Lack of able players and fear of turnovers made Terry Allen turn conservative offensively in his first season as Kansas University's football coach.
The Jayhawks just might go retro this week, when they play host to Colorado.
"You can eliminate turnovers if you become more conservative," Allen said Wednesday at his regular weekly press conference. "The way we're giving up yards right now, we don't have much choice."
The way they're giving up turnovers is equally disturbing. Kansas heads into Saturday's 6 p.m. kickoff with CU with a minus-4 turnover margin. And opponents have made the most of the KU gifts, while the Jayhawks haven't.
While foes have turned 18 KU turnovers into 95 points, Kansas has turned 14 opponent turnovers into just 35 points. Kansas has surrendered 233 points this season, so nearly half have been the direct result of KU turnovers.
"The worst turnovers we've had have been in special teams that have haunted us the most," Allen said. "The hit on the head, the fumbled punts. The hardest thing to say to a back is, `Don't fumble.' I think that's kind of the physical battle and some of the things we've talked about with Mitch (Bowles) and David (Winbush). I think that those guys can't take 25 or 30 hits, and I think that it'll lead to more fumbles."
Bowles and Winbush haven't been the only culprits. Quarterback Zac Wegner has thrown six interceptions.
"The interceptions are something you have to use better judgment on," Allen said. "The interception we threw (at Nebraska), although we didn't give up the sack, he was obviously hit when the ball was thrown and the ball popped up in the air. Use a little better judgment and don't throw when you're going to get hit."
And yet for all that, Allen is convinced KU (2-5 overall, 0-5 Big 12) will have to throw against Colorado (6-1, 3-1). The Buffs -- like just about everybody in the league -- stack the line of scrimmage to defend the run and leave their speedy defensive backs in man-to-man coverage.
"Short passes, maybe deep passes -- we'll have to be able to complete passes," Allen said. "You have to be able to complete the ball downfield against a defense like that. Our counterparts down the road last week were 8-for-25. We were 8-for-25. Their 8-for-25 went for a gazillion yards and league player of the week."
Speaking of Kansas State -- which Allen was, by the way -- Allen popped in the KSU-Colorado game tape Tuesday night and watched CU's defense surrender just nine points in a 16-9 loss.
"That was a mistake," Allen said. "They played as well defensively as anybody has. It made for a sleepless night."
Bean bag baby promo: The first 5,000 children age 14 and under entering Memorial Stadium on Saturday will receive an "official" Jayhawk Bean Bag Baby free. The graft is a special-edition toy, though KU has plans to sell a limited number of the stuffed birds after Saturday's game.
Running back situation: With Mitch Bowles (hamstring) questionable, Allen said he planned to use Dustin Curry and Julius Bruce more against Colorado.
KU-CU ties: Two KU football players -- Steve Bratten and Jeremy Hanak -- hail from Colorado. And two KU assistant coaches have Colorado ties. Secondary coach Dick Moseley spent three years at CU (1979-81) under coach Chuck Fairbanks. Kansas offensive line coach Walt Klinker started three years at center under coach Sonny Grandelius and was an all-conference and honorable mention All-American as a senior in 1961.
-- Andrew Hartsock's phone number is 832-7216. His e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org.