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Weekly Press Conference: Breaking Down Turner

During past season's we've taken the press conference press release from the KUAD on Tuesday afternoon and posted it as quickly as possible.  After the positive response from our first "Breaking Down Turner" it seems to make more sense to put some substance surrounding it.  Frame it up and give some good talking points. 

What we'll try to do is give you some of the highlights or just interesting snippets, and provide an opportunity to break it down a little further both as a group and on your own. With that, our first game week Presser, "Breaking Down Turner"


Kansas Head Coach Turner Gill

To Jayhawk fans:

"I would like for them to be making sure to wear blue, making sure they come to the game energized and be ready to go with some enthusiasm. Also, (I want them) to be involved throughout the game and making sure also that they wear blue shirts so we can see that blue ‘wave the wheat' throughout the stadium. So hopefully we see that, making sure they are loud with all of our KU chants."

No it's not earth shaking or ground breaking, but a subtle reminder that 52,000 Kansas fans in the seats from start to finish can go a long long way toward building this program.  Make it happen if you can folks.


On the staff:

"I just want to make one statement about our staff.  That is probably the one big thing that we have going on in this football program right now.  We have an outstanding staff.  These guys have done a great job so far, they have really prepared our football team. (They have) 225 years of experience as far as our coaches go.  I know that we are somewhere in the top of the country when you talk about years of experience with our coaching staff."

Another pretty general statement but over the last week more has been coming to light about the paths these coaches have taken to be a part of this staff and the experiences and goals they bring with them.  It's a great group.  They believe 100% in Turner Gill and what he wants to accomplish and they all appear EXTREMELY grateful to be a part of trying to build something the right way.  That's exciting to see as a fan.

Something else along these lines, Coach Torbush commented yesterday that the players AND coaches were eager to go out and get a win for Coach Gill.  I just don't know that we've had that much buy in for a couple years at least.


On running backs and sharing time:

"I just want them to score fast and score often. (If) they do that, we are in good shape. "

Well that sounds good enough to me!  Let's bring the "Beef".


I think we are all kind of seeing where we are at, we have a game plan. No question about it, we are always going to have to adjust in games, that does happen. I think for sure two guys are going to do the majority of (carrying the ball) as far as (Angus) Quigley and (DeShaun) Sands.  After that, we will just kind of see how it all goes. Whether the freshman get in and play, we are still working through that this week. We are going to take it week by week and we are going to play the best guys and whoever gives us the best chance to be successful that is what we are going to do."

Gill seems confident with two, he did mention that one of the freshman should see time.  It sounds very much like he would like to keep one redshirted but bring one along for added depth and development.  That sounds like it's still up in the air at this point and might be ironed out in the coming days.

Gill also mentions that "we are always going to adjust in games".  That speaks to the early indications that they are full prepared to have multiple looks, personnel and options offensively and they aren't going to be afraid to use them.  So far all the talk is about improving the running game, but don't be surprised to see them stick with whatever is working and if that's the passing game against a particular opponent, we might feel like we're watching a team from a year ago.


On Toben Opurum:

"We are planning on playing him. I can't sit here and say how many reps we are going to play him. He is going to play at our strong side linebacker, and give him some reps and go from there.  I know he probably isn't going to play the majority of the game, but yes, he is planning on playing and we will go from there."

Great news for the position.  Yes the position looked painfully thin and most would have expected him to work in at somepoint, but for Opurum to be ready after just over a week speaks well to his transition.  Looking toward the future at the position, Opurum, Darius Willis, Huldon Tharp and Jake Farley will all be back or a year further in development next season as we begin to address and improve the position going forward.


Freshman defensive end Tyrone Sellers

 On tasting victory:

"You have got a new coaching staff and new philosophy. We have all bought in and we all want to win. It has been a while since some of us have played and gotten a win. It is something we are really looking forward to and we are really prepared for."

Buy in is the first step.  It was likely made easier due to the circumstances surrounding the coaching change in Lawrence, but it's nonetheless a good thing.  This team as a whole truly seems bought in and the tolerance for those that aren't is thin.  Let's hope this continues.


Senior cornerback Chris Harris

On how he views the other corners:

"Calvin (Rubles) is 6'3" and has great size for a corner. His length is going to help him cover his whole side.  It is hard to throw on somebody that tall. He is just improved a lot from a physical standpoint through tackling. He is really using his long arms now. Isiah (Barfield) just makes plays. He is just very athletic. He has all the speed that you need. He is just back there making plays."

Rubles played very well late last year and Barfield is an excellent athlete.  If Coach Torbush can find a way to create pressure up front, these are two players that can make plays and take advantage of mistakes.  I'm excited about the defensive backfield and it feels like we have some playmakers, now we just have to find the pressure up front.


Sophomore quarterback Kale Pick:

On how it has been since he was named starter:

"The biggest thing is probably the leadership role. You can only lead so much when you are in competition time. Once you name the starter, you can go out there and be more vocal and show them you are the guy."

I can't decide if I agree with this statement or not.  Can you turn leadership on and off like a light? Just something that caught my eye.


Senior wide receiver Johnathan Wilson

On teammate Kale Pick:

"Ever since he was named the starter his confidence level has increased. I think he is going to handle his first game starting very well. He likes to run the ball and he has a lot of confidence and I believe he is going to make a lot of plays out there for us."

Whether I believe it or not, Wilson seems to support the statement.


Senior offensive lineman Brad Thorson

On the teams view on Coach Gill:

"The guys on the team trust that he is going to put them in the best position possible. The team is responding to Coach Gill very well."

Trust.  Maybe that's what was missing last year.  Maybe it wasn't about not having the passion or the will to win, but maybe they just didn't trust in the coach.  There were times when Mangino definitely had that in his teams, but I doubt Thorson would say the same of last year.


Other Snippets

  • If they don't give effort, you don't have a chance.  - Turner Gill
  • Gill said he might make suggestions offensively, defensively or on special teams but that it would largely fall on the shoulders of those coaches in charge of the units.  This represents a change and trust.  Turner Gill has surrounded himself with people that he feels can help make him and Kansas better, it doesn't sound like we'll have as much of the micromanaging, constantly hovering head man worries of the past.
  • Gill commented to the leadership of Quigley which I found interesting.  I suppose entering your sixth year does lend you a certain amount of credibility in the program, but for a player that has had a difficult career without a great deal of success it raises a few questions.  Not that it's a bad thing, it could be a very good thing.  Either way, it's good to see a player step up and grab the opportunity so far.
  • The comment was made that if Keeston Terry had switched position earlier he would have most likely been on the two deep and potentially could have started at safety.  WOW!  I don't know if this is great for him or bad for the guys in there.  I'll stay positive and hope that Terry is an NFL caliber safety like his dad.

photo via

Quotes via KUAD