Archive for Saturday, September 18, 2010

Southern hostility: Jayhawks struggle on road

Kansas running back James Sims walks off the field as Southern Miss defensive back Chico Hunter raises his arms in victory following the Jayhawks 31-16 loss to the Golden Eagles, Friday, Sept. 17, 2010 at M.M. Roberts Stadium in Hattiesburg, Mississippi.

Kansas running back James Sims walks off the field as Southern Miss defensive back Chico Hunter raises his arms in victory following the Jayhawks 31-16 loss to the Golden Eagles, Friday, Sept. 17, 2010 at M.M. Roberts Stadium in Hattiesburg, Mississippi.

September 18, 2010


Reader poll
Which unit is most to blame for KU's 31-16 loss to Southern Miss?

or See the results without voting

KU fans weigh in on football team

Students on the KU campus weighed in on the current status of the KU football team. The Jayhawks lost to Southern Mississippi on national television Friday night. Enlarge video

— Most folks in the South are known for their Southern hospitality.

But there was nothing kind about the way with which Southern Miss welcomed the Kansas University football team to Carlisle-Faulkner Field on Friday night during the Golden Eagles’ 31-16 victory.

If anything, it was the Jayhawks who were too kind in allowing Southern Miss to build an early two-touchdown lead that was never seriously threatened.

“We got a lot of young guys that are playing,” senior cornerback Chris Harris said. “With experience, it’ll get better, and (they’ll) understand that you gotta come out with energy every game because the other team wants it.”

For much of the first half, the Jayhawks looked like a young team playing its first road game of the season under a first-year head coach.

Offensive plays were conservative and sometimes slow getting to the huddle, and defensive players looked sheepish and out of sync.

“Maybe that’s a reason,” KU coach Turner Gill said. “But, again, execution is the bottom line. And we gotta do a better job. You can say they’re young or inexperienced, but we gotta go out and play, and we gotta execute.”

KU fell behind, 7-0, on the Eagles’ first drive. While the Jayhawks’ offense struggled to move the ball consistently — largely because a porous offensive line provided little protection for quarterback Jordan Webb — the defense did its best to keep KU in the game.

An interception by KU safety Phillip Strozier on a woefully underthrown ball from USM wide receiver Ryan Balentine saved what looked to be a sure touchdown. The trick play was the second of the first quarter for the Eagles, who scored their opening TD on a halfback pass from V.J. Floyd.

KU also avoided disaster when a pass from Webb was tipped at the line of scrimmage on the drive following Strozier’s interception. Instead of being picked off and returned for a TD, the pass fell softly to Bradley McDougald, and the Jayhawks stayed close.

The biggest blunder of the night came when USM’s Deron Wilson returned Tim Green’s blocked punt seven yards for a touchdown that put the Eagles up 21-3 just before halftime.

“We gotta put points on the board. We gotta finish drives,” Gill said. “We gotta put consecutive drives together to make sure we keep our defense off the field, especially against this type of offense.”

Despite watching Southern Miss score four touchdowns through the first three quarters, the Jayhawks dominated time of possession, holding the ball for nearly eight minutes longer than the Eagles and running nine more plays. What’s more, Kansas, which trailed by at least two scores for most of the night, ran 44 rushing plays while attempting just 26 passes.

“We just wanted to mix it up,” Gill said. “We thought that was the best thing to do. I thought we had some opportunities.”

Though things seemed to be out of reach, the Eagles stamped the unofficial seal of victory when senior defensive back Chico Hunter sacked Webb from behind with 10 minutes to play as the Jayhawks, who trailed 28-10 at the time, went for a fourth-and-three conversion from the USM 30-yard line.

Webb was sacked four times. He was knocked to the ground and forced to flee the pocket several others.

One of the most curious things about the sack was not the play call or that the O-line failed to protect Webb, but the fact that the call came in slowly, and the Jayhawks, who lined up in a power rushing formation, seemed frenzied to get the snap off despite having a timeout remaining.

That was sort of the theme of the night. Other than an inspiring start to the second half, in which KU scored on a fourth-down run from Deshaun Sands and stopped Southern Miss three-and-out on its first two drives, the Jayhawks were flat, out of sync and overmatched.

“We played a good team,” safety Olaitan Oguntodu said. “But we were there. Sometimes you just gotta make plays. That’s just what it boils down to.”

Added Webb when asked about the mind-set of the team after the game: “We just lost a football game. You can’t really be too happy right now.”

There were a few positives. Though Webb struggled in the pocket most of the night, he did enough with his feet to keep plays alive and demonstrated toughness and a fighter’s spirit.

In addition, freshman tailback James Sims passed his second audition to become the Jayhawks’ featured back, gaining 74 yards on 20 carries, most of which went between the tackles.

