Rock Chalk Talk Roundtable 9.22.10

via cdn2.sbnation.com

Our second roundtable of the season that follows a loss. Hopefully our opinions and emotions don't ride the same rollercoaster that this teams seems determined to take us on, but perhaps it's unavoidable.

Today we have a very special guest for our roundtable as Matt Tait who covers the Jayhawks for KUSports.com and the Lawrence Journal World joins us for our five question Q&A format.  Tait has been around the Lawrence sports scene for over ten years now after getting his start covering Kansas baseball and basketball for the Daily Kansan. 

Personally I've enjoyed Tait's coverage of the Jayhawks so far this fall and a big thanks to him for joining us.

Today's Topics:

1.  Last week we asked which game you thought Kansas was closer to, Georgia Tech or NDSU.  After seeing Kansas at Southern Miss, what's the answer?

2.  What was the biggest problem in Hattiesburg and can it be fixed?

3.  Let's talk positives, because there certainly were some.  What did you take away from this one as the biggest positive for Kansas in the first road trip of the Turner Gill era?

4.  What do you see as the staffs top priority?  This could be immediate for the season, it could be recruiting, or any other aspect of the program.

5.  Any second guessing at quarterback? any at all?

Give us your take or just critic ours and if you'd be interested in participating as a guest in the future, send me an email.  denverjhawk@hotmail.com

1.  Last week we asked which game you thought Kansas was closer to, Georgia Tech or NDSU.  After seeing Kansas at Southern Miss, what's the answer?

Owen:

If I had to pick a side I'd say this team is still closer to the way they played against Tech.  Southern Miss. is a good team with playmakers on both sides of the ball. Yes Kansas had some of the miscues that continue to be troubling and yes the o-line looked to revert back to NDSU at times.  But overall the offense controlled the ball for big chunks of time, they took care of the football, they scored some points and the defense made some good adjustments against the spread.  Plenty of work to do but I still believe there are several winnable games on the schedule.

Matt Tait:

Unfortunately, I still don't think we know. Three games is not nearly enough time to make this call, especially when the team you're analyzing has given three different efforts.

KU was much better Friday than it was against North Dakota State in the opener, but its effort wasn't anywhere near what it gave to knock off Georgia Tech. The defense was really good in the first two games but was just OK against USM.

Friday was the offense's turn to carry the Jayhawks and they didn't get it done. KU is going to have to improve in all areas - from effort and execution to preparation and play-calling - if it wants to go to a bowl this season. But based on the fact that Friday was a decent effort and the Jayhawks were simply beaten by a better team, I gotta think they're closer to the team we saw against Georgia Tech.

Warden:

No clue at all.  I want to say closer to the team we saw against Georgia Tech but I think that means that when playing their best, they're a 6 or 7 win team.  The effort against NDSU is a zero win team and the Jayhawks are beyond that.  Southern Miss isn't a D1AA team but they're also not a Big 12 team and the game wasn't particularly close.  For this team to win 5 games, they're going to have to be the team we saw against Georgia Tech.

KC:

I agree that we don't really know, but I'll still say closer to the Tech game. We're solid in places, but lacking in others. We knew this would be the case. I'm really enjoying the uncertainty - much like the 2008-09 basketball season.

Owen:

I'd agree that watching that '08-'09 team grow and come together was a fun thing to watch, but unfortunately I don't think the Kansas fanbase draws that same joy from watching our football program grow.  The fact of the matter is that the "uncertainty" in basketball still resulted in a conference title.  Uncertainty in football means we've lost 9 of our last 10 games.

 

2.  What was the biggest problem in Hattiesburg and can it be fixed?

Owen:

The inability to get a play called. That just seems completely and utterly unacceptable.  And to find out after the fact that the problem existed on both sides of the ball and defensive players are quoted as saying they didn't know the call sometimes, that just seems troubling.  

I'll give a quick example of what I expect.  KSU v ISU, Farmageddon.  I don't think that either of those teams is insanely more talented than Kansas, but they are much more buttoned up and just look like a more well run program.  This staff and Coach Gill should be expected to accomplish that with this group at the very least. Put the players you have in a position to win.

