly, football has transformed into a speed game with hurry up offense and speedsters everywhere on the field. If you're not up to it, there is simply no way to disguise overall weakness.

Third, KU's handling of Mangino throughout his tenure made it very difficult. I hear crazy stories about him, and then there's the campus ticket problem--small issue, but it says volumes about how he thought of himself.

Finally, our opponents, while not the toughest in America, certainly has had its share of explosive teams, which has exposed our team.

It doesn't look good for Gill, and the guaranteed contract was simply a terrible idea, no matter how it gets paid. You don't pay for results you hope for. You pay for results that materialize. This isn't hindsight. It's simply how to do business, which the KU athletic department doesn't seem to understand.

If feel bad for Gill, but KU has made him a millionaire if he wasn't one already. I'd trade jobs with him, but he probably doesn't want to make 600 dollars a week.

squawkhawk 10 years, 10 months ago

We don't give Turner Gill enough credit for being such a brilliant man. After all, how many of us have a 5 year contract worth $2 million dollars a year ($167,000/game), and can perform very poorly compared to his peers without being fired after the first bad year?

Robert Brock 10 years, 10 months ago

Gill probably gets a third year. He will, undoubtedly, hire a capable defensive coordinator who will have to get it together and fast. If things don't turn around in a positive way, Gill gets the gaff.

Meanwhile, how do you market KU Football? How can you sell season tickets? Any ideas for catchy slogans? How about: "We can't win but we are slowing 'em down just a little!"

William James 10 years, 10 months ago

At this point in the Mangino era, KU was 4-1 coming off a blowout win(35-14) over undefeated(4-0) and nationally ranked(#25) Mizzou.

Randy Bombardier 10 years, 10 months ago

Well, this is more to the point, unlike the suggestion that OSU run up the score on us. My guess is that Turner Gill will not stay where he is not wanted. Unlike some people who don't mind soaking up the dough I think he has the guts to resign if this ship is not righted.

Joe Baker 10 years, 10 months ago

Gill decided against keeping anybody from Mangino’s defensive staff, even though linebackers coach Bill Miller would have brought with him the top recruit in the state of Kansas, Geneo Grissom of Hutchinson. When MIller wasn’t retained, Grissom, a defensive end, committed to Oklahoma.

What? No wonder we lost Grissom. WTH?

And our defense is the biggest opportunity. Really dumb to let the state's top D-lineman slip and go to OU who really needs him more than KU. This is why OU's D smothered UT this wknd. BTW- I believe Stoops and Venables redshirt Grissom and Bell.

Crap, Crap, Crap and Crap- Dumb dumb judgement.

squawkhawk 10 years, 10 months ago

Not keeping some continuity shows you just exactly the mentality that Gill has for the game.

Eric Dawson 10 years, 10 months ago

Just a thought taken from another poster on the message board --

if Gill does get fired, why not ask Urban Meyer if he would be interested in the job? Worst that could happen is he could reply "ROTFLMAO".

Penn St is apparently asking Meyer about taking over when JoPa steps down at Penn St. The KU job would be a lot less stressful than following JoPa. As long as KU was at least above .500 every year, with the occasional 9-10 win season, Meyer's place would be secure for as long as he wanted it.

He would have nowhere to go but up if he did take the job to get back into the saddle.

Or, as expressed in the terms of the best career advice I ever got from my prime mentor: "Always do what it takes to excel, but to really shine it never hurts, whenever possible, to follow a dud."

Eric Dawson 10 years, 10 months ago

Just heard on the news that KU is offering students free tickets to get them to attend the OU game.

BCS football, #3 team in the country coming in, and having to give tickets away to get people in the stands.

So, so, sad.

Phoggin_Loud 10 years, 10 months ago

Unfortunately, Gundy did everything he could to NOT run the score up. If you can't stop the 2nd & 3rd string, well.......

For a historically bad program, This team is historically, historically bad.

jaybate 10 years, 10 months ago

"To Start with Defense, or to Start with Offense; That Is Not the Question"

Some say you have to start with defense, when rebuilding; that building offense first is folly.

Going with offense first is not necessarily folly. It depends on what your strengths as a coach are and what kind of talent you have access to first.

Bill Walsh built good to great teams at Cinncinati (qb assistant for Paul Brown), Stanford, and San Francisco by building offenses first. Once the offense was sound, he built defenses. He did this because he knew he could outscore a lot of lesser coaches with his ball control offense keeping his weak defense off the field, and because he knew his own strength was as an offensive strategist and tactician.

As are each of us, a coach is a prisoner of his own experience.

Mangino was a defensive coordinator at a successful D1 program before becoming KU's head coach. He had spent years building up a recruiting pipeline down into the junior high level of players. So: he started with defense, because those were the players he and Doeren could get first and defense was his great strength as a strategist and tactician.

Gill was a quarterback in college and then an offensive coordinator, then an offensive-minded head coach at a minor program. Gill's recruiting pipeline, though modest in comparison with Mangino's when Mangino came in, was offense oriented and virtually without D1 BCS quality talent to start with. Gill went with offense first. It was what he knew best and offensive talent was what he had access to first.

jaybate 10 years, 10 months ago

The lesson to be learned from the Turner Gill and Mangino hirings is that it is probably smartest to hire a top coordinator of long standing from a major program. It gets you a lot access to a talent pipeline that hiring a head coach from a minor school cannot get you.

In fact, Turner Gill acknowledged this problem when he hired Chuck Long as his assistant. Long could help him get offensive lineman and backs pronto.

Gill may need to hire a new defensive coordinator to get access to some top talent in a hurry, if Gill wants to survive.

Gill has the rationale in hand to do so, also. The defense has sucked, so Gill can demote his current coordinator, or fire him, and hire a top recruiting coordinator from a top program with the carrot of making him defensive coordinator.

