Archive for Saturday, October 8, 2011

No defense for KU coach Turner Gill

Kansas head coach Turner Gill watches from the sidelines during the second quarter against Oklahoma State on Saturday, Oct. 8, 2011 at Boone Pickens Stadium.

Kansas head coach Turner Gill watches from the sidelines during the second quarter against Oklahoma State on Saturday, Oct. 8, 2011 at Boone Pickens Stadium.

October 8, 2011


Press Conferences & Post-Game Interviews

KU coach Turner Gill

Kansas coach Turner Gill talks to reporters following the Jayhawks' 70-28 loss to Oklahoma State on Oct. 8, 2011.

Toben Opurum on OSU loss: 'It's embarrassing'

Kansas outside linebacker Toben Opurum talks to reporters following the Jayhawks' 70-28 loss to Oklahoma State on Oct. 8, 2011. Enlarge video

KU cornerback Greg Brown defends coach Turner Gill

KU cornerback Greg Brown defends coach Turner Gill following the Jayhawks' 70-28 loss to Oklahoma State on Oct. 8, 2011. Enlarge video

Somewhere, two large men had to be experiencing unspoken, non-stop “told-you-so” moments Saturday as score updates crawled across the bottom of their TV screens or iPhones, or however they get their information.

The men weren’t in attendance at T. Boone Pickens Stadium to see Oklahoma State’s merciful, 70-28 beating of Kansas University, but could have predicted it.

One is Mark Mangino, forced out of his job as Kansas football coach by former athletic director Lew Perkins, just two years after a 12-1 Orange Bowl season. At some level, it must be comforting to him to know that everybody now knows what he always knew: He was the right man for the job.

The other is columnist Jason Whitlock, now working for Fox Sports and living in Los Angeles. Writing in Kansas City at the time of Turner Gill’s hiring by KU, the insightful Whitlock shared with his audience that he had seen Gill’s University at Buffalo teams play many times and not once had been impressed. (A former lineman at Ball State, Whitlock watches MAC football regularly.) Although Whitlock said he would wait two years to form a strong opinion, it was clear which way he strongly leaned, especially when he talked about the new KU coach on the radio.

Well, it hasn’t been two years, and it’s not too early to form a strong opinion. It looks as if Perkins didn’t hire the right man for an extremely difficult job. Gill was the right man to raise Buffalo’s program from the ashes and give it some national visibility, but nothing suggests he’s the right man to follow a coach who had such a different approach to one of the three or four toughest jobs in the Big 12.

It’s not Gill’s 5-12 record in one season and five games that makes that clear. It’s not as if he and his staff inherited impressive talent. Mangino and his assistants, led by current Northern Illinois head coach Dave Doeren, recruited phenomenally well early. In retrospect, the 2004 recruiting class ranked second to no other school in the nation. After Doeren left to become an assistant at Wisconsin, the recruiting never quite recovered and slipped quite a bit in the final two seasons.

That might explain a losing record, but it doesn’t excuse the uninspired play, the ridiculously one-sided outcomes and the shoddy fundamentals, most loudly evident in poor tackling.

Poor performances that come with a litany of all-time worst figures for the KU defense, and school records for the opposing offenses mount.

Perkins, who believed in paying for what he deemed the position to be worth, instead of negotiating as good a deal as possible for the athletic department, guaranteed Gill $10 million for five seasons, even though the Buffalo coach made just $450,000 per season. In so doing, Perkins handcuffed his successor, Sheahon Zenger.

Most believe Zenger will take a hard look at Gill’s performance after the 2012 season, but if the Jayhawks stay on such a sharp decline, and if the AD is approached by an angry pack of wealthy boosters willing to pool resources to buy out the head coach, what then?

If that doesn’t happen, Zenger has no choice but to let Gill stay through next season and hope that he and his coaches score as many standout defensive recruits as they already have offensive players in such a short time.

