In June at the six month mark of the Turner Gill era we took a moment to grade a few areas of Turner Gill's performance based on the limited sample at our disposal. At the time we broke it down as follows:
Staff: B- Player Morale: A Recruiting: B Coaching: C+ Fan Morale: B
We kicked around additional question marks and areas where Gill could have been scored to date.
He Get's an A+ for personnel management. The Greene incident was handled swiftly, precisely, and appropriately. - Rivet
And we argued the merits of the current grading and our expectations for the season.
I think Player Development is a little more important than recruiting. Recruiting is always huge, but for the present I’m interested in seeing how the staff develops the young talent in place now. - KUGrad
Get everyone on the same page and pulling in the same direction and good things can happen. - Owen
Personally, I think the media is going to be as enamored with Gill, especially after dealing with Mangino's personality, I think that they are going to spin some early success in a very positive way. - Dagger
All in all there seemed to be a good amount of cautious optimism in the Jayhawk world surrounding the football team. There might have been a few heavy kool aid drinkers talking 8-9 wins, a good chunk in the 6 win, hoping for 7 win range and of course we did have several calling for a disaster from the get go.
Five games in, how is Gill doing now? Being a Kansas fan I'll be honest and say that I'm going to look for the benefit of the doubt here because Coach Gill isn't going anywhere anytime soon and he shouldn't be at this point. With that in mind we all know there is PLENTY of room for improvement. We're now three months in to what we then described as the most critical six months of Turner Gill's first year, so where do we stand?
Over the spring and summer we had the boost of player morale and solid recruiting to carry this group. The buzz surrounding the Kansas staff seemed to indicate they were the best group we'd seen at Kansas. After 5 games is that still the case?
There have been areas where Kansas has looked unprepared and disorganized. There have been special teams mistakes that cost the Jayhawks big. Defensively I've felt that Carl Torbush has done a decent job minus the Baylor game which created some horrible matchups for our team. Offensively, I haven't been enamored with Chuck Long, but I'm still optimistic at what he can become once given the time to get his system in place.
All in all you can judge each position, you can judge the collective whole, but either way this hasn't been the most crisp looking program through five games of the season. You could probably go lower with this grade, but I'd be hard pressed to go much higher than a C- right now.
Player Morale: B
Everything I hear continues to be positive. The players are buying into the talk and adjusting to the new staff and the bumps don't seem to be having a huge impact on the way things feel inside the program. If that's the case then why don't I give them an A still? Well, I can't believe the inconsistency and a 55-7 beatdown don't put any doubt in the back of an 18-22 year olds mind.
I think this is still an area of strength for this group. They seem to have developed that "us against the world" mantra and a family environment, but at some point there is no better way to keep morale at a high level than winning on Saturday.
I'm actually going to give this spot a boost. Why? Well, simply put the disaster through five games doesn't seem to have negated the goodwill with any of our current commits. Yes I still suspect there will be changes and that's inevitable with so many early commitments. But Kansas also appears well positioned with some potentially solid defensive names and that's going to be huge for the future.
Now new questions have been raised in this area in terms of the talent and level of player that is being recruited and at this point I'm not ready to judge that portion. We're just not at a level as a program where we can expect a substantially different caliber of recruit overnight.
If I had to knock the staff on one area here it would be the local front, we just aren't winning it and as discussed in the past week there are plenty of Kansas kids making big contributions elsewhere in college football. B+ for now, but this is one of those areas that can change very quickly in a short amount of time.
Well we had Georgia Tech right! Other than that the gameday coaching and preparation just seems to be missing at this point. That's not to say that Gill can't turn things around in time. Probably the best thing happening to Coach Gill is what also seems to be going on in Lubbock. A new coach, a new philosophy and a new way of doing things. Perhaps there is something to the "process" and the "adjustment" talk. I'll give it time. Although that doesn't mean I have to be happy with the results today.
Fan Morale: F+
Not sure they even give F+'s in the world but right now the honeymoon is over. There are plenty out there ready and willing to give Coach Gill some time and see what he can do with a few more years and more of HIS recruits, but the current fan morale feels pretty low. There just isn't a lot of confidence that this team is going to go out and put a product on the field that fans can be proud of. And that all goes back to being competitive.
No one is saying that this team needed to go 10-2, 7-5, or even 6-6 to deserve support and interest from the fans. Wins and losses might not have even been part of the equation for some. What is important is looking the part of a division 1, Big 12 football team. Competing in every game and not looking like a pushover program. At this point correcting those things is what most fans want to see for the rest of the year. Even if that means finishing 2-10, make it look like the team we can believe in even a little.
The above were the five we scored in the summer and the five we'll score today, but I'm interested in thoughts on other areas that might deserve grading and thoughts on the grades in general.