Archive for Saturday, November 12, 2011

Things just not working out for Turner Gill at KU

Kansas head coach Turner Gill pleads for an interference call against Baylor after a pass to KU receiver JaCorey Shepherd during KU's last drive of regulation Saturday, Nov. 12, 2011 at Kivisto Field.

Kansas head coach Turner Gill pleads for an interference call against Baylor after a pass to KU receiver JaCorey Shepherd during KU's last drive of regulation Saturday, Nov. 12, 2011 at Kivisto Field.

November 12, 2011


Press Conferences & Post-Game Interviews

KU coach Turner Gill

Kansas coach Turner Gill talks after his team's 31-30 overtime loss to Baylor on Nov. 12, 2011.

With one more successful play from his offense Saturday, Kansas University football coach Turner Gill could have ended a seven-game losing streak, made irrelevant blowing a 21-point fourth-quarter lead and drawn praise for having had the guts to fly in the face of conventional wisdom.

It didn’t work out for him, of course, and Baylor won Saturday’s game in Memorial Stadium, 31-30, in overtime.

Not much has worked out during Gill’s two years as the football coach.

Not the decision to leave the names off the jerseys. Not the word of the week.

Not the beginning, a 6-3 loss to FCS opponent North Dakota State in his debut.

Not the end, a losing streak of eight games and counting.

Not the blowouts — his teams have lost as many games by 42 points or more as they have won by any margin — and not the 5-17 record, 1-14 in Big 12 games.

Not even big leads — 20-0 against Texas Tech, 24-3 against Baylor — work out for Gill, who took Saturday’s setback particularly hard.

One bold play could have made this one different.

After Jordan Webb beautifully executed in understated fashion a fake handoff to James Sims and the linebacker bit leaving open tight end Tim Biere for a touchdown on the KU offense’s first overtime play, Gill had a decision to make. Kick the extra point, tie the score and give the ball back to Robert Griffin III, who had turned back into RG3 in the fourth quarter after three P.U. quarters.

Asked why he went for the two-point conversion, Gill answered, “Momentum.”

Good answer, had he gone for it right away. But he called a timeout to set up a play. Think about what basketball coaches do — except for the most stubborn of them — to stop the other team’s momentum. They call timeouts. Gill called one on his own team. And then Baylor coach Art Briles called one. So much time had passed since Biere’s touchdown the sweat dried on the momentum. Time to kick the ball through the uprights and see if emerging star safety Bradley McDougald could come up with another big play.

Momentum has no official measurement, but it does have a point of origin. The momentum swings to a team when the sum of adrenaline in all the athletes on one squad flows far faster than the sum in all the athletes on the other. Adrenaline sharpens focus, enhances strength, instills endurance. It’s fleeting. It had fled by the time Jordan Webb threw a fade to the double-covered Biere on a day Gill recruits Darrian Miller and Tony Pierson rushed for a combined 219 yards and a touchdown (Pierson) on 32 carries.

Miller accounted for 147 of those yards, but wasn’t celebrating after the one-point loss. He knows it was Senior Day and he knows about the speculation swirling around his coach’s job security.

“I really try to not pay so much attention to it because I feel like, on the priority list, it’s not a team priority right now because we still have to finish our season and finish strong,” Miller said of the latter factor. “I think coach Gill will be here for a long time because I think he does great things for this team, even off the field. That’s one reason why I was so emotional today, not just wanting to play hard for the seniors, but also wanting to play hard for coach Gill. Because he’s such a great person, he makes you want to play hard for him.”

The tendency, be it with presidents, Army generals, football coaches, is to get blinded by numbers and want to deify the winners and demonize the losers. It’s a mistake to do so. Gill illustrates that as well as anybody. Joe Paterno, we’re learning, is a mixed bag of another sort for not slaying the monster in his midst. Some day, the rioting Penn State students will come to the realization that a winning record doesn’t equate to a winning football program in all areas.

It’s also a mistake to think that when Sheahon Zenger does what his job requires and lets Gill know he’ll be fired with a $6 million parachute, that meeting will be harder on Gill than on Zenger, who truly believes there is more to coaching than winning and losing, but knows that winning has to be part of it. It’ll be tougher on Zenger, no question. Gill is not a man defined by his job performance. Wherever his next stop takes him, be it in coaching or another profession, he’ll go to bed every night knowing he just finished another day of treating people well, a trait that comes easily to him. Is that such a bad lot in life?


