Looking into the future: Give Turner Gill and Kansas Football a chance

October 29, 2010 § Leave a comment

For most Kansas football fans, all hope is lost that the Jayhawks will be strapping up their bowling shoes this season.  But were you REALLY expecting that we were going to?

I remember the first lost to North Dakota State.  The comment pages on KUSports.com were flooded with “Fire Turner Gill” like statements.  

After ONE game.  Sure, it was a bad loss but I think a lot of KU fans had it out for him before he even got a chance.  Now don’t get me wrong, I don’t enjoy losing the way we have against Baylor, K-State and Texas A&M.  A combined total of 159-24.  It’s embarrassing and it does need to change.

Like I said in a earlier post, KU needs to show fans that they can at least compete in games.  Lately it’s been blowout after blowout with the games over after the first half.  But before you storm Lawrence with pitch forks and torches, sit and think about this a minute.  How greedy have we gotten?

I want to point out some reasons why I think that all Jayhawk fans should keep some faith in Turner Gill.  Dallas Cowboys stadium wasn’t built in one day, right? (hehe)

Did everyone forget the KU football of old?  I sure haven’t.  I remember my freshman year when Adam Barmann was losing football games at Toledo.  That was back when Joe College was still alive and selling out of our motto t-shirts “Win or Loose, we’ll still booze.”  And that’s how it was.  We cared, but weren’t torn apart when we lost.  I still remember sitting on the hill with my dad watching the Colorado game when they pulled Todd Reesing’s redshirt and seeing him torch the Buffs on the ground and through the air.

But let’s get real, Todd Reesing’s aren’t exactly a dime a dozen.  Yes, Mangino did take Kansas to an Orange Bowl victory followed by an Insight Bowl victory.  Incredible times for Kansas athletics.  But what did he do the next year?  Lost the last 7 games going 5-7.

Almost every coach struggles their first year or two.  Let’s take a look at the current Big 12 coaches and their first season records at their respective school.

  • Mack Brown (Texas) =  (9-3, 6-2)
  • Bo Pelini (Nebraska) =   (9-4, 5-3)
  • Bob Stoops (Oklahoma) =  (7-5, 5-3)
  • Paul Rhoads (Iowa State) =  (7-6, 3-5)
  • Art Briles (Baylor) =  (4-8, 2-6)    *Went 4-8 in second season, too
  • Mike Sherman (Texas A&M) =  (4-8, 2-6)
  • Tommy Tuberville (Texas Tech) =  (4-3, 2-3)  *Tuberville is in his first year at Texas Tech
  • Mike Gundy (Oklahoma State) =  (4-7, 1-7)
  • Gary Pinkel (Missouri) =  (4-7, 3-5)
  • Dan Hawkins (Colorado) =   (2-10, 2-6)
  • Bill Snyder (Kansas State) =  (1-10, 0-7)  *Back when it was the Big 8

Brown, Stoops and Pelini were the only ones who went above .500 in their first season.  How surprising, the three teams with the best recruits in the conference.  Even old fart Bill Snyder snaked just one win in his first season in the little crapple.  Mark Mangino went 2-10 in his first year and didn’t have a winning season until his 4th.

We have to realize that new coaches and players take time to get in sync.  Do we have the best talent?  No.  But we do have talent.  And Gill seems to be recruiting well despite the terrible season.

KU just landed Blue Springs hot shot Darrian Miller who received offers from the likes of Iowa, Louisville, K-State and Wisconsin.

Kansas commit Darrian Miller. Photo by John Fedele.

Any time you can steal a 4-star (according to Rivals, not Scout) Missouri native from nationally ranked teams, you must be doing something right.  The 2009 Gatorade player of the year had originally committed to KU, then took back his verbal commitment to look at other schools.  Looks like Gill and company knew what it took to land the talented young man.

Gill said in a press conference Tuesday that 4-star freshman Keeston Terry will probably miss the rest of the season but he hopes the NCAA will allow him to use this injury as a redshirt.  Terry, who was recruited as a wide reciever but switched to defensive back, has been out since the second half of the Southern Miss game.  If Gill can pull off getting Terry a free year while getting him three games experience, this could be big.  Also, RB Brandon Bourbon should keep his redshirt on the rest of the season.  Bourbon was another Gill recruit from Missouri who dropped his verbal with Stanford and came to Kansas.

A majority of our recruits come from the Dallas/Fort Worth area.  Gill is from Fort Worth.

I know some people will point out the fact that he went 20-30 at Buffalo.  I agree, not very impressive.  Should Lew Perkins have given him such a huge contract (5 years, 10 million) before he proved himself?  Maybe not.  And do I think that it’s a good idea for him to enforce a rule that denies football players being with girls after 10 p.m.?  Nope.  But it’s his style.  He’s bringing a change to Kansas and it’s going to be a lot different than what we had with Mangino.  We will lose some recruits because of his ways but we will also gain some.  There are a lot of kids out there other than the 5-stars everyone wants.

That’s what Kansas does.  We get the talented kids that are overlooked because they lack height or don’t play against the fiercest competition in high school.

We may not win more than the two games we already have this season.  Kansas fans just have to accept that.  But give him at least one more full season before you start calling for someone else.  Kansas is a young team who has talent coming in.  Not only in the skilled positions but also where they need it most, the offensive line.

Like him or not, Gill deserves the time and the chance to get his team together and prove naysayers wrong.  If we go 2-10 next year, then it may be time for concern.  But don’t jump ship just yet.  Rock Chalk.

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