Matt Tait:

No energy and no awareness about that. Every other guy I talked to after the game said KU's energy was fine. And the others said the lack of energy was a big problem. It's one thing to not have it. That can be fixed. Coaches can create it, leaders can demand it. But it can only be fixed if you know it needs to be and it was a little alarming to hear so many Jayhawks say the team's energy was fine on Friday night.

Warden:

Two things come to mind for me.  First, the problems with focus/play calling/energy or whatever you want to call it.  To me, that all starts at the top and it's scary that we've seen it in two of the three games this year. There was no excuse the first week and I guess you could argue that it was the first road game and a short week this time.  Either way, it's not something that should happen with a staff making the kind of money this one is making.

Second, I thought the offense looked downright dreadful at times.  Webb's pass to Biere on the 2nd possession could have easily been picked off and the very next play he hits a Southern Miss d-back in the hands.  On the third possession, they get a big first down plus a 15 yarder and have to call timeout before the next play.  The line is struggling to pick up the blitz and Webb is locking on to receivers and forcing passes when he does get time to throw.

 


3.  Let's talk positives, because there certainly were some.  What did you take away from this one as the biggest positive for Kansas in the first road trip of the Turner Gill era?

Owen:

Offensively Webb and the rest of the team took care of the ball, gave our defense time to make adjustments and catch their breath and both Deshaun Sands and James Sims were able to find running room.  

On the defensive side of the ball the two three and outs to start the second half showed we can make adjustments.  The group also continued to be fairly stout against the run minus the big play and containing the quarterback.

Matt Tait:

James Sims is this team's running back. He's proven he can handle the load and the coaching staff now has proven that it is willing to give him the bulk of the work. Sims ran tough, smart and patient again on Friday night and should get better by leaps and bounds with each passing week. It's going to be fun to watch.

Warden:  

Agree with Matt about Sims being the #1 back.  There were a few runs where he seemed to be hesitant about attacking holes but they were rarely there, so I can't put much blame on him for that.  When he has an opening, he hits it and goes hard.  Coach Gill sticking with Webb for the whole game was also a positive in my mind.  It lets him know that he's the man and he doesn't need to look over his shoulder after a rough couple of series.

KC:

Yup, Sims is the guy. Maybe I'm crazy, but I also thought the O-Line was decent and gave him some holes to run through. Was I already drunk by this point when I made that observation? (Moose Drool could have made me so.)

Warden:  

Moose Drool is creeping up on Newcastle as my favorite beer.

KC:

I had that exact conversation with the guys at the liquor store. It was my first time trying the Moose Drool, but one of them said it was even better than Newcastle. They argued the entire time they rang me up.


4.  What do you see as the staffs top priority?  This could be immediate for the season, it could be recruiting, or any other aspect of the program.

Owen:

I said it above and I'll repeat it here.  This staff needs to run a tight ship.  I can live with being patient and letting Gill recruit "his guys", but that doesn't mean in the time being we shouldn't expect a team that looks prepared, disciplined and executes.

Matt Tait:

It seems that when the Jayhawks play with fire and passion they're pretty good and when they don't have it they're not very good at all. I'm not sure how you do it (but they're not paying me $2 million per year to figure it out) but the coaching staff has to figure out a way to make sure these guys are fired up each and every second. If that means they put it on the captains, so be it. If that means they add punishments for a lack of passion, so be it. But they have to find a way to make sure that playing with fire and energy becomes a way of life for the Jayhawks week in and week out.

Warden:

Whatever the staff thought they did to prepare for this game, they need to multiply it by 2.  Confusion on the field will kill momentum, energy, and faith in the staff.  A close second would be reviewing their approach to the special teams because whatever they're doing now is not working.

KC:

Must recruit speed on defense. Southern Miss. exposed the defense's lack of speed and were able to move the ball in a variety of ways. Until we have linebackers that can fly around and hit the right people, