Sunday, October 16, 2011


This time, Kansas not punch line


Podcast episode

Press Conferences & Post-Game Interviews

KU coach Turner Gill

Kansas coach Turner Gill talks to reporters following the Jayhawks' 47-17 loss to Oklahoma on Oct. 15, 2011.

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It sounds absurd to talk about a football team taking a step forward on a night in which it allowed 610 yards and 47 points, a night in which it had one second-half first down and lost by 30 points, but the fact is Kansas University looked significantly better Saturday in a 47-17 loss to Oklahoma in Memorial Stadium.

For this night at least, with the nation’s No. 3 team in town, the Jayhawks did nothing to be mistaken for a punching bag, nothing to qualify as a punch line in a joke about ineptitude.

“Only thing I can say is, I love my defense, and I love this team, and we fought,” senior inside linebacker Steven Johnson said. “After this game, I’m walking out of here with my head held high because we got a lot better.”

He’s right about that. The defense, particularly in the red zone, performed far better than it had in losses to Georgia Tech, Texas Tech and Oklahoma State.

Johnson was in on 13 tackles, one for a three-yard loss, and made an impressive interception. More teammates than usual brought the same intensity and passion on this night.

When Johnson talks about this team, 2-4 overall and 0-3 in the Big 12, he makes his coach, Turner Gill, sound like a pessimist by comparison. Johnson gets carried away. Before the losses began to mount he talked about winning a national championship and then about winning a Big 12 title. In short, he believes.

“After the game, when we talked as a defense, we felt as though, hey, we shouldn’t lose any more games,” Johnson said.

That, of course, is fantasy-based talk. But the way Kansas competed in the first half, trailing just 27-17, the chance of winning a Big 12 game took on a more realistic feel.

The defense, put in a better position by the coaching staff because things were simplified, looked faster.

Inside linebacker Darius Willis, the transfer from Buffalo, stood out, as did safety Bradley McDougald and outside linebacker Toben Opurum.

True freshmen mixed in — linebacker Collin Garrett and safety Victor Simmons also played a part in the defense having a sleeker look.

Sure, Oklahoma wide receiver Ryan Broyles had a Heisman Trophy-like night, but he’s a cut above anybody KU has on its roster, and the mix of a stale pass rush, an Isiah Barfield misstep here and there and the fresh arm of Landry Jones made that a combustible mix that won’t occur every week.

Gill, disappointed because “a loss is a loss,” acknowledged improvement. Defensive coordinator Vic Shealy wasn’t doing backflips, which is a good thing because the way his year has gone he might get hurt if he tried that.

“I don’t know if we played that good,” Shealy said. “You give up 600 yards and 47 points, that’s not a standard that makes you feel good.”

Still, one week after Kansas allowed eight first-half touchdowns on Oklahoma State’s eight first-half possessions, the difference was easy to see.

“I thought we made more plays,” Shealy said. “Until the last two scoring drives, third down was better.”

And for a half, the running game shined against a defense that held Florida State to 27 rushing yards and Texas to 36.

Freshmen Darrian Miller, he of the phenomenal balance, and Tony Pierson, such a burner, helped James Sims in giving KU 168 first-half rushing yards. The Sooners dominated the line of scrimmage in the second half, and Kansas regressed to a final total of 144 rushing yards for the night.

Still, as 30-point losses go, this wasn’t a bad one.


John Randall 10 years, 10 months ago

Amazing how badly we can be beaten, and still feel the best we have for a month. Nothing about this game was cause for hanging heads or slinking off to lick our wounds. There were two FBS teams on the field tonight – one much better than the other, though I saw little reason for chagrin. Even with the score and the game way out of reach, our D was still making some plays now and then. It helped that Sooners were coming off a huge Red River Shootout, but most of the reason for "at least respectability" came from the Jayhawks stepping up.

Having the feeling again that another win or two (maybe even three) could happen this season is just so much more satisfying than the despondence of the past month that you have to count me in as one more Believer. Better times are on the way.

Rock Chalk! Go 'Hawks!

