Texas Tech FS D.J. Johnson talked a bit about the Kansas offense earlier this week about Kansas utilizing multiple formations to run their offense, what should Texas Tech fans look for in terms of personnel and who are some of the offensive players that Texas Tech fans should watch?
RCT: Kansas will run out of a shotgun spread style set, an under center I-form set and they have been incorporating various versions of the "Jayhawk" formation (Wildcat). When and how often they've used each has varied in each game and quarterback Jordan Webb has hinted that they've added some new wrinkles again this week. In general I would say that DJ Johnson is correct, Kansas is balanced and they will throw different looks at you and they have a variety of offensive threats that can make plays. It's quite an improvement over last year when we were consistently a three and out team.
In terms of players it pretty much starts in the backfield. James Sims, Darrian Miller, Tony Pierson and Brandon Bourbon have been steady producers in the Kansas backfield and senior Rell Lewis has seen his minutes increase of late. I'd say Sims and Miller are your two primary backs but it is very much a committee position for Kansas and they all have the ability to step in and make a play.
Jordan Webb is another bright spot at the moment and that has been a pleasant surprise. The sophomore quarterback has made a tremendous amount of improvement, he's playing within the offense and he's been very efficient. A lot of that can be attributed to a more balanced attack and an improved offensive line, but in general he is really earning the trust of the coaches, players and fans.
Kansas has had trouble stopping the run, although the Georgia Tech game greatly sways the statistics, has stopping the run been the biggest problem for Kansas or are there other defensive deficiencies that Turner Gill is concerned about?
RCT: Oddly enough our run defense was the bright spot the first two weeks. I think Tech's attack was a slightly different animal and exposed some issues we had in that area but I would say the primary problem Kansas is going to have during Big 12 play will be pass defense. Kansas was shredded in the first two games on short screen passes and in the passing game in general. McNeese and NIU have good offensive units but they aren't as good as what Kansas will face in Big 12 competition week after week.
RB James Sims has been very good thus far, can you talk about what type of runner Sims is?
RCT: Sims is a very smart, strong and patient runner. He's a player that sees the game well beyond his sophomore status and while he isn't the most explosive Kansas runner he is the best all around back at this point in time. It's obviously tough to make this comparison but I've always felt he has a similar patience to a guy like Emmitt Smith in the latter part of his career. Probably a leap but that's a bit of the style that Sims has.
There are still more than a handful of Texas Tech fans that are upset about how former coach Mike Leach was terminated. Kansas had a similar situation with Mark Mangino in the sense he was terminated, but was highly successful at Kansas. Are there still Jayhawk fans that are upset about his termination or do most fans feel that his actions justified his termination?
The answer to this question and so much more after the jump.
RCT: I think you'll find a mixed bag in Kansas. There are those that are still very upset with the Mangino situation and almost want to watch Turner Gill go down in flames because of it. That's the minority but it exists. Then there are those that didn't like the Mangino situation but felt like it went down a path where he couldn't continue as a coach and a change had to be made. This is probably the majority. Lastly there are those that have taken every thing that was said about Mangino as gospel and they believe he is the ultimate villain, again a minority. I would say Kansas and their fans certainly recognize that the Mangino situation was probably more serious and legitimate than the Leach witch hunt, but you still have some second guessing considering what he was able to do in Lawrence.
Who are the biggest difference makers on the Kansas defense?
RCT: Hmmmm......ummmmm....w...? I'm not going to lie I'm struggling with this one and I can't honestly say that we've seen a single player that has been a difference maker this year. It's been pretty bad, not going to lie. If I had to pick a guy that has the potential, it's Toben Opurum.
How do you see this game playing out and a final score?
RCT: I'm optimistic that Kansas will be able to move the ball, I just hope the coaching staff leverages that ability to control the clock and perhaps slow the tempo of the game. They haven't really shown that as something they want to do so far this year, but the Georgia Tech game might have opened some eyes as to how bad the defensive situation is. If Kansas decides to and CAN accomplish this I think they have a chance.
All that said, the defense would still have to stop Tech and I'm not confident in that happening enough for us to get a win. I see a shootout, once Kansas falls behind Tech will likely control the game comfortably but the score might not completely indicate that. I'll go 49-38 Texas Tech over Kansas....take the over, it's set at 67.