FW's Turner Gill no stranger to adversity

July, 26, 2011
7/26/11
3:41
PM CT
DALLAS -- Turner Gill, the Fort Worth native who finally got his major-college coaching break at Kansas last year, didn't get off to the kind of start in Lawrence that endeared him to the locals.

North Dakota State 6, Kansas 3.

For home openers, it doesn't get any lower than losing to an FCS team -- you know, what Division I-AA is now called -- and things never got much better during a 3-9 season, including 1-7 in the Big 12.

But, hey, it's not like Gill hasn't faced tough times before. Gill went from starring at Arlington Heights High School in Fort Worth to becoming the quarterback at Nebraska. He made a coaching name for himself by turning around a one-win Buffalo team, yet he didn't get jobs at his alma mater or Auburn.

When he arrived at Kansas, Gill had to clean up the mess left in the wake of the controversial end to Mark Mangino's reign.

"The second year when you get into a football program you are a little bit more comfortable because you have a better opportunity to know who your team is and what they're all about, the areas they need to improve on," Gill said. "Also, you understand a little bit more what their strengths are. So, that's why I'm a little bit more at ease as I go into this football season, because I do know what we need to do and how we need to go about doing it."

Gill is especially excited about the prospect of bringing along nearly an entire class that was redshirted last year, plus this year's class, a total of about 40 new players. Gill made the decision to redshirt the majority of last year's class with an eye on the future, yet understanding it could be a rough start to his tenure in an era when fans expect quick results.

"This year we've got competition," Gill said, meaning between teammates. "That's what we didn't have last year at positions. In some positions, we just didn't have competition. And I think if you talked to most of us as coaches, when you've got competition at just about every position, you're going to improve your play of your football team."

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