The aerial circus is coming to town, and Kansas University football cornerbacks Andrew Davison and Quincy Roe will have a front-row seat.
The Jayhawks (0-1) will play host to pass-happy Cal State Northridge (1-0) on Saturday. It's likely the NCAA Div. I-AA Matadors will present a passing challenge unlike any other the Jayhawks will meet this season.
"As a cornerback, that's what I want," said Davison, KU's 5-foot-11, 195-pound sophomore from Detroit. "You want teams that pass a lot. I think if teams pass more against us, we'll win more, because we have a good secondary."
That may be, but it's still an untested secondary.
Notre Dame, KU's first opponent, attempted just 20 passes -- completing nine -- and all but a few of those passes tested Kansas' underneath coverage but not its corners.
"That game was really more for our linebackers and defensive line, like big (Justin) Sands," said Roe, a 5-9, 180-pound sophomore from St. Louis. "They had their time. They had their fun. This is our game, our time to have fun."
Kansas collected three interceptions against Notre Dame. The Jayhawks with the pickoffs? Sands, a defensive end, linebacker Dariss Lomax and safety Carl Nesmith.
"That doesn't make us feel too bad," Davison said. "Really, we weren't tested too much. If we would have been tested more, we would have had some ourselves."
Roe isn't as forgiving. He thought he was going to record his second career interception before Sands stepped in front of him.
"I went over to him on the sideline and told him he took my pick," Roe said with a laugh. "The guy ran a slant, and I was getting ready to step in front of it. I got off the ground a little bit, then I looked up and there was big man running down the field."
Coach Terry Allen expects the little men to have the best chance at interceptions Saturday.
"This will be a good test for our corners," Allen said. "I'm anxious to see how they hold up. I don't know about the rest of the nonconference, but nobody in the Big 12 is going to test our corners like Northridge. If we get any picks this week, it'll be our corners, because they throw the ball down the field."
And they throw it a lot. In the Matadors' season-opening 38-19 victory over NCAA Div. II Western Oregon on Saturday, sophomore QB Marcus Brady completed 28 of 45 passes for 321 yards and three touchdowns.
"What do I know about them?" Davison asked. "Pass, pass, pass. They throw a lot. This will be a good game for us to get a couple of picks. I'm hoping everybody in the secondary gets at least one each, because this is one game we'll get a lot of opportunities."
"As corners, this is the game we play for," Roe added. "In fact, I wish coach Allen would make all nonconference games against teams from the Pac-10, because we want some action."
Truth be told, this game is especially important to Roe. While Davison is a tried-and-true starter, the starting job is new to Roe, who has played 11 career games with two starts.
"I'm just trying to get some games under my belt," Roe said. "For a person like me, I should get better each game. I learned quite a bit from the Notre Dame game. Now I just need to go out and do what I know I can do."
It's also a big game for backup corners Muhammad Abdul-Rahim, who started seven games last season before yielding to Davison, and converted safety Chad Coellner.
"We know what Andrew can do," Allen said. "I'm anxious to see what Quincy can do in a game like this. And this is an important game for Muhammad and Chad, too. I'm anxious to see how they all hold up."
In addition to the aerial circus, the Matadors present another challenge -- a no-huddle offense.
"We'll be calling plays on the sideline, because we won't have a chance to get in a huddle," Davison said. "That's fine with me. If we can stop the run, we'll be fine. If we're out there the whole time, like Notre Dame, we'll be tired. But if we go three-and-out on every series, we'll be fine."
Kickoff for Kansas-CSN will be 6 p.m. at Memorial Stadium.
-- Andrew Hartsock's phone number is 832-7216. His e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org.