Monday, November 25, 2013


Opinion: Road trips trouble for KU football

Kansas receiver Andrew Turzilli is tossed to the ground by Iowa State defensive back Nigel Tribune after bobbling a pass during the fourth quarter on Saturday, Nov. 23, 2013 at Jack Trice Stadium in Ames, Iowa.

Kansas receiver Andrew Turzilli is tossed to the ground by Iowa State defensive back Nigel Tribune after bobbling a pass during the fourth quarter on Saturday, Nov. 23, 2013 at Jack Trice Stadium in Ames, Iowa.


My wife joined me on the road trip to beautiful Boulder. We ate at a delicious steakhouse in Denver with good friends.

I not only was covering a perennial national-title contender in basketball, but a football team that was on a 28-7 tear, including an impressive 9-5 record in games played away from Memorial Stadium in Lawrence.

Finally, Kansas football had turned the corner. Life was beautiful. How lucky was I?

What happened?

The next day, Oct. 17, 2009, during the game at Colorado’s Folsom Field, Kansas University quarterback Todd Reesing suffered a groin strain that would nag him for much of the rest of his senior season, although he played through it without complaining. It greatly diminished his Houdini pocket act. The magic spell Reesing sprinkled on the KU football program vanished and the Jayhawks reverted to form. That’s never a good thing.

Despite Reesing’s 401 passing yards, KU lost, 34-30, to the Buffaloes, the first setback in a streak that now stands at 27 in games played away from Lawrence. For the purpose of this discussion, we’ll call them road games, although three of them were played at neutral Arrowhead Stadium against Missouri.

The last road victory came in the West Texas town of El Paso, where Kansas leveled UTEP, 34-7, Sept. 12, 2009. Has it really been four-and-a-half seasons since that day? Sometimes, it feels like 20, the last few spent Saturday night in Ames, Iowa, where Iowa State picked up its second victory of the season and first in the Big 12.

The next opportunity for a KU road victory comes in Durham, N.C., against Duke, Sept. 13, 2014. The Blue Devils (9-2) have just 11 scholarship seniors and a ton of juniors on this season’s 9-2 team. In a recent 48-30 spanking of Miami (Fla.), Duke rushed the ball 52 times for 358 yards. Just one carry was from a senior and he gained four yards. The two quarterbacks who combined to throw for 185 yards are juniors. All but 24 of the receiving yards were produced by non-seniors. The score won’t be as lopsided as that of Duke graduate Jay Bilas’ Twitter followers vs. follows, 602,757-0, but 10 months out, it doesn’t look good for the Jayhawks.

The rest of KU’s road foes next season, listed in chronological order: West Virginia, Texas Tech, Baylor, Oklahoma, Kansas State. The way things look at the moment, it will take an upset to keep the streak from growing to 33 games.

But let’s not get ahead of ourselves, or would it be behind ourselves? Anyway, the KU football equipment truck has wheeled into 17 different football stadiums in 11 states and covered 24,780 miles (based on quickest route to each location, per during this dry spell.

Three different coaches — Mark Mangino (0-5), Turner Gill (0-11) and Charlie Weis (0-11) — have been on the sideline for KU when the home spectators filed out of stadiums in good moods.

Seven different young men have started at quarterback during the active streak: Reesing (0-5), Jordan Webb (0-9), Quinn Mecham (0-2), Dayne Crist (0-3), Michael Cummings (0-3), Jake Heaps (0-4) and Montell Cozart (0-1).

Particularly cruel, the state of Texas, where so many family members and friends of Kansas players show up for games, has been the site of 10 of the 27 legs of the slide. Three of the five margins of defeat of 43 points and greater have come in the Lone Star State. The states of West Virginia, Oklahoma, Georgia and Kansas also played host to KU road losses of 40 points or greater during the embarrassing free-fall.

Not all of the games have been routs, which is why the average score is only 40-15.

At least Kansas plays its final game in Memorial Stadium, where it has gone 9-18 since the road skein started. An upset would make KU 4-3 at home this season. For a better of indicator of how the game might go, consider that the three home losses — to Texas Tech, Oklahoma and Baylor — came by an average score of 49-16.

Are you ready for some football? Hello. Click, click, click. Hello? Can you hear me? Can you hear me now?

