Kansas at a GlanceHome | Lawrence, KS (Big 12 Conference)
2011 Record | 2-10 (0-9) (Big 12)
Offensive Starters Returning | 6
Defensive Starters Returning | 6
2012 Offensive MVP | RB James Sims
2012 Defensive MVP | DE Toben Opurum
This is my yearly attempt to educate myself on the teams on the Texas Tech schedule. I am not an expert about any of these teams, but rather I have spent a few hours studying the team and it is more likely than not that I have something wrong. Please correct me in the comments. All helmet images via The Helmet Project.
Important Links | NCAA Stats (106th Total Offense; 120th Total Defense) . . . Yet another college website that I could not find a spring prospectus after looking for 10 minutes on the KU website. This is frustrating. I did find a 42 page "fan guide" that details how fans are supposed to do everything, from the size of banners to how to tailgate. This is a thing . . . I did find a spring game box score (PDF) and quotes . . .
The Coach | Charlie Weis isn't all that bad. I'm not sure if I think that Weis is just an okay head coach and really good offensive coordinator, but I'm not sure about that either. Weis made a name for himself when he was named as the head coach of Notre Dame after spending a handful of years as the offensive coordinator for the New England Patriots. For whatever reason, the Patriots keep churning out top offenses. Anyway, Weis was 35 -27 as the head coach for Notre Dame and he started off incredibly well, going 9-3 and 10-3 the first two years, but then took a significant step backwards in 2007 where he then went 3-9 and then cobbled together essentially a .500 record his last two years. So many people have made the argument that Weis benefitted from the players recruited by Tyrone Willingham. I really don't know.
Weis then went back to the NFL and was pretty successful with the Kansas City Chiefs, and then bolted to Florida as the offensive coordinator after just a year. So this is where I question Weis in that he led an offense that was 105th in total offense, 73rd in rushing offense, 89th in passing offense and 71st in scoring defense. That's not really lighting the world on fire. I didn't watch enough Florida football to know if this was a problem with the players or with Weis, but this performance for Weis, along with his prior history, was enough to get him the Kansas head coaching job.
There is no offensive coordinator listed in the Kansas coaches, which means that Weis is the guy calling all of the offensive shots. Weis then hired former Dallas Cowboys coach Dave Campo as the defensive coordinator. Campo is a good guy and after the secondary fell off a bit for the Cowboys, he was finally let go after an incredibly long career with the Cowboys. At one time, Campo was one of those coaches that I thought was going to have a permanent spot with the Cowboys in some form or fashion, but I get the feeling that Campo maybe needed a change of pace. I don't know how it will work out, but I do think Campo is a good coach, but maybe the players in Dallas had tuned him out. The problem for Campo is that I don't think he has a lot to work with at Kansas.
DTN 2012 Previews* 9/1/12 Northwestern St. Demons (Preview)
* 9/8/12 @ Texas St. Bobcats (Preview)
* 9/15/12 New Mexico Lobos (Preview)
* 9/29/12 @ Iowa St. Cyclones (Preview)
* 10/6/12 Oklahoma Sooners (Preview)
* 10/13/12 West Virginia Mountaineers (Preview)
* 10/20/12 @ TCU Horned Frogs (Preview)
* 10/27/12 @ Kansas St. Wildcats (Preview)
* 11/3/12 Texas Longhorns (Preview)
* 11/10/12 Kansas Jayhawks (Preview)
* 11/17/12 @ Oklahoma St. Cowboys (Preview)
* 11/24/12 Baylor Bears (Preview)
What We Do Know | That all of the transfer quarterbacks belong to Kansas. The Kansas offense is expected to be led by senior Dayne Crist, a Notre Dame transfer, and then next year by Jake Heaps, a BYU transfer. We'll see. I do think that the running backs for Kansas are pretty good and include RB's James Sims and Tony Pierson. I should also point out that Mike Ragone, also a Notre Dame transfer, is a pretty good tight end. The top two receiving threats also return, D.J. Beshears and Kale Pick. Like last week, I would like to talk intelligently about the returning players along the line, but without a spring prospectus I really can't do that. We can just assume that with one of the worst offenses in the nation last year and with a returning coach, the offensive line may be in a bit of flux.
Campo has a lot of work to do to solve the defensive issues. There isn't really any metric where Kansas played well on defense. And yes, the same thing can be said for Texas Tech. The difference is that Kansas had the worst defense in the nation, 120th in total defense and scoring defense. Campo has an incredibly difficult task. DE Toben Opurum is, I think, the best player on defense. Opurum had 4 sacks and 7.5 TFL last year on an awful defense.
Opurum will be helped by Notre Dame transfer (they all belong to Kansas) LB Anthony McDonald as well as last year's third leading tackler Darius Willis and Tunde Bakare the fifth leading tackler last year.
From what I can tell, Bradley McDougald is a defensive back and he had a lot of tackles and two interceptions last year. Greg Brown and Keeston Terry should also return and were both in the top 10 in returning tacklers and also defensive backs, so Campo does have some players to work with as he tries to improve the defense.
More after the jump.
What We Do Not Know | Is "everything" an acceptable answer? Weis is most likely changing the offense from a spread-like offense to a more traditional pro-set offense, so there will be a transition there and I've already mentioned the defensive issues. There were 10 players that either were dismissed or left voluntarily during the offseason so most likely, this is going to be a team that is going to be a bit short in terms of depth and most likely talent. There are more questions than answers at this point and I do think it's going to take some time.
Best Player | I really do like James Sims, but we should keep in mind that Sims is suspended for the first three games of the year for an off-the-field incident. I still think that Sims is the best player, although Pierson had 141 yards on just 7 carries in the spring game. Pierson may take the starting job and not let it go.
Break Through Player Candidate | For Jayhawk fans' sake, it better be Crist. Crist was actually pretty good as a starter for Notre Dame, but maybe just didn't mesh with Brian Kelly. Crist completed 59% of his passes in 2010 and had 15 touchdowns and 7 interceptions.
Overall Fear Level With 1 Being Not Afraid At All and 5 Being So Scared Baby | A game at home against one of the worst teams in the nation last year. I don't like giving fear levels of 1 unless it is an awful non-conference team (see Texas Tech's non-conference schedule), but this is the one conference game that might warrant only a fear level of 1 because Kansas was an awful football team last year, they have a new head coach, new schemes, may not have a ton of depth and are playing in Lubbock.