As Kansas gets ready to head to Ames to take on the Iowa State Cyclones, Turner Gill and the Jayhawks are searching for something to provide some positivity to what has been a bit of a lost season. After a solid start and two early wins against inferior competition, Kansas has struggled to compete on a BCS level to the extent that Kansas has become widely known for their struggles and the days of bowl games and Big 12 competitiveness seem long gone.
So what can Kansas salvage during their trip to Ames? Quite a bit actually. With four games left on the calendar Kansas and Turner Gill could actually salvage a great deal. The message coming out of Turner Gill's is one of opportunity.
It is a new month. We are looking forward to the month of November because it is about how you finish.
And while that quote seems like a coach on the hot seat trying to salvage some positivity and possibly his job, it is a very true statement. Kansas can change the viewpoint of the season if they can finish strong in November. Now that is a huge if given the struggles that the Jayhawks have experienced, but games against Iowa State, Baylor, Texas A&M and Missouri do appear to be a little less daunting than the start of the conference season featuring three top 10 opponents.
For the Jayhawk players it's about changing the outlook for the future. Early on the Kansas offense was showing improvement, that has stalled a bit, but the offense can generate some positive momentum if they are able to have some success against an average Iowa State defense.
On the other side of the ball Kansas has been atrocious. But for all the negatives on the defensive side of the ball, things have looked better on occasion and most notably against Oklahoma and Texas. Statistically neither provided a huge relief but if going strictly by the eyeball test the Kansas defense did some good things. Again, a game in Ames provides an opportunity to turn a corner and maybe put together a solid performance start to finish.
For Gill this is either the beginning of the end or one last shot in the arm of a stint at Kansas that seems to be on the brink. Following an embarrassing loss to Kansas State and an inept performance in Austin, support and confidence are at an all time low and it's to the point where Gill's survival as the Kansas coach is in serious doubt.
Saturday Gill faces off against a coach in Paul Rhoads who has done more with less by coaching a great game and getting the most out of his players on a week in week out basis in Ames. If Gill once again falls short and Rhoads has the Cyclones rising to the occasion it will only reinforce the belief that a change is coming. If Gill can somehow provide a spark and push his team to victory it might just salvage a fighting chance heading into the home stretch and what amounts to a four game "keep my job" interview.
What can be salvaged for Kansas heading into Ames? Quite a bit. The big question is not if there is anything to be salvaged, but IF Kansas is capable of accomplishing it. Every week the answer seems to be a resounding no. Will a game against Iowa State be any different?