A look at news and notes from game week about Jayhawks and upcoming opponents...
The Good Guys...
- Clint Bowen looks to improve in his second season as defensive coordinator.
- Toben Opurum and Bradley McDougald will look to make immediate impact on the field as freshman.
Stadium Improvements in the works with more luxury boxes on the east side.
- Stuckey named a Lowe's Senior CLASS Award Candidate.
- Special teams improvement a major focus for this years team.
- Daymond Patterson ready to step up in his Sophomore campaign at corner.
- Season opener a sellout.
- A look at the competition for the linebacker job for the Jayhawks.
- Kale Pick solid as the backup quarterback?
- Sal Capra and Brad Thorson finding their niche with the Jayhawk program.
- Toughness a key to Mangino's success with the program.
- The offensive returnees look to make a big splash this season.
- A look at a Reesing Top 10, tip 10 plays that is.
- ESPN Game Preview.
The Bad Guys...
- UNoCo Bears open the season for the third straight year against top QB talent
- Quarterback Ryan Waggener confident headed into the season.
- A look at the Bears offensive line situation.
- Preseason preview for the UNoCo Bears
- Bears have struggled since the jump to D1.
In a word; tuneup. That's plain and simple what this is. The Jayhawks will overmatch the UNoCo Bears in nearly every way. From a physical standpoint, talent wise and overall coaching. The important thing is to get something out of this one.
Last years opener I remember almost from the get go getting that feeling that we weren't going to be on par with 2007. The offense wasn't as crisp, the defense struggled in areas and it was as this year against a lesser opponent. Sure it was still and easy win but it was still apparent.
Things I'm looking for in this one are how the line gels. Do they look like they are on the same page and does Tanner Hawkinson look the part. How does Hatch handle the interior from a leadership standpoint and do program guys in Capra and Thorson look like the right moves. Is Jeff Spikes taking that next step and ready to lock down the right side in a dominant fashion.
Keep Reesing healthy and get Kale Pick some minutes late. We know what we're getting from the first line of receivers but how does the second unit in look. We should get a good look at a few more than normal because Dezmon Briscoe won't be playing in this one. He'll be on the sideline but don't expect him in the game today.
Will Jake Sharp and Topen Opurum get the running game off to a faster start this season and can Toben provide the blocking in the backfield that we missed last year in the passing game.
Defensively how strong does out defensive line rotation look and does the defensive backfield handle their business effectively and with confidence.
The linebacker rotation will be a big area I'll be watching. Who's in, how often, what combos and how effective are they. If we struggle here against UNoCo how concerned should we be.
Lastly on special teams I want to see us control the field position through better kick coverage and a much improved return game. Play this one on a short field and make the other team work harder with a long field. Even without Briscoe returning kicks today this needs to happen.
A tune up for sure, but a lot of expectations in terms of what we need to see to begin to ease the concerns of Jayhawk fans everywhere and show that this season truly can be a special one.
Final Score: Kansas 55 UNoCo 10
Also here is your friendly reminder to join fellow Hawks in the open thread if you don't already have plans...I will be sporting blue in a kickoff tailgate of sorts at Casa de Denver, grilling watching football and cheering the Hawks to victory. The flag is hoisted out front. Let's play some football.
KANSAS ACCOMPLISHMENTS IN MANGINO ERA
- Four bowl games in a six-year span (2003-present). That represents one-third of KU's bowl appearances in just six years (eight bowl games in the previous 56 years since KU's fi rst bowl game in 1948).
- Bowl games in consecutive years (2007 and 2008) for the fi rst time in school history.
- Three consecutive bowl victories for the fi rst time in school history.
- Eight wins in consecutive seasons for the fi rst time since 1908 and 1909.
- Twenty wins in a two-year period, the most in consecutive years in school history (won 18 games combined in 2006-07 and 1904-05).
- Six wins in four straight seasons (2005-08) for the fi rst time since 1903-06.
- Combined 33-17 record from 2005-08 for the most wins in a four-year period in school history.
- Set new home attendance average records in each of the last four seasons.
- KU returned to the national polls in 2007, the Jayhawks' fi rst ranking since 1996.
- KU was ranked in a school-record 19 consecutive Associated Press polls from 2007 through half of 2008.
- Reached No. 2 in the polls after winning fi rst 11 games in 2007.
KANSAS HONORS IN MANGINO ERA
- KU has produced 72 All-Big 12 selections.
- KU has produced 45 Academic All-Big 12 First Team selections.
