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Archive for Saturday, September 13, 2008

Keegan: Defense, not QB, to blame

More than 48 hours have passed since the Kansas football team went down to the wire with South Florida. And regardless of KU's 37-34 defeat, Friday night's performance from quarterback Todd Reesing will be a topic at the water-coolers for many weeks to come.

September 13, 2008

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— Quarterback Todd Reesing didn't lose the game Friday night for Kansas University. Instead, he almost won it, amid a swarming rush, without any running game to speak of and with very little help from a defense exposed from front to back.

That's the only reasonable way to look at Reesing's night, which ended with an interception that led to the game-winning field goal for the University of South Florida, 37-34 victors in a game that gave a national television audience a month's worth of thrills.

"There are issues we need to deal with, and one of them is not Todd," Kansas coach Mark Mangino said of the quarterback who rallied his team to a tie from a two-touchdown deficit.

The most troubling issue involved a defense that enabled South Florida to reel off 31 consecutive points.

From the second quarter on, quarterback Matt Grothe shredded a KU defense that had not given up a touchdown in the first two weeks of the season. Grothe threw for 338 yards, including 204 yards and two touchdowns in the second half.

Grothe, who got off to a slow start in the accuracy department, found his mark in the second quarter and was on the money the rest of the night. He is a mobile quarterback, but for most of the night he didn't have a chance to show that.

As the game wore on, KU's defensive line had the look of a heavyweight boxer trying to hang on until the final bell but wobbling because of all those shots to the body. It looked at once young and tired.

"We have to be able to get to the quarterback with the four-man rush," Mangino said. "We're not doing that. We're not getting there. When we have to bring five or six, that means we have to man up in some situations. And we really don't want to man up with a couple of younger kids in the secondary. They're not ready for that. We have to be able to put some pressure on the quarterback with four guys."

The defensive tackles are big, but young. Their bodies haven't matured to the point they will when they're seniors, and neither has their know-how. The ends lack size.

The secondary play against South Florida's fleet receivers wasn't much better.

"One of the things I did not like about our defense is, I thought we weren't aggressive in the secondary, playing the ball at its highest point," Mangino said. "We played cautious and let them catch the ball and then tackled them. You can't do that. You've got to contest the ball. We did not contest the ball as well as we normally do. We'll find out why, and we'll do what we have to do."

The issues with the secondary appear more correctable than the shortcomings of the D-line, a little shy on talent on the outside and short on experience on the inside.

It didn't help that the defense had to spend so much time on the field in the third quarter. A more balanced offense - Kansas averaged 2.9 yards per carry and rushed for just 61 yards - would have benefited KU's defense.

For all the warts that were exposed, one reality bodes well for Kansas. Even when the Jayhawks get knocked down, Reesing's relentless aggressiveness and confidence will make them awfully tough to knock out.

Comments

CatFan 5 years, 7 months ago

Reesing looked GREAT. He sounds like a great person on and off the field.

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TopJayhawk 5 years, 7 months ago

I agree MU Tiger Fan. We got a little greedy. I think the fact that the game was close, we lost out composure a little bit. Hope we learn from this. I'm like you. I root for all North teams unless they are playing Ku. You guys looked scary-good today.

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MU_Tiger 5 years, 7 months ago

I'm KC Tiger Fan that roots for KU - (as long as not playing MU).I agree with Mr. TK that the D should bear brunt of the scrutiny. However, I think the Coaching Staff needs to review their part in the outcome.Two weeks ago, MU against Fighting Illini - late game MU has a 3rd and 5 - and a 1st down might just lock it down tight for Mizzou. Instead, ChaseD goes deep down left side - Illini get ball back, score and game now close.. (Bettin' $ that Pinkle chewed on Chase D about what the priority was - 1st down - keep the ball).In my opinion, last night the Coaching Staff should have never called / allowed a deeper route over the middle where a tipped ball or linebacker/safety floating has a higher probability of a interception. KU's momentum in the last 10 minutes could have easily carried over into Overtime putting pressure now on USF.So, yea, - D didn't help. But in that late game situation - tie game, after a HUGE come back - that play was not the safest - whether coaching or QB decided. Blaming either..? no way... just saying it should contribute to learning for the next late game situation...MU Tiger

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Das_Ubermime 5 years, 7 months ago

TOB,I'm still trying to wrap my head around the fact that our leading rusher didn't step foot on the field until the 4th quarter.

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The_Original_Bob 5 years, 7 months ago

"I don't think that the complete and utter lack of a running game can be underestimated with regard to the defense."DasNo kidding. I can't believe how far our running game has fallen. Our D was gassed.

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lionbacker 5 years, 7 months ago

GOOD OLE MIZZOU FANS ARE HAPPIER WHEN THE JAYHAWKS LOSE THAN WHEN THE TIGERS WIN. BOY I CANT WAIT TILL THE GAME AT ARROWHEAD FOR THE MIZZOU FANS TO THROW MORE F BOMBS AROUND ALL THE KIDS, WELL I GUESS THEIR KIDS ARE USED TO IT!!!

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d_prowess 5 years, 7 months ago

I was upset with the loss, but seeing all the haters come out after the loss makes me feel a little better. You know you have developed into a program when your rivals taunt your losses.

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kujayhawk 5 years, 7 months ago

Only Mizzou hangs banners for Big XII North titles.

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ihatelv 5 years, 7 months ago

Reality check for KU fans...KU had a great season last year, and are pretty good this year. However, the iconic status they achieved through their fans was ridiculous... Outsiders must have assumed that, as a team, they cured cancer...Are you going to put up another sign on the Interstate??

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Das_Ubermime 5 years, 7 months ago

I don't think that the complete and utter lack of a running game can be underestimated with regard to the defense. Leaving them out there that long in the heat and humidity is more than anyone should ask. Going one-dimensional on offense is a clear step back for KU.

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pity2bu 5 years, 7 months ago

The house began to twitch, when Reesing could not find his nitch, Mangino's defense began to slip and the score began to tip. Oh its just another ONE and DONE!Old Cogher Lew gave Embarassing Mangino a new KU contract to LOSE, I think the contract was a little premature. Although I did like it when the South Florida boys handed Lew and Mangino ORANGES at the end of game. (GET IT ORANGES / ORANGE BOWL, ONE and DONE)!

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jonas_opines 5 years, 7 months ago

Heyho, the bitter MU fans are coming back! Wonderful, wonderful. Well, we could call them MU fans I guess, despite that it seems they'd rather insult KU than root for their own team.

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mizZOU 5 years, 7 months ago

Great job beakers! You should award yourselves another co-winner trophy for that one.

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