If Gill stays on the job through next season and hasn’t made significant strides, Zenger will be forced to execute an extremely difficult firing in that Gill’s such an easy man to like, and in many ways admire. At his two most important jobs in life, father and husband, it’s clear Gill’s a natural, a straight-A performer. He consistently practices his strong religious beliefs more than he preaches them. He’s no showoff, no hypocrite. In terms of caring about the lives of his players, more good grades. They find the experience of playing for him an enjoyable one, except on Saturdays, when the losses too often are so lopsided.

Gill measures up admirably as a man, but he’s getting paid $2 million a year to coach football and that’s the job for which he must be evaluated by his boss.

Gill’s first chance to establish a foundation for winning came in selecting his coaching staff and in that regard, it looks as if he’s batting .500. Offensive coordinator Chuck Long has done an excellent job of instructing quarterback Jordan Webb and in calling plays. Running backs coach Reggie Mitchell ranks as an elite recruiter and the backs he coaches make up the best unit on the team. Line coach J.B. Grimes knows how to build a running game. Bringing back receivers coach David Beaty made perfect sense.

Gill decided against keeping anybody from Mangino’s defensive staff, even though linebackers coach Bill Miller would have brought with him the top recruit in the state of Kansas, Geneo Grissom of Hutchinson. When MIller wasn’t retained, Grissom, a defensive end, committed to Oklahoma.

In seven of his 10 Big 12 games, Gill’s defense has allowed 45 points or more.

The score could have been so much worse Saturday. Oklahoma State coach Mike Gundy pulled starting quarterback Brandon Weeden before the half to slow down the rate of KU’s bleeding. Had Gundy felt like it, he could have coached his Cowboys to 100 points.

In the first half, all eight OSU offensive possessions ended with a touchdown. The Cowboys had 35 points by the end of the first quarter, 56 at the half.

Three weeks after surrendering 66 points to Georgia Tech, the defense proved it has gotten worse, not better since then.

I asked Gill if the lack of improvement indicated that the players aren’t listening to what they’re being told, aren’t being told the right things or are physically overmatched.

“Probably a little of all of the above,” Gill said.

You have to admit it’s getting worse, a little worse all the time. No easy way out presents itself.


KYOU 6 years, 5 months ago

Turner is not paid enough. If he made 3 million a year instead of a meager 2 million, we'd see better defense. KU is not spending enough for decent football. KU football coach Gill needs more stimulus.

pizzapete 6 years, 5 months ago

Or maybe he just needs a bigger tax break?

Alabamastreet 6 years, 5 months ago

Tom, thank you for stating in the paper the truth that all KU fans know: KU needs to fire Gill, it may just not be able to afford it. The B12 staying together may give KU some $ security to go ahead and do it. Doren would be an excellent candidate.

This is probably going to go down as the worst KU football team ever, and that's hard to do. The two wins against weak teams are masking what is a historically horrendous year.

Our entire athletic department is a mess, except basketball. Our top priority has to be Bill Self, second is football. The amount of other work to be done is almost too much to comprehend.

kujayhawk 6 years, 5 months ago

Sadly, it's not the worst KU team ever. Last years team was worse than this one.

mjhawkchalk 6 years, 5 months ago

I disagree with that. We lost to NDSU 6-3.

irvan moore 6 years, 5 months ago

what about all the money endowment gives the university, wouldn't some of it be better spent buying out gill? the football program is going downhill like a runaway train and the only person who can make the call to stop it is bgl, it's time to quit making excuses and hire a qualified coach, the are a couple of them looking for a job right now.

nowthetruth 6 years, 5 months ago

Give me a break! Get rid of this guy. He is so out of his element. Number one; not a strong mind (looks like he is off in space and stunned that his "strategy" is not working). Number two; not a strong hand with the players. Number three; has failed to execute. Coaching is a world of hyper-accountability. It is all about the "W". He does not have enough... nothing personal TG, but you gotta go. AD-pull the trigger soon and save your job!

