Close loss won’t change opinions on KU, Turner Gill

Kansas head coach Turner Gill bemoans a missed field goal during the second quarter on Saturday, Nov. 5, 2011 at Jack Trice Stadium in Ames, Iowa.

Kansas head coach Turner Gill bemoans a missed field goal during the second quarter on Saturday, Nov. 5, 2011 at Jack Trice Stadium in Ames, Iowa.

November 5, 2011


Press Conferences & Post-Game Interviews

KU coach Turner Gill

Kansas coach Turner Gill talks to reporters following the Jayhawks' 13-10 loss to Iowa State on Nov. 5, 2011.

— The guys wearing KU ballcaps and blue coats, the coaches, wanted to win the game played Saturday in Jack Trice Stadium on the campus of Iowa State. So did the players wearing nameless jerseys and a “KU” on their helmets.

They were disappointed when it didn’t happen, when the Cyclones scored a 13-10 victory against a Kansas University football team that has lost seven in a row.

Yet, a thought hung in the brain and looped all day: Would the average Kansas fan, hooked to a lie detector and answering in the affirmative when asked if he or she really, really, really wanted the Jayhawks to win Saturday, pass the test?

Publicly, of course, even if hiding behind an anonymous screen name, all would claim so. Who knows? Maybe a victory could have changed some minds about the state of KU football, but it’s doubtful.

The unsightly fashion in which Big 12 competition dominated the Jayhawks the previous six weeks seems to have left the majority of the fan base already checking out on the Turner Gill Era and investing emotions in the search for the next football coach. When will it happen? Who will it be? Which winning coach who lost his job for alleged mistreatment of a player is the favorite? Is it Mike Leach, the offensive genius, or Jim Leavitt, the defensive disciplinarian? KU athletic director Sheahon Zenger knows both men well.

After Saturday’s loss, Gill answered questions of another sort in a room probably about the size of the one Adam James was sent to by Leach during a Texas Tech practice.

The questions sent Gill’s way centered on a pair of fourth-down decisions he made. The first came midway through the third quarter. After Jordan Webb lost a yard on third-and-goal from the 1, Gill decided to let Ron Doherty kick the field goal, rather than go for it on fourth-and-goal from the 2. If that’s seven points instead of three, maybe Kansas wins, 14-13.

“I felt like we should have run it up the middle there,” said KU’s all-purpose man D.J. Beshears.

Me too. Twice with Toben Opurum. If The Fridge can do it the Super Bowl, Opurum could have done it in the Big 12 last-place game.

Gill also was queried about the decision to punt rather than go for it on fourth-and-11 from the 19 with less than three minutes remaining. He said if it had been fourth-and-6 or fourth-and-7 he would have gone for it. Tough to argue with that, though it didn’t work because the KU defense couldn’t get the three-and-out it needed. Jordan Webb was sacked for a 6-yard loss on third down.

Webb would have loved to go for it, which makes him no different from any offensive player ever to play the game, but he would have decided otherwise had he been wearing Gill’s headphones.

“I understand because they were the side that was hot today,” Webb said of the KU defense. “We weren’t as an offensive unit. We weren’t doing what we needed to do and he had to put it in the defense’s hands because they were.”

Wrong call, right call, whatever. Gill didn’t lose this game, and based on how the outcome wasn’t a blowout for a change, he hasn’t lost his team.

Sophomore running back James Sims, forever a team-first guy, stood behind his offensive line and his coach when talking about the game. He was more disappointed in losing a fumble than in gaining 50 yards on 11 rushes.

“We were trying to bounce back from the Texas loss and the offensive line said they were going to do a better job and that’s what they did,” Sims said.

The 43-0 loss to Texas was the most complete a drubbing of so many one-sided KU losses and begged the question of whether the Jayhawks’ spirits had been irreversibly broken. How did that not happen?

“Coach Gill’s motivation got our minds of last week and on the week ahead, on getting better,” Sims said. “And I feel like we got better today, as far as moving the ball. We’ve just got to punch it in the end zone. I can put some of the blame on me, fumbling going into the red zone. I’ve got to take care of the ball there. I’ve got to have ball security going in there.”

