Mark and Ed: I'm begging you, run the ball!

We all know the ups and downs that have occurred this season for the KU football team.  Some of the highest expectations in school history have been tough to live up to so far for this team.  Our offense is great, our defense has struggled but is improving dramatically, and I would argue that they have done their part in each of the last 2 games to keep us in the game.  Our offense has been the one to really make things tough.  Two first half turnovers leading to 14 points against Colorado and three interceptions in the first half against OU leading to 14 first half points. 

What is the problem all of the sudden?  How about balance.  While watching the OU vs. KU game from the stands, I couldn't help but notice that OU looked like they knew what we were doing on virtually every play, they swarmed to the ball, they blanketed our receivers, and they beat the crap out of us.  OU has a great defense and maybe more running plays wouldn't have made a difference, but I believe that if we would've had a more balanced attack, this game would've been much closer.

The non-conference was pretty much labeled a success for KU.  Everyone knows that the level of talent we played was not exactly up to par with the Big 12, although I will remind people that UTEP has looked good and Duke won back to back conference games for the first time since 1993, I believe.  Nevertheless, still not Big 12 caliber.  But we can only play the teams on our schedule and we won in very convincing fashion.  What was so exciting about the non-con on offense?  Our running game.

Here are the attempts and yards in each of the games.  I'm going to cut the QB attempts in half as many times it is a pass play that breaks down, or a sack.

vs. Northern Colorado
Running back Attempts: 29
QB Attempts: 13 (6)
Rush Yards: 281

vs. UTEP
Running back Attempts: 32 (16 Sharp, 16 Opurum)
QB Attempts: 5 (2)
Rush Yards: 166

vs. Duke
Running back Attempts: 22
QB Attempts: 5 (3)
Rush Yards: 134

vs. Southern Miss
Running back Attempts: 28 (Opurum)
QB Attempts: 13 (6, Negative yards=sacks)
Rush Yards: 109

vs. Iowa St.

Running back Attempts: 24 (Opurum)
QB Attempts: 5 (2)
Rush Yards: 110

I don't think the QB attempts are as important here but I went ahead and included them because sometimes we have designed runs.  I'm focusing more on the RB's carries, though.  Before Colorado, not one time under 22 attempts for the running backs.

vs. Colorado
RB Attempts: 15
QB Attempts: 7 (3)
Rush Yards: 40

Loss!  We lose this game, we hand the ball off a total of 15 times, 13 to Jake Sharp and 2 to Toben Opurum.  This a week after Toben carried it 24 times for 98 yards.  I know we were playing catch up for a lot of this game but it doesn't matter.  We closed the gap and made it a game so there is no reason to not get 20 carries for our backs.  Once again, loss.

vs. OU
RB Attempts: 20 (13 Opurum, 7 Sharp)
QB Attempts: 8 (4)
Rush Yards: 73

Loss Loss Loss!  I don't want to take the time to look this up but I would guess that half of those carries came when we were down big late in the game.  We rarely tried to run the ball Saturday even when OU was blitzing and dropping 8 guys into coverage.  Our unbalanced offense looks like it is being outcoached week in and week out now.  Why our coaches think that we can just pass when teams are expecting it every play, boggles my mind.

I'm not here to say that if we run the ball more, we will win.  But I think our offense has a much better chance of succeeding when the defense doesn't know what is coming at them.  It should also lead to less oppurtunities for costly turnovers that have really hurt us in the last 2 games.  In the Reesing era, things have always been better when we have committed to the running game as well as the passing game.  So I'm here to say:

Coaches:  PLEASE RUN THE BALL MORE!  I don't care if it's Jake or Toben, just get them out there running at least 25 times a game.

That is all.

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