By Ralph Hipp
For a few days after KU's 55-7 loss to Baylor, most Kansans had to ask "what's happened to KU Jayhawk Football? After the Orange Bowl, the 12-1 season, the videos of a screaming, insulting Mark Mangino? Where is the Hawks football program now that he's been booted?"
But Hawk fans may have come up from the depths after K-State was waxed and shellacked by Nebraska last Thursday night in Manhattan in front a national TV audience.
This coming Thursday night, the wounded warriors from both squads will meet in Lawrence. And one of them will win. Turner Gill will have the home-field advantage, and knows that his team, and their team, have both been schooled by bigger Big 12 competitors (one of them leaving for the Big 10) Still it begs the question. As K-State, Bill Snyder, KU and Turner Gill get set to tee it up, line up and play each other, is Turner Gill the right fit for this program? Is he really ready for Big 12 football?
At first, you had to root for the guy. He's smart, carries himself well, works extremely well with his players. But in a very erratic set of performances in his opening season, we still don't know the answer to the question of whether Turner Gill was pulled into this league by Lew Perkins a little too early. (And Lew's not even here to see if he made the right move.)
After Thursday night, we will know for sure if he belongs here. With a loss, KU will have 8 days to regroup and redefine themselves before the Homecoming crowd shows up for the Texas A&M game. They would be back to where they were before, beneath the Wildcats standards at the present time with Daniel Thomas, who is quickly establishing himself as a worthy #2 alltime to Darren Sproles. Heck, he may show he's the best Wildcat running back ever.
With a Jayhawk victory, Gill will have already proven halfway through this opening campaign that he very capable of coaching in this conference, with a 1st year win over the man, the mentor.. Bill Snyder.
No pressure, Coach Gill. Show us what you've got. Even with the 'Cats and 'Hawks licking their wounds after lopsided losses, the best is yet to come this Thursday night. KU, K-State fans we would love to hear from you, too! Ralph