The Kansas Jayhawks are 2-2 with an upset loss to North Dakota State and an upset victory over Georgia Tech. They're doing some things right to this point but are also doing plenty of things wrong, as evidenced by their record.
Now we mix in the news that's been floating around for some time now that head coach Turner Gill has a couple of eyebrow-raising policies:
- No cell phones the day before leading up to the game.
- No girls after 10:00 p.m.
These policies raised a few eyebrows in the media over the last week.
Now, I understand Gill's logic here. I regularly over the Kansas City Chiefs, a professional team, so I understand what football coaches are like. They demand perfection and by the nature of the position they want to control everything. It's not a bad thing, as evidenced by the Chiefs 3-0 record.
I don't think Gill is necessarily wrong in instituting these types of policies. I think what he's trying to accomplish -- stability. focus and unity -- makes sense and, in many ways, is necessary.
I think when you look at someone like Nick Saban, running a program similar to a professional team like the Chiefs, clearly works. Saban has been successful everywhere he goes and coincidentally comes from the same Pioli/Belichick type of program that the Chiefs run. But Alabama is also a national contender year in and year out with Saban at the helm. Saban's name alone is a more powerful recruiting tool than anything KU has.
And that's what it comes down to: Recruiting.
KU isn't Alabama. They brought in Gill partly because he's a "players coach" and apparently can communicate well with the players (which is quite the contrast to Mark Mangino). That has to be part of their recruiting techniques. So they hire Gill based on the idea that players will want to come play for him because he can connect with the players and isn't as hard on them as the previous regime.
But then when they get to school, they're asked to give up their cell phones for a day and limit their interaction with other human beings -- a/k/a girls.
The messages you get from Gill the "player coach" and the reality of some of the rules contradict each other.
Now the media has gotten ahold of the cell phone and no girls policy and that's what kids are going to hear and in turn that's what their perception will be. Right or wrong, I don't see how this media attention on these policies can help recruiting.
So while I think Gill's policies compete with the perception of him that has been created, the media attention for KU regarding this isn't a good thing. Will it kill recruiting? Nah. But I do think it will make some recruits think twice and it will make KU have to explain why they do what they do. I just don't think policies like that -- or at least letting those policies go public -- was the best move for a team in transition trying to make KU appear to be an attractive place to go to school.
I just think there are a lot of positives going on at Kansas right now. Gill brings a little excitement (as most new coaches do), Jordan Webb is the future and they've shown their ceiling by beating a top 25 team this year. These policies -- and the attention it has created -- wipe out the good things KU has going for it.