Ten of the worst

Kansas football’s 10 largest margins of defeat during its 27-game losing streak in games away from Lawrence:

Date — Opponent (score, margin of defeat) — KU coach

(1) Oct. 29, 2011 — Texas A&M; (61-7, 54 points) — Turner Gill

(2) Dec. 1, 2012 — West Virginia (59-10, 49 points) — Charlie Weis

(3) Oct. 2, 2010 — Baylor (55-7, 48 points) — Gill

(4) Oct. 20, 2012 — Oklahoma (52-7, 45 points — Weis

(5) Oct. 29, 2011 — Texas (43-0, 43 points) — Gill

(T6) Sept. 17, 2011 — Georgia Tech (66-24, 42 points) — Gill

(T6) Oct. 8, 2011 — Oklahoma St. (70-28, 42 points) — Gill

(8) Oct. 6, 2012 — Kansas St. (56-16, 40 points) — Weis

(9) Sept. 9, 2013 — Oklahoma St. (42-6, 36 points) — Weis

(10) Nov. 23, 2013 — Iowa St. (34-0, 34 points) — Weis


Jeffery Barrett 8 years, 7 months ago

Which is more pathetic, the football team or the commenting, or lack there of, on TK's "opinions"?

Daniel Kennamore 8 years, 7 months ago

The football team has been so awful for ages; wouldn't it be more apt to say 'game days are trouble for KU football'?

W Keith Swinehart II 8 years, 7 months ago

Thanks for the uplifting opinion. But, maybe it's meant to be a challenge??

Bryce Landon 8 years, 7 months ago

I notice that none of the "10 worst losses" came in Mangino's final seven games. What does that tell you?

David Kemp 8 years, 7 months ago

This is a disaster. Failure to motivate team to play last weekend showed team has checked out this year. If k State doesn't put up 60 I will be surprised and maybe a beat down will wake somebody up to make some changes. Can't say that I really see much has changed since TG exit.

Robert Brock 8 years, 7 months ago

KU football just keeps digging a hole. I don't know how the Jayhawks can recruit any good players if they were aware of our performance in Ames. That was disgusting!

Billy Smith 8 years, 7 months ago

Why would a recruit want to come somewhere when the fans want to change the coach every 2 years? We have to ride it out. As bad as the program is right now we have to take the lumps. We are Kansas football. Period. Who else would you want to get? There aren't very many "good" coaches that would want to take over this program with the shape it is in. It doesn't happen overnight. I don't want to hear about Turner Gill. Anyone who thinks this years team is comparable to Gill's uncompetitive teams is obviously blind.

Doug Cramer 8 years, 7 months ago

You're obviously blind. Have you not seen how incredibly undisciplined this team is ?

Spend a little bit of time...go back and watch a full game on DVR...and just write down all the mental mistakes this team makes week in and week out. You'll be surprised...or maybe not...

Brian Conrad 8 years, 7 months ago

I agree with Doug . IF we could see signs of good coaching or glimmer of getting better , then stick. BUT if you stay with horrible coaching and think it will help recruiting , that is just dumb. Billy would you be a fan of Gill still coaching? you think that would help recruiting? 3 of KSU top players were walk ons.. KU has to get a coach that can teach... then the recruits will follow.. to blindly follow Charlie is huge mistake.

Nick Cole 8 years, 7 months ago

Doug and Brian got it right. Billy, you are sadly mistaken and one of the reasons KU is bad at football. Fans like yourself who are willing to accept terrible football allow the administration to take too much time before making needed changes. Sticking with a bad coach doesn't help recruiting. What world do you live in where this is the case? It only works if the coach is a GOOD COACH. Weis is not a coach, he is a face, a figurehead. And it's not working. Get a grip on reality Billy.

Billy Smith 8 years, 7 months ago

Compared to Turner Gill's teams, its night and day. You may have misplaced your bifocals. If you don't think the defense is better than 2 years ago, I don't know what to tell you. Any defense is going to be exhausted being on the field 40+ minutes a game. The pass rush is much improved and both cornerbacks are solid.

Again, I ask who do you think KU can get? You seem to be all about firing a coach after 2 years. KU isn't exactly plug and play. Let me guess, "Someone who can teach." Honestly? Realistically? Who?

Jim Jackson 8 years, 7 months ago

Our best shot it another JUCO heavy class. Sure, it is riskier but at this juncture we need to go with the high- risk high- reward approach. We are not going to be in the running for any 4 star players HS players who will make an immediate impact and that's what we need; immediate impact players.

