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Harder To Defend KU Football Coach Turner Gill But He Has Positives

Kansas RB Angus Quigley spent a few minutes defending head coach Turner Gill. Is he right?

The Kansas Jayhawks aren't looking so hot in the 2010 football season. With four games to go -- and three of those almost assured losses -- the Jayhawks sit at 2-6 and potentially headed for a 2-10 season in Lawrence, Kan. When you're losing games 55-7 and 59-7, it's fair to ask if the players have bought into the system. Those scores would suggest that Turner Gil has some work to do in that area.

RB Angus Quigley is in his sixth year as a Jayhawk and, as a leader on the team, spent a few minutes defending Turner Gill as their head coach.

"I fully trust what coach Gill is doing," Quigley said. "I always say that coach Gill can't get out there and play. Guy misses a block, that has nothing to do with coach Gill. That comes from within the athlete. This coaching staff is putting together a great plan. Missing tackles and things like that, that has nothing to do with coach Gill."

If he's not responsible for how his players play then exactly what does the head coach do? I respect guys like Quigley but trying to suggest Gill isn't ultimately responsible for all aspects of the football team and their play is a little silly.

"People in the media want to sometimes point the finger at coach Gill. But, hey, when you look into it, it's not coach Gill. I think guys trust coach Gill. There's just something that goes on from practice to the game, which he really can't control."

Listen, I've been as hard on Turner Gill as anyone but that's because his teams are nothing how he says they'll be. They're not smart. They're not resilient. They give up (look at those scores and tell me otherwise). They don't look tough. It's cool that Quigley stands up for him -- it shows Gill has a personal connection with these guys and they're not completely tuning him out -- but he's digging deep suggesting Gill isn't responsible for what happens on the field.

It's Gill's first year and it's been pretty bad so clearly people are going to question him. When things don't go well, it's perfectly OK for people to wonder if the head coach -- the guy responsible for the play on the field -- is doing the right thing. I'd be worried if people weren't questioning the methods of a team that's 2-6.

Some people have pointed out to me that Mark Mangino won two games in year one with the Jayhawks. Correct. He was also coming to a team that hadn't been to a Bowl game -- much less the freakin' Orange Bowl -- in seven years. His blowouts came against teams like Nebraska and Kansas State (when they were very good).Gill struggles against North Dakota State and a significantly weaker Kansas State team.

All that said, Gill deserves time to figure this out. Clearly he's made a connection with his players if guys like Quigley are standing up and fighting for him. That loose idea of him being a players coach (vs. the Mangino style) is part of the reason he was hired and he's apparently succeeding there. It's a great sign for the future if Gill can make guys want to fight for him. That's a major positive he has going for them.

The next step is taking that and translating it to results on the field.