Lawkan 10 years, 10 months ago

To be honest Jones missed a lot of wide open recievers in the first half. The safeties are supposed to be the stars of the defense but constantly get beat deep.
The big question is what happens to the offense at halftime. Every game they seem to sleep through the third quarter.

Christopher Hauser 10 years, 10 months ago

The safeties are supposed to be the stars of the defense? First, Terry did not play this week. Second, every secondary is going to look bad if there is no pressure put on the quarterback. All of the pressure that we did get was from bringing safety, corner, and linebacker blitzes.

Dirk Medema 10 years, 10 months ago

"safety, corner, and linebacker blitzes" shuld be a basic part of the 3-4.

Dirk Medema 10 years, 10 months ago

Second half on O was rooted in a 60% new/displaced OL resulting in limited playcalling (Marrongelli). In this one in particular, it also seemed like Jordan started pressing a bit after some drops on catchable balls leading to less catchable throws. Glad to see Coach Beatty taking him aside to talk with him. The first down came on a Soph-Freshmen completion. This is still a really, really young team. Glad to see them growing up, and in Johnson taking that leadership role.

johnnyhrdwd 10 years, 10 months ago

We need to stick with handing off to Sims to setup play action. Trick plays establish no consistency.

Steve Jacob 10 years, 10 months ago

Just looking at the stats, we got crushed. The score only looked "good" because the +3 turnover ratio and them kicking three short field goals.

jaydee909 10 years, 10 months ago

The defense desrves credit for forcing them in to field goals. OU had great field position on several drives. The offense going three and out put the defense on the field way too much. The defense forced those turnovers. Simmons ripped the ball away from the OU rb and Johnson made a great interception. Did you watch the game?

Steve Jacob 10 years, 10 months ago

Hard to give any D credit giving up 610 yards. And the big trouble coming for KU is they only have two home games left.

kusports1 10 years, 10 months ago

Its easy to give the D credit. Yes, 600+ yards is not good, BUT 3 short and 1 mid range field goal that that potent offense got instead of a TD. definitely credit to our D. otherwise, you could add at least 16 more points if they score TD's instead our D stopping them.

yates33333 10 years, 10 months ago

Many of these comments illustrate the old saw about whistling past the graveyard. The spooks are still out there.

xfitter 10 years, 10 months ago

I dont think you're supposed to use the word "spooks" when talking sports these days....

yates33333 10 years, 10 months ago

These posts are getting exotic. What's wrong with spooks? Supposedly graveyards are inhabited by spooks. In this case they are the haunting memories of games past, e.g., Georgia Tech and Texas Tech. Two really scary performances by the KU defense.

Marc Frey 10 years, 10 months ago

Webb missed open receivers as well which also played into the final score. But KU plays former walk-ons (Johnson) while the last four teams we played have 4 and 5-star players. Talent does have a lot to do with this, even with our better recruiting classes.

Dirk Medema 10 years, 10 months ago

Our better recruiting classes (3's & a couple 4's) also still have less than one year of experience for the most part. The expectation from the recruiting links is that 3's & 4's will take a year of 3 to develop.

Ashwin Rao 10 years, 10 months ago

Temper your expectations... we are not a perennial Championship caliber team that has suddenly become bad. We have been in the bottom of the barrel, and any positive showing is good. I was impressed with the first half, and knew that the second half wouldn't be good because our coaching staff would get out-coached. Half-time is the time to make adjustments, and our opponents always find ways to adjust in their favor. We merely go in, drink our kool-aid, and show back up for the second half, and get pummeled.

LJD230 10 years, 10 months ago

The former big 12, now the big x jr. will have to re-brand itself.

Any suggestions for a new name for the once Big XII?

And when Missouri bolts, what then?

Yosemite 10 years, 10 months ago

Well, while we're throwing out Mizzou, let's kick out Texas and Oklahoma. They've already threatened to leave this year. Let them take Tech and OSU with them. And then KU, KSU, ISU and Baylor can have a peaceful conference. They can play against each other 3 times every year.

rover 10 years, 10 months ago

Much better defense, to bad the offense couldn't get it together the second half.

LJD230 10 years, 10 months ago

Hows about the Big 10(really twelve) and the Big XII(really ten) just switch names?

