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Archive for Sunday, September 12, 2010

Gill engineers Jayhawks’ reversal

Kansas fans surround head coach Turner Gill after the Jayhawks' 28-25 win against Georgia Tech Saturday, Sept. 11, 2010 at Kivisto Field.

Kansas fans surround head coach Turner Gill after the Jayhawks' 28-25 win against Georgia Tech Saturday, Sept. 11, 2010 at Kivisto Field.

September 12, 2010

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Highlights: KU vs. Georgia Tech

Kansas took down a ranked Georgia Tech team, 28-25, Saturday, September 11, 2010. Enlarge video

Turner Gill postgame: Georgia Tech

Kansas head coach Turner Gill addressed the media after defeating Georgia Tech Saturday, September 11, 2010.

KU shocks No. 15 Georgia Tech, 28-25

Kansas' defense came up with a fourth-down stand in the final minute, helping the Jayhawks to a 28-25 victory over No. 15 Georgia Tech on Saturday at Memorial Stadium.

The outlook for the Kansas University football team made a gray day in Buffalo seem like a vacation in Cancun. Horrified fans booed. Talk-show callers spit venom, even railing about the players’ white shoes. Fearless forecasters wondered if the Jayhawks could win a game. The dreaded sounds of a season on life support echoed all over town, and 11 games remained on the schedule.

Enter Turner Gill, the chief target of the unrest, the man hired by just-departed athletic director Lew Perkins to the tune of $2 million per for five years.

The same team that looked so disorganized and undisciplined in every way in losing to North Dakota State in Gill’s debut, bubbled over with self-confidence and took it to Georgia Tech, the 15th-ranked team in the nation, 28-25, on a sunny Saturday at Memorial Stadium.

It appears the unconventional Gill has a gift for reaching into the minds of young men and figuring out how to make them believe.

As head coach at University of Buffalo, the most down-trodden of all Div. I programs when he arrived, Gill gained plenty of experience at making kicked dogs learn how to wag their tails.

After such an embarrassing opener, the players felt as if they owed their new coach one, especially considering he didn’t degrade them for playing so poorly.

“A lot of people felt that way,” said tight end Tim Biere, the goat of the Week 1 loss and the recipient of a touchdown pass in the Week 2 stunner. “A lot of us said if he’s willing to go to bat for us every day, we’re going to go to bat for him.”

Steven Johnson, who played alongside the remarkably driven, productive, tough middle linebacker Justin Springer, beamed: “I feel like we’ve got one of the best head coaches in America. Hands down, the best head coach in America.”

After a week of watching the world paint graffiti on their self-esteem and listening to their coach cleanse it the way he did when working in Buffalo, the players responded the way athletes with wounded pride so often do.

“You heard it everywhere,” emerging star receiver Daymond Patterson said. “Social websites, through the media, in the paper, people just talking on campus, people calling you on your phone. You just have to let it go. We knew we played about as bad as we could. The only thing we could do was get better than last week. We really went out there and focused this week. We had really great practices, and it really paid off.”

During his 32-yard touchdown reception, Patterson took so many hits there was no way he could stay on his feet, except he did. Afterward, he was asked how he did it.

“Just because you get hit doesn’t mean you have to go down,” Patterson said of the play and just as easily could have been talking about the aftermath of the shocking Week 1 loss. “You’ve got to run hard with the ball, and good things will happen for you.”

All week, friends became critics. Even the opposing coach, North Dakota State’s Craig Bohl, piled on well after the whistle, blasting the KU effort, physicality and crowd. The amazing free-for-all about the Week 1 free-fall got wilder by the day.

Beyond the X’s and the O’s, the Z’s and the Y’s, the job of a football coach whose team is entering a game as a heavy favorite lies in convincing his players they can lose. For the heavy underdog, the coach’s task becomes making his players believe they can win.

Gill had a particularly difficult task both weeks, and he’s batting .500, wearing the crown as the coach of the most improved team in the nation from Week 1 to Week 2, and just as everyone predicted in the preseason, Kansas started the year with a 1-1 record after participating in two of the biggest handful of upsets of the year.

Gill’s early days at Buffalo, more than anything, gave him a plan to reverse the confidence of his players.

“Things were very bleak,” Gill said. “There was not a lot of confidence, so at least that experience helped me to understand how I need to deal with these young men.”

He dealt with them by giving them a plan. For the defense, that plan involved listening to every word uttered by coordinator Carl Torbush and cornerbacks coach Vic Shealy, both of whom had coached on staffs that played against Georgia Tech’s unconventional, run-oriented offense.

On offense, the plan involved moving to almost all shotgun formation, some no-huddle and a faster pace that felt more like the attack the players knew well under former offensive coordinator Ed Warinner. Gill praised coordinator Chuck Long for communicating the need for the faster tempo to the rapt players.

The negative outside vibes that surrounded the players all week will be replaced by reminders of their greatness. Same voices. Different words. New challenge for the new coach.

