Name one player, both offense and defense, as to who has been the biggest surprise been the biggest surprise about this version of the Kansas Jayhawks?
KJIBT: Offense: Kerry Meier - You could see the potential, especially in the latter stages, last year, but no one cold have expected this. He's a little banged up lately and wasn't able to get free too often last week, but he's still on pace for roughly 100 catches and over 1000 yards. But more than that, he just always seems to be open whenever Todd needs him to be (which is what made our lack of success on third down last week so surprising - I guess OU watches film) and he catches everything (see: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uemzqLwbnv8 ).
Defense: Richard Johnson, Jr. - The d-line has been the biggest issue (as it should have been), but he has been a nice surprise. He may not have all the stats and he's clearly a step down from McClinton, but I wouldn't hesitate to call him the most effective of the whole unit.
Briefly talk about the type of scheme that Kansas utilizes on offense.
KJIBT: As does everyone, Kansas runs a version of the spread. However, they try to mix it up quite a bit and they've even been mixing in the I-Formation lately when they have a lead. But more typically, you'll see Reesing in the shotgun, always with a no-huddle, but not always in a hurry-up style. Part of their falloff this year is because they're needing to leave in the TE (Biere) to block instead of utilizing him (or another WR) in the passing game. Despite that, they've been very successful with Dez Briscoe out wide and Meier and Fields either in the middle or the flats. We had not gone down the field a ton this year, but after the success they had with Briscoe last week, I would expect to see things open up a bit more as I think it could also help them give some more space for the other pas catchers.
You mentioned earlier this week that getting to Harrell could be a reason Kansas wins, but in that commentary you also mentioned that you'd like to see Kansas mix up their coverage. Is this something that Kansas regularly does?
KJIBT: Unfortunately, no. They'll vary some between Man and Zone, in either Cover 2 or Cover 4. But as far as really disguising and mixing things up, I think they could do more. I'm almost never surprised when they blitz (every third and long) and usually not even by who is blitzing. Especially this week, I think it would be really important to mix things up as much as possible, because I just don't see them getting to Harrell nearly enough to make much of a difference.
What's one thing that you'd like to see Kansas improve upon as the season continues?
KJIBT: The easy answer is pass defense. But more specifically, I want to see them put more pressure on the opposing offense. This comes back to what I discussed above in mixing things up more, but also I'd like to see the corners press a lot more. They've been doing a decent not getting beaten over the top, but it really hasn't done them any good anyway. So if they can't cover the routes, they need to get a little more physical and try to break up the timing. And of course I'd love a legitimate pass rush, but I just don't think they have the personnel to get that done.
Kansas wins because . . .
KJIBT: they made the plays when they count. Both of these teams are going to do some scoring, so it will come down to who makes less mistakes and who capitalizes on their opportunities. If Kansas can win the turnover battle and not settle for field goals, I think they'll come out of Saturday with a well earned win and a newfound national respect.