Larry Evans 6 years, 5 months ago

A man of integrity, but it is all about putting a competitive team of the field, which he really hasn't. That being said he has been blessed with a life long income.

They can fire me any day for that kind of money.

6 years, 5 months ago

The only way Gill can put a competitive team on the field is to be given time to go get the talent he needs.

He just doesn't have enough talent in the senior and junior class. Either that they don't have the heart they need to play the game.

People can make all kinds of accusations about them not playing any better, etc. ... without having some quality talent they could improve 10 fold and I don't think you could tell.

heybluekc 6 years, 5 months ago

Really fire him? What will be accomplished by doing that? Lets take a deep breath and count our beer pong ball inventory (since I believe Kansas tailgates have more beer pong tables than the entire Big 12 combined) and take a look at the two deep depth chart. Six seniors were listed as starters Saturday. Two on offense and four on defense. Eight true freshmen are listed on the two deep as well as two red shirt freshmen. So In essence we want to fire Turner Gill after not really having a chance with his own recruits. If my math is correct and in a earlier post on a sepearte article it was not. Then this means Turner has nineteen of his recruiting class red shirting this season or as in the case of one, spending time in Colorado with his girlfriend. The rest of this team is left over Mangino's. Yes Mark Mangino who went 1-7 in his last season in Big 12 play and had a 23-41 record overall in Big 12 play in eight seasons at the helm. Thank you by the way for the Orange Bowl run that was quite exciting. No thanks however for leaving nothing in the basket to build with. It's just my hunch but I think its safe to assume Mangino would not be any better record wise in the Big 12 the last two seasons than Turner Gill has.
Lets take a look at the offensive backfield. Pierson and Miller are as quick in the open field as anyone in the Big 12. Bourbon and Sizemore should eventually be able to pound the ball. Jacorey Shepherd looks like a big time playmaker at receiver. Too bad they have left over Manginos type of lineman to block for them. I believe his philosophy was to recurit smaller agile lineman, most who came from High School teams that passed the ball 50 plus times a game and had not ran a run block drill since Pop Warner. Either way Jordon Webb just don't have what it takes at this level to get the ball to the reciever on a consitent basis down the field. I venture a guess that Webb will not make it through the year next year as the starter quite possibly not even the season opener. Rumor has it Micheal Cummings is the real deal at that position and buying time rehabbing the knee and getting stronger hopefully will pay off.
Lets also back up and remember that just days before the season Carl Torbush fell ill with cancer and left this defense to a novice D-Coordinator. Not sure what Torbush could have done with this defense but I would have to think they would have become a stronger unit than they are now. I do remember vast improvement during the last three games of last season on the defensive side of the ball. I believe you gotta give Turner Gill one more year at least, maybe two. Recruiting is the most important attribute he is bringing to this program. Turner has solid ground to recruit on in the state of Texas and that usually is a good thing in college football. Lets all be patient watch some basketball this winter and have a few beer pong tourneys in our garage and see what happens next fall.

TLR 6 years, 5 months ago

heybluekc, are you nuts.

There is nothing competitive about this man. Perkins liked him and fired Mangino to get him. End of story. Hey, maybe you are Perkins and heybluekc is you pen name. Anyway, what you ar saying is pure fiction.

patgilbey1 6 years, 5 months ago

What your suggesting is coach Mangino did not have a 1-7 record his last year or they did not win the "Orange Bowl" in 2008?

vuduchyld 6 years, 5 months ago

Thanks for your post, Mrs. Gill, but you are the ONLY person on the planet who thinks it is "safe to assume Mangino would not be any better record wise in the Big 12 the last two seasons than Turner Gill has".

Mangino won three Big 12 games in his second season. Gill will, in all likelihood, win ZERO.

Gill has NEVER won a road game at the site of ANY BCS conference opponent...even including his "glory" days at Buffalo.

Gill could be here fifty years and never win three bowl games, as Mangino did.

Gill needs to go...NOW. This program can't afford all the empty seats in the stadium that come when you lose so many games without even being competitive.

