Kansas vs. Northern Colorado Team Analysis

This season, much like last, we'll be bringing weekly analysis of the upcoming game and opponent.  One such feature that we've carried over is the team analysis.  Basically a look at our offense vs. the opposing defense, our defense vs. the opposing offense, the special teams matchup and of course coaching. 

Honestly this weeks rendition is a bit monotonous as I think we all know who should hold the edge in almost every scenario this week.  Even though I can't imagine where the UNC Bears would have an advantage, we'll do it anyway and I promise in weeks to come this should have a little more meaning.

Without further ado though, it's on to this weeks team analysis...

Why Kansas? Edge Scenario Edge Why Northern Colorado?

Quite Frankly this is the area that will be viewed as Kansas' primary strength.  Sure they will face some tough defenses this year and may be challenged with the running game and an inexperience offensive line, but neither of those should be factors in this one as a subdivisonal tuneup is in order.  Look for a Jayhawk offense that resembles more the 2007 squad than 2008 with a balanced attack and a little more ease in scoring.

                

 

KU Offense vs. Northern Colorado Defense

 

Their isn't a lot to lead anyone to believe the Bears defense will stand any chance against the Jayhawks.  The do return 7 starters including leading tacklers Matt Hewitt and Stephen Michon.  Problem is they are both defensive backs and that isn't always a good sign.  The Bears gave up nearly 400 yards/game last season and also struggled keeping opponents out of the endzone giving up nearly 30/game.  I guess we'll see if that extra year of development is enough to give them a chance against Todd Reesing.

Against a weaker opponent I fully expect the Jayhawk front four to apply pressure and hold down the fort where they struggled last year.  The linebacker weakness shouldn't come into play and the experience in the defensive backfield should be able to capitalize on the physical advantage of the front seven and hopefully force some turnovers.

KU Defense vs. Northern Colorado's  Offense

 

Northern Colorado's offense does return 6 starters including their leading rusher in DC Wilson, leading passer in Bryan Waggener and leading receiver in Alex Thompson.  Also, despite what their 1-10 record would have you believe this was a fairly solid offense averaging a balanced 363 yards/g.  For comparison Kansas averaged 432.  Not a bad unit in all actuality.  Where they struggled though was punching the ball into the endzone which should again plague them this year as they rebuild their offensive line.

Alonso Rojas is a potential All Big 12 punter.  Branstetter not only kicks but could possibly play strong safety if Stuckey goes down and lastly I look for a resurgence of our kick return game in '09 which will be a big help in the field position battle.

Special Teams

 

In terms of special teams the Bears do return nearly every meaninful contributor in the bunch.  Senior kicker Michael York will begin his 3rd season as the Bears starter and looks to move up the school record books this year.  Unfortunately I still wouldn't expect this to be an area where the Bears can overcome a clear talent deficit and get the best of Kansas

Mangino added Bill Miller and Tom Sims in the offseason both clear upgrades over the previous models.  This is an improved staff and that comes straight from the players mouths.

Coaching

Scott Downing is familiar with at least one Jayhawk coach in Je'ney Jackson who he coached alongside with at Wyoming.  This is Downings fourth season in Greeley and with a roster full of his own recruits it's time to start proving his worth.  Still unproven at this point the edge has to go to the Bear on the other sideline in Coach Mangino

 

As I said, not a whole lot of surprises in this one but hopefully you'll get a little more insight into what the Bears do have on both sides of the ball and some players to watch.  Obviously I fully expect the Jayhawks to win and win big in this one, giving us all a chance to look at some of the talent deeper down the depth chart.

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