- Four Jayhawks were drafted after the 2007 season, including fi rst-round selection Aqib Talib.
- In 2007 and 2008 KU had a combined three All-Americans and 24 All-Big 12 selections.
- A number of Jayhawks have made national award lists, including two fi nalists in Aqib Talib (Nagurski Award) and Anthony Collins (Outland Trophy) in 2007.
EXPLOSIVE OFFENSE -- In the last two years the Kansas offense has ranked among the best in the country. The 2007 team set school records in total offense, passing and scoring. Last year's team set a new record in passing offense.
Year Total Offense Passing Scoring
2007 479.77 (8th) 291.00 (17th) 42.77 (2nd)
2008 432.38 (21st) 305.62 (8th) 33.38 (22nd)
THINGS TO LOOK FOR AGAINST UNC
- KU has won fi ve straight home openers.
- KU has won 17 consecutive non-conference home games.
- KU has won 18 straight home games played at night.
- KU has had nine straight home games with 48,000 in attendance.
- QB Todd Reesing has thrown a touchdown pass in 18 consecutive games.
- Reesing (619) needs eight completions to pass Jason White of Oklahoma (626) for 10th and 36 to pass Josh Heupel of Oklahoma (654) for ninth on the Big 12 Career Completions list.
- Reesing (8,105) needs 317 yards of total offense to pass Josh Freeman of Kansas State (8,421) for ninth on the Big 12 Career Total Offensive Yardage list.
- Reesing (1,196) needs 19 plays to pass Eli Roberson of Kansas State (1,214) for 10th on the Big 12 Career Total Offensive Plays list.
- WR Dezmon Briscoe has produced four straight 100-yard receiving games.
- Briscoe (7) needs one 100-yard game to tie Willie Vaughn for first on the KU Career 100-Yard Receiving Games list.
- Briscoe has caught at least two passes in 19 consecutive games.
- Briscoe (1,903) needs 95 yards to pass Richard Estell (1,997) for third on the KU Career Receiving Yards list.
- WR Kerry Meier has caught at least two passes in 21 consecutive games.
- Meier (10) needs one touchdown reception to tie two others for ninth on the KU Career Touchdown receptions list.
- Meier (5) needs one 100-yard receiving game to tie two others for third on the KU Career 100-Yard Receiving Games list.
- RB Jake Sharp (1,810) needs 53 yards for 12th, 105 for 11th and 161 yards for 10th on the KU Career Rushing Yardage list.
- Sharp (19) needs two rushing touchdowns to tie for sixth and three to tie for fi fth on the KU Career Rushing Touchdown list.
- Sharp (6) needs one 100-yard rushing game to tie fi ve others for seventh on the KU Career 100-Yard Rushing Games list.
- Sharp (52) needs three receptions for fourth and fi ve receptions for third on the KU Career Receptions By A Running Back list.
- Briscoe and Sharp (132 each) need six points to move into a tie for ninth place on the KU Career Points list.
- S Darrell Stuckey (7) needs one interception to tie for 10th on the KU Career Interceptions list.
SHARP LOOKING FOR 800 AGAIN -- RB Jake Sharp is looking to become the fi rst Jayhawk since Laverne Smith from 1974-76 to rush for at least 800 yards in three straight seasons as he gained 821 in 2007 and 860 last year.
ACTIVE KU CAREER TACKLES
Player, Class Career 2009
S Darrell Stuckey, Sr. 202
S Justin Thornton, Sr. 155
NB Chris Harris, Jr. 124
LB Arist Wright, Sr. 77
DE Jake Laptad, Jr. 58
S Phillip Strozier, Jr. 41
DT Caleb Blakesley, Sr. 40
ACTIVE KU CAREER INTERCEPTIONS
Player, Class Career 2009
S Darrell Stuckey, Sr. 7
S Justin Thornton, Sr. 7
NB Chris Harris, Jr. 3
S Phillip Strozier, Jr. 2
LB Arist Wright, Sr. 1
DE Maxwell Onyegbule, Sr. 1
WR Isiah Barfield, So. 1
ACTIVE KU CAREER SACKS
Player, Class Career 2009
DE Jake Laptad, Jr. 10
DE Maxwell Onyegbule, Sr. 6.0
DE Jeff Wheeler, Sr. 4.5
DT Caleb Blakesley, Sr. 2.5
DT Jamal Greene, Jr. 2.0
LB Arist Wright, Sr. 1.0
NB Chris Harris, Jr. 1.0
DT Richard Johnson, So. 0.5