Embarrassed by their latest performance and upset that they looked powerless to stop the onslaught, the Kansas University football players who suffered a 54-16 loss to No. 20 Texas Tech at Memorial Stadium on Saturday were not shy in explaining where the team must go from here.
“It’s almost gotta be a mentality for guys to say they’re not going to accept that happening again,” said tight end Jimmay Mundine, one of the few Jayhawks who has progressed instead of regressing during the first four games of 2013.
Asked if inexperience was a viable excuse for KU’s early-season struggles, Mundine shook his head and emphatically said no. Asked why he felt that way, the KU junior pointed to his team’s performance throughout the offseason and in practice.
“I’m definitely surprised,” he said. “The execution that we were showing, the consistency that we were showing, it was very positive. And you see a lot of signs of that still, but it’s just not consistent enough.”
Consistency definitely is a problem, and it’s a problem at almost every position. The offensive line is a mess, the wide receivers have yet to show up, and the Jayhawks (2-2 overall, 0-1 Big 12) have been flagged for penalties way too often. That last part is particularly troubling when you consider KU committed the fewest penalties in the Big 12 last year. Heck, even the punter, who had been a major bright spot through the first three games, suffered a mental lapse on a fake punt attempt deep in KU territory that led to easy points for the Red Raiders.
Regardless of what’s gone wrong, which players have underperformed and who is responsible for any and all of it, the Jayhawks refuse to point fingers at each other and instead are pointing at the efforts they need more of to get things turned around.
“I’ll give you an example,” KU coach Charlie Weis said. “Ben Heeney. Ben Heeney went as hard as he could at the end of the game as he did at the beginning of the game. That didn’t change. I’m not saying he plays perfect, but he’s gonna play all-out on every single play, and that’s the one thing that you’re gonna have to be judging when you’re watching — how many guys are doing that?”
That concept rang true throughout the KU locker room following Saturday’s loss and was emphasized by the team’s captains.
“We can’t sit here and dwell on this loss, (or) it’ll be another long season,” defensive tackle Keon Stowers said. “We’ve gotta look at ourselves as men, and, if that’s getting new guys in there or getting guys out of there, we gotta do whatever it takes.”
Added junior quarterback Jake Heaps: “Trust me. It hurts real bad to lose in this fashion. It eats at you.... I’m glad we don’t have another (off) week to think about it. Really, it’s a gut check. It’s time to see what kind of guys we have in this locker room.”