Big 12 Coaches Teleconference: Turner Gill

At long last, game week has arrived - which means the start of the weekly Big 12 Coaches Teleconference. Kansas head coach Turner Gill was up bright and early Monday morning to field questions from the media, and took part.

Quarterbacks under greater scrutiny now than ever before

The spotlight always shines brightly on QB1, but these days it seems as if big-time college quarterbacks are being watched with a more discerning eye by media, fans and - one assumes - the NCAA. Investigations into such high-profile talents as Cam Newton and Terrell Pryor have many wondering who will be next.

A former high-profile quarterback himself, Kansas head coach Turner Gill said the scrutiny comes with the territory.

"You are the light of the football team," Gill said. "Whether it's fair or unfair, that's just the way it is. So no doubt, I definitely expect a lot more out of our quarterback than anybody on the football team."

As to how he himself dealt with that pressure during his playing days at Nebraska, Gill said he embraced it.

"It was just kind of the way the expectation was, the way it was taught and explained to me," he said. "So I knew that I had to do more and do things in the right way more than anybody else around. So I embraced it all."

Jayhawks giving full attention to Week One opponent McNeese State

One might expect Kansas would be approaching their opening week match-up with somewhat greater intensity than they did last season, given the result, after they fell to FCS opponent North Dakota State 6-3 in Gill's debut on Mount Oread.

One would be correct in that expectation, but the second-year head coach said they're making an effort not to dwell on the past.

"Last year is last year," Gill said. "I think the only thing we try to do is learn from it and move on, and so that's what our football team has done."

Additionally, he professed a great deal of respect for the Cowboys and head coach Matt Viator, who has won three Southland Conference championships in his five season at the helm.

"McNeese has been a very good football program for many, many years," he said. "They have very good talent, and so we've gotta play our best game."

Coaches seeing program take steps forward

Much has been made about the increase in speed and athleticism the coaches have seen in their team this fall, but those aren't the only areas in which the Jayhawks have improved.

"We have more passion playing the game, but I think the speed (is the biggest improvement," Gill explained. "And then our guys are feeling more comfortable with what we're trying to get accomplished. They have bought in to what we're trying to get accomplished."

"They believe in our coaching staff, and our coaching staff believes in them," he added. "And we definitely have more competition at every position, and that always helps your football team improve - when you have more competition at just about every position."

Gill keeping his focus on the field

Both the airwaves and the Internet have been alight with discussion of Texas A&M's seemingly inevitable departure for the SEC, but Gill said such matters simply aren't a distraction for him - or his team.

"No matter what conference you're in or not in or whatever, you've gotta play the best you can and beat that team," he said. "And so that's what they've hired me to do, and that's always going to stay my focus. I'm here to teach and develop young men, and play the game of football, and try to win championships." Top Stories