Kookamooka 6 years, 5 months ago

If those players like this man and care about him, they need to show it on the field with some winning. Do the right thing players. CARE!

irvan moore 6 years, 5 months ago

and tom, tg is not being paid to be a great husband and father, he is being way overpaid to be the football coach at the University of Kansas. if he really is this great human being you say he is he would go in tomorrow morning and tender his resignation instead of doing more damage to the football program while he waits for a big buyout, do us a favor tg, take a million and walk. this program can't afford another year of tg.

newmedia 6 years, 5 months ago

Good point. I have always wondered if Gill was actually the 100% choice of Perkins given all the turmoil that was starting to surround the AD about the time of his (Gill's) hiring.

kujayhawk 6 years, 5 months ago

Lew is just as incompetent as Gill. Self and Mangino just made him look good. His hires have been awful and I won't even mention all the other stuff that went on in our AD under perkins.

LivedinLawrence4Life 6 years, 5 months ago

Remember, this is Kansas Football. We have already won more games this year than predicted. We lost to a well funded OSU team this week. There is steady improvement that needs time to show results on the field for KU. Turner should be given the opportunity to work through his full contract terms. There is no sense in paying 3 head coaches at once since KU is still paying Mangino and would need to pay Gill for the rest of his contracted term. Sure, don't extend his contract now but don't cut it short either. Mangino left Gill scraps to rebuild with. We are lucky to have 5 victories in the last two years. Gill's work got us those 5 wins. Give him a few more recruiting classes to prove his worth.

BruceWayne 6 years, 5 months ago

Put the names back on the jerseys, burn the powderpuff blue uniforms, give the players back their phones, FIRE Gill, and call Clint Bowen .

Tim Quest 6 years, 5 months ago

You were on a roll until those last four idiotic words...

topflight 6 years, 5 months ago

FarneyMac, did i just read that. Hire Clint Bowen. I am hoping i missed the sarcasm in the post. Clint Bowen. Yeah, that would solve all the defensive problems.

George Powell 6 years, 5 months ago

LOL, remember he came from Nebraska. When he was playing against KU, they always beat us by this type of score. He is coaching thinking KU fans are expecting this kind of team, the doormat of the league. He needs to be fired, but who in their right mind would take the job?

jimmyjms 6 years, 5 months ago

I'm no big fan of Gill, but the comments on the thread are humorous. Everyone posting here with D1 coaching experience, hands up:

That's kinda what I thought. The fb at KU will not, cannot be fixed over night with either the addition or subtraction of a single person. I think you have to blame Lew for this mess, and everyone who signed off on Gill's contract. Our current AD is in an impossible situation.

kujayhawk 6 years, 5 months ago

Coaching is a fraternity, you really don't need to be that smart to be a D-I coach. Maybe you do to be a successful coach, but those are far and few between.

jimmyjms 6 years, 5 months ago

I didnt say you did. But none of you chuckle heads have any idea of how to fix this; "Fire Gill now!"

Ok, then what? You think that's going help this team, this season?

Richard Heckler 6 years, 5 months ago

"and if the AD is approached by an angry pack of wealthy boosters willing to pool resources to buy out the head coach, what then?"

These boosters may well be the problem. In fact these people should stay out of the equation and stop corrupting college sports.

Who in the world was funding the KU ticket scam?

justajoe 6 years, 5 months ago

How about a column urging Lew Perkins to do the right thing and fork over half the money needed to buy out Gill's contract. Perks never hesitated to compensate himself with bonuses for the successes of coaches he never even hired (Mangino, Self to name two), so why shouldn't he be just as personally financially accountable for the expensive failures directly related to his hires? Why is accountability a one-way street around here? Reminds me of some executives at financial institutions. Given KU's history, it's probably more likely that we'll end up coughing up more money to engage Perks (excuse me, The Lew Perkins Team, and bow when you say it) to come up with a plan to extricate us from this mess.

Richard Heckler 6 years, 5 months ago

Then again it is only a game. If the other team played the better game displaying excellent skills all was not lost. That's right watching a team exercise their superior ability is part of the enjoyment of the game.

Hey what a cool right on the money bullet pass!

Man that guy can run like a cheetah....holy smokes.

Those lineman can stop a mack truck = awesome.

Yikes whoever is calling the plays is one shrewd dude with a team that executes like a new born Apple computer. I'm just simply blown away.

Then again those displays may not be representative of the team one went to watch YET some excellent playing skills were presented.

