Much thanks to misterbrain over at Rock Chalk Talk for taking the time to answer some questions about the Kansas Jayhawks.
Seth: Is it an incorrect assumption to think that it is a huge sigh of relief that Clint Bowen is now in charge and Charlie Weis is now in Kansas' rear view mirror? What's the general mood of the Jayhawk faithful?
misterbrain: I'd say we are cautiously optimistic at this point. The big fear is that Bowen will get lucky a couple times, get a win or two, but otherwise not really do anything, but still somehow get the long-term job.
It appeared that week 1 was about getting the reins of the program, and week 2 allowed him to alter the gameplan (although maybe it was more letting Reagan change up the offense?). Either way, his early returns are encouraging, but so are the rumors that the coaching search is still continuing.
Seth: Since we're just learning a bit about Bowen, talk a bit about his offensive and defensive philosophy and what might e different than when Weis was running the show.
misterbrain: The defensive philosophy is exactly what we saw under Weis since Bowen was in charge of the defensive unit. I think the main change we are seeing is that Reagan is free to run his system, and Bowen has encouraged him to find something that works.
Weis was big on saying he brought in Reagan to run the offense for him, but since the system didn't really change much from when Charlie was in charge, it was obvious that the Weis "offensive genius" was still at work. The main issue was that Weis seemed set in a huge complicated system that changed from week to week, and he kept trying to cram in players that didn't fit.
As we saw last week, the new direction seems to be finding something that works and then running it into the ground.
Seth: Corey Avery has been a huge surprise for Kansas, especially as a true freshman, talk a bit about his impact and a couple of additional key players to watch on offense.
misterbrain: The funny thing about Avery is that he really wouldn't have had a chance this year without the injuries to Brandon Bourbon and Taylor Cox late in the preseason. Losing two key members of an extremely deep backfield meant that the new guys, Avery and De'Andre Mann, had to immediately step up. And they sure have done a great job of it so far, even when the offensive line hasn't given them much help.
Honestly, while Tony Pierson is our most dynamic player, and the receiving corps is solid, the player to watch this week will be QB Michael Cummings. He got the start last week, and while I expect him to build on a solid performance, he will need to perform better in crunch time if the Jayhawks hope to win.
Seth: The Jayhawks did a fantastic job last week of slowing down Oklahoma State offensively, what was the key to stopping Oklahoma State and would it be a safe assumption that we'll see quite a bit of the same philosophy this week?
misterbrain: Honestly, it seemed to me that nothing really changed from the first to second half of the game, except that Oklahoma State couldn't get anything to work quite as well. The offensive line just couldn't get the holes quite as big, the receivers just weren't able to pull in the big catches when needed.
I think the general approach will be the same, with a focus on stopping the run first, and letting the secondary handle passing plays unless/until it becomes apparent that they need help. It seems to have served us fairly well recently, so I don't expect it to change at this point.
Seth: Who are some players to watch on the defensive side of the ball?
misterbrain: The name you have probably already heard is Ben Heeney, but the big name to watch is Michael Reynolds, as he has been the spark plug for the pass rush.
As usual, you'll want to keep an eye out for Jake Love at the linebacker spot, and Isaiah Johnson, JaCorey Shepherd and Dexter McDonald in the secondary.
Seth: I asked this question last week to the West Virginia guys and since I've never been to Lawrence, I'd like your two cents, especially considering that going to Allen Fieldhouse is on my bucketlist. Presume that I get into town on Thursday night, which means that I have all day Friday and the game is on Saturday. What's my agenda for the perfect weekend in Lawrence?
misterbrain: Given that you have an entire Friday to kill, I think the most important thing is to make sure you get in touch with a local before you go that can keep you apprised of all the special events happening that weekend. There are tons of unique events that happen all around campus, even on Thursday nights.
As for places you have to go, a tour of Allen Fieldhouse is obviously a must, and the earlier you get it in the better. It is easy to lose track of time in there, and you want to save plenty of time for both the fieldhouse and the attached Booth Hall of Athletics, which has tons of memorabilia that is intriguing to fans in general.
After that, the main attractions are taking in some of the scenery. My personal favorite spot is to head up to the big bay windows in Mrs. E's dining hall, where you can see the entire campus laid out. Another spot is on the other side of campus, on the ninth floor of The Oread (where you can grab a drink too). In between, don't forget to chill out on Wescoe Beach, where there is pretty much always something going on. After all that, head down to Mass Street to get some food, and check out one of the many bars or clubs right in the area
As for Saturday, tailgating is the way to go. Your best bet for a good time is to bring beer and join one of the many frat house tailgates, but you could also head to a nearby bar like the Wheel if that's more your scene. If you aren't going in to the game, then either Free State Brewing Company or 23rd Street Brewery are ideal places to watch the game, if you can get a seat.
After the game, if you are sticking around for a while, Louise's is a good place to go for drinks, and there are plenty of places to go for good food.
Keep in mind I haven't been back to campus in about 7 years, so this is not only the best of my memories, but I also enlisted the help of some who are still in the area. Hope it helps on your next trip up here.
Thanks again to misterbrain for answering some questions, you can find his twitter handle @mister__brain, we very much appreciate his time.