Despite his solid night, Sims was more concerned with his team’s failure to show up from the start than his own numbers.

“I was surprised,” Sims said. “Coming off that (Georgia Tech) win, that’s not how you’re supposed to play.”


Kent Fisher 7 years, 9 months ago

Wait for it... come the bandwagon, nay-sayers who can't cite their sources.

John Kyle 7 years, 9 months ago

Oh look, the initial poster, who has nothing to say but predicts what everyone already knows will happen.

Source: me

yankeevet 7 years, 9 months ago

Soon as we can get quarterbacks who can throw; receivers who can catch; and a kicker who can kick; and make field goals..............then KU should have a good team.......

eastcoasthawk 7 years, 9 months ago

Back to the game please. This is what concerns me.

Gill said. “We gotta put consecutive drives together to make sure we keep our defense off the field, especially against this type of offense.”

We did just that through 3 quarters. We owned time of possession. We lost this game by 15 points which amounts to 2 bad plays. The 49 yard TD run in which Kande took a horrible angle and didn't have the speed to make up for it and the blocked punt. So in my eyes we lost this game on two plays and Turner is concerned about the offensive possession which we were winning?

Moving beyond my concern, I agree with Turner in that there are a lot of things to be improved and to me the most important one right now is special teams. Our special teams are not special in any way. If they were special we would have beat NDSU (missed FG's) and could have won last night if we had stayed one score from USM. That would have allowed for different play calls instead of some of the desparate ones we saw in the 4th qtr. I know.... coulda, woulda, shoulda. Just my .02

eastcoasthawk 7 years, 9 months ago

Editors - when is the Journal World going to link the comments of the same story all on one page?

Gregory Newman 7 years, 9 months ago

the hawks are just flat out slow. Patterson ain't fast nor are the rest of the receivers they can't separate. They got deep routes with no safety valve. The slant has been open the past 3 games and Patterson should go in the slot and not that catch the ball in the backfield crap but over the middle. The coaches ain't got a clue about their personal. The O-line and D-line needs to play with low pad to get a push their initial move is standing straight-up. The D-line got good personal but needs to move on the ball and not the count or movement. If they do that they will win the battle. D-line disrupts by penetration then linbackers fill period. Typical college sports the good ol boys network they'll hire anybody. Technique begets equality when you don't have great personal

Fred Whitehead Jr. 7 years, 9 months ago

This has nothing to do with the game. Or does it?

I watch a fair amount of college football and one thing strikes me as pretty odd about the Kansas players. There are no names of the players on the back of their jerseys. I think most all major and professional teams do this now, it aids the viewers to know who the player is if they do not have a numbered roster. I think Penn State is about the only college who also does not identify players by name, but that is just Happy Valley and the vapors from Mount Nittany confusing the university.

What is the purpose in not following what has become common practice with most all college and professional teams? Is it a money issue? It must cost something to put that silly little Jayhawk patch on the back of the jerseys. Or is this some sort of punitive measure from the new coach who has yet to provide much indication that he has a concrete plan for improvement of his team?

I know, I know, this is a nit-pickey issue, but it does stand out as some sort of oddity among most all teams and does not seem to provide any sort of solidarity with the goals of all teams, that is to have some common purpose for the viewer fans and to be inclusive with other teams in the sport.

Linda Aikins 7 years, 9 months ago

It was made very clear to all of us that there would be no names on the jerseys because this is a TEAM effort and not an individual.

Coach Gill's call. I'd like the names back.

Fred Whitehead Jr. 7 years, 9 months ago

Well, Gootsie, I heard that explanation, but it seems pretty silly and petty since most of the other schools have a TEAM effort and don't make such types of decisions. I think this coach is a bit off the wall and needs to get back in step with the majority of other teams and stop the foolish stunts and teach football, not childish philosophy.

Graczyk 7 years, 9 months ago

Yes. KU should do things like everyone else does. Great logic there.

sharong 7 years, 9 months ago

It's not a nit-picky issue. It's just plain stupid not to put their names on their jerseys.

Linda Aikins 7 years, 9 months ago

Wow. This is very informative and inspirational. Please don't go away - I'm sure the other people in the Phelps clan would miss you.

sharong 7 years, 9 months ago

Allow me to quote Jed Clampet..."Pitiful." And I don't mean the kids, I mean the coaching staff.

HuskeJoe 7 years, 9 months ago

This game proves that point that Georgia Tech is really, really, really bad.

ecilop 7 years, 9 months ago

There were some coaching issues that I think need to be addressed. Why are we soooo slow about getting the offensive plays in? And when they were at our 1 1/2 yard line why did we line up in a three man front instead of a goal line package? They lined up in a goal line package and walked into the end zone. That was really bad.

Commenting has been disabled for this item.