Lew Perkins was great at raising money. Lew Perkins was awesome at taking home games away from Lawrence, Ks and costing the home team community hundreds of thousands of dollars. Lew Perkins was a reckless spender at the expense of KU and Lawrence,Kansas.

I say KU Sports Inc should fork over 50% of their annual take to academic scholarships to support the students that which make a college. In order to avert reckless spending on athletics.

I guess one could determine spending tons of money on stadiums and practice fields does not make for a winning team. Then again it's only a game.

Flap Doodle 6 years, 5 months ago

Did we really need to see this on two threads this morning? Hmmmmm

irvan moore 6 years, 5 months ago

it is not "only a game", it's big time D1 athletics, i know i'm shallow but i have a lot more interest in football than i do in the history or biology departments

greenworld 6 years, 5 months ago

TG once said he came here to win football games. Coach Gill your getting paid alot of money to back that up and seems to me its NOT happening. This whole time I defended you and thought maybe it wasnt the coach and it was the players not playing. im starting to lose hope and wonder if maybe I was wrong on that and it is the coach. If you cant motivate your team and suffer such terrible losses maybe its time to step down. Your losses arent even respectable losses. I know a loss is a loss but getting blown out of games doesnt give me a whole lot to cheer for as a Jayhawk fan. The most excitement my kids had at the last game was continueing to ask me when is this going to be over and when are we leaving. Also they gathered 10-15 souveneer cups to take home and that was more exciting. This is sad. The only jayhawk flags that they gave away when you entered into the stadium that I saw were torn ripped and thrown on the ground. I thought to myself , thats not a very happy jayhawk fan when this occurs. Okay the real question is give me one reason to keep going to the games and watching blowouts?? And also how the hell are you going to slow down OU??

OutlawJHawk 6 years, 5 months ago

Right on. I thought Halloween was the only time I got to scare kids. Now all I have to do is take them to a KU football game...

kueddie 6 years, 5 months ago

Tom- Another great story..Has anyone asked Lew Perkins, recently, about his choice of Turner Gill still being a good choice? Do you know the justification for taking him from 450K to 2.0 million?

Norm Jennings 6 years, 5 months ago

I'd love to meet this mythical crew of boosters willing to pay millions to avoid additional years of bad KU football. If they're smart enough to have earned/maintained that kind of wealth, they're firmly buttoning their wallets for 2 years when the KU AD calls (or simply finding more deserving causes to receive their support).

I love KU football, but this is a colossal mess created by the hire of Gill by Perkins, and BGL may end her career as a shining star in KU history, but when this hire was allowed to happen someone was apparently not paying due attention. I guess if negative attention is better than no attention, then KU Football almost certainly will bring the University multiple years of record-setting failures to come.

OutlawJHawk 6 years, 5 months ago

yeah, the chancellor, another b-list hire by our pathetic university elites.

elkwc36 6 years, 5 months ago

I'm an outsider looking it. My only comment is waiting just makes it worse usually. Myself and several others were calling for Prince to go over a year before he was. I was among the group who felt he should never of been hired. K-State is still recovering from that experiment and waiting another year just made it take longer. I can assure you Mangino's team would be more competitive if he was still here. Lew and his behind the back antics in making a case for firing him is the major cause of his last team melting down. Most will probably never know what went on behind the scenes. All I know is what I've read but most if it makes sense if you look back at what was happening. I hope someone makes the needed decision for the good of KU soon. It will also be good for the state of KS and the Big 12.

holbigmac 6 years, 5 months ago

If you watched the OU-UT game on ABC, you know that the commentators had a comment about KU, basically, that KU football was a "train wreck!"

Quite simply, TG needs to go immediately! Fire him! His job is to win football games, period!! If he had any class, his resignation would be on the AD's desk tomorrow morning! Then go hire Mike Leach! He would turn KU football around and be a recruiting magnet!

KU needs to take football seriously, We don't have to win the conference every year, but we should be able to go at least 7-5 every year with a bowl trip! Don't even think about cutting B-Ball, but we need not to be the worst football prgm in the country! It embarrassing!

jimmyjms 6 years, 5 months ago

"we should be able to go at least 7-5 every year with a bowl trip!"

