Disclaimer : I am sure that I have something wrong with this preview. If something is incorrect, feel free to leave a comment or shoot me an email (doubletnation AT gmail DOT com) and I'll get things corrected either in the story or in the comments. The purpose of this preview is to help educate myself and Texas Tech fans about your team.
After being incredibly patient with Turner Gill, now Kansas fans are being asked to be incredibly patient with Charlie Weis. I don't know how I would feel if I were an Kansas fan. I don't know if they find Weis to be a good coach or if they are tolerating him because he is their head coach. Somewhat like Texas Tech fans did with Tuberville. He's our coach, so let's get behind him.
Weis brought in a bunch of defensive JUCO players, but few offensive JUCO players. Both the offense and defense weren't very good for Kansas, but I am thinking that Weis thinks that he can run the ball and play better defense then they can make some improvements.
Offense - Pass
So, I kinda feel like we're doing this same thing from last year as Kansas is replacing QB Dayne Crist, who wasn't real great and the Jaykawks actually went with a true freshman towards the end of the year who almost upended Texas Tech, QB Michael Cummings, and now the Jayhawks are resting their hopes on Jake Heaps, a transfer from BYU. Just to remind you, Heaps wasn't totally awful as a sophomore at BYU, completing 57% of his pases for 1,400 yards, but only averaged 5.8 yards per attempt and had 9 touchdowns to 8 interceptions. Not exactly glowing, but not terrible.
Last year's passing attack for Kansas meant an offense that was 113th in the nation in passing. I do think that Heaps is going to help, not hurt, and he's had a full year in Weis' system, so I think he's going to be better than Crist, who was really pretty awful. As far as receivers are concerned, Kale Pick graduates, but Kansas does return just about everyone else other than Daymond Patterson, which includes Andrew Turzilli, Jimmay Mundine and Tre' Parmalee. They didn't do anything that great, which is why Weis went out and signed two JUCO receivers, Rodriguez Coleman and Mark Thomas, as well as accepted transfer Justin McCay, from Oklahoma.
I really don't know what to think about The line loses LT Tanner Hawkinson, LG Duane Zlatnik, and C Trevor Marrongelli that was actually pretty effective last year. This is somewhat like Texas Tech in that Kansas has to replace 3/5 of the offensive line, including TE Mike Ragone, and arguably the most important parts of the offensive line. No problem, right? We'll get to the rushing game here in a bit, but from a passing standpoint, Kansas was 75th in the nation in sacks allowed.
Offense - Run
This is largely based off of the idea that RB James Sims is pretty darned good. Kansas does return Randall Dent and Aslam Sterling on the right side of the line. I don't know if they will flip to the left side, but I suppose that's an option. Interesting note is that Pat Lewandowski, brother to Texas Tech basketballer Robert Lewandowski, is also in the mix along the line. I could have sworn he was a defensive guy at one time, but maybe they have switched him to offense.
But back to Sims, he ran for 112 yards a game last year and fellow running back Tony Pierson also ran for 69 yards a game to help lead a ground attack that was 22nd in the nation and 3rd in the Big 12. I really do like Sims and Pierson and I think they are good running backs that if receive some blocking up front, will be the best players on the team for Kansas. But I really don't know what to do with a line that returns only two starters and is essentially rebuilding from within. There are no JUCO linemen that Weis recruited last year. There are JUCO players at almost every other position, but not offensive line.
Defense - Pass
Eh, not good. Last year, Kansas was 114th in passing defense, so Weis and defensive coordinator Dave Campo signed a slew of defensive backs from the JUCO ranks, including Isaiah Johnson, Dexter McDonald, Cassius Sendish and Kevin Short. That's four JUCO players for the secondary. This is not a position group where Kansas sat on their hands and didn't try to improve. I don't even know if I really need to get too much into the returnees, but Tyree Williams and JaCorey Shepherd were both backup cornerbacks last year and Dexter Linton and Ray Mitchell were the primary backup safeties.
The defensive line didn't help all that much with a pass rush as Kansas was 116th in sacks. There should be some improvement here as DT Marquel Combs was a fantastic JUCO DT signing. We'll get more into the other JUCO signings on the defensive line, but like the secondary, they signed a bunch of them.
Defense - Run
I think that Kansas has to improve somewhere, so I think that I'll hang my hat here. In addition to Combs, Kansas also signed JUCO players Andrew Bolton, Tedarian Johnson, Chris Martin and Ty McKinney. Martin has already been dismissed from the team, but Weis and Campo certainly tried to improve the line. JDT Jordan Tavai and Keba Agostinho were two starters (I think), while Josh Williams and Toben Opurum both graduated on the ends.
The linebackers all return, including MLB Ben Heeney, who was really good last year and has been named a preseason first team All Big 12 guy on a couple of publications. He led the team with 112 tackles and 12.0 TFL. That was as a sophomore, so he'll be better. SLB Jake Love and WLB Huldon Tharp both return, but that didn't stop Weis and Campo from signing two more JUCO linebakcers in Samson Faifili and Marcus Jenkins-Moore.
Kansas was dead last in punt returns and second to last in kickoff returns. As far as field goals are concerned, they were sorta middle of the road, 7th, and 8th in punting average. So this group isn't really all that great. Ron Doherty was the kicker and punter, but you should not be at all surprised to learn that Weis signed Trevor Pardula, a JUCO punter, and Michael Mesh, a JUCO kicker, to compete with Doherty.
I don't really know what to make of this team, especially on the defensive side of the ball. Weis and Campo have gone all-in with the JUCo defensive players. There could be 7 or 8 new starters on the defense and they could all be JUCO players. This isn't the first time this has been written, but it is clear that by going the JUCO route, they are trying to conjure up the magic of Bill Snyder and if this doesn't work, it will be disastrous.
Offense is supposed to be Weis' game and thus far, the results haven't been encouraging. I think that Kansas was left a pretty big hole from Turner Gill and not at all recruiting like what I think Weis wanted. I'm guessing that Weis really wants a pro-type of offense and that's not what Gill handed over. So obviously, the transition will be tough offensively until Weis can get a couple of his guys there. And I write that Weis wants pro-style quarterbacks, but he recruited a dual-threat guy in Montell Cozart and a pro-style quarterback in Jordan Darling. So right now, I'm not sure what direction that Weis is going to go.
Rating the Jayhawks
|Offense - Pass|
|Offense - Run|
|Defense - Pass|
|Defense - Rush|