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Monday Rewind: Texas A&M
We’re to the point now, where we have to ask: How much worse can it get?
Three straight blowout losses is bad enough, but now players are starting to get injured. Key ones at that.
Kansas University coach Turner Gill said Sunday night, and again Monday morning, that the status for first- and second-string quarterbacks Jordan Webb (shoulder) and Kale Pick (concussion) would not be known until later in the week.
That’s not the news you want to hear when you’re getting ready to travel to Iowa State to take on a team that just went into Austin and knocked off Texas.
But enough looking ahead. Let’s look back at some of the overlooked elements of Saturday’s 45-10 loss to Texas A&M. We all know the basics of what happened. There’s no need to harp on those any more. So the next few paragraphs will be an attempt to uncover some hidden facts and observations that might help explain why things have gone the way they’ve gone for KU thus far.
Fact No. 1: Two of KU’s leading tacklers were defensive backs.
Safety Chris Harris (10) and cornerback Isiah Barfield (10) were active tacklers during the Jayhawks most recent meltdown. And as much as they should be commended for sticking their heads in there and making tackles, that’s never a good sign for a defense. If defensive backs are leading your team in tackles, that means opposing offenses are getting to the second level way too often.
As a side note, I thought it was very interesting that Olaitan Oguntodu, the Jayhawks’ third-leading tackler for the season, did not play much (if at all) on defense during the A&M game. Oguntodu was moved to linebacker prior to the contest and, while I give the KU coaches high marks for thinking outside the box and trying to find a spark, I give them low marks for taking Oguntodu off the field. He’s one of the few guys I’ve seen on this team who has great passion every week and every time we talk to him.
Fact No. 2: The Jayhawks ran for 201 yards and averaged 4.4 yards-per-carry.
Yet it didn’t matter. The Jayhawks fell way too far behind way too early for their ground game to be a factor in this one. And let’s remember, 75 of those yards came from a scrambling Jordan Webb, so it’s not as if the offensive line was blasting away and the backs running behind them. Still, the Jayhawks did have some success running right up the middle, unfortunately, though, that’s not the most efficient plan of attack when attempting to come back from a three- or four-touchdown deficit.
Fact No. 3: Kale Pick did not look like the same QB we saw during the spring game.
Early on, many people talked about how KU quarterback Kale Pick got the shaft by being yanked out of the season opener after three quarters. From that point on, Pick never really got another shot to show that the coaches made a mistake, as he suffered a leg injury a few weeks later and missed the start of Big 12 play.
With Webb going down just before halftime last Saturday, Pick got his shot to come in and be a spark for the offense. But he wasn’t. To be fair, the outcome was probably long decided by the time Pick took the field. But he still looked rather rusty and a little uncertain when taking snaps and he, too, got injured, suffering a concussion late in the game. Pick ran six times for 11 yards and completed 7 of 12 passes for 40 yards in a quarter-and-a-half of action. That’s not exactly the best sample to find out where the guy’s at, but he definitely did not resemble the same smooth, confident and capable quarterback we saw throughout the offseason and in the spring game.
It's safe to say now that there's no question that Jordan Webb is this team's best option at QB. At least for the remainder of the season.
So what’s the point of these facts? Who knows. Maybe it’s to show that there’s more going on here than a team just lining up and taking its lumps. Maybe it’s to communicate that the problems the Jayhawks are facing go beyond talent and coaching. Or maybe it’s just a way to do something different with the Monday Rewind so that you didn’t have to read another week’s worth of doom and gloom regarding KU football.
Either way, the question still remains: How much worse can it get?