Kansas University football coach Turner Gill turned 48 years old Friday and, on his birthday, spent some of his day celebrating with his team.
The Jayhawks ran through their 10th practice of the preseason Friday, and will host their second intra-squad scrimmage of fall camp tonight at Memorial Stadium.
Gill, who was born in Fort Worth, Texas, in 1962, is still sorting out many of the starting and backup roles on his current squad. The first-year coach said from Day One that everyone in uniform would get a chance to compete for playing time and, for the most part, he’s kept his word.
KU has just 15 remaining practices before the Sept. 4 opener. In his first eight months on the job, Gill already has shaped the program in his image, with trust, accountability and hard work being paramount.
“I don’t know if after six or seven months I can say it’s totally my program,” Gill said recently. “Obviously I got hired so I guess, in a sense, it’s my program. But it’s great to be out here. We’re out here to teach young men the game of football and make sure they enjoy it.”
While most of the spring was spent getting acquainted with his new team and his new surroundings, Gill’s focus this preseason has been entirely football.
“I think there’s a little more familiarity from the standpoint of knowing our players a little bit more than what we did before,” Gill said. “We were just trying to find out what they could do and what kind of enthusiasm they had and what kind of talent we had. We’re still not going to know what kind of talent we have until we get in a game. You’ve got a pretty good assessment in practice but you still don’t know. Some guy can respond well in a practice but they may not respond well in a game. So we can’t know that until we play two, three or four ballgames and, really, a whole football season. That’s going to really let us know seriously where we’re at as a whole, where are the things we need to improve and where are the areas we have some strengths.”
FOX Chalk Jayhawk
Various FOX Sports networks will run a preview of the 2010 Kansas football team several times throughout the next few weeks.
The episode includes a look at the 2009 season, which the Jayhawks opened with five straight wins and closed with seven straight losses, as well as a preview of the 2010 team’s offense and defense.
The 30-minute show also will feature a roundup of the Big 12 North division and an interview with Gill.
Here’s a quick look at the dates and times the preview is scheduled to air: 5 p.m. Saturday, Fox Sports Midwest and Fox Sports Kansas City; 10 p.m. Monday, FSMW and FSKC; 5:30 p.m. Wednesday, FSMW, FSKC; 9 p.m. Thursday, FSMW, FSKC; 12:30 p.m. Aug. 20, FSMW, FSKC; 4:30 p.m. Aug. 21, FSMW, FSKC; 7 p.m. Aug. 22, FSKC; 11:30 p.m. Aug. 23, FSKC; 1 p.m. Aug. 25, FSMW; 10:15 p.m. Aug. 25, FSKC; 11 a.m. Aug. 31, FSMW, FSKC; 5:30 p.m. Sept. 2, FSMW, FSKC; 2 p.m. Sept. 3, FSMW, FSKC.
Fox Sports Midwest is available on Sunflower Broadband, channels 36 and 236.
Cornish in heated competition
Former Kansas running back Jon Cornish, one of the top backs in KU history, is vying to become one of the most popular players in the Canadian Football League. At least that’s the goal of an online promotion sponsored by Reebok.
Each week, Reebok pits a pair of CFL players against each other and asks fans to vote for their favorites. The website supplies video clips of the players as well as official rules and prizes.
Cornish, a member of the Calgary Stampeders who rushed for 2,245 yards from 2003-06 (good for ninth on KU’s all-time list), is competing against Fred Reid, a running back from the Winnipeg Blue Bombers.
Through Friday, Cornish, a fan favorite in Calgary, held a slight lead over Reid. Cornish has logged 130 yards on 18 carries through six weeks this season.
The voting between these two players runs through Wednesday.