Armen Kurdian 6 years, 5 months ago

I don't think anyone is arguing that this team doesn't have any talent. But blowing big leads falls on coaching. He's just not working out well. This same group of players under Mangino would be .500 in a worst case scenario.

Steve Jacob 6 years, 5 months ago

I did not see the game, but going for two was fine, Baylor was going to score TD's again and again.

It would have been a great win, you know the new AD wants any reason to not fire Gill and give out a large buyout.

cabmando 6 years, 5 months ago

Can't afford to fire him, can't afford to keep him. Fan base is erroding with every game. I wish him well almost wish he'd be given some more time but....

irvan moore 6 years, 5 months ago

give up a big lead in the fourth quarter, go for 2 at home instead of tie and use the momentum in ot, not such great coaching. he was the fallback plan and it didn't work, get him out of here and get a real coach, there are a few good ones looking for a job and for the kind of money tg gets they would come here.

Fred Vance 6 years, 5 months ago

At some point, you have to consider the number of wins and losses. Integrity is important, but overall W's are important to a fan base. Unfortunately, Gill has made a lot of blunders in his first two years that have added up to losses. The football gods have not been kind to Gill. Yes, it requires execution by the players on the field. However, I see KU's football program in a tailspin. I have been a fan of KU since 1950, and this has been one of the worse displays of football for the past two years. We are a basketball university with a football problem. I for one will not renew my season tickets for next year.

birdpie 6 years, 5 months ago

K.U. has not been on TVlately. You would think the Comedy chanel would at least cover it or Saturday nite live!

Robert Rauktis 6 years, 5 months ago

Gill was on TV yesterday carrying the ball in the last big Husker-Penn State confrontation. Maybe JoePa can get him a job.

jmh 6 years, 5 months ago

Another spot on article by Tom Keegan. While I don't agree with Mangino's firing and Gill's subsequent hiring, I still was hopeful that Gill would succeed. Well, it just isn't working out. People can't get blinded by the fact that he is a nice man who exemplifies great character. He was hired to improve this football program and we simply haven't seen it get better. There have been way too many lopsided losses with statistics that defy belief.

It is time for this experiment to end....KU fans need to know that the administration is committed to building a better football program. We are regressing back into the laughing stock that we've been for way too long.

50YearResident 6 years, 5 months ago

The job that pays in gold. Why would Perkins hire an unproven coach with a $10 Million, 5 year contract? I think it was a total "deversion" to keep himself out of the ticket scandal.

newmedia 6 years, 5 months ago

Congratulations to the football seniors for your hard work and dedication. Disappointed for you that you weren't able to win your final home game but may be a blessing in disguise for those who follow after you. Little did you know you would be playing for this bunch when you ended your KU careers. Just another one of life's lessons, work hard, be prepared, and take nothing for granted. Thanks again.

Armen Kurdian 6 years, 5 months ago

Seniors, sorry that you lost in such a terrible fashion...I believe that with better leadership your day would have been better. You guys don't deserve to go out like this.

friendlyjhawk 6 years, 5 months ago

After reading another inflamatory Keegan rant I am saddened that the only strong stance taken by the LWJ about any issue in the last 2 years has been against Turner Gill. Keegan even turned it into faux social commentary. Gill knew a good business deal when he saw one (would we all were so lucky). Keegan is the local bully trying to improve his status by cutting down Gill and the KU football. I want a winning team also BUT it is only football and KU has wasted monies on many programs in the past and will continue to do so.

JustNoticed 6 years, 5 months ago

Wow! What a brilliant combination of words and a picture that is - "Things not working out ..." and Nick Krug's picture of Gill being restrained. Kudos and thanks to Nick and whoever wrote that headline!

Lee Eldridge 6 years, 5 months ago

We were at the game and I couldn't believe the time out and THEN the two point conversion. Incredibly bad coaching. This is a decision that should have been made before the possession. The 2-point call should have been made before the possession ever began. And the team should have run up to line and run the play immediately.

I was sitting in the Baylor section and even they couldn't believe that KU was going for 2.

What was just as bad was allowing BU to get the three points at the end of the first half. I knew that was going to come back and bite us.

Gill may be a good man, but he's not the right coach for KU.

