We're a few weeks into Owen's Staff Approval Rating polls, and though there are weekly variations I think we're establishing a pretty good baseline for how the fanbase feels. On average, we seem to be about 50-50, with predictable upswings after better performances (TT and OU), and downturns after blowouts (OSU). The thing that frustrates me personally about these weekly polls, however, is that though we are measuring only the current coaching staff, they aren't entirely responsible for where the football team is today. This isn't a "Turner GIll sympathizer" thing, either. If our junior and senior classes were great and this team was sitting at 5-1 right now, we'd all be hailing Gill as a genius. That wouldn't be fair then, either. After a year and a half, Gill doesn't get a pass for it not really being "his team" anymore, but you can't ignore the fact that he only recruited about 20% of his roster.
With that in mind, let's look at Gill's divisive predecessor. There's no doubt that Kansas football got better when Mark Mangino came to Lawrence. Still, the vast majority of the 2011 team was put together by the Big Man as well. Upperclassmen like Greg Brown, Isiah Barfield, Richard Johnson, Lubbock Smith and Anthony Davis who seem like the same frustrating players they were as freshmen (and who play a big part in the point totals allowed by the defense) are Mangino's players, not Gill's.
My position has been (and continues to be) that while Gill and his staff are not getting as much out of the team as they should be, they inherited precious little talent, specifically on the defensive side of things. The general assumption amongst the fans seems to be that since Mangino had so much success recruiting early on, that it must have continued for the duration of his time at KU. But his staff changed drastically across his tenure, and so did his recruiting results. We've heard plenty of stories since Mangino's departure suggesting he was not, personally, much of a recruiter, and was a rather difficult man to work under. It seems reasonable (if not obvious) that the quality of his staff had declined by his final years in Lawrence, and along with it the quality of talent he was bringing in.
At any rate, we can all agree that 100% of the blame for the state of Kansas football today can be placed between Gill and Mangino. The debate lies in how that comparative blame should be dispersed. In that vein of thinking, I want to ask you, looking at the state of the program today...
Do you approve of the job Mangino was doing when he
got forced out left?
For the most part, I encourage you to interpret the question as you like, but I would like to emphasize that this is NOT asking whether you approve of Mangino's overall tenure. Obviously, that would be around 100% "yes." Instead, think more of the program as of Decmber 2009, after completing a season in which they missed a bowl game and won just a single conference game. Do you approve of where the team was that day when Gill took over? From there, I think we can better extrapolate how these weekly Gill polls truly reflect the fanbase's opinion of this coaching staff. It helps to know how the fanbase feels about what Gill was given in the first place.