Back to the Basics for Kansas Football

September 22, 2010 § Leave a comment

Before the start of the 2010 college football season, I didn’t have a grasp on how the Kansas football team would look with a new head coach and new faces on the field.  After three weeks, I still don’t.

I was exited to see exactly what kind of talent the Jayhawks had and how new head coach Turner Gill would use them.  There were two moves in the pre-season that concerned me at first.  Moving Toben Operum, the team’s leading rusher from last season, to linebacker and KU’s only 4 star receiver Keeston Terry to safety.

If you didn’t know, Terry played some defense in high school as well and is doing well defensively for the Jayhawks.  As for Operum, with injuries and inexperience he has seen limited playing time this season.  I don’t really disagree with any of Gill’s decisions because he is the head coach of a Division 1 football team.  I’m not.  The guy knows what he’s doing, but KU needs to find a way to get Toben on the field.  Even if it’s special teams.

Speaking of special teams, how about that stellar punt coverage?  As much as I hate to say it, punt coverage just goes back to the basics and having a team prepared in the third aspect of the game.  Two blocked punts in the first three games?  Most teams don’t have two blocked punts in a season.  Check out the video.  KU has three defenders locked together ready to put a body on any Southern miss player who comes near them.  But right as they approach, it turns into confusion and a defender sails through their line of defense untouched.  It was kind of like in baseball when two outfielders are going for the same fly ball and it lands right next to them.  I thought you had it!  As Turner Gill says, it’s a lack of execution.

The blocked punt in the Southern Miss game was especially crucial, taking the wind out of the Jayhawks before halftime.  Maybe it’s not the coaching, it’s the players that are on the punt team.  It obviously wasn’t max coverage, but they still bust through KU’s line of defensive like it’s nothing.

I think the most inconsistent part of the Jayhawks football team has to be the offensive line.  Kansas fans cannot rag on Jordan Webb’s inability to move the ball when he is scrambling for his life half the time he’s in the pocket.  An inexperienced quarterback on the road for the first time needs as much help as he can get.  Webb kept his composure in the Southern Miss game although being chased by a number of black jerseys.  Look at it this way, Kansas could have this kid for three more years since he red-shirted last year.  Give him time and Gill has the ability to turn him into a monster of a quarterback.

The weapons on offense are slim.  James Sims is turning out to be somewhat of a reliable back, finding holes to run through when they don’t open up quickly.  Southern Miss made it their goal to shut down Daymond Patterson and it crippled the Kansas offense.  Jonathan Wilson is a good enough athlete to take the load when Patterson can’t get open but Gill and offensive coordinator Chuck Long just need to figure out how.

Defensively, Kansas is more sound in the secondary than up front.  Jake Laptad hasn’t really shined this year but I see that changing with the Big 12 season coming up.  The front four of the Kansas defense was hardly able to get pressure on Southern Miss QB Austin Davis who was either making it happen through the air or breaking tackles on the ground.  To have any kind of successful defense there has to be pressure on the quarterback without bringing the house on every play.  Period.

Although it didn’t seem like it, the secondary did a nice job of shutting down 5 star receiver DeAndre Brown.  They are probably the most sound unit of the Kansas Jayhawks but when opposing teams start with the ball on the 50, they are going to give up some points.

I don’t think the game this weekend against New Mexico State (0-2) will prove much even if it is a blowout, but it can’t hurt to get their confidence up going into the first Big 12 game of the season at Baylor.  But hey, 2-2 for the Jayhawks is good based on what we knew before the season, even if the wins are funky.

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