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Opinion: There’s no worse place than the road for KU football

Kansas linebacker Jake Love hangs his head after a Baylor touchdown during the third quarter, Saturday, Nov. 3, 2012 at Floyd Casey Stadium in Waco, Texas.

Kansas linebacker Jake Love hangs his head after a Baylor touchdown during the third quarter, Saturday, Nov. 3, 2012 at Floyd Casey Stadium in Waco, Texas.

November 3, 2012

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Press Conferences & Post-Game Interviews

KU coach Charlie Weis talks after 41-14 loss to Baylor

KU coach Charlie Weis talks after his team's 41-14 loss to Baylor on Nov. 3, 2012.

Box score

KU vs. Baylor

— Three years and 18 days ago, Kansas University quarterback Todd Reesing suffered a groin injury, and that’s when it all started.

The coaching carousel. The musical quarterbacks games. The fall all the way back to the bottom of the Big 12 and the losing streak that follows the Jayhawks every time they leave Lawrence.

We hear all the time from athletes that groin injuries have a way of lingering, but this is getting a little out of hand.

The last 20 times Kansas has played a football game away from its campus, the Jayhawks have lost.

Saturday’s had a few memorable twists, such as a 45-minute lightning delay that made halftime last 65 minutes and a rich rainbow in the distance as the game inched toward its predictable outcome of Baylor 41, Kansas 14. All 20 losses have stamps that enable distinguishing one from the next, but they all end the same, with a quiet trip back to Kansas.

Three losses were to Missouri in Arrowhead Stadium, two apiece in Ames, Iowa, Austin, Texas, Manhattan and Waco and one apiece in nine other cities. The 0-20 traveling woe show has played in 10 states: Colorado, Georgia, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, Oklahoma and Texas. Fifteen of the losses have been by double digits, seven by margins of 40 or more points.

Three different coaches have headed the KU program during the streak: Mark Mangino (0-5), Turner Gill (0-11), Charlie Weis (0-4 and counting).

Five different quarterbacks have started games during this recurring nightmare: Reesing (0-5), Jordan Webb (0-9), Quinn Mecham (0-2), Dayne Crist (0-2) and Michael Cummings (0-2).

Reesing wasn’t the same after his groin injury, his mobility and hence his magic stolen, but even a diminished Reesing did far more to spark an offense than any of his successors.

In a particularly embarrassing half for the pass-challenged Kansas offense Saturday, the Jayhawks couldn’t score a point against the defense ranked dead last in the nation coming into the weekend. It doesn’t get any worse than that, unless it does Saturday in Lubbock, where Texas Tech awaits, eager to rinse away the taste of Saturday’s loss to Texas.

KU coaches will study film with the players, try to fix some things, study film of the Red Raiders, try to find some weaknesses to exploit and prepare a game plan. That’s what they do. Equipment men will load the bags and the balls, the game uniforms and the pads, and drive it to the flat-in-every way west Texas town because that’s what they do. A pilot and co-pilot will fly the team to Lubbock, the players and coaches will check into a hotel, and Saturday afternoon the Jayhawks will walk off the field under a scoreboard they won’t like because when they leave home, that’s what they do.

Their home record (1-4) hasn’t been much better, but their efforts have been. The same competitive edge they have demonstrated in Memorial Stadium somehow doesn’t make the trip with them.

Too often Saturday, such as for the entire second half, Kansas had the look of a desperate football team. It never looked more pathetic than when holder Blake Jablonski rolled left to try to run 10 yards for a first down on a fake doomed from its inception. The team’s fourth-string quarterback was thrown for a one-yard loss and the score remained Baylor 17, Kansas 7. We’ll never know if Nick Prolago could have made it 17-10 by kicking a 30-yard field goal into the wind over the bar and between the uprights. We only know it wouldn’t have been enough to make a difference.

Still, that doesn’t change the vibe that the move smacked of desperation for a team that hasn’t thrown a single touchdown pass in the past three games and doesn’t have a TD reception from a wide receiver all season.

Was that the play that was called?

“It was actually a play that I thought if you had the look, go ahead and do it,” Weis said. “I thought that we would kick the field goal, just based off of the look. Supposedly, that’s what they were expecting. I thought we were going to check out of that play and kick the field goal, but that is not what happened.”

Was it supposed to be a rollout to the left side?

“The play was to roll to one side or the other, based on the look,” Weis said.

Jablonski was requested by at least one member of the media, but was not included among the players made available for post-game interviews.

The mere fact a holder was requested for an interview in a game decided by a margin of 27 points reveals the desperate need for this tired road script to change.

Comments

LJD230 2 years, 1 month ago

Perhaps KU should reconsider it's position as the doormat for big(non-capitalized "b" intentional) 12 football.and drop the program. It does nothing to enhance the reputation of the university or the state. Charlie Weis and the coaching staff are not the issue. Sometimes lemonade can't be made with lemons.

youngjayhawk 2 years, 1 month ago

I agree, call it a season and drop the program; enough is enough!

newmedia 2 years, 1 month ago

HOME hasn't exactly been a bed of roses either............

Matthew Herbert 2 years, 1 month ago

Who wins their 2nd game of the season first: the Chiefs or the Hawks?

Jean1183 2 years, 1 month ago

They should play each other.

For a TIE!