Ashwin Rao 10 years, 10 months ago

I like that... that way MU will get what they want (be a part of Big 10)! :)

jhox 10 years, 10 months ago

The D actually played with a little enthusiasm. I was frustrated with the offensive play calling. Clearly we were playing to not get blown out, rather than to try to win. How about an occassional play action pass on first down? Also, while I like Sims, why is Miller not getting the bulk of the carries? He's clearly the best back we've had in years. Let's use him a little more. He'll break off a 15 yard run, then sit out the next 5 or 6 plays. It makes absolutely no sense. Running on 3rd and 15, with your back close to the end zone...I get that, but within 2 scores, 3rd and 6, why not throw a pass? Clearly the coaching staff doesn't have a lot of confidence in Webb taking care of the ball, but if you're still in the game, you need to play to win. Regardless, we took a little step forward last night.

It will be interesting to see how we do against the plow boys next week. After playing OU and OSU consecutive weeks, it will be nice to play a slower team without one of the best QB's in the country. Still, Snyder is a much better coach, and I'm sure he'll find ways to exploit us. What that guy does is purely smoke and mirrors, but it works.

tical523 10 years, 10 months ago

We gave up 600 yards of offense!!!!! Is our defense really that much better???? The answer is YES. We looked a lot faster, tackled much better, created turnovers and played with passion. Maybe it was personnel or a simplified scheme but we looked better. Imagine how much better our defense would have looked, even stat wise, if our offense would not have had, I believe 6, straight 3-and-outs in the second half. It is hard to ask your defense to go out there in about 2 real-time minutes with no time to adjust or get rest. Great job D, keep improving everyday and play with passion!!!!

Clarence Haynes 10 years, 10 months ago

I thought that we were in there up until Hatch was injured.

boknowssports 10 years, 10 months ago

I guess it was sort of a moral victory to only get throttled that bad. But moral victories won't get us to a bowl. Maybe next year?

Jack McEnaney 10 years, 10 months ago

Will the media please ask a challenging question for once in your pathetic careers? How about asking why the defense continually allows 40 points a game every game? Do your players realize they are going to set an NCAA record for most yards per game allowed in history? Why is that happening? How embarrasing is it to be a part of the worst defense in history? How does it make you feel watching players talk trash when they are apart of the worst defenses in history? Why does this team have such a difficult time making tackles? Do you teach the players to dive at the other teams feet or do they do that themselves? Is this team struggling to understand the concept of your defense, or are you failing to communicate to them how to succeed on defense? How many more games of 500 yards and 40 plus points can go on and you still expect to keep your job? What do you say to your team when they continue to self destruct with offensive penalties? Why does the offense seem to have so many false starts? Is that a communication issue? Why continue trying to run the ball on 3rd down when the offensive line is getting no push up front?

Jack McEnaney 10 years, 10 months ago

I dont want to hear anymore that the team is improving, I want to see results! Stop making excuses and make it happen. Media please light a spark under these players! They seem to love the spotlight given the way they celebrate a simple tackle when they are down two or three touchdowns? Ask them why they dont make more!

boknowssports 10 years, 10 months ago

jhawk43, that speaks to how low KU football has fallen, when we are actually encouraged by a performance where we give up 610 yards and 47 points on defense, and have one second half first down.

Dirk Medema 10 years, 10 months ago

Bo - it also speaks of the fans (journos?) that constantly focus on the negative. Now go finish the bottom half of your glass.

boknowssports 10 years, 10 months ago

do you mean the bottom few drops in my glass?

Robert Brock 10 years, 10 months ago

Keegan - please stick with your ideas about KU joining the Big East. We want to hear more...

huskercarpenter 10 years, 10 months ago

KU football players continue to listen to your coaches and ignore the haters. The coaches want what is best for you and your team, they know what they are talking about, the haters don't care about you and definately don't care about your coaches they want them gone. Coach Gill's even keel on the sideline is exactly what you need, the way he is on the sidelines reminds me so much of T.O. Just keep listening and working hard and over time the haters will have nothing to say because they will have realized that they were wrong but I bet they won't admit it.

