Archive for Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Slow starts don’t bother KU football

Jayhawks have scored just once on opening possession so far this season

October 10, 2007


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KU hits the practice field as a 'Top 25' team

For the first time since September 28th, 1996, the Kansas football team took the practice field today as a 'Top 25' program. Enlarge video

A three-and-out. A four-and-out. A three-and-out. An immediate interception.

More often than not, the opening offensive series for Kansas University's football team this season has been overwhelmingly unimpressive.

The Jayhawks have gotten points off their opening drive just once in 2007, when Scott Webb booted a 30-yard field goal against Florida International.

The other four times? Just one first down between them.

The low point was last week against Kansas State, when quarterback Todd Reesing dropped back and threw an interception eight seconds into the game.

The first-possession blues don't set the tone. Kansas is 5-0 and ranked 20th in the country heading into its game with Baylor on Saturday. The Jayhawks have played very well on offense this season, as 244 points in five games would show.

But still, wouldn't it be a good idea to draw first blood and relieve a bit of the urgency early on?

"Sure, we'd like to strike right away every game," KU coach Mark Mangino said Tuesday. "But the fact of the matter is, there's no rule that says a team has to play on defense what they showed on tape for the first two, three, four, five weeks of the season.

"If people want to give you a little different look or change things up, you don't panic. You get a feel for what they're doing, get on the sideline, get it adjusted."

For all that KU quarterback Todd Reesing has done right this season, this might be at the top: He's never panicked. Teammates said after the 30-24 victory over Kansas State that Reesing's calm demeanor even after a dismal first quarter settled the whole offense down.

After the early pick against the Wildcats, the Jayhawks sputtered toward two first downs the next drive, then went three-and-out the next three times they got the football.

All part of the plan? Not really. But kind of.

"Those first couple of drives, we really were feeling their defense out," Reesing said. "For me, I always feel a lot more comfortable in any game after a couple of drives."

It worked - eventually. After 13 passing yards in the first quarter, Reesing finished with 267 yards and three touchdowns in leading the Jayhawks to the giant Big 12 Conference victory.

The bottom line, then, is simple: A slow start isn't desirable. But a strong answer can make it irrelevant.

"He wasn't panicked or in a frenzy in any way," Mangino said of Reesing. "He was trying to get a bead on what they were doing.

"He just needed a little bit of time just to get a feel for them. Once he did, you could just see him fire away."


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