It is hard to say how foxy Gill is. But for clever fellows, starting with offense, means you get to fire your defensive coordinator 2 years in. Clever fellows that start building defense, get to fire their offensive coordinators 2 years in. The key thing is Gill has to be smart enough to figure this out, if he hasn't already. If he isn't smart enough to figure this out, then he does need to be fired and replaced.

So: to start with defense, or to start with offense; that is not the question.

The question is: if you start with offense, when do you fire your defensive coordinator to hire a recruiting coordinator from a BCS program that can deliver you some defensive talent immediately?

Answer: Three days after the last game. :-)

Tony Bandle 10 years, 10 months ago

I sat my senior year in 1970 and watched Missouri beat Kansas 69-0 on a beautiful autumn afternoon.

Sometimes, the more things change, the more they stay the same.

The only way Kansas will become a football power is to eliminate basketball. Neither of those scenarios will ever happen. As long as Kansas remains an elite basketball program and football has occasional blips of success...I can live with that.

I would be a lot sadder if that trend was reversed!!

John Boyle 10 years, 10 months ago

I've said it before and I'm going to say it again. It is not an either or situation. Or it least it doesn't have to be. You can reach greatness in both. Just ask Florida. KU's lack of success in football has a lot more to do with football than it does KU's basketball program. The football team has a poor history but that could be changed with a successful coach and a string of successful seasons. It is football recruiting and hiring the right offensive and defensive coordinators that will make the football team great not the lack of a basketball program. Sorry but I just get sick and tired of hearing everybody (okay mostly football fans) blame the basketball team for the football teams problems. And yes my avatar is a basketball player but that is just out of respect for what that young man suffered through. I fly my KU football flag every game day and wish I could go to all the games. By the way my neighbor was flying his OSU flag this weekend as well. Glad I didn't run into him anytime Saturday or Sunday.

Bion Ostrander 10 years, 10 months ago

Those who think KU can attract a Venables or an Urban Meyer out of retirement are smoking some medicinal herb....KU will not be able to attract a Big name, those persons are waiting for offers from the big-time programs, and they will eventually get them. I assume Gill will fire, or someone will instruct Gill to fire, and hire a defensive coordinator, that is the only way Gill can last for 1 or 2 more years. Put the blame on someone else and hope it defers from your own ineptness for at least a while. But KU definitely needs some defensive coach flying under the radar from a major FBS program. I agree with part of what Jaybate says, but Gill and Long refuse to answer the question why two former All-American QBs on the coaching staff cannot attract a good QB to KU at this point. The answer is not that difficult (although apparently Gill/Long are in denial) - What QB wants to come to KU and hand the ball off to running backs 75% of the time on 1st and 2nd downs and then scramble for his life on a predictable 3rd and long passing down? Especially when Long has not figured out obvious plays to combat aggressive defensives/blitzes - - such as lots of screen passes, misdirection, etc. At least Mangino developed an aggressive niche offense that had a chance to attract a quality QB. I never laugh at mishaps in Manhattan anymore, because give KU 6 months to a year and we do something just as stupid or more stupid. K-State hires Prince and has the secret contract flap between Prince/AD. KU has ticket scam, hires its own Prince, and fails to reel in its AD.

cobweb 10 years, 10 months ago

If Gill was as honorable as you suggest, he would walk away and not hold KU to the contract. Was Perkins joking at $2 mil a year or was he looking to stick it to KU knowing he was on his way out?

cobweb 10 years, 10 months ago

I'm from OU and Venables is a hot-headed jerk, a mini-Mangino, in my opinion.

SoonerBrown 10 years, 10 months ago

If you mean he's a damn good football coach, with championship experience, you're dead right.

Scott Patterson 10 years, 10 months ago

You mean the same Jason Whitlock who once criticized the Chiefs Quarterback Coach because he was "just a backup tight end from Baker University." You mean THAT Jason Whitlock.

I think the coach Jason was referring to has done pretty well for himself. It's obvious Whitlock knows no more about football coaching that every Justin, Ryan and Tyler walking down Mass. Street these days.

TK, you do a good job. Don't stoop to referring to that hack.

Paul Christiansen 10 years, 10 months ago

We obviously don't have the talent of OSU

But nobody will ever have good feelings about this defensive coordinator And the result on Saturday does no bode well for attendance (revenues)

Now we are handing out free tickets.

A change at defensive coordinator is needed.

Bear86 10 years, 10 months ago

It's hard to be a Jayhawk Football Fan these days.

Keep in mind Carl Torbush stepped down as defensive coordinator after his diagnosis with Cancer earlier this year. Last year Torbush game plan against GT worked. He also was able to keep the Jayhawks from getting blown out in some games. Not sure Vic Shealy is the answer but it's very evident we have no talent on the Defensive side of the line.


hammerhawk 10 years, 10 months ago

Gill's team will get absolutely blasted off the field by our two biggest rivals, again, this year. And, as far as I can see with my old KU eyes, we will continue to get blasted away by those two schools year after year until our university invests in a new coach.

A football coach, hopefully, that will return player names to the back of jerseys. What a stupid idea Gill had when he took the names off jerseys. Bush league for sure, but that is all we have now.

SoonerBrown 10 years, 10 months ago

Not sure you can afford Venables given your current contract restraints with Gill. Brent makes in excess of 500 large at OU, is an EXTREMELY settled in family man, and pretty determined to wait for the right opportunity or none at all. I think he'd be perfectly happy keeping what he regards as the best assistant's job in college football. Bill Young is a different matter. He's been D coordinator at both OU and OSU, as well as about a hundred other places. I have a lot of respect for him. He'd be a good choice.

Of course, you would have to get past the fact that he has a bit of a gut. That's a firing offense at KU, right?

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