Speculation has swirled in recent weeks that Turner Gill‘s brief time as Kansas’ head coach could be coming to an end much sooner than anyone ever anticipated.
Hell, one columnist went so far as to write that the second-year coach and the football program should be put out if its misery in the here and now, with the elixir for what ails the Jayhawks being the man Gill replaced.
There’s certainly something wrong in Lawrence when it comes to football. Thus far this season, the Jayhawks are just 2-5 overall and winless in Big 12 play. They’ve lost their conference games by an average of 30 points a game, including Saturday’s 59-21 Sunflower Beatdown at the hands of in-state rival Kansas State.
Hearing the howls from fans, Gill’s boss was finally forced to address the state of the football Jayhawks following the fifth straight loss. And KU’s athletic director stopped far, far short from offering a vote of confidence, dreaded or not, although it appears Gill will at least make it through his second full regular season..
“I don’t expect any player, coach, administrator, fan or alum to accept the performance on the field today or in recent weeks,” Sheahon Zenger told the Kansas City Star. “We will get this thing fixed.
“We will continue to evaluate the program on a week-by-week basis. At the University of Kansas, we will never make complete evaluations until the season is complete and the body of work is in.”
Perhaps the biggest reason for the itchy trigger fingers in and around Lawrence is Gill’s predecessor. Specifically, the success, relative to the school’s past, the program enjoyed pre-Gill. Before a final 5-7 season in 2009 that was the direct result of an athletic department witch hunt, Mark Mangino had led the Jayhawks to 20 wins in 2007 and 2008, including a 12-win season in the former year that culminated in an Orange Bowl victory.
Juxtapose that with Gill’s 5-14 overall mark and 1-11 conference record in a year and a half, and the seeds of discontent have been sown.
“I’m here to coach and teach,” Gill said. “I still believe in my ability to coach, I still believe in my ability to develop, I believe in this staff’s ability to teach and develop. I feel good about it. It’s just taken a little bit longer time to get things done.”
Whether or not he’ll be granted additional time to get things done remains to be seen and is very much up in the air.