Archive for Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Uninspired team

Perhaps a talk from former coach Don Fambrough could have helped fire up the Jayhawk football team last Saturday.

December 1, 2010


Knowledgeable sports writers are offering their analyses of Saturday’s Kansas-Missouri football game, the performance of various players, the quarterback situation at Kansas University and the future of KU coach Turner Gill.

However, to the casual observer — and to many loyal Jayhawk fans — the KU team’s attack on the Tigers seemed listless or lackadaisical. There didn’t appear to be as much fire and enthusiasm as usual for the traditional battle between KU and MU.

In past years, men such as the late Phog Allen, KU’s tremendously successful basketball coach, and former KU football player and coach Don Fambrough have been invited to speak to the players about the importance of the heated rivalry between the Tigers and the Jayhawks. For those who don’t know, this is not a one-way sentiment; many Missourians have just as much dislike of KU and Kansas as many Kansans have toward MIssouri. Former MU basketball coach Norm Stewart was — and maybe still is — just as much anti-KU and anti-Kansas as Allen and Fambrough are anti-Missouri.

Times change, however, and for the misguided sake of political correctness, the KU-MU football game that used to be known as the “Border War” now has been softened officially to the “Border Showdown.”

Many KU fans cannot figure out why Coach Gill has made it quite clear that he doesn’t want Fambrough around the team and did not want him to deliver his traditional fired-up talk to the players about the importance of the MU game. Gill claimed Fambrough was not feeling well, but Fambrough said he was able and ready to deliver his impassioned message. Phog Allen had this same fire and he, too, had the rare ability to inspire and challenge his players to give the utmost to win.

Apparently, some in the KU family thought decking out the KU players in white uniforms and white helmets would “excite” fans and players, but there is no evidence this was the case, just as there is no evidence that the new $3 million-plus scoreboard in Memorial Stadium provided extra motivation for the players or fans this past season.

The strained relationship between Coach Gill and former coach Don Fambrough is unfortunate. Saturday, it was obvious KU players could have used a fiery pep talk by Fambrough more than white helmets and white uniforms.


John Hamm 7 years ago

Anyone and I do mean anyone who doesn't want Fambrough around the KU football team HAS to go!

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 7 years ago

Oh come on-- a speech from the former coach with no other message than a pointless hate fetish would have done nothing to change the outcome of the game.

Jacks_Smirking_Revenge 7 years ago

Maybe, maybe not. How many times has history shown that passionate retoric has led a lesser force to triumph against a greater one? Why do politicians who have a lock on the office still spend millions on campaign ads? Perhaps KU would still have lost, but at least they would have been motivated to try.

To take it down to your post though, what does calling the speech a "pointless hate fetish" change?

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 7 years ago

I don't understand your question. I merely accurately described the nature of his usual speech, which generally ascribes guilt for Quantrill's raid to a bunch of teenage or slightly older football players (ironically, most of whom are likely black.)

Richard Payton 7 years ago

Did anyone else hear Don Fambrough on KLWN sports radio say he hadn't been feeling well. I remember when Mangino got rid of Reverend Barbee. All coaches want to be in charge of their team. At some point things change sometimes for the better and sometimes for the worse.

Phil Minkin 7 years ago

A friend told me there was a line in the Columbia paper's game story: "It's hard to have a border war when the opponents are conscientious objectors."

cato_the_elder 7 years ago

Foodboy, that's a great line. I hadn't seen it.

olddognewtrix 7 years ago

Reality is reality.Fambrough's passion would have been wasted. And it seems this editorial is in the realm of nit-picking of coach Gill--what more does a disgruntled editor have to talk about at the end of the season. KU should try to unite behind Gill in the winter season in terms of supprort and being good hosts to recruits at the BB home games.Optimism is the only virtue now, along with energetic recruiting.Man up LJW!!

Vince Brown 7 years ago

Would Coach Fambrough's speech have fired up the all-white clad KU football team. Maybe. The 'hawks still would have lost the game do to a lack of speed and talent. The speech is/was a tradition. It would have taken some very serious incapacitation to keep Coach from delivering his missouri history lesson. I had the good fortune several years ago to witness the speech live with many of Coach Fam's former players. It is an experience I wish all Jayhawks could share. When you watch the Border War video, I think it's obvious that Coach has to rein himself in a couple of times as his passion starts to rise. It's great! I was glad when KU brought Turner Gill to Mt. Oread. I still support him. He has "messed up" in an unforgiveable way. If you want to build support, you don't trample on tradition. You don't disrespect a man who has given more than half his life to this university. Is the speech filled with profanity. Somewhat. If that bothers Coach Gill, he can leave the room. Gill needs to explain to the Jayhawk Nation why he misrepresented the situation with Coach Fambrough. He needs to admit that his decision was wrong. Gill was invited to Mt. Oread. He should try to fit in. It's easier for him to change than to change minds and hearts the thousands of Jayhawks who love this school and respect Coach Fambrough. Now, we have this discontent amongst us. What better to feed the tiger faithful? Coach Gill needs to fix this. He caused it. He should make it right. He's not a Jayhawk yet. This would be a step in the right direction.

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