As far as the conference goes texas has been the cause of all the problems that has occured since the start of the conference. If you want to fix all the problems get rid of texas and everything else will take care of itself. You can't fix anything if the cause is still left to create problems. I don't like misery but getting rid of them doesn't fix anything.

yates33333 10 years, 10 months ago

This guy must be from Nebraska. I wish the "Big DRed," had Gill, and we had a feather up our nose. We'd both be tickled. Not. Texas at least is in the Big 12 (with10) not the Big 10 (with 12). I hope I got the numbers right.

huskercarpenter 10 years, 10 months ago

Well the Big Red has Bo, and I am happy with him, although I wish he acted more like Turner on the sidelines. But he is doing much better this year with his explosions. I also would have been happy if we did have Turner on our sideline we would be just as good as we are and maybe better but will probably never know. It was great to have the opportunity to be able to choose from 2 great coaches. I might add that both will someday be in the hall of fame for coaching, but it is up to KU to decide if they want Turner to be inducted as a Jawhawk or for another team.

Dirk Medema 10 years, 10 months ago

Haters will always hate. That won't change. It is easier to ignore them the less true material they have. We're moving in the right direction.

boknowssports 10 years, 10 months ago

we are moving in the right direction??? 3-9 last year...2-10 this year...great!

nocaljayhawk 10 years, 10 months ago

yeah, ignore the "haters" who see things for what they are. Lousy. To talk of this being better after getting dominated again is pathetic.

Oh, and someone from Nebraska dares invoke the saintly image of "T.O." and that's supposed to make me feel better? Save it. If Gill's so bloody great, why didn't NU fall all over themselves to hire him?

huskercarpenter 10 years, 10 months ago

You can hack on me all you want, but I support KU and want to see them do well. Getting rid of Turner will do nothing but cause people to feel regret down the road. My comment about T.O. was aimed at the KU players, his even keel will over time teach his players to not get too high when things go well or get too low when things go wrong. Face it a lot of things have gone wrong this year mainly due to youth of the players, but the players are still eager to learn and are playing hard. Notice they have not gotten down on themselves and in my eyes have not given up, to me they look like they are listening to the coaches and are starting focus on trying to improve. When you are 19 or 20 years old the ideal place to learn would be behind an older established player, but these kids don't have that luxury. So they have to learn on the field and get hammered on by people who expect them to play like 3-4 year starter and that is why they should ignore the haters.

Jack McEnaney 10 years, 10 months ago

This is not a problem of not understanding a system, or being in the wrong place at the wrong time. The players can not tackle. Period. There have been other schools in the history of the ncaa who have had younger players before. Some even had freshmen start. None give up as many yards per game and points per game as ku. Imagine if Nebraska gave up over 550 yards per game every game this year, with 40points scored on them every game. Would you say, "Well, they are young, keep listening to the coaches." I doubt it. Heads would roll, and the fans would make sure this never happens again. UNACCEPTABLE!

huskercarpenter 10 years, 10 months ago

Don't know if you have noticed but Nebraska's defense really does kind of suck this year they are giving up almost 30 points per game. It has to do with youth and yes if they would listen to their coach and focus a little more they would do better but guess what they are young and have to learn for themselves. The thing is KU's defense is even younger so they will also have to learn for themselves. Sometimes being patient sucks.

danmoore 10 years, 10 months ago

The problem last night was the offense. Only 1 first down the entire second half. No defense could have stopped OU. I was very encouraged by the defensive effort. If they can duplicate that same intensity for the rest of the year this team will make progress. OU scored more points against Texas.

yates33333 10 years, 10 months ago

I hope they play LSU in the championship game. We will see if you are right. I don't think you are.

danmoore 10 years, 10 months ago

There are teams that can stop/slow down OU but if your offense can only muster 1 first down an entire half, it only takes a field goal to outscore an opponent.

Michael Sillman 10 years, 10 months ago

Come on, Gill-haters. Even you thought that there was no way that Broyles and Jones would still be on the field in the 4th quarter. Stoops is not taking it easy when his two 1st round NFL draft choices are still playing.

