University of Kansas

Gill takes stock after 3-9 KU debut

LAWRENCE — Kansas coach Turner Gill said from the beginning that it would take him a full season to know what kind of football team he had, which, if nothing else, served to buy him some time.

On Friday, with a 3-9 first year under his belt, Gill said he still believes a bright future is ahead for his young KU program.

"We're here to build a winning dynasty at the University of Kansas," Gill said. "That still has not changed."

Gill has made bold pronouncements before — most notably nearly a year ago during his introductory news conference when he said he and his staff would "Recruit, beat Missouri, recruit, win the North, recruit, win the Big 12." Add turning Kansas into a "winning dynasty" to the list of goals Gill has professed that don't exactly have a time constraint attached to them.

But Gill did say he'd know his team by now, and so he was willing to take stock of where his program needs to improve to push toward his big-picture goals. Mostly, he emphasized the need for his current players to become more explosive in their offseason workouts and for he and his staff to do an adequate job of bringing in more explosive players from the recruiting trail.

Despite being sub-par in all three phases of the game this season, Gill said that he does not expect any changes on his coaching staff. The group of believers he brought to Lawrence will spend the next two months leading up to February's Signing Day selling many aspects of KU's program, Gill said, including:

* A staff that has experience building programs from the ground up. Defensive coordinator Carl Torbush helped Mack Brown build North Carolina in the 1990s, and offensive coordinator Chuck Long was on Kirk Ferentz's first staff at Iowa. Of course, there was the work Gill did himself at Buffalo before coming to KU.

* A chance for any freshman to play right away. This draw is what lured overlooked talents like former KU cornerback Aqib Talib to Lawrence.

* The opportunity to play on TV. Despite its poor record, Kansas played nine of 12 games this season on national broadcasts.

* Top-notch facilities. The $31 million Anderson Family Football Complex was opened in 2008.

On Friday, Gill announced the early signing of two Kansas City-area players for his 2011 recruiting class — Blue Valley West offensive guard Dylan Admire and Blue Springs running back Darrian Miller. Both players are all-state selections who will enroll in January and participate in spring drills.

Gill said that he plans to bring in one or two quarterbacks to compete with current signal callers Jordan Webb and Quinn Mecham, and former quarterback Kale Pick is likely to remain at wide receiver permanently.

Michael Cummings, a dual-threat quarterback out of Killeen, Texas, has already given the Jayhawks an oral commitment, and KU is currently the leader for Iowa Western Community College quarterback Zack Stoudt, according to Rivals.com. Stoudt is the second-ranked junior college quarterback in the nation.

As for his current players, Gill announced that junior fullback Steven Foster and junior defensive back Ryan Murphy have decided to finish their degrees in the spring and leave the program. Defensive tackle Darius Parish, a Wichita North product, plans to transfer. Gill said he did not anticipate any more defections from his roster after meeting with each player individually in the past week.

Gill said he expects next year's team to be faster across the board and more experienced at the skill positions offensively. While the Jayhawks will get back injured players like linebacker Huldon Tharp, safety Keeston Terry and offensive tackle Jeff Spikes, they'll be without cornerback Isiah Barfield and offensive tackle Riley Spencer in spring ball. Both players are recovering from shoulder surgery

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