Their spirits weren’t broken and the gameplan was sound, but playing better won’t change minds. Staying close in a game that looked about how a game should when a ninth-place team plays a 10th-place one won’t sway opinions. Even if it didn’t register as embarrassing, it doesn’t change the three-word summary of the Gill Era: Not good enough.


irvan moore 6 years, 6 months ago

we lost to a bad team, that's not good enough no matter how close

1984overagain 6 years, 6 months ago

When you look into the toilet bowl of life and see something really nasty looking back, you usually press the flush lever. You don't wait for the five year contract to expire. It's time to send the bad "stuff" down the drain.

rtwngr 6 years, 6 months ago

Once again the Jayhawk Football program has sunk below mediocrity to pathetic.

greenworld 6 years, 6 months ago

Another Jayhawk loss 13-10 but im afraid it really doesnt matter anymore. THere is not going to be one game that saves Turner Gills job at the end of year. IT wouldnt have mattered today if we won by 40, lost by 40, barely won or in this case barely lost. He is done coaching at Ku. This was a must win game against the easiest team on the schedule and he couldnt even win it. The good news is Coach TG doesnt care as he still is going to get his 2 million for 5 yrs no matter what. Where can I get a deal like that?? Win or Lose.....I guess I would have to run into a guy with the last name of perkins.

7texdude 6 years, 6 months ago

Gill should go, but you sound like an idiot when you say Gill "doesn't care." Get a grip.

fu7il3 6 years, 6 months ago

This is a much better Iowa State team than we've faced in past years, even though they didn't particularly show it last week. That being said, ANY team is a tough team when you are the worst in the conference.

We beat the only two teams we legitimately had a shot of beating.

newmedia 6 years, 6 months ago

Every league has one. The Big 12's just happens to be KU. Again.........

doc1 6 years, 6 months ago

9 out 10 great player don't want to play for a team where their names aren't even on their Jersey. Just saying, that was one of the stupid moves. Has nothing to do with this story I know.

Graczyk 6 years, 6 months ago

USC, Penn State, and Notre Dame all disagree. I think even Oklahoma did it for awhile. There are probably a few others that don't come ti mind right now. This is a non-issue. When a player makes a play, the announcers always say the guy's name. The bigger issue is that 9 out of 10 good players don't want to come to KU. It's probably closer to 49 out of 50.

Though I think Gill's recruiting classes have been pretty decent, in all fairness.

oldvet 6 years, 6 months ago

Every year that Turner Gill stays will make the recovery by a real coach that much tougher. It's time to cut the loss and get rid of him. Will he enjoy the $6mil, of course. Will he be a head coach again in a big-time program, not for a long, long time, and then only after being a specialty position coach way down on the coaching food chain. His performance here will be a stain he wears for a while.

Armen Kurdian 6 years, 6 months ago

Does Gill have a 3-yr contract? If he were let go after this year, does KU have to buy him out? I'd hate to throw extra money away on a contract buyout. Athletic Dept debt is already $58M in debt. From a financial perspective, would have to see if it made more sense to keep him for a year then let him go than buy him out of his last year. Again, purely business perspective, to say nothing of performance.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 6 years, 6 months ago

Probably the main reason Gill got the contract he did was because ANY coach looking at the KU job probably knew that trying to make this team competitive in the Big 12 could end badly, and end their career-- better make a lot of jack from this job, cause it could be the last.

BruceWayne 6 years, 6 months ago

I know for a fact that Tubberville BEGGED Perkins for an interview only to be told " I have my man, have all along."

greenworld 6 years, 6 months ago

Maybe he should give up coaching and become a preacher

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 6 years, 6 months ago

Maybe that was his plan from the start-- it'd be a well-funded ministry.

irvan moore 6 years, 6 months ago

the reason it will cost so much to buy him out is because it will be worth it

hammerhawk 6 years, 6 months ago

I can't even think of anything more to say about the sorry state of KUfb. In more than forty years of supporting my mighty Jayhawks, I am at a loss for words. Terrible. Just terrible .

greenworld 6 years, 6 months ago

Maybe he sould hire Mangino as his asst coach for next yr. That way Gill could remain serman like and Mangino could fire up the troops. It would be like the God and the Devil coaching side by side. Or if Gill starting do bad again Mangino could eat him and take over.

Chad Hasler 6 years, 6 months ago

It is so obvious when a coach decides to take the safe way out by kicking the field goal or punting on fourth down. They are basically putting it on their players at that point. If they go for it and don't make it, then the blame can fall on the coach, but if they punt, then it's 'well the players couldn't get that three and out we needed'. If you would man up and go for it, as a last place team with nothing to play for should do 99 percent of the time, you may not be in the position of needing a three and out. Win the game, don't play to keep it close so you look better. Fire Turner Gill Yesterday.

Michael Lindsey 6 years, 6 months ago

Put up the bucks or shut the ef up! KU athletic dept. has no money to fire Gill

Jayhawk1963 6 years, 6 months ago

The money will come from Williams Fund donors, like it always does !!! And, since when are YOU the arbiter of the first amendment rights of other people ???

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