You have no clue what you're talking about.

jaywalker 6 years, 5 months ago

Season and a half at KU is not enough time to condemn Gill. Recruiting is always a struggle under the best of circumstances for the 'Hawks, and unfortunately the only truly big bodies on the defensive side have been lost for the year. Gill can't coach size, and the D looks like mites comparatively to other squads. Mites won't tackle well when they've been continually pounded. It's a big snowball and there's no way to stop it this year.
But I still say a coach at KU has to get 3 to 5 years to build his program. I'll hold assessment 'til after next season.

Flap Doodle 6 years, 5 months ago

Did OSU really deserve all those points they scored? Wouldn't it have been more fair if the government had taken some of those points and given them to KU?

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 6 years, 5 months ago

I hate say I told you so, but I told you so.

If they had hired me two years ago, my teams wouldn't be any better than this team, but buying out my contract would have been dirt cheap by comparison.

greenworld 6 years, 5 months ago

When you have a team you are either winning for now or losing for the future, anyone care to guess which one TG is doing. I had a softball team once that couldnt beat anybody because of the talent factor or the we were young but we were small factor. I know softball is nothing like football but one night on our last game we played the best team in the league who was undefeated at the time, and needless to say by the end of the night the winless team came out ahead and broke the hearts of the winners. Any team sport is about coming together as a team and accomplishing the same common goal to achieve success. I believe in this Ku team but sometimes what you have in front of you talent wise isnt always a full house in a deck of cards. Talent wise we dont have anything worth talking about and the ones that were carrying us last yr Sims, Pick and others might be starting to play with less potential due to the fact that many others around them have given up or quit on the team when they are out there. We need star players and alot more Briscoe's at Ku or we will never beat anybody. And I hate to us the phrase you can lead a horse to water but that doesnt mean it is going to drink but that's about what our team is like except we havent even been led to it yet.

jesse499 6 years, 5 months ago

I not going to say Gill is the man for the job or not but it's amazing how someone who would die half way if he tried to trot across the narrow side of a football field knows evething there is to know about what it takes to put a good team on the field. Mark Mangino left knowthing to work with. Knute Rockne couldn't win in two years with what was left and what he could recruit in two years with the rules now days and recruiting to Kansas instead of Notre Dame.

jesse499 6 years, 5 months ago

Maybe KU should hire Keegan and Whitlock they know it all.

jesse499 6 years, 5 months ago

Maybe but just once I would like to see the two of them explain why THEIR LOSING. Instead of acting like it's so easy to do that anyone can do it.

irvan moore 6 years, 5 months ago

i think maybe tg should have been smart enough to recruit some juco players, that old guy down the road has had good luck with that

Jayhawkcc 6 years, 5 months ago

In spite of the fact that Mangino lost some valuable recruiting assets, and his stature subverted, it doesn't excuse the fact that Turner Gill's defense continually tries to arm tackle people instead of delivering a blow and wrapping them up. Instead, they stand around as if they're going to do something -- they merely posture as football players, but by then it's too late. The opposition has either made a first down or scored. Simple things like D-Backs "looking for the ball" much less attacking the ball at it's highest point, are not in their repertiore of skills. Instead, they face guard, hold, and try to mask their incompetence with emotional appeals to the officials. KU's offense has never been given the mission statement: ATTACK! That's what offense is for; that's what it means -- ATTACK! But, maybe that's too harsh a word--too harsh a concept--for a collision sport like intercollegiate football nowadays. How about protecting the ball? How about learning how to CATCH the ball -- correctly. How about a little controlled aggression? How about some hustle. How about concentrating on the task at hand instead of feeling sorry for one's self. How about getting in the "team way" and stop celebrating a lousy tackle as if it was the first time such a thing ever happened in KU's Memorial Stadium.We're just talking fundamentals here. We're talking about staying in the fight despite the circumstances. It's a mind-set thing. It's a spiritual thing! And they are not equiped with these essentials. Our players have yet to learn that circumstance does not make the man; it reveals it to himself. That's a parenting thing! That's a coaching thing! That's a mentoring thing! That's a leadership thing! Men are usually anxious to want to improve their circumstances, but all too often, unwilling to improve themselves; and, so, they remain bound to their loser mentality. What I've seen thus far (2009, 2010, 2011) goes beyond frustration. These young men are not inclined to improve. They wont to lay down. Give up! Take the easy way out. It's as if they've surrendered to learned helplessness. They behave like victims instead of football players. Bottom line, Coaches and players: Men do not attract that which they want, but that which the ARE.

