LAWRENCE — To keep this season from spiraling even further out of control, Kansas coach Turner Gill says he's going to start making some changes. But he wouldn't offer much detail other than that the Jayhawks couldn't afford to maintain the status quo any longer.
KU defensive coordinator Vic Shealy gave some further insight, though, and it's likely not going to give KU fans much comfort. Shealy told his defensive players during a meeting on Sunday that he was going to coach them harder the rest of this season. The implication, of course, is that maybe they haven't been coached hard enough thus far.
"As coaches, we have to stomp the gas pedal down," Shealy said. "By this time of year, whether you're undefeated or haven't won a game, it can be a little bit of a routine. Sometimes you need to create a bit of chaos in order to get guys out of their mundane routine."
It sounds as if Shealy — a mild-mannered Southern gentleman by nature — is ready to bring more of the brand of intensity that the previous coaching staff at KU was known for. And what does that mean for the Jayhawks at practice?
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"I think just not accepting anything but perfect," KU linebacker Tunde Bakare said. "When people do things wrong, it's not gonna be like 'Oh, we got a second try.' It's 'We gotta get it done right now.' We don't get a second try in a game. You need to do it right, or you don't play. I think it's gonna be a step up a notch for us on defense."
KU's players expect to see more fire from Gill, too, down the stretch.
"Coach Gill's a great coach, and he's an overall nice guy," KU cornerback Isiah Barfield said, "but some guys need to know that when the time comes for you to do something right and you don't do it, Coach Gill will snap on you. And he has before. People just need to understand that."
Gill has said from the beginning that he wants his players to compete with passion, but he said Tuesday that their emotional level has been inconsistent this season. That will be unacceptable if the Jayhawks are going to have the kind of November they still think is possible.
"The energy you have to play with every Saturday, you can't take for granted," Shealy said. "We can't take anything for granted. We have to be great. We better come with a fanatical effort on Saturday. I'll be disappointed if our guys don't get out there and compete with Iowa State. We better, or they'll get after us."
Defensively, it's pretty clear what kind of changes Gill is planning. KU has to get tougher. Offensively, the Jayhawks still believe in their plan of running the football first, even after rushing for minus-2 yards against Texas in a shutout loss.
"This last game, we just got nothing going," KU offensive coordinator Chuck Long said. "You wish that the NCAA would throw out like one statistical game a year like a professor does with your worst test, but that doesn't happen. So we've got to live and learn and move on. We expect our running game to get back on track."