“They come in on Monday,” Gill said. “I’m going to read into them and see where they’re at, where’s their focus. I don’t know. It’s my first time now going with this group of guys, knowing how they handle prosperity, how they handle a win. They’ve shown me how they handle a loss.”

Like proud men.

Comments

KSAuburnFan 4 years, 3 months ago

OK KU Fans, go ahead, start talking about how Georgia Tech lost this game and KU didn't actually win it. Share with everyone the lucky breaks KU got, and how it is only 1 game. Everyone gets lucky once in awhile. We are all ready for it.

I heard comments right and left at the game yesterday, saying that Coach and his staff proved nothing, it was just one game, lets see how the rest of the season goes. Well, need I remind you, if that is your stance then the same can be said for last weeks game. The loss proved nothing, it was just 1 game lets see how the rest of the season goes. You can't have it both ways, if a big upset win is "JUST ONE GAME" and you are going to hold off judgement, then the exact same thing can be said for an upset loss. Last weeks loss to NDSU is "JUST ONE GAME" and you should hold off judgement just the same. But you won't. Funny how "fans" react, an upset loss and you are ready to fire the entire staff Coach Gill and his staff are worthless, should have never been hired in the first place. But after an upset win, a great game plan, wonderful adjustments by the staff and execution by the players, you will sit back and say it was luck, or Georgia Tech wasn't prepared, or any other excuse to not give credit to the Staff and players at KU. I heard it all yesterday in the stands and as I was walking to my car.

I agree whole heartedly with the "it is just one game" theory, but lets keep that saying in mind when KU loses too.

Gregory Newman 4 years, 3 months ago

Well spoken. They are called fanatics or hypocrites and most have never played a down of football in their life or wasn't good enough to make a team. So they bark at their insecurities to make themselves feel better.

Jeff Kilgore 4 years, 3 months ago

American football players would literally kill each other on the field, Troll. I say this because you can't be that stupid.

riverdrifter 4 years, 3 months ago

If America took rugby seriously, we'd have three dozen teams that would put a clown suit on the New Zealand All-Blacks. Shoot, you could take any NFL team and convert them to a rugby team and nobody'd come close to them in world play.

mk9992 4 years, 3 months ago

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Rickyonealku 4 years, 3 months ago

So Mr. Patterson why did you get the 15 yard penalty which could have cost KU a touchdown???? Stay on your feet next time you score...oh BTW isn't that what Coach Gill talked to you about following that TD????

7texdude 4 years, 3 months ago

You're right. I would rather him get tackled for a 2-yard gain and we kick a field goal. Guy made the best run of his life and he dove in the end zone. I'll take a 15-yard penalty every time if it comes with runs like that. Great play. Bad decision at the end. Still a great play.

Some KU "fans" like to criticize over everything...........even if it is a touchdown.

lawrence_citizen 4 years, 3 months ago

I think next year that rule changes and they not only get a 15 yard penalty, but they also lose the TD.

Fred Whitehead Jr. 4 years, 3 months ago

They have lost one and now won one (don't say that too fast)

There is still a season ahead, so don't get too enthusiastic too soon. If they stumble again, I am confident that the boo birds will be flying high again.

It is just a game.

yourworstnightmare 4 years, 3 months ago

The comments of Bohl were planned by both coaches. They served to motivate KU players and also to heighten perception of Bohl's conference. A win-win that was planned by both coaches.

notajayhawk 4 years, 3 months ago

It is pretty funny how he went from goat to hero in one week. Next loss he'll go equally as fast from hero to goat ...

Yogi 4 years, 3 months ago

Although I didn't go on any message boards or talk shows last week I am guilty of being one of the naysayers. I'm ashamed I didn't give Coach Gill more of a chance. I still believe we have a long way to go before we win another Orange Bowl. However, I think the future looks bright for the young players and their new coach. I hope people will give them a chance to develop and grow and enjoy the experience by supporting them no matter how the rest of the season goes.

Golf4Life 4 years, 3 months ago

haha wow, did they really storm the field? haha that's pretty sad.

BigAl 4 years, 3 months ago

There was absolutely nothing wrong with the kids running onto the field. They didn't tear down the goalposts, instead they surrounded the players. After the terrible loss of last week, this was a great win and the students were showing their support.

Only a jealous KSU or MU fan would think otherwise.

David Robinett 4 years, 3 months ago

...the players felt as if they owed their new coach one, especially considering he didn’t degrade them for playing so poorly.

“A lot of people felt that way,” said tight end Tim Biere, the goat of the Week 1 loss and the recipient of a touchdown pass in the Week 2


That's how you get guys to run through walls for you.

BigAl 4 years, 3 months ago

I also notice that a lot of the whiners from last week are not posting today? If KU doesn't win another game this year, I still believe the future is bright with Gill and his players. Freshmen players were a big part of the win on Saturday. They will only get better.

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