Isn't this supposed to be the year where we get the easy South schedule? Isn't this the year where Oklahoma State is supposed to struggle to rebuild?
Not a fun year to be a Jayhawk and Saturday has the makings of another tough day. The good news is that Saturday the opponent puts their pants on the same way we do, one leg at a time. Except for Justin Blackmon he might jump into his two legs at a time.
Nonetheless, there's always a chance no matter how slim and right now for Kansas it's certainly an opportunity to learn.
It doesn't mater how, it doesn't matter who, find a way to move the ball on offense. A week ago Kansas was held to under 100 yards of total offense. Not a chance at a win if that ever happens again. On the bright side, Oklahoma State isn't Nebraska defensively.
Some weeks I've said run the football, some weeks I've said attack the middle. If I were to lean a direction I would say that Kansas once again is going to have to run the football. For one, the games where Kansas runs well are the games they have won. Secondly, it keeps the clock moving.
Now I'm not suggesting that we play to avoid embarrassment. I'm afraid that's a little of what we did a week ago in Nebraska and I hope we don't do that. I do however think we need to keep the clock moving, run the football and play fairly conservative. Not to avoid embarrassment but to keep the Cowboys off the field.
Kansas just has to avoid keeping the clock moving by running a run, run, get sacked offensive scheme.
Flip the Field
Last week Kansas was getting pinned deep and consistently going three and out. Oklahoma State has an equally effective punting game. Now assuming the defense steps up again and get's a few stops in this one, Kansas can't have a repeat.
Not to be negative, but I'm going to assume this Kansas team isn't suddenly going to turn into an offense that consistently put together long sustained drives for scores. That being the case, they need at least flip the field. Put the Cowboy offense in a situation where they have to drive the ball a little bit. They might still score in 45 seconds, but if you give them the ball at the 50 all day, you're in trouble from the start.
Give your defense a chance. Really, this is a bit of special teams and a bit of offensive production, but the goal is the same. Get a few first downs, eat some clock and make the Cowboy offense work a little harder at being #1 in the country.
Find some, take some, make some and capitalize on them. The Cowboys have the #14 ranked turnover margin in the country so it won't be easy, but the Kansas defense is playing at a little different level these past few weeks.
A turnover and a score off of a turnover means the Cowboys came up short and Kansas steals a possession. Kansas will need all the help they can get and any turnovers, especially early, can help build some momentum and confidence.
Keep the confidence that's building.
Over the course of the last three weeks the Kansas Jayhawks have shown noticeable improvement in their play. It's far form a finished product and it's most likely still in a fragile state.
Oklahoma State on the other hand is riding high and cruising toward a showdown with Oklahoma next weekend. Could it be a trap game? That's another conversation. Assuming the Cowboys don't overlook Kansas and comes out with the same efficiency on offense that they have all year, this has the chance to get ugly quickly.
A big key not only for this game, but for the rest of the season and heading into the offseason is managing this game to the point where the positives might still outweigh the negatives. This team and some pretty key individuals are starting to develop some confidence. You'd hate to lose it and drop back to the Baylor days.
Regardless of the score keep fighting and keep finding reasons for confidence. That's on the coaches, the players and the seniors playing in Lawrence a final time. Keep fighting, keep the momentum rolling and keep those fans that turn out on Saturday in the Stadium until the end.