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Archive for Wednesday, October 21, 2009

No time to waste

KU offense’s first-quarter production could use a boost

Kansas quarterback Todd Reesing passes under pressure from Colorado linebacker B.J. Beatty during the third quarter Saturday, Oct. 17, 2009 at Folsom Field.

Kansas quarterback Todd Reesing passes under pressure from Colorado linebacker B.J. Beatty during the third quarter Saturday, Oct. 17, 2009 at Folsom Field.

October 21, 2009, 12:00 a.m. Updated October 21, 2009, 9:02 p.m.

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Finding something about which to nitpick the Kansas University football team’s offense would be akin to winning the Batmobile in a raffle and griping about a scratch on the door, getting selected by Cindy Crawford in the Dating Game and obsessing on her mole, having Eli Manning under center and complaining his name’s not Peyton.

So be it.

This is Oklahoma week, and really good won’t be good enough to prevail in the Sooners’ first game in Lawrence since 2001. Kansas must play a near-perfect game to beat OU for the first time since 1997.

KU’s 503.3 yards per game in total offense ranks second nationally to Houston. The Jayhawks’ 38.8 points per game ranks fifth (behind Texas, Texas Tech, Houston and Cincinnati).

Is it greedy to want improvement? Of course it is. It’s also reasonable. Kansas has amassed those remarkable offensive numbers without always getting out of the blocks smoothly. Two games into the Big 12 portion of the schedule, KU has scored nine first-quarter points, compared to 21 points in the second quarter, 20 in the third and 21 in the fourth.

“It’s obvious the last couple times we’ve been off to a slow start,” Kansas coach Mark Mangino said. “What’s really amazing about it is, once we get going, we just keep rolling. ... Some of our opponents have done some different things a little bit out of character from what we’ve seen of them on tape, so you have to adjust. Would we like to adjust sooner? Yes, but let’s put it this way, the kids are not going to have early success against something they haven’t seen before.”

Alonso Rojas has punted 22 times, but just six times — an average of once a game — in the second half.

The combination of offensive coordinator Ed Warinner and Todd Reesing has been more than impressive at making in-game adjustments.

“It starts right with Todd,” said senior Kerry Meier, whose nine receptions per game ranks second nationally to Bowling Green’s Freddie Barnes (12.14). “Coach Warinner will speak with the coaches, and then coach Warinner will speak with Todd. From there it’s a big relay system to the rest of the players. A lot of what goes into it is what coach Warinner sees. A lot of what comes out of it as well is what we see and what we have to say to the coaches.”

Reesing tends to throw more accurately as the game progresses. Once he gets a hot hand, Kansas has shown it can score a ton of points without eating much clock.

“When we start rolling, we’re a tough ballclub to handle,” Meier said. “What’s crucial is to get into the flow and get started early. That’s what we’re going to have to do this week. Straight from the get-go, we’re going to have to put points on the board because who knows what this OU offense is going to be like. They don’t have their Heisman guy but with their backup (Landry Jones), from what I’ve seen him play, he’s a good one. I’m sure they’re capable of putting up a lot of points. We’re going to have to bring our A-plus game if we’re going to beat these guys.”

Kansas has broken through several barriers during Mangino’s reign, including beating Nebraska twice and winning three bowl games in four seasons, but a Mangino team hasn’t yet won a game against any of the three Big 12 South teams on this year’s schedule, going 0-9 against Oklahoma, Texas and Texas Tech.

What would a victory Saturday mean?

“It would be another step to where coach Mangino is trying to get this program,” Meier said. “He’s trying to get this program to the top. We’re definitely going to have to do some great things. If we should take care of business this week against OU, I think it’s another of those big wins that puts Kansas in the running of getting to a top, elite program. With the Orange Bowl win and the big win last year against Missouri, it ranks right up there with them. Especially in my career, all the big wins we’ve had have been on the road. We haven’t really had a big-time win in Memorial Stadium.”

To get one, Kansas will need its best wire-to-wire execution and game plan of the season from its offense against an Oklahoma defense ranked third in the country, allowing 9.67 points a game versus a tough schedule that included close losses to ranked foes Brigham Young, Miami and Texas.

“It’s going to be a stiff challenge,” Meier said. “We’re going to have to do some great things to win.”

• A previous version of this story contained an error.

Comments

sundancewierdo 4 years, 5 months ago

Every week I think my team is going to win. Because I'm a fan and that's what we do. Why bother watching the game if you are so sure your team will get rolled? We are going to win, because these guys are going to try harder and the fans will stay until the end...

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Sulla 4 years, 5 months ago

Not a chance.The Sooners smell blood and they are going to get plenty.

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rgh 4 years, 5 months ago

One thing that would help is the O-line keeping OU's defense from pushing into our backfield (ya right, like that's going to happen). The other thing that should happen is Reesing not fumbling and throwing directly to a line backer who is reading his eyes because he locks on to receivers and won't check down.

Our defense has been the most disappointing so far considering our line and d-backs were pretty much left in tact. Jones will throw for more than 300 yards and they will rush for more than 200 yards. Last year was close because Mangino coached for Stoops (I was at the game and saw it first hand). He'll be nice again this year because there is no BCS on the line for them.

If it sounds like I'm Hawk bashing, I guess I am. We are under achieving big time, both offensively and defensively. We've made some very impressive plays, but we've also made some extremely dumb plays and have not tackled well at all. Can we beat OU? Yes, but it'll take a monumental effort on the coaches part to get these kids to step up and fill their expectations. I'm still on the bandwagon, I'm just getting skeptical of where it's heading this year. To the south where the weather is warm, to Detroit for the Motor City bowl, or neither if we don't play better than the last two weeks.

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UNIKU 4 years, 5 months ago

I would call the Nebraska thumping a couple years ago here a big time home win. (The NU team sucked that year but the NU program was still considered big)

But even then we started slow and finished strong. We need to get OU on their heels and quick to have a chance.

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eastcoasthawk 4 years, 5 months ago

While I disagree with the opening statement of the article, there was plenty to complain about with our 1st half offense last week. I have to admit I really like Kerry's attitude in regards to the upcoming game and hope that the coaches will make this their rally call. This is the next step for the program. Let's do all we can to knock off the Sooners and hand them their first losing record in years.

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kthxbi 4 years, 5 months ago

Rock Chalk! We can do this. Yep, we. I plan on helping.

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Steve Miller 4 years, 5 months ago

I think we should all be ready to have our shorts handed to us.

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fu7il3 4 years, 5 months ago

Or...the defense could actually show up for once and 30 points would be enough to win...

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Kevin Randell 4 years, 5 months ago

I agree.....we need to jump out early on these guys! I live here in Soonerland and let me tell you...their psyche is pretty shakey. I don't think...but KNOW that if we can jump out to 10 or 14 points early on these guys, we will beat them!

All I know is....PLEASE beat these guys! I am so tired of hearing "Rock Chalk Chickenhawk" and "Hey...how's those SuperChickens". I want to shut these guys up! :)

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