Head Coach Turner Gill
"I want to start off by speaking to our fans. I want our fans to know that we're going through some ups and downs in our football program here and part of that is the transition with a new staff, and our players are getting to know us in a better way. I can tell you one thing, our staff is doing a pretty good job of getting our guys to know our system. You have to teach them our offensive system and our defensive system the way we want it to be done. Through that transition phase, it takes time for our guys to understand how we need to do it and why we need to do it the way we want it to be done."
"As we continue to build this football program, our fans are going to see speed, they're going to see athleticism, they're also going to see people playing with a great passion as we continue to build the program. We are very, very confident that we will come through here and have a winning program on a consistent basis and that's why we chose to come here."
Joel Thorman over at SB Nation KC touched on this yesterday afternoon and I agree with a lot of what he said so I won't repeat it. This was necessary and much appreciated from my perspective. I just wanted further acknowledgment that what we're seeing on Saturdays is NOT considered a positive.
Generally speaking Gill is a pretty positive person and he usually kicks these things off with the positives from a game. But when you play a half of football in an empty stadium that had been filling up consistently for the first time in a LONG time, something needs to be said and it needs to indicate a sense of the grim reality at hand.
A note on the second paragraph, I want to see speed, athleticism and passion built in this program but it's not a short road ahead. Right now Coach Gill needs to show progress in the initial three year time frame. After that, a bigger step forward in the first five year time frame and realistically it will take in that 5-10 year range to achieve what we all want to achieve. Football isn't a quick program build.
I touched on it last week and I haven't had a chance to go into it further, but Missouri football, our hated rival, is a program we can look to as a goal. That took time, that took consistency with Pinkel AND the rest of the staff, and right now it's paying off in a big way for them.
"Going on to the last game (against Texas A&M). I saw a great effort by our players. I saw great energy by our players. We did have some better execution, but as we all know we have to do a better job of taking care of the football."
"Iowa State (is) coming off a great win against Texas. I know their coach, Paul Rhodes, is a person that I've known in the past. He was at Pittsburgh when I was at Buffalo, he was at Iowa State when I was at Nebraska, so I know he's a well-respected guy in our profession."
"Of their players, quarterback Austin Arnaud is a very, very good football player. He has three years of experience. That's one of the biggest things he's got going for him - he's played quite a bit of football. He can throw and he can run. Their running back, Alexander Robinson, is a guy who has really come on strong. He's one of the better guys in our conference."
"The keys to the game are, what we've said pretty much all year, we have to secure the football. We have to force turnovers on defense and we have to create field position. We have to make sure we have more opportunities field position-wise. We haven't done a very good job of turning the field position in our favor. We must have success early."
Now this whole segment is filled with irony. Paul Rhodes and Iowa State played with great energy. Paul Rhodes and Iowa State played with great effort. Kansas did not. All over the Big 12 there are small examples of the things I'd like to see both short and long term for Kansas. Short term, what Paul Rhodes has done at Iowa State and what Bill Snyder has done in his recent return at Kansas State are examples.
Rhodes has taken an Iowa State team that consistently get's viewed as a poor team into Lincoln and into Austin over the last two years and come away with a win. Maybe Texas is down, but that doesn't matter to me because I can almost assure you Kansas wouldn't do the same. His teams play hard and they don't quit. He's a good coach and I think he's a guy that can do well in Ames.
On how ready he thinks quarterback Quinn Mecham is to start a game on the road:
"He's got a smile on his face and he's ready to go. He told me ‘Coach, I'm ready. I'm ready for this opportunity' the other day. It's kind of exciting as we had a little light practice on Sunday to see our team encouraging him and things of that nature. It's an opportunity for him, and you always want that opportunity to go out and see what you can do."
"I like the way he gets the ball out. I think he can get the ball out fairly quickly, and make quick decisions."
cringing...I guess we won't be able to see the possible disaster. Of course maybe Quinn Mecham turns into the next Tom Brady. It could happen, right?
On if he's had to change the way he coaches this season:
"You always have to adjust. I can't say there has been a really big adjustment to who I am or how I've gone about doing my business, but again as you continue to know your players - what makes them go, what makes them tick, what motivates them - you do make a few adjustments, but as far as the overall concept and the basis of what we're trying to get done, that doesn't change."
Here's where I feel the staff is missing the boat right now. I'm not talking about overall coaching, but in game coaching. You go into every game with a plan on how to execute and get a win. You work all week to come up with that and this year that tends to go awry with us in a matter of moments. That being the case, you're measured on how well you adjust. We aren't adjusting. Things go wrong and they just get worse. Stop the bleeding, regroup and find a way to compete. That's a sign of a great coach, I'm just not seeing it right now. Maybe there focusing on a bigger picture view, but you'd think fighting to win would be pretty important. If players don't feel a sense of urgency or fight, then it's going to reflect in the play on the field.
On the differences between his first year at KU versus his first year at Buffalo:
"There are some similarities, because of a new staff coming in. You make that adjustment on both sides. The biggest thing is our players adjusting to how we do things, terminology, a few little things of technique of how we teach it. (The veteran players) have been in a system for three years or two years or one year, and you have to try to change the brain wave of how we want to do things. And then you always want to be consistent week after week. That's what we're striving to do, and that's what we will get done. We all came here to build a winning program year after year."
It's football. Yes there are adjustments, but that excuse only lasts so long. Right now it feels like we're going to use that one forever. Small goals from here on out, find a way to set them and let's give some tangible evidence that the adjusting is happening.
Offensive Coordinator Chuck Long
On which quarterback will back up Quinn Mecham:
"We're going to work Christian (Matthews) in some in practice this week. We think by the end of the week Jordan (Webb) might be available. But we're going to work Christian in a little bit today and tomorrow, and we're going to work Quinn (Mecham) in and get a lot of reps with Quinn. We'll just see how the week goes; it's a day-to-day thing right now."
I'm honestly more interested in having Christian Matthews as the starter. I haven't seen a quarterback on our team that can handle life as a spread QB. Let's find a guy that can move and make plays and get to that dual threat stage that I really think this staff wants to be at.
On the challenges of taking over a new program:
"The challenges this year are really very consistent with my first year with (Iowa head coach) Kirk Ferentz. They're very similar. I was in Kirk Ferentz's first year at Iowa when we went 1-10. We set a school record for the most losses in school history, I believe. But under Kirk's direction, much like Turner right now, our staff has stayed steady, and consistent and never wavered from our philosophy."
Again, Iowa is a GREAT example of what Kansas as a program should be striving for and that patience and long term consistency with the staff speaks to how many successful programs rise up from the bottom. But it just didn't feel like it should've been this bad. Perhaps we need to remove the Orange Bowl from our memory and view the peak of the Mangino era as the Insight Bowl and the rest of his time as mediocre. Then we don't have the inflated expectations, and then maybe we can stomach this turnover the way we did all the other ones in the past.