Obviously, a few did not make it this year (Slater, Martin, Combs) but those issues are ones you will find with HS players as well. Our secondary is much improved with the additions of the JUCOs (Johnson, McDonald, Sendish) and some of the other guys who are currently being RS (Short, Jenkins-Moore, Bolton, Thomas) should be starting next year.

We have anemic in-state talent and a porous record; this approach worked very well with Mangino and Snyder.


Doug Cramer 8 years, 7 months ago

Already gave you my thoughts about this in another post. Jim - I think you're making a point...that we have a talent issue. I tend to agree with you...ESPECIALLY...when it comes to talent in the trenches.

Perhaps an even greater problem to this year's the lack of discipline and just playing smart football. Above I mentioned to Billy Smith about going back to a game that we've lost this year...and write down how many mental mistakes we made. You'll find this in every single game this season...except West Virginia. Even the La Tech was bad...a game that La Tech gift wrapped for us.

Jim Jackson 8 years, 7 months ago

I 100% agree with you. . What is the point of recruiting 2 star HS guys who won't be able to make an impact for 2-3 years and whose second best offer was from North Texas??

However, we have a shot with the JUCOs so we need to continue with this approach. It will work.

They are more experienced and physically ready to compete on day 1.

Brian Conrad 8 years, 7 months ago

not asking for a decade of solid football. just remember how fun it was 6 years back 12-1 and Orange Bowl win ! IT CAN BE DONE. KU leads KSU all time 60-45 and attitude much different at K State.. we seem to sit back and say awww to bad lets give Charlie another few million and stay the course. again Chiefs went from 2-12 to 9-2 in one year.. at KU job is pretty secure 6-6 ... also any folks notice Aqub Talib does not even mention he went to KU as others proudly call out Ball State being introduced before NFL game ,Talib says North Dallas High.. He played college football for the University of Kansas, and received All-American honors.

Doug Cramer 8 years, 7 months ago

Every single person that I went to KU with...and remain in contact now on board with firing Weis.

This is a great opportunity for Zenger to just admit that he made a mistake, and start the process of getting this program on the right track.

We all make mistakes...and it takes a man to admit them. Most of the time, you're better off, and become a better if you do admit and accept them.

If Zenger doesn't pull the trigger...he officially puts himself on the hotseat for setting this program back even longer.

Another bad year like this one...its a done deal that Weis is gone.

Well...OK...take a look at the schedule. We're not beating Duke...We might pull one conference home game off if we get lucky...and there is a high chance that we don't win a conference game on the road.

That means 2-10 or 3-9 again for next year.

Just pull the trigger and get us on the right track ASAP. The excitement created from the Mangino years is starting wayne off of this program. Before too long it will be gone.

Jim Jackson 8 years, 7 months ago

Doug, I have to disagree with you in a couple of circumstances:

The fact that we had to buy out those previous contracts (not sure of the total, but I believe around 12 million for the 2, can anyone verify?) puts us in even more financial despair and is the reason Chuck will get 4 years even if we go 4-8 next year. We are not Texas or Michigan; we don't have that kind of endowment.

Furthermore, you are advocating firing Weis right now; to get who? Charlie and the staff have been developing relationships with players and coaches for 2 years now; you expect a new guy to come in December and recruit better?

I agree, the team has looked like crap all year and the discipline has been lacking but what we need is Big 12 talent and right now we don't have it at a lot of positions, hence why we need to go the Juco route.

I firmly believe Charlie and co. will get it done with better talent; he has only had 1 full recruiting class. Let's see how we do next year.

Doug Cramer 8 years, 7 months ago

Jim - from what I've been told...the athletic dept. is not in any type of "financial dispair".

Mangino and Gill have already been paid off.

If we keep Weis...we're just setting us back more time...when we could get someone else in here that has a vision...and knows how to execute a successful vision for this program.

You could be right though...maybe we do keep Weis another year or two. Just don't think it's a good idea.

W Keith Swinehart II 8 years, 7 months ago

Just hire another coach. Wait two years, then just hire another coach. Wait two years, then hire another coach. Wait two years.......................

Or, try some patience for beginnings of a program to set.

