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Turner Gill, turning heads

A mind is meant to be boggled occasionally, and Kansas’ win over Georgia Tech on Saturday did the trick for a lot of minds.

How did this happen? How did a KU team that look abysmal a week ago against North Dakota State beat the 15th-ranked team in the country?

Everybody with a mouth has taken a verbal shot at Gill the past week. Those who preached patience and insisted the sky was not falling were drowned out by the fatalists and cynics among us.

Gill’s approach – he started his Tuesday news conference by talking about the positives from the ND State game – was foreign. He’s a football coach, for crying out loud. He should be ripping heads off, not talking about positives.

Gill is too nice, we’ve said. Gill makes poor decisions. Gill is in over his head.

It was, as it turns out, just one game. There was another game Saturday that nobody expected Kansas to win. And the Jayhawks fooled us all, probably even fooled themselves to some degree.

Gill turned to red-shirt freshman Jordan Webb as his starting quarterback. Webb played brilliantly, throwing for three touchdowns.

Gill inserted true freshman running back James Sims into the game and Sims responded by rushing for 101 yards on 17 carries and one touchdown.

KU’s defense didn’t exactly stifle the Georgia Tech running game, but it was good enough. And the Yellow Jackets, who lack much of a passing game, aren’t good at playing from behind.

As much head scratching as last week’s loss caused, Saturday’s win produced just as much.

Kansas, obviously, isn’t as bad as the 6-3 loss to North Dakota State indicated. But are the Jayhawks as good as they appeared in beating Georgia Tech?

Gill would probably be gloating over this win and pointing to his critics if he weren’t such a nice guy. Fans who ripped him and the program last week must be one confused bunch right about now. And what about Lew Perkins? Is he going to un-resign in the wake of this startling victory?

Kansas, which next plays on the road at Southern Mississippi, was able to make the North Dakota State loss disappear. That’s a big deal, because it was the kind of defeat that can haunt a program for a long time. Gill couldn’t have had a more disappointing KU debut. Or a more rewarding and validating first win.

It will be interesting to see where the Jayhawks go from here. The pundits who were predicting one or two wins are busy revising that total.

In all the hubbub over the North Dakota State lost, people neglected to mention how much offensive firepower Gill was trying to replace. If a 5-7 team loses the likes of Todd Reesing, Kerry Meier, Dezmon Briscoe and Jake Sharp, can it realistically hope to be 5-7 the next season?

It’s probably a stretch.

But by winning a game nobody thought it could, Kansas is back in the mix. Most people would have picked the Jayhawks to be 1-1 after two games, right? So KU is where most of us thought it would be, just with a different way of getting there.

I don’t know what KU does going forward, but I know Gill and his team will be interesting to follow. Those of us who doubted him might want to wait to see where he leads us.

Dan Hawkins took two more steps on the plank as his Colorado team was drubbed by California on Saturday. It’s obvious now that Hawkins is not the answer at CU and I’ll be shocked if he lasts beyond this season. Amazing, since he seemed like such a great hire for the Buffaloes after such success at Boise State.

The Big 12 North suffered another embarrassing loss Saturday, with Iowa clobbering Iowa State.

It disappoints me that as I’m writing this blog, I’m also occasionally checking the St. Louis Cardinals score against the Atlanta Braves (it’s 3-3 as I write this, FYI).

I want to let go of the Cardinals for the rest of the season, but I can’t. They’ve frustrated me time after time. But I get sucked back in so easy.

Part of the reason is Albert Pujols. I enjoy following his chase of statistics, and today he went over 100 RBIs for the 10th consecutive season. He’s the only player in major league history to hit at least 30 homers, bat at least .300 and drive in at least 100 runs in his first 10 years. At .309, I’m betting he hangs on with the batting average.

I’m really looking forward to Sunday’s NFL games. Here are five stone-cold locks:

Atlanta wins on the road at Pittsburgh.

Indianapolis snaps out of its preseason funk and wins at Houston.

Cincinnati opens some eyes with a win at New England.

Green Bay pummels Philadelphia on the road.

Dallas handles Washington with relative ease.

I’m a Facebook guy and don’t mind admitting it. I check Facebook for updates a few times every day. I usually post at least twice a day, too. Nothing serious ever. Mostly nonsensical stuff meant to elicit a smile.

It’s a great way to catch up with friends or, in some cases, to make new ones. For instance, I’m now friends with a dozen or so people I went to high school with but would have completely lost touch with were it not for Facebook. So, call me a geek, but I enjoy this brand of social media.

Which brings me to what will be a standing feature here on the blog: My Facebook Friends. I’ll introduce you to one of them; perhaps they’re your friend, too.

Davis Ray Sickmon, Jr. Who I am:

I’m a developer, teacher, and writer.

I do software development for iPhone / iPad platforms and video game development for PC and Mac, along with doing web development. My history in game development stretches back more than a decade now, including fun stuff like speaking at conferences on game development. My web development stuff ranges from coast to coast, dealing with cool groups like Film Biz Recycling – the latter being a project released just in time for an article on them in the NY TImes) and local groups like small businesses like Res Aliens Magazine or even individuals like Anita Cochran (And if it sounds like I make a lot of money doing cool projects – think again. I’m horribly in need of more iPhone or Web projects

I teach classes on game development and iPhone / iPad software development at Pixel Time in the City Arts building  In October I’ll be adding two more classes to the list of things I teach there – Rapid Web Site Development, and another web tech based class.

I have two books in print – The Story of Gamer Zone – a horribly written book, but those who read it end up getting a hold of me, asking questions, and telling me how much they enjoyed it) and The Horror Game – an old school dice based RPG game), and two books (one fiction, one RPG) setting with my editor at the moment, and two more in the queue to complete (two more fiction).

I’m on Facebook for… uh, well, a variety of reasons, I guess. Originally it was because of friends, but now it also serves as a place where I make new business connections. It’s one of those tools that you make it whatever you want it to be.

I have no idea why you’re in my friends list, to be honest I’ll assume I initially added you because you’re a member of the Eagle staff, but I didn’t hide you from my timeline because it was frequently entertaining. (only about 20% of the people on my friends list do I actually see their posts)

Hm… well, if what I actually do doesn’t count as interesting… let’s see… I’ve once owned / co-hosted a local TV show. For the last four months I’ve been going to Remnant of Israel, a Messianic synagogue (take Jewish tradition, add Jesus (Yeshua, since they go by His original Hebrew name. Hebrew doesn’t have a ‘J’). I find it interesting anyway.