Kansas vs. UTEP Team Analysis.

The Utep Miners are up this week and a trip to El Paso Texas for the Kansas Jayhawks.  Last year the Miners were explosive on offense but gave up a lot on defense.  Sounds familiar doesn't it?  This one has the looks of a potential shootout in west Texas and the question is who can play more mistake free football and what team can show a more balanced attack.  Eliminate one phase of the game whether that be the pass or the run and either team might be able to gain an advantage especially with the Miners playing this one in their backyard.

Why Kansas? Edge Scenario Edge Why UTEP?

Dezmon Briscoe returns to help bring along a passing attack to go side by side with a running game that nearly amassed a total greater than the sum of all four non-conference games last year.  With a nearly 7 ypc avg. in it's first game the balance that the Jayhawks look to have made themselves an even more difficult matchup for any defense preparing for Todd Reesing and the Jayhawks.

                

 

KU Offense vs. UTEP's Defense

 

After a first half which saw a multitude of mistakes the Utep defense locked things down in the second half against Buffalo.  The Miners actually feel pretty good about only allowing 21 offensive points to Buffalo with 7 of those coming on a very short field.  Total they gave up only 309 yards with very little in the way of big plays.  Therein lies there best chance against the Hawks.  Keep things in front of you, force the Jayhawks into making a mistake and challenge their running game which the Miners were stingy in week one allowing only 3.6 ypc.  

Week one left some holes still looking to be filled.  Yes the Jayhawks played it pretty "vanilla" but there still wasn't any overwhelminly positive signs that the troubles of last year have been solved.  The UTEP offense is solid and the Jayhawks will need to sure up the run defense with the front 7 and eliminate the mistakes in the secondary to avoid getting in a shootout.


KU Defense vs. UTEP's Offense

 

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Only 17 points in week one but much of that was attributed to first game jitters in penalties with 12 for 101 yards including two that brought back touchdowns.  The Miners bring a balanced attack to this one with a 100 yard rusher to go along with a solid passing game.  This offense was good last year and they'll look to get this one up and down against the Hawks.  Exploit our linebackers and the apparent weakness at the #2 corner spot and the Jayhawks offense might be looking to outscore a tough opponent on their home turf.

Still early for this one but in week one Jacob Branstetter showed a little more leg, Rojas was solid in placing punts and the kick return game looked much improved.  Add a little to the punt return game and the Jayhawks should be back in a postion of strength with special teams.

Special Teams

 

Week one for the Miners on special teams was average.  The punting game and return games were both serviceable but the kicking game struggles.  1/2 in field goals and they gave up an average of 34 yards per kick return which means you are losing the field position battle in a big way.

Take what they give you.  That was the message in week one.  The Jayhawk staff is committed to and confident in a more balanced attack than last year.  Improve the defense and this staff is on the right track.  Last week there weren't any major mental errors to speak of so you'd have to give the edge to the Jayhawks in this one in terms of coaching

Coaching

The mental errors in week 1 aren't necessarily the sign of a well coached team.  I do think this is a good staff but nonetheless they would need to be better prepared and able to beat a Buffalo team that flew across the country for an opening week game.

 

So there you have it.  Kansas hasn't yet shown anyone definitively that this defense is better than the 2008 version that left many praying in high scoring shootouts all season long.  This one has the makings of that but I do think the Kansas coaching staff might just be able to prove me wrong bringing a few more wrinkles to the defensive side than they did in game one.  Between that and a major advantage in the running game and an potential edge in special teams the Jayhawks should pull this one out, but it may not be as easy as we'd all like.

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