James Minor 2 years, 1 month ago

Don't leave out the coach. There is a third string quarterback that hasn't been given a chance. If plans A & B aren't working try plan C. What is there to lose? KU needs to show that in a rebuilding season different tatics are needed to find out the correct mixture for winning. James Sims is great and so is Kale Pick and Patterson, the defense is doing the best they can. Charlie is looking like a lot of hot air blowing into a little balloon and hasn't realized the bubble has burst. KU paid a lot of money in coaching and hype to see someone demonstrate the coaching skills of a high school coach. It is embarrasing in a rebuilding year to see the same quarterbacks and receivers not improving. It is time for the current receivers with the exception of Pick and Patterson to ride the pine and try some new blood!!!!

StirrrThePot 2 years, 1 month ago

Wow, such great attitudes, people.

KU should NOT drop football, an idea considered by K-State prior to hiring Bill Snyder in 1989. KU is no where near as abysmal as that program was, it simply needs a chance to start over from the lousy decision by former AD Lew Perkins to fire Mark Mangino and hire the multimillionaire failure that is Turner Gill. After spending the money to improve facilities, that move pretty much set them back 3-4 years. The program is rebuilding and I can already see some improvement over last season, when it just looked completely incompetent. We need to give it a little more time.

youngjayhawk 2 years, 1 month ago

At least Turner Gill was a classier coach than Mangio or Weis could ever aspire to be; currently, the KU football program is embarrassing and a money drain.

jjinks 2 years, 1 month ago

Well as your name implies, youngjayhawk, that is the attitude that got Mangino run out of here and the attitude that will keep this team a loser.

Haiku_Cuckoo 2 years, 1 month ago

Mangino had to go. He was physically abusing players. A coach like that is a serious risk to any university. On top of that, his recruiting was abysmal and he was losing game after game. Could Turner Gill have done better with more time? Maybe not. He's doing pretty good at Liberty University this year though.

holbigmac 2 years, 1 month ago

 I've been enduring this for 60 years now.  I first started going to KU football with my Dad when I was growing up in Topeka.  Except for a few season, we have been awful for years!  It's down right embarrassing!  If Baylor can bring it's football program back, surely KU can!  The fault is the attitude in Lawrence starting in the Chancellor's office and at the AD's office.  KU doesn't care if it wins in football!  It never has and probably won't ever!
 I live in the Lubbock area and have season tickets to TTU football.  Even though I'm a KU grad, I probably won't wear anything that identifies me with KU next Saturday!  I can't  stand the embarrassment!  That's a sad commentary, isn't it!
 I propose that all of us quit paying our alumni association dues until KU makes a commitment to winning football!  Thank God for Bill Self or we wouldn't have any alumni association members!

kuhlman 2 years, 1 month ago

It's funny how everyone is so willing to give Weis a free pass - "Oh, it's only his first year, give him a chance!"- but were so eager to run Gill out of town - "He lost his first three games?! Fire the bum!!"

I agree that Weis should be given more than one season to prove himself. And in fact, I think that all coaches should be given at least four years to prove themselves. If you want to talk about building programs, you need to consider that until a coach has been in place for four years, they aren't even playing entirely with players that they recruited. It's not truly 'their' team, they're in charge of a team that someone else made.

If you want to talk about really building a football program it takes a long, long time to make a very small long-term gain. There is an infinite number of variables that contributes to the success or failure of a team, and perhaps the biggest one is the teams history: good players want to play for teams that are already proven to be good, ergo, it is hard for a traditionally bad team to attract quality players and make the jump to being a good team.

In short: anyone who thinks there is some quick fix that's going to make KU football a national contender (or that Mangino was actually doing that, for that matter) is delusional. You need to give it time, a lot of time, and quit switching coaches every two years so the team can at least form a cohesive identity.

And getting back to Turner Gill, just why is it that in this one-win season the team looks more competent than the past two seasons? Is it the posting of 20+ point losses that makes them look competent? The fact that they nearly beat a floudering, far below the usual standard Texas team this year? It might be 2012, but I strongly suspect that if Turner Gill was a fat white guy all the fans that called for his firing would have been much more willing to give him the benefit of the doubt.

jjinks 2 years, 1 month ago

You had to bring race into it didn't you? All that does is show your total ignorance. Was it racial when Mangino got fired? People like you keep a race war going for no reason. You make me sick.

DocPossum 2 years, 1 month ago

This team is competitive for a half. Improvement is not linear. Some ups and some downs. Tech is likely licking their chops. Could be the away victory we are seeking. Final answer will not come without an infusion of new talent on the field. Year three should be interesting!

LJD230 2 years, 1 month ago

That there will be either a short or long term return on the investment that KU has made in it's football program is very doubtful. The football program dollars have all been p***ed down the drain. Kids don't want to play in a losing program and the chance of recruiting a class of kids that knows one end of the football field from the other or can remember and execute plays is pretty damn slim. The idea of rebuilding the program is magical thinking. It ain't possible to make a silk purse out of a sow's ear.

Dump the program and reinvest the dollars in a program or two that might yield some modicum of return and not embarass the university. Why not a men's soccer or lacrosse team? Provide greater support to baseball, swimming, track and field and tennis.

NCAA football is about money. Nothing more and nothing less. KU is out of the game.

classclown 2 years, 1 month ago

Frankly I'm surprised the big 12 doesn't kick KU out and find a more worthy team.

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