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Archive for Saturday, September 7, 2013

Opinion: KU’s offense not quite right in opener

Kansas head coach Charlie Weis watches as a touchdown by Josh Ford is called back during the first quarter against South Dakota on Saturday, Sept. 7, 2013 at Memorial Stadium.

Kansas head coach Charlie Weis watches as a touchdown by Josh Ford is called back during the first quarter against South Dakota on Saturday, Sept. 7, 2013 at Memorial Stadium.

September 7, 2013

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Press Conferences & Post-Game Interviews

KU coach Charlie Weis

Kansas coach Charlie Weis talks to reporter following the Jayhawks' 31-14 victory over South Dakota on Sept. 7, 2013.

Box score

KU-USD

The new quarterback throws the ball and avoids sacks so much better than his predecessor. The talented stable of running backs looks better than ever. And the squad finally has a wide receiver with a touchdown reception to his name.

Yet, based on first glance, something isn’t quite right with the Kansas University football team’s offense, which seemingly had the manpower to put far more points on the board than it did in Saturday night’s 31-14, season-opening victory against South Dakota.

But what? What exactly is the problem?

For one, even for an opener, the team in general lacked discipline, as evidenced by 71 penalty yards on nine whistles.

Beyond that, though, the offense as a whole didn’t equate to the sum of its parts and it wasn’t until head coach/offensive coordinator Charlie Weis abandoned his preference for balance that KU opened a comfortable distance.

Watching Kansas struggle through a scoreless first quarter on the way to a 14-7 lead at the half, I kept asking myself why Weis didn’t just have quarterback Jake Heaps hand the ball to a running back on every play and make most of them simple runs between the tackles. The only answer I could come up with was that Weis was coaching for future games, knowing the Jayhawks would need a balanced attack to win games against stiffer competition than a Football Championship Subdivision team that went 1-10 a year ago.

Wrong.

“That’s the way I like to call the game,” Weis said of the balanced first-half approach.

With far more skill, experience and depth at running back than at receiver, it might be difficult to stay as balanced as he likes, though not as difficult as a year ago, now that Heaps is zipping accurate passes into tight spots the way he did in his KU debut. A few dropped passes and a couple of hurries on which he avoided sacks by throwing balls out of bounds cheated Heaps (10 of 20 for 110 yards and one touchdown) of having statistics that more accurately reflected his performance.

From the very first play from scrimmage through much of the first half — Tony Pierson lined up at wideout, then went in motion, took a handoff and was stopped for no gain — the KU offense looked like a power pitcher with a 98 mph fastball throwing changeups to guys at the bottom of the order. Why try to trick them when you can just blow them away with power?

Everybody involved promised better things from the offense.

“There are some guys who are not even playing who are going to end up being major factors,” Weis said. “I’ll use a guy like Rodriguez Coleman. He may end up being one of our best receivers, but right now he’s playing behind Christian (Matthews) and Tre’ (Parmalee). At the end of the year he might be one of those guys everyone’s talking about.”

Look for that to change soon. Maybe immediately.

But beyond personnel issues, the offense just didn’t seem quite in sync. Could it be the playbook is too expansive for college football and as a result the athletes are doing too much thinking and not enough reacting?

“No, no, no,” said tight end Jimmay Mundine, who caught two passes and dropped two. “There is not too much thinking on Saturday. You usually know what you’re doing by then. We know we can run the ball and we know we can pass it. It’s just going to be a matter of actually doing it. ... We can do such a better job than we did tonight. There’s no excuse for us not doing it tonight because we did such a better job of it throughout camp.”

Mundine explained how playing in a game can sharpen practices.

“It didn’t all come together tonight,” he said. “That’s something we’re going to definitely work on and take practice more serious. We might have gone through the motions in practice. When you get into a game, you can feel the emotion and the intensity and that’s what we’re going to try to incorporate into practice.”

Jake Heaps called the development of the passing game “a process,” and it is because young receivers can be expected to get better. But how much better?

“I don’t think it was our best game, obviously,” Heaps said. “But when you look at it, our offense shot ourselves in the foot half the time and we were able to put 31 points on the board. When you look at it that way, it speaks a lot of volume to our offense and our capability. We just need to correct those little mistakes and little mental errors that we had during the game and we’re going to be just fine.”

The corrections must come quickly because Rice, Saturday’s road opponent, is no joke.

Comments

DocPossum 7 months, 2 weeks ago

First games of the season should be to try enough to see what works, to identify what does not, and still not loose the game. Weis was trying different personnel, formations, and strategies. The passing game is still a work in progress. Better to work on it by choice against South Dakota than by necessity against Texas.

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patkindle 7 months, 2 weeks ago

as usual the arm chair quarter backs know more that the coach. I think it is nice they won and we should be proud of that, give it up and get a real life for gosh sakes

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BradWesley 7 months, 2 weeks ago

Fredmandu is correct. I like Weis, he's humorous, good communicator but his play calling and personnel decisions need improvement. IMO, Weis blew the Rice game last year by abandoning the run when KU was gashing them to "call the game" his way. Same at Northern Illinois . KU should and could have ran up and down the field on that team all night and hung 21 or 28 by half. He has 5 running backs with speed. Why in the heck are they putting Mathews in to run a pistol, wildcat, or Jayhawk formation for a sweep? If you are going to run a sweep out of a shotgun have the running backs run the ball!. Hell, we should have had 400 yards of rushing against the worst team from Mo Valley. Frustrating.

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EveryMan 7 months, 2 weeks ago

Not be a downer to all of this negativity, but.... Good job team! Nice win. I see a lot of progress. Keep it up. Rock Chalk!

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Fredmandu 7 months, 2 weeks ago

Go ahead and say it... A big part of the problem is the way Charlie Weis calls games. I love what he's done for our program, but he's just not a good game caller. In the first half when we should have just been pounding the ball on the ground, he's throwing. In the second half, when South Dakota was gassed and we should've been going deep, he's running those stupid wildcat plays.

Yes, there were plenty of on-field mistakes to correct, but the biggest correction would be to remove the playcall headset from Coach Weis.

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pigballin 7 months, 2 weeks ago

Keegan ,,what young receivers are you seeing on the field ? Not on my starting roster.

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pigballin 7 months, 2 weeks ago

Weiss comments and the players he uses on plays makes me think that might be a reason he was let go at ND. So he thinks Coleman is the better WR than the other two..BUT.. will see him at the end of the year...HMMM.. Today's biggest glare still remains at the receiver positions. Bottom Big 12 catchers,,err, i mean droppers. Can't catch in traffic and make the tough catches that very good receivers make. Matthews running the option? Does Weiss understands that position has to have some decent speed to run,,plus Matthews can't elude tacklers. If Weiss runs that option again with Matthews then we will have a good indication Weiss is not so savvy of a football guy. Disappointing performance today in some areas i thought would be improved. But..A positive is Heap's a good QB delivering the ball on target. On defense, i thought McDonald played well on coverage and broke up several passes. Overall.. team could beat last years team,,but not by much.

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