BillyGoat 6 years, 5 months ago

Turner Gill seems like a nice man. I'd like to believe that if he recruits a few athletes this off-season to shore up the "D" that he can right the ship. But right now the ship is looking like the Titanic! Has anyone else noticed this pattern with KU football coaching? Hire a tough disciplinarian who wins, followed by a nice guy who loses, followed by a tough disciplinarian who wins, followed by a nice guy who loses. Gee, what kind of coach will KU hire next? Someone on this thread suggested Mike Leach. Given the reason behind Leach's dismissal (very similar to the alleged reason for Mangino's dismissal) he seems the perfect candidate ("tough disciplinarian"). Perkins' legacy at KU? (1) Instituting his points system to extract every last dollar out of basketball fans while displacing long-time loyal fans; (2) hiring friends and family in KU athletics for large $$; (3) the ticket scandal; (4) orchestrating Mangino's demise in order to (5) hire the more telegenic TG for a guaranteed contract at $2 million per annum and (6) securing large $$ for himself while doing such a fine job! What have I failed to mention about Big Lew's reign of error at KU?

Jayhawk1963 6 years, 5 months ago

How about his RIDICULOUS extension of Bonnie Henrickson's contract !!! In two out of the three most visible coaching positions at KU, we have incompetents being paid FAR in excess of what they're worth, for the next 3 to 5 years!!! No wonder KU's athletic department (except for the franchise) is the laughing stock of the Big 12. Just look at K-State. For an athletic dept. budget considerably LESS than KU's, they have better people in EVERY position except for Self and Zenger.

I disagree with you about the points system for basketball tickets though. That was long overdue. Too many old people were taking up too many good seats for little or no contributions and even DOZING off during the games !

greenworld 6 years, 5 months ago

TG needs to figure out in this neck of the woods that big name recruits do not come to KU so if he learns from his competition to the west Synder he will learn how to get the best juco transfers to load up our defense for next yr. If not we will suck and suck and suck.

greenworld 6 years, 5 months ago

And Yes OutlawJHawk I do believe Stick or Coil would be a better fit for the job and probly take less money to do the job. Just remember just cuz your a nerd that works on a computer that you still could probably do better than what this team's current record.

BringBackMark 6 years, 5 months ago

Could it be that this laughable defense is partly due to the fact that Turner and his coaches didn't even address needs in recruiting? We're currently carrying how many quality running backs?......We passed out six scholarships to offensive linemen.....we wasted one on some no-show quarterback from Colorado.....

Nick Sizemore and Brandon Bourbon should've been switched to linebacker before spring practice started. Dwayne Zlatnik should've been moved back to defensive end given his athletic ability and all-state wrestling background. We needed some juco help at D-line as well.

Mangino was a genious at evaluating what he had and putting those people in the right spot.....ah lah coach Old Balls out west. Now we're limited to 13 or 14 scholarships this year and, if I'm not mistaken, we've already got commitments from TWO QUARTERBACKS!

Frankly I was surprised that the AD didn't meet Turner at halftime and give him his papers. This is too big of business to let this program dive any further. We're all pounding our chests about this offensive improvement but let's get serious....other than the first two opponents, our offense has not been a threat to anyone. At least if we played out the season without a head coach there would be an excuse for the poundings!

irvan moore 6 years, 5 months ago

bgl won't fire gill, he came in with her blessing

KUnlv13 6 years, 5 months ago

Don't see what the big fuss is about. Easy money wagerin' against these gents out here in Vegas. Call your local book & make some loot!

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