Get familiar with FIU
In the first edition of "Going Deep," a weekly spodcast that puts KU fans in touch with the opposing team, Journal-World sports writers Matt Tait and Eric Sorrentino talk with Miami Herald beat writer Pete Pelegrin about KU's opener against Florida International. Pelegrin shares the ins and outs of FIU's program and discusses why FIU coach Mario Cristobal says KU is a Top 5 team.
When Kansas Has The Ball
Kansas Run Offense Vs. FIU Run Defense
Today, fans will get their first look at junior transfer Jocques Crawford, who rushed for over 1,900 yards at Cisco Junior College last year on the way to earning national junior college offensive player of the year honors. In last year's meeting with FIU, three Kansas players rushed for 40 yards or more against the Golden Panthers, who struggled to stop the run throughout the season.
If FIU has one thing going for it in this department, it's experience. Of the eight defensive linemen listed on the team's two-deep depth chart, six are seniors.
KU Pass Offense Vs. FIU Pass Defense
Todd Reesing set 21 school passing records last season in his first year as a starter as the Jayhawks enjoyed their most potent passing attack in school history. Against the Golden Panthers last season, Reesing completed 23 of 38 passes for 368 yards.
Jeff Spikes will be charged with taking over for departed Anthony Collins, an All-American left tackle last year who provided Reesing with ample time to make decisions in the pocket.
The Golden Panthers' secondary, meanwhile, should be their strongest asset this year. With the return of cornerback Anthony Gaitor (two interceptions in '07) and safety Jeremiah Weatherspoon, Reesing's season debut might not go as smoothly as expected.
When FIU Has The Ball
FIU Run Offense Vs. Kansas Run Defense
A'Mod Ned, the team's leading rusher with 581 yards a season ago, returns to the Golden Panthers' backfield, as does Julian Reams (274 yards). But those two combined for only four touchdowns, as FIU's offensive line struggled to create holes and likely will be the team's biggest cause for concern this season.
The Jayhawks' defensive line - which helped Kansas rank second in the Big 12 in rush defense (eighth nationally) - remains pretty much intact, minus the graduation of second-team all-American James McClinton.
FIU Pass Offense Vs. Kansas Pass Defense
It's still unclear whether FIU will start Paul McCall or Wayne Younger at quarterback in today's season-opener. Younger, a dual-threat quarterback, played most of last season before getting injured late and opening the door for McCall, who led the team to its only victory while passing for 413 yards and five touchdowns (compared to just one interception).
A Kansas secondary highlighted by Darrell Stuckey, however, should make things difficult for either quarterback. The Jayhawks totaled 23 interceptions a year ago, and the unit returns all but All-American cornerback Aqib Talib.