Vaildini 6 years, 5 months ago

He has had 1 full recruiting class. His first class still had recruits that were already grabbed by previous staff. IF we had held on in Iowa state and yesterday vs. Baylor we would have been playing Mizzou in KC for a bowl game. Pretty crazy but very realistic. Keegan,I'm a big fan of yours, but your explanation and comparison of timeouts in basketball and football is a very big stretch. I was a bit surprised by it until I realized you probably have never played basketball or football to any kind of level so I understand your ignorance. I'm interested on how this will play out. I think a smarter solution may be a D Coor., DB coach, Strength Coach and possibly LB coach. That would be pretty standard for a coach in his position. Then we see if that is the change needed and move on from there. RCJH

cg1029 6 years, 5 months ago

A. Your Wrong -He has two recruiting classes in... One that includes players that were going to Buf, which other D1 teams did not want. B. Your Wrong again - We would have had to beat ISU, Baylor, A&M and MU to have a shot at a bowl game - 6 wins is required C. Your Really Wrong - The TO Killed any momentum that KU had... If you have any question look at the OSU or ORG offense and when they get rolling and run fast so the Defense has no chance to adjust. D. At least your typical post of you have never played at any level is original... Sitting on the bench in High School does not make you an authority.

xclusive85 6 years, 5 months ago

A. Your Wrong -He has two recruiting classes in... One that includes players that were going to Buf, which other D1 teams did not want.

cg, you are wrong. He had a very short time to finish a recruiting class mainly brought in by Mangino and his staff. He has ONE full class that he recruited. Seems like those players are some of the best on the team. Darrian Miller and Tony Pierson leading them.

Vaildini 6 years, 5 months ago

haha my bad I forgot to include the Texas Tech game which we were ahead. It was early in the morn for me. But, I'm not wrong on point A. it is not a full recruiting class for him. Most of that class was recruited by Mangino and Gill was scrambling by the time they gave him the job. B. your right my bad. I left out the Tech game. Was just stating that as crazy a season as this has been we are closer than it seems. C. you are right those "O" move quickly but deciding if you want to go for "2" and tempo during regular play is different. It isn't odd for any coach to take a timeout to decide on 2 point plays. Im not saying I totally agree with the call, just sayin' TO's in football are a different deal. If he didn't call a TO and missed it half the people would get on here and say he should have used his TO. Just my opinion.

irvan moore 6 years, 5 months ago

no, we don't have to give him 4 years. he has proven himself to be unqualified, why didn't he bring in some juco players to shore things up while recruiting, don't prolong the misery, for that kind of money you can get a really good coach with a track record.

Bob Forer 6 years, 5 months ago

There are six million reasons things will start going Gill's way shortly,.

Bob Forer 6 years, 5 months ago

There are six million reasons things will start going Gill's way shortly,.

Armen Kurdian 6 years, 5 months ago

And this is the reason why I do not believe Gill should be fired. The financial damage of a $6M parachute (if that's what it truly is) coupled with another massive contract to another coach, IMHO, is greater than leaving him in place, and letting the next season go by (he is on just a three-year isn't he?).

Loomer 6 years, 5 months ago

Gill can't even get credit for being competitive against the teams his player talent level allows him to be. It's going to take time to turn this barge around, whoever the coach is.

brewmaster 6 years, 5 months ago

Perhaps, Mr. Keegan prefers the former athletic program that results in the incarceration of several KU Athletic Department employees and ignores the irresponsible, criminal behavior of KU athletes during the past few years.

Now KU has an honorable, capable head football coach of true character. However, Mr. Keegan- "a journalist," suggests that the coach be dismissed because the team has lost a few games at the beginning of Gill's tenure at KU.

Perhaps, those calling for the dismissal of Turner Gill are more inclined to support the type of "winning" football program and coaching staff at Penn State.

jayhawklawrence 6 years, 5 months ago

In big time college sports, it seems to me that people tend to forget the most important thing is the kids and their development as men and women who will hopefully benefit our communities and live positive lives.

I hope that fact does not get lost amid the money and the egos and the drive to win games.

We need to make an accurate assessment of what is going wrong without letting our emotions influence our decisions and then we need to do what is best for these young men. Period.

KEITHMILES05 6 years, 5 months ago

Something which has come to light recently is at one time there was clearly 1/3 of the players not attending class and Gill didn't think it was his responsiblity to make them do it. What coach thinks like that?

xclusive85 6 years, 5 months ago

Where did this come from? Sources? I think you are blowing smoke.

irvan moore 6 years, 5 months ago

when you throw out remarks like supporting the kind of program at penn state you're aways off the tracks, trying to impune the character of those who don't agree with you. it wasn't the football program that got ku athletics in trouble, it was the athletic program and the way it was run. we are not getting our moneys worth with tg and it's pretty obvious he's in way over his head.

yourworstnightmare 6 years, 5 months ago

Gill should be given one more year. Firing him now would make it more difficult to hire a good coach down the road. What good coach would take a job knowing that they could be fired after two seasons with players recruited by another and the situation not totally in their control?

Flap Doodle 6 years, 5 months ago

The photo's caption should read "Gill reacts to the reality of his lousy coaching".

Armen Kurdian 6 years, 5 months ago

In the narrow scope of the blown interference call, I can empathize to a point. That really stunk, and we should have won the game, but the problem was allowing it to get to that point in the first place. Your defense has been working awesome all day, then you change up and it costs you. This is why I hate prevent-style defenses. If it were under 4 minutes and we were up by 21, then maybe. But he's got only himself to blame for this loss, as do we.

But I'm not in favor of firing him if it is going to cost the department $6M. That seems to me a bigger impact than letting another year go by and then not renewing his contract.

xclusive85 6 years, 5 months ago

Thank you for bringing up the blown call by the refs. I was at the game and couldn't believe they missed that call. It wasn't even close to not being interference. Another was the facemask at the end of the half. I didn't get a good look at and they didn't show a replay, but if it wasn't a facemask then there is another three points.

elkwc36 6 years, 5 months ago

I hope KU can right the ship soon regardless of what that takes. I know how it feels after going through the Prince fiasco. At least Gill is a good person. Unlike Prince. There is no sure fire way to hire coaches. Look at TT and Tubby. A retread who has lost his team. At least the KU players seem to be making some improvement although I admit I haven't watched since the K-State game. Did listen to some on the radio yesterday. I did pick up on the tone of the KU announcers voice. When anything happened it sounded like their first response was to expect the worst. I've been there when it was very hard to expect anything positive to happen. KU has some young talent. Whether Gill is the person to coach them up is the decision that has to be made. I couldn't believe KU hired him with his record at Buffalo. If NU thought he was any good Terrible Tom would of hired him in some position at NU. Best of luck in the rest of your games and hope the needed changes are made soon.

Fred Whitehead Jr. 6 years, 5 months ago

"Not much has worked out during Gill’s two years as the football coach." Duh. What was the first clue? I know that KU has been pretty much of a yearly doormat in the conference (what is it called now, the "revolving door conference"?) but others have been similarly blessed, (K-State for instance) and have recovered. I don;t like all the Monday Morning Quarterbacking that I see here, but one has to wonder just what the real problem might be. I see huge support for the basketball program, but very little for the football team. It must be very depressing to be a team member trying to claw their way out of this depressing situation, but the slings and arrows from the fans must probably be the worst. The coach certainly has a lot of effect on the performance of the team, but the guys in the helments are the ones who are really who need to perform. And since they also see all the huge articles in this newspaper about all the future NBA stars that have been recruited for the "thinclads" team, it must be equally depressing. There is certainly a problem with the coaching and I did not feel very good from the start, Gill was a great quarterback but maybe he should have run for congressman in Nebraska like Watts did in Oklahoma. His performance at Buffalo was problematic to be sure, and not much seems to ever improve.

This is a problem for the new AD and frankly I have not seen enough of him to make any judgement about his ability to shift the massive emphasis on roundball and try to get the football team on a better footing.

LivedinLawrence4Life 6 years, 5 months ago

Keep Turner Gill. Get rid of Keegan!

I'm embarrassed for the Journal World regarding Keegan's writings about Gill.

KU football has improved under Gill. We just need time and another season or two for that to show up on the scoreboard.

Next years recruits and their parents are watching and will not come to KU if we fire Gill. Parents and kids want to be a part of a Turner Gill program.

