LAWRENCE KS - OCTOBER 14: Head coach Turner Gill of the Kansas Jayhawks trots onto the field ahead of the game against the Kansas State Wildcats on October 14 2010 at Memorial Stadium in Lawrence Kansas. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
A slightly trimmed down version today, but a few keys nonetheless. The problem with our keys to the game feature is that Kansas has done so little to give us much hope that it's hard to say anything specific. How do you say, make Jerrod Johnson uncomfortable in the pocket when that seems like a pipedream. How do you look at a specific plan to loosen up the A&M run defense when the team hasn't been able to execute basic fundamentals through 60 minutes.
It makes me understand a little bit the Coach Gill halftime speeches where he constantly repeats, "block, block...tackle, tackle...execute". Unfortunately at this point that's what Kansas has to do to win or be in a game.
Get off to a fast start.
- At this point it feels like the confidence is so fragile and the ability to rally so slim that a fast start is absolutely critical in any game going forward. If Kansas can jump out early, get a little mojo and put all the pressure on the opponent, then maybe they can steal one from A&M.
Win the battle up front.
- Needless to say the offensive line has been a bit of a disappointment this season. Sure injuries have played a role, but either way the group just hasn't allowed Kansas to truly obtain balance in their offense on a consistent basis. Jordan Webb isn't Todd Reesing and because of that Kansas needs balance. Forget playcalling, scheme or personnel, it starts and ends up front right now for the Kansas running attack. The bad news? A&M is the #2 run defense in the country.
Eliminate the drive killers.
- Every time Kansas seems to move the ball or get something going a penalty or a horribly broken play does it in. A&M will put pressure on the Jayhawks and staying ahead of the chains will be very important. The Jayhawks won't accomplish that if they continue to fall into the same old habits. My concern is that at some point you are who you are and we're six games in and old habits are hard to break.
Win the special teams game.
- Watching A&M against Missouri last weekend the game started a bit slow, but the Tigers were consistently winning field position starting at the 40 while A&M was starting inside the 10. When it finally opened up Missouri had put themselves in that much better a position to grab the momentum. It's a broken record, but this is one way for Kansas to give themselves and edge and It takes EVERY man on the field.
Forget about the past.
- Easier said than done, but the first six are in the books. The world hasn't ended, the sun has come up every Sunday. Don't fall into the trap that is so easy to with losing football programs(I've been there). I honestly don't have a good answer on how to avoid this, but the "here we go again" feeling can't happen at the first sign of trouble. It sure seems like it did a week ago.