Lack of improvement "frustrating"

When a football team loses like the Kansas Jayhawks are losing, fans look for improvement. It makes us feel at least a little better about things.

Good luck finding any at Memorial Stadium.

KU coach Turner Gill disagreed Saturday night after a 45-10 pasting by Texas A&M, but he was less than convincing.

"I think there are good things happening on both sides of the ball; it's just not enough," he acknowledged.

This was the third in a growing string of embarrassing losses to an Aggies teams whose coach, Mike Sherman, may be the only one on a hotter seat than Gill.

The Jayhawks moved the ball between the 30's (again). In fact, KU out-gained Texas A&M in the first half, 253-250. Problem is, by that time, they were down on the scoreboard, 31-10.

Starting quarterback Jordan Webb threw two killer interceptions when it was still a game. One stopped a sustained KU drive at midfield in the first quarter with the score 14-3. The other was at the Aggies' seven-yard-line when a Kansas touchdown would have made it 24-17. Webb didn't play in the second half due to a shoulder injury that had a lot to do with the ill-timed second INT.

Backup signal-caller Kale Pick started the second half and ran for 19 yards and threw for 40 more before leaving the game with a concussion. Third-string QB Quin Mecham did what most third-string QBs do: he finished out the game.

The KU run game was ineffective. Sure, the stat sheet shows 201 yards rushing, but take away a couple of explosive plays by Webb, and you're left with D.J. Beshears with 64 yards and a bunch of guys with about 25 each.

Credit Beshears, though, for being the only bright spot for KU. He ran hard all night, and he gamely ran the Jayhawk offense from the Wildcat formation for a series after Pick was hurt.

The KU defense watched A&M starting quarterback Jerrod Johnson become the Aggie's all-time total offense leader with 139 yards passing and 28 rushing. Ag's backup Ryan Tannehill got into the game early and often, doing more than his share of damage with three touchdown passes, two of which were allowed by a Kansas secondary that thought "defense" was simply a suggestion. Runningback Cyrus Gray rolled up 117 yards on just 13 carries. When it was over, Texas A&M had rung up the Jayhawk defense for 521 total yards.

"We just didn't make enough plays," Gill said in the third of a series of increasingly short post-game media Q&A's. "We didn't make enough plays on offense to keep our defense off the field. We've gotta score some points to help our whole team."

No one can argue with that, but this team has needed to make plays since a week one loss to mighty North Dakota State. Each passing week has been a missed opportunity to make plays. More important, each passing week looks like a missed opportunity to get better.

Gill said he is seeing improvement, however.? "I see some things happening on defense, I see some things happening on offense. I think the thing on offense is...the frustration is, putting points on the board. I think we're moving the ball pretty well form the 30 to the 30, but when we get in that area, we shoot ourselves in the foot. That's the biggest thing is just trying to get in the green zone, red zone area, and then capitalizing on making the plays."

Gill said his team is resilient but recognized that it could be difficult for them to keep showing up for work.

"It's tough. As you get playing in the third quarter, it's tough to try to come back week after week after week. It's takes a toll. We're all human beings. It definitely hurts, and there's frustration."

He said it's up to him and his staff to keep players engaged and working. Everyone on the team came to KU to play and compete, and Gill said it's his job to keep putting his team in a position to do so.

"We're all competitors," he said. "We're all gonna come to work and get better next week. We've got to continue to do that with our players. That's something always, as you continue to have these types of games, it's on your mind, but these guys are resilient.

"We're still just trying to get better, as a team. You've got injuries and you just have to put the next guy in and try to execute the best they can. We're going to continue to try and get better."

After three embarrassing losses to teams that shouldn't be that much better than the Jayhawks, KU fans would love to see nothing more. Top Stories