Truth is that a bunch of incredibly young KU kids are gettting invaluable experience banging helmets with the best players in college football. That has to pay dividends over the coming 2-3 years regardless of who is coaching the team. Personally, I think that coach will be Gill.

I've never felt that red-shirting does all that much to develop a player. You only get better from playing. Obviously, we don't have much choice at this point in time.

The real season starts now. The team has to be show that it really has improved by staying competitive in the rest of the games especially that last one in Arrowhead.

Steve Brown 10 years, 10 months ago

Many of the freshman at TCU are redshirting, and they are Rose Bowl champions, but maybe they have it all wrong. they have something we don't have, a winning record against Big 12 teams over the last ten years.

Michael Sillman 10 years, 10 months ago

As I implied, teams like TCU have the luxury of not needing to develop their freshmen quickly. However, TCU may want to burn some of those redshirts considering they've dropped completely out of the voting in both polls.

texashawk10 10 years, 10 months ago

I'll partly agree with not needing to redshirt freshman. Skill position players such as WR, RB's, LB's, and DB's really only need the experience to become good players. The difference between a school like KU and elite schools is that the elite schools have the luxury of redshirting those skill position players and allowing them to get their experience on the scout team out of the public eye whereas at a place like KU, those young players have to learn how to play and gain their experience against good players in games in front of the public eye because they don't get to practice against good players everyday.

Here's where I disagree with not reshirting players, offensive linemen, defensive linemen, and QB's. With OLine and DLine players, they need that redshirt year to add muscle to their frames in order to not get bullied by much stronger, heavier, more experienced players that know all of the moves of incoming freshmen and can just knock them over. With QB's, it more about developing the mental aspects of the position like knowing when to audible out of a bad play or reading if defensive players are in man or zone defenses, when someone is blitzing, etc. Obviously there are exceptions to my opinion as there are plenty of linemen who come to college strong enough to play right away and QB's who are good enough to play right away and be successful, but there are many more linemen and QB's who need that extra year to develop in order to become successful players.

fu7il3 10 years, 10 months ago

Everyone keeps saying the defense wasn't the problem. You are rarely, if ever, going to score enough points to make up for 610 yards allowed and 47 points given up. The defense wasn't as bad as the offense, but it was pretty awful. KU is still the punchline. If the OU quarterback hadn't been overthrowing his targets, they would have put at least another two touchdowns on us.

We have the worst team in the conference, by far.

Kristen Downing 10 years, 10 months ago

Anyone notice how June Jones has SMU playing? He probably was not soft spoken enough!

Robert Brock 10 years, 10 months ago

KU needs to talk to Jones when the time is right.

Jack McEnaney 10 years, 10 months ago

I feel like this town has become disallusioned by the first two weeks. If we want to join the MAC, this will be an acceptable team. Personally, I would like to one day compete for a conference title. We need an attitude adjustment, where "we improved even though they played their worst game and still accidentally gained 600 yards." is not acceptable. I don't want to just go to a bowl game. Everyone gets to just go to a bowl game. This team has the talent to win games. Gil did recruit good talent this year. They have the potential to be a good football team. You saw it in spurts last night on the possessions where Landry Jones went three and out. However, this team is undisciplined, and can not make a tackle. Taking talent and getting them to overachieve is the result of good coaching. How many people think that Kansas state has number twelve in the country talent? How do they get to that ranking? Coaching.

boknowssports 10 years, 10 months ago

jhawk43, maybe you missed the article last week. Gill explained how our defense plays two hand tag in practice, cause it would be too tough on them to tackle more than 6-7 plays. I think that type of coaching is showing up on game day :(

topflight 10 years, 10 months ago

Say what you want Gill-Lovers, KU will get 50 points put on them this weekend by their in state rival KSU. We would all love to say that it will be a game and we could beat them, but face it, we don't stand a chance. When KU is bad, we always get stomped by KSU and this defense is not gonna help. This is not like most rivalries when the bad team gets up for the game and performs. That is not what KU does vs. MU or KSU. But we played with OU for a little while. But you still gave up over 600 yards and lost by 30 points.

