If at first you don’t succeed, try, try, try again.
The popular proverb could be considered an appropriate rallying cry for Kansas University’s football team, which, according to junior running back Tony Pierson, is set to reveal its third new offense of the 2013 season.
Although Pierson did not get into the specifics of KU’s newest look — other than to say it was put in a week ago and was “just more fast-paced” — the junior who leads the Jayhawks in receptions (15) and receiving yards (209) said the reason for the shift was to give KU its best chance to light up the scoreboard.
That was this week’s message from KU coach Charlie Weis, who braces to lead his Jayhawks into Big 12 Conference play at 11 a.m. Saturday against 20th-ranked Texas Tech.
“We have to score way more points than what we have been scoring,” Weis said. “It’s really that simple.”
KU has averaged 19.3 points per game during the first three weeks of 2013 and has combined to score just 27 points in its two most recent games. The output ranks last in the Big 12 and makes KU one of just three Big 12 teams averaging fewer than 31 points per game. KU also ranked last in points-per-game last season (18.2), but, as he showed by all but abandoning the passing game then, Weis seems willing to change as much as necessary to give his team its best chance to win. Before they worry too much about overhauling the offense completely, Weis and the Jayhawks believe there are a few things they can clean up that will lead to more touchdowns.
“We’re very close,” junior quarterback Jake Heaps said. “And that’s what makes this thing so frustrating. It’s not our inability to do anything, it’s just a couple of execution errors that make or break a big play or allow us to score or not. We gotta be better. And if we can do that, we can go out and score a bunch of points and be the offense we know we’re capable of being.”
Asked specifically for areas in which better execution could lead to more points, Weis and several offensive players pointed to three things — better performance on third down, more big plays and better balance.
“That’s what you gotta have,” Heaps said. “You can’t just have regular plays be positive plays. You gotta turn those positive plays into big plays.”
With Saturday’s opponent averaging 39 points and 520 yards per game, the Jayhawks know that keeping up offensively will be just as critical as digging in on defense. They all believe the offense is up to the challenge.
“I really do,” junior tight end Trent Smiley said. “I think we’ve always just been one little thing away from really exploding, and why not have Saturday be the game we do that? We are capable of scoring as many points as we want to.”
Added Heaps: “This is an opportunity for our offense to prove what we’re capable of. We’re going against a good Texas Tech defense, but I think it’s really a good time for us to make a statement and (show) whether we can compete with the big teams in the country.”