Earlier this week I asked Owen from RockChalkTalk.com some questions dealing with the Kansas Jayhawks and the football game on Saturday. If you want more knowledge and insight on the Jayhawks for the game on Saturday or for upcoming basketball season, I highly recommend checking out RCT and following them on Twitter. You can check out my answers to his questions tomorrow over at RockChalkTalk.com
The Jayhawks are 2-6 right now and are one of the worst teams in the BCS. What were the expectations for the Jayhawks coming into the season?
I think the expectation was that we would be competitive. We all knew that this team needed work after last season and we weren’t necessarily looking for huge waves in the win/loss column, but we wanted to be competitive. I would say that there were a lot of fans who probably put the ceiling at 4 wins heading into the season with solid improvement and competitive football being the measuring stick. From a win/loss perspective we’re probably at a spot where many expected, the problem is we are just getting blown out of the water on a weekly basis and that’s where we are falling well shot of expectations.
Turner Gill turned around the Buffalo program and won the MAC Championship in 2008. However, he has started his Kansas career with a 5-15 record. Is he on the “hot seat” or not?
ABSOLUTELY. Before the season I would have never guessed we would be at this place, but this team is so far removed from looking like a Big 12 team that I would honestly be surprised if Turner Gill isn’t gone at seasons end. At this point it will take a dramatic turn around in November to avoid that.
If I could draw a comparison to Iowa State I would say that from a pure talent standpoint Kansas is just as talented, maybe even more in certain areas, as the Cyclones. But you have a coach that puts together a solid gameplan and has done an excellent job at coaching up his talent during his time in Ames. It’s exactly what we want to see from a coach and Turner Gill has lost the confidence of almost everyone in terms of his ability to accomplish that.
How well has sophomore QB, Jordan Webb, played so far at Kansas? What is his strength as a quarterback?
Webb was very good at the beginning of the year. He was making good decisions and proving to be very efficient with the football. The offense as a whole is driven by the running game though so it’s not as if Webb has ever taken a game and changed it on his own. If Kansas can establish the run and keep the opponent guessing, Webb can supplement that and keep the offense moving.
Looking at KU’s stats, I noticed that James Sims started off the season with most of the carries but Darrian Miller is now getting more carries than Sims. Is there a reason for that or has it always been a two-running back system?
We’ve been a 2-3-4 and sometimes 5 running back system at times this year. Sims commanded most of the carries early because of his experience and blocking ability. He’s also a very patient and savvy back. Miller is explosive and difficult to tackle and with experience and success he’s picked up more and more in the way of opportunities. Sims often starts, but Miller appears to be the #1 back at the moment.
Name a player or two that Cyclone fans should be aware of going into the game on Saturday.
Offensively I think you covered it with Webb, Miller and Sims. Those three are the primary players that will get most of the touches although there is one player, Tony Pierson, that is worth a long look. Pierson is a freshman with game breaking speed. I honestly can’t remember a player in my time watching Kansas football that has what he has. He’s still young and he isn’t really an every down player, but he’ll touch the ball 5-7 times in a game right now and he has the ability to break it open on any given play.
Defensively it’s all about Steven Johnson. He’s a huge bright spot on a bad defense and he leads the Big 12 in tackles. Johnson has a great story. He was injured his senior year of high school, didn’t get many looks but walked on at Kansas after sitting out of football for two maybe three years. Worked his way through the program, earned a scholarship and now he’s a captain for the team. There isn’t one ounce of quit in his play and I only wish he was in a situation where he could draw some more attention.
Kansas played Iowa State pretty hard last year and almost came out with the upset in Ames. If the Jayhawks are going to beat the Clones, what are they going to have to do?
Kansas will have to run the ball well and force Iowa State into a one dimensional game and force them to pass. If the Jayhawks can’t run the football, the offense stalls and if the Cyclones can run the ball effectively, the Jayhawk defense tends to over commit and give up the big play.
Finally, what is your prediction?
Honestly there isn’t a whole lot other than playing the game on paper that makes me very confident in Kansas. If you look purely at the numbers this is the most favorable matchup for us since the first two games of the season. At the same time if you just look at these two teams, Iowa State has a clear advantage. I’m hopeful that Kansas can move the football, continue to improve a little bit at a time on defense and make it close but I see Iowa State coming away with a win 38-24ish maybe.