I cannot believe those who say this is progress. I am sick and tired of hearing that. 600 yards folks. You can't win doing that. 42,45,66,45,70,47. Those are the points scored against us. 420,460,768,530,600,610, yards offensively put up against us. 565 yard average against up. Progress? Seriously?

Oh, but they played so hard. That is great. Maybe we find us some coaches who can put our hard working players in a much better position to win. Everyone knows we had no chance to beat OU. Very few teams do. But, KSU should be a game every year that we have a chance at winning. They are not that good, bottom line. Have they played well, yes. We are gonna make collin klein look like a Heisman candidate. His 5.2 second 40 yard dash, is gonna make us look stupid. I cannot handle that. If we give up 50+ points to KSU and get destroyed AGAIN, I am going to root against us until Gill is gone. Hate to say it, but that is the only way things will get better. HELL, KU fans could live with mediocrity in football, but we will never even be there with GILL.

hawk316 10 years, 10 months ago

Tom, I know you indicated in a previous article that you were having trouble "believing" the message that Coach Gill was advocating. In the face of several lopsided losses, I can certainly understand why. But this game showed me why we must not make the mistake of giving up too soon on Turner Gill. Any coach who can create such a tremendous environment of self-confidence and determination following national embarrassment has something special going for him.

Gill's emphasis on the importance of believing may seem hokey to some, but this is exactly where a winning program begins. History is filled with examples of the underdog overcoming great odds to win because they believed they could. I have a feeling that we may be watching another unlikely success story slowly unfold before our eyes.

Steve Brown 10 years, 10 months ago

Our secret plan to sucker Wildcats into thinking we stink this year has worked to perfection, no go out and strangle the purple kitty.

texashawk10 10 years, 10 months ago

Would you rather see him walk out of the locker room with no confidence and hanging his head sounding like the most depressed person ever like most of this "fanbase" sounds like on a weekly basis? I'm dreading what the backlash against the basketball coach (whether it's Self or someone else after he moves on) would look like when they finally have a bad season at some point in the future.

kansasredlegs 10 years, 10 months ago

Football is a game of emotion, it was clear OU had none as it was coming off a beat down of its rival Texas to face a KU team its in-state rival Okie State beat down by 40 plus points, so not much to get up for.

KU had its chances, but when nice guys who make a ton of money to coach a kid's game & can't call anything but a misdirection handoff, it's time to fire 'em and bring Mike Leach here. May not win it all, but it'll be fun to watch. Leach calls plays from a crumpled up napkin standing on the sideline.


Webb, pull the ball once in a while when you read that end crashing down. You did that only one time & it resulted in a first down.

Coach Gill - I know you make $2M a year & you'll have forgot more football than I'll ever know, but after the OU fumble into the end zone, football gods say strike fast by throwing deep downfield, not 2 inside runs & pass to the flat & punt OU back to their 40 where it had started before the fumble. I was beginning to wonder if there was a glitch in the MATRIX when I inexplictedly said "dejavu"

actorman 10 years, 10 months ago

I don't necessarily disagree with you, but you can't blame Gill for that. Chuck Long is the offensive coordinator, and as such he calls the plays on offense, not Gill.

FightnMangino64 10 years, 10 months ago

There is a reason why his nickname at OU was Chuck "3rd and" Long. I will give him the props for game planning the first half tho... too bad he cant make adjustments

flyingfinn 10 years, 10 months ago

Amen and when we look at 600 plus yards and 47 points given up as an improvement it only shows how bad this coach has taken down a broken football road.

Ludwig Supraphonic 10 years, 10 months ago

Why didn't Lou fire himself at South Carolina? Initial season 0-11. Overall 33-37. Oh, I remember. He took over a program that was a perennial loser and only competitive about once a decade.

JS82 10 years, 10 months ago

Turner Gill is a recycle or doppleganger of Terry Allen. Good guy who everyone loves but a terrible coach. Just admit it now and it will be easier to let him go in the future.

ku_foaf 10 years, 10 months ago

They did better than expected, and I believe did show some improvement, but it was still a similar story. The other losses went from close in the first half to blowout in the second half. This was an improvement in that it took longer to get to that point in the second half. Just my opinion.

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