Nick Cole 8 years, 7 months ago

Mangino went to a bowl game his second year with less inherited talent, worse facilities, and less talented recruits. I am not saying you MUST make a bowl game by year two, but beating a 1 win ISU team on the road is a must. Gill won 5 games in 2 years. Weis can do NO BETTER than that, and will likely finish with only 4 wins. So, fire a guy for only 5 wins but keep a guy for only 4 wins in the same time span. Smart decision W Keith Swinehart II. It's not about a 2 year success rate, it's about the eye test. My eyes tell me Weis can't coach and this team is no better since he arrived. I expect progress. But what do I know. You're clearly the smart one hear.

Billy Smith 8 years, 7 months ago

Hear? haha. No, you are clearly the smart one.

Aaron Paisley 8 years, 7 months ago

Your suggestion of firing a coach who doesn't succeed after 2 years and starting over is pretty much what KU has done throughout its entire history. The coaches who have had any kind of success at KU have been the ones allowed the time to actually build a program. There is not a single coach in the country worth hiring that will want to come to a traditional bottom feeder program knowing he has 2 years to turn KU around. The only coaches that will take the job are coaches desperate to go to a BCS school and collect a paycheck or someone trying to rebuild their legacy. Charlie Weis may not be the long term answer for KU, but going through coaches every 2 years is the surest way to guarantee KU never becomes competitive.

Brian Conrad 8 years, 7 months ago

2 years is far enough time to see if a coach is terrible. mistakes with play calling will never improve. Charlie was a failure at ND where he got great recruits... every year you hang in there is another year a new coach could be making strides.. look at the Chiefs ! 2 horrible coaches given small windows to improve .. they did not and now instead of 2-12 they are 9-2 fans are pitiful to just sit back and except "crap on the field" .. hey 6-6 and you would not hear fire the coach... 6-6 means winning give me games in preseason dropping Iowa State and a couple other down year programs in big 12 . that is not asking much. losing to horrible ISU team is NOT acceptable .

Aaron Paisley 8 years, 7 months ago

Who wants to come to a bottom feeder program knowing you have 2 years to turn it around or be fired? You talk like KU isn't a bottom feeder program when it has been that the vast majority of its history. Comparing rebuilding jobs in the NFL to college is apples to oranges. They are two completely different games when it comes to rebuilding because of free agency and a salary cap. College has neither, therefore there is not nearly as much parity in college as the NFL and that makes rebuilding a college team much more difficult and a longer process.

Billy Smith 8 years, 7 months ago

Bingo!!! "We aren't winning games". "We are getting beat by established programs". "What is going on?" "Oh well, just fire him and bring in someone else".

The guy has had 1 full recruiting class. With the caliber of players KU is able or unable to recruit, depends how you look at it, progress has been made. Get over yourselves a little bit. The program was in shambles after Gill. But it should be fixed over night? Sure, bring in a big name coach knowing he will be lucky to have 3 years at most. Sounds legit.

Robert Brown 8 years, 7 months ago

You have to let Weis finish the job at least through next year and possibly the following year. I am of the believe that we have made back to back bad hires which result in at least eight years of frustration. However, I could be wrong. It does take time. I do think alot of people are exaggerating the progress because they don't want to admit that only marginal progress has been made.

The Big 12 is much weaker this year than last year. Four teams are not qualifying for bowls compared to only one last year. So given the weaker schedule, winning one conference game does not really constitute a reason for hope.

Tony Bandle 8 years, 7 months ago

Poor tackling, dropped passes, poor execution, lack of discipline, confusion on the field and on the sideline, etc....I did not see or hear one second of the game nor read one line of the description of the plays but please feel free to correct me if my comments are, in any way, not a description of Saturday's loss.

Kind of scary when you can summarize a KU football loss, sight unseen!!!

Doug Cramer 8 years, 7 months ago

Tony - it's bad. This team is bad.

Brian Conrad 8 years, 7 months ago

Is very obvious Charlie does not like working 100 hours a week. he only said it 4 times in same press conference... so time to go back to Florida and get a young coach wanting to climb the ladder... may only keep him a while , but just like Larry Brown ... easy to get the next coach and the next coach after they see some future.

Dan Spurgin 8 years, 7 months ago

Headline should read like this:

Football Trouble for KU Football

Matt Glassman 8 years, 7 months ago

Opinion: Gamedays Trouble for KU Football

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