Archive for Monday, September 21, 2009

Jayhawks slow to start

Kansas quarterback Todd Reesing (5) unloads as offensive lineman Sal Capra fends off Duke defensive end Patrick Egboh. Reesing threw for 338 yards against the Blue Devils and was sacked just once in the Jayhawks’ 44-16 victory on Saturday at Memorial Stadium.

Kansas quarterback Todd Reesing (5) unloads as offensive lineman Sal Capra fends off Duke defensive end Patrick Egboh. Reesing threw for 338 yards against the Blue Devils and was sacked just once in the Jayhawks’ 44-16 victory on Saturday at Memorial Stadium.

September 21, 2009

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KU routs Duke, improves national ranking

Looking to move higher in the Top 25 rankings, KU football delivered a sound performance Saturday against Duke. Enlarge video

For those members of the Kansas University football faithful who struggle with the early 11 a.m. kickoffs — and there seem to be plenty who do — the team inadvertently might have provided a slight reprieve: Based on the happenings of the season’s first three games, fans can feel free to sleep through the first 30 minutes without missing too much.

While the Jayhawks have outscored opponents by a lopsided total of 127-26 this season, they hold a much less daunting 17-7 first-quarter advantage, as the team’s offense has typically taken some time to get comfortable.

“There’s just something about coming out and getting going,” KU senior receiver Kerry Meier said following the Jayhawks’ 44-16 victory over Duke on Saturday. “We’ve been sputtering a little bit.”

Against UTEP two weeks ago, for instance, Kansas managed just a field goal in the first quarter of what would turn into a 34-7 rout. And after quarterback Todd Reesing found receiver Dezmon Briscoe for a 14-yard touchdown pass with 7:10 remaining in the first quarter against Duke, the Jayhawks went scoreless on their next four possessions, punting three times and once failing to convert a fourth-down attempt deep inside Duke territory.

On Sunday, Kansas coach Mark Mangino blamed the slow starts on the various maneuverings of opposing defenses, which he says have gone out of their way to try to confuse Kansas’ potent offense.

By way of disguised coverages and the introduction of new defensive elements, he said, the team’s early-season opponents have sought to keep Reesing, who’s averaging 268.7 passing yards per game this year, off balance in any way possible.

“Any time — in any sport — that you show up to play an opponent and they give you some different looks that maybe you hadn’t been able to see in the past, of course you’ve got to take time to get a grasp on what they’re doing,” he said.

At the same time, Mangino insisted he didn’t view the slow starts as a problem, citing a handful of situations in which an untimely penalty or dropped pass has stymied an otherwise successful drive.

And, as he pointed out Saturday, such strategies usually prove to be a temporary solution.

“People respect Todd Reesing,” Mangino said. “Our opponents respect him. They’re doing everything they can to try to distract him, try to give him different looks, try to bait him into disguises and change the coverage up.

“You can fool him for a while,” the coach added, “but you won’t fool him all day.”

The good news for the Jayhawks is that, in each game so far this season, they’ve eventually settled into an offensive rhythm.

Against the Blue Devils, they scored on five of their final six possessions, while following up a seven-point first quarter against lowly Northern Colorado in the season opener with a 21-point outburst over the next 15 minutes.

For now, coaches and players don’t seem to be putting too much weight into the unfavorable trend, though that might change as the level of competition gradually increases over the next few weeks — beginning with Saturday’s 11 a.m. game against visiting Southern Mississippi.

At the very least, Meier allowed, it’s an issue that, if cleared up, can only stand to help a team battling for its first outright Big 12 North championship in school history.

“Once we get that first drive out of the way, we seem all right,” Meier said. “But if we come out and get things going right off the bat, it’s going to make us that much better.”

Comments

Ricky_Vaughn 5 years, 6 months ago

Wake me up when KU is plays a real opponent. Duke and Saint Mary's School for the Blind don't count.

Ricky_Vaughn 5 years, 6 months ago

I don't see how demoralizing Duke will help KU prepare to win the Big XII or National Championship.

Danimal 5 years, 6 months ago

Demoralizing any BCS opponent we can get our hands on will help KU. I agree, no more non-BCS opponents. I know we set this schedule years ago, but certainly we could find some stiffer competition and help ourselves out a little?

Martini_Boy 5 years, 6 months ago

The teams we're playing could improve some, but they are at least as good as Arkansas State or Furman. Each school has some tune up games since the starters change every year and the coach needs to see what he's got.

This year we've seen some issues with the secondary and they're working on that.

I also don't see our O-Line or D-Line really over-powering anyone yet. Minus some sacks in the UTEP game.

It's going to be a year where good coaching (and a few breaks) will spell the difference between a good team and one that will get a chance to play in the Big XII title game. As the article mentions, we are no longer going to surprise anyone and teams are studying ways to keep KU off balance. Mangino will have to keep coming up with counter moves to this, and they will need to remain patient during the games.

I'm all in for this team. I love these seniors and want them to be rewarded with a good season....

Danimal 5 years, 6 months ago

Nebraska scares me, if they get off to a slow start against them like they did on Saturday, they'll get mauled.

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