It's Friday, it's a slow week but we've got K-State coming up next Thursday so next week should be a fun one. That said I'm watching the gridiron, watching the team repeat the 'Believe' mantra and after five games maybe there's a little context we can put around these phrases.
There have been people on both sides in terms of the way Coach Gill is handling things on the sideline, on a daily basis etc. and maybe this whole 'Believe' thing can help us understand exactly the level of culture change, adjustment whatever you want to call it that's going on in our program.
- B-believe in each other and things net yet seen.
Seven losses to close out a season, here comes the same old KU. Changing this is a dramatic shift in thinking.
- E-empower people by encouragement
In the gridiron Gill talks about empowering eachother as teammates by trusting they will get the job done. Perhaps this explains his sideline demeanor a bit? Certainly Mangino trusted guys like Todd Reesing and Jake Sharp, but I can tell you he struggled mightily with empowering people. When you go from every microscopic decision being made by one man to a coach who empowers you to go out and make choices, I'm sure there is an adjustment...especially on gameday.
- L - learn to press on towards the goal
It is what it is. Lot's of learning and pressing to be done.
- I - influence others by being a positive role model
With the past year and a half as the backdrop, I'm sure you won't find many Jayhawk fans who would object to this being a focus. Representing the school and the program in a positive manner is important to many Jayhawks, it certainly is to me.
- E-expect great effort all the time.
Clearly he emphasizes this point as something that the players aren't doing. He thinks they hear is, but they aren't doing and I don't know that many would argue based on what we've seen on Saturday. Now, Mangino's tactics would be to get this through fear, Gill's are very different and that seems to be through self accountability. Again, take 85 guys who are being led by fear and try to provide them with the opportunity to hold themselves and eachother accountable and it's like an extra recess. Both methods can work, but perhaps these "E's" are the biggest culture changes in the program at the moment.
- V-visualize excellence
It's like the L, it is what it is. I don't know that visualizing is a problem for these guys. Plenty of confidence on the sideline as individuals, but maybe they need to see it as a team more.
- E - Enjoy
Another "E" and another DRAMATIC shift from a year ago. It's been talked about before that many players had lost some of that love for the game and desire to play under Mangino. It was a means to being in Lawrence, going to school, being around their friends and doing what they had to do. But not everyone was enjoying it.
One player once told me, "You get used to it and it's tough to decide to change." Basically, there weren't many happy Jayhawks, but deciding to transfer or take some other action to change your situation isn't easy. Guys come to college, you meet your friends, you get in a routine and you go through the motions. Same reason people stay at a job they hate I suppose. That was his point.
Now, it's impossible for everyone to enjoy it and that's just the reality, everyone has a burnout point. But getting more to enjoy, seems to be part of Gill's plan to get maximum effort.
Again, major culture change. Take a coach who didn't necessarily focus on enjoying anything about your experience and switch that out with a coach who encourages this. It's like adopting an abused animal. It might take a little time to get the response you are looking for.
The point here isn't that Mangino was wrong and Gill is right, the point is that the two philosophy's are completely different. Coach Mangino did a hell of a job for Kansas, no doubt about it. But when a change comes about and it's with a young team in such a dramatic fashion, maybe it takes some time?
Maybe I'm being a bit too optimistic today, pretty sure Grad or someone spiked my morning coffee with kool-aid, but really it's just a Friday with some extra time and a few thoughts on Believe.