We are closer to a Nebraska-like program than it may appear to those like Keegan. As for me, I'm not subscribing or advertising in the JW until Keegan is gone!

Flap Doodle 6 years, 5 months ago

"KU football has improved under Gill." By what measure?

irvan moore 6 years, 5 months ago

you think recruits will come to play for tg? mr. keegan is doing his job, that's more than i can say for tg.

50YearResident 6 years, 5 months ago

A coach's job is to take the players he has and train them into a football team. Gill has players. It would not matter if they were ones he recuited or ones he inheriated, they are players. What makes anyone think if he recuited them himself it would be any different or better? He can't tell by looking at a player how good he will play for KU. Gills job is to take what he has and make them a working team. In this he has failed miserably.

Vaildini 6 years, 5 months ago

This is truly an awful comment. Did you ever play sports? I'll break it down quickly for you and then do a small amount of research before replying. It is a huge difference having your own recruits. For one these guys were beat down after a 7 game losing streak with a team that was suppose to play in a Jan. 1 bowl game. The coach who recruited them and earned there trust is no longer here and they must learn to trust someone who they didn't pick. But most importantly, as a coach you pick players who have a skill set that fits your style of O and D. In basketball terms, we don't get big men who want to face up and not post up. They don't fit our system. We have got BBall players before who transferred from KU and played well in other systems. There is a big difference between a 4-3 and 3-4 DL.

LivedinLawrence4Life 6 years, 5 months ago

Give Gill 2 more years and you will then understand. A good friend of mine played 5 years at Nebraska and went to 5 bowl games. Gill is the first KU coach in decades that he would have considered playing for.

50YearResident 6 years, 5 months ago

Well now, that would have been a mistake, wouldn't it?

50YearResident 6 years, 5 months ago

Can you verify the 5 years in a row that Nebraska went to bowel games?

daddax98 6 years, 5 months ago

"This had not happened since Mangino's early couple years with Allen's recruits."

I think this is kind of the point that some are making, i don't remember the calls for MM head 2 games (let alone LESS then 2 years) into his career like we have had with Gil.

lunacydetector 6 years, 5 months ago

turner gill needs to go....and soon. let the next person who gets the job receive it based on their merits to justify paying them the big bucks.

yourworstnightmare 6 years, 5 months ago

Gill deserves one more year, and it would make it difficult for KU to hire a good coach after Gill if they fire him this year.

Gill should be the coach in 2012 and given the chance to improve (wins, not moral victories).

If not, he should be bought out and a new coach brought in in 2013.

yourworstnightmare 6 years, 5 months ago

I actually like the photo of Gill being restrained. It finally shows that he has passion for what is happening on the field, and not for merely "things unseen".

anon1958 6 years, 5 months ago

There is really just no point to firing Gill because, if you have not noticed, the Big 12 has imploded. Paying Gill his golden parachute and spending millions on another coach is just throwing good money after bad.

After all these decades, jayhawk fans just need to deal with the reality that KU is not ever going to be a major football school and the whole issue is moot with the demise of the Big 12 to a second tier league. No amount of money spent on a KU football coach is going to repair the dismal situation that is the demise of the Big 12.

Big money, greed and ESPN have made a mockery of college rivalries, traditions and sensible conference alignments. It is crystal clear from last year's realignment episode that KU is not going to end up in any kind of power football conference. It is not the fault of KU but also there is just nothing that anyone at KU can do about it.

Just keep Gill around for the sake of doing the economically sensible action for once.

roscoejas 6 years, 5 months ago

Hey observant, help me understand your MU comment. I guess you forgot a few month's ago when the 4 teams tried to move to the Pac-12. MU was in the same position as KU and K-State and would of been begging some inferior conference to let them in. They did what they thought was best for them. Let's not be naive and think Texas and Oklahoma won't bolt some day in the future.

Jayhawk1963 6 years, 5 months ago

I agree. KU has 5 or 6 years to get their football act together before the next round of conference realignment starts up. That's why it's even more urgent to get a seasoned coach (Mike Leach?) in here and not waste any more time!!!

BTW, I think the league TV contract is in the "millions", not "billions" of dollars.

Commenting has been disabled for this item.