Headed into the Nebraska game I thought Kansas was in trouble. What happened? Well we were only half bad. The defense played well, special teams wasn't a killer and while the offense struggled, it didn't seem to be anything the Jayhawks blatantly did wrong.
This week is another tough one. Oklahoma State is a juggernaut on the offensive side of the ball. They have more weapons and more options than the Jayhawks have seen all year and they score fast and in bunches. Defensively there might be some wiggle room, so maybe the Jayhawk offense can get back on track.
When all is said and done and this year's football season in Lawrence Kansas comes to a close, I think what we're all hoping for is another hard fought competitive football game that shows progress. Keep sawing wood, land the plane between those trees and pull a few more moles out of the rabbit hole.
Sorry, that last sentence was my best attempt at speaking in Dan Hawkins language of cliche's that aren't really cliche's.
Kansas Offense vs. Oklahoma State Defense
Well, where do we go from here? After a week where the offense didn't eclipse the century mark and the passing game failed to surpass the 20 yard mark, where do we go? Is there a defense out there that CAN'T stop Kansas?
There might still be hope. Bill Young and Oklahoma State are considered a fairly mediocre defense with some holes. They will give up some yards and they will give up some points. They do however field a few athletes that can make things difficult.
We've learned almost without question that if the Jayhawk running attack doesn't get going, nothing else will. That's where the hope lies. Find a way to get out early in the running game. Stay ahead of the chains and avoid three and outs. Last week maintaining possession was important. This week it's even more important. I can't say open it up and go crazy because the fact is we are going to be conservative. Still, find a way to mix it up within that and find a way to get James Sims more carries.
Also, I like the idea of keeping the Wildcat involved and maybe adding a few new wrinkles.
Kansas Defense vs Oklahoma State Offense
If you see a light at the end of the tunnel, it could be a train. Last week the defense showed some promise. There is some young talent developing nicely and perhaps the future might hold some hope. That's the light at the end of the tunnel. The train? Well that's Oklahoma State.
Get ready, this one could get ugly. There aren't many defenses that hold Oklahoma State down long and with the amount of weapons and ways they can hurt you, this is a terrible matchup for Kansas. Nebraska, the same team that just held us to under 100 yards and 3 points, gave up 41 points to this group.
Kansas is going to need to be as opportunistic as it get's. Find a way to force turnovers. Somehow hold the Cowboys to three instead of seven and in my opinion you go down swinging in this one. Even at that, Kansas will probably need some help from the Cowboys in the form of a few mistakes and/or penalties.
This isn't going to be easy and it could get ugly. But then again, we all said that last week so maybe this group surprises us again.
Kansas does seem to be improving in this area. DJ Beshears is a fun player to watch and his competitiveness is something that should be harnessed in every player if possible. Jacob Branstetter and Alonso Rojas have been doing the job and Kansas hasn't been giving up much in the way of big plays here.
Unfortunately for Kansas they are once again facing one of the top teams in terms of punting and special teams in the conference. Oklahoma State is good in this area and will make life pretty difficult for the Jayhawks. Great special teams can certainly help any team jump up a notch and the Cowboys are a prime example of that.
Senior day. This team seems to have a little bit of confidence building and then the 1st place Cowboys come to town. Kansas needs to find a gameplan that plays keep away, but it can't be as inept as a week ago. I've said it before that a lot of that rested with Nebraska, but this week we can't become so predictable that we let a middle of the pack Oklahoma State defense do the same.
Defensively...heck, who knows. Good luck Carl Torbush, here's hoping the Cowboys serve a couple up on a silver platter and if you manage to gameplan this into a competitive one I'll tip my hat to you, the Jayhawks and start driving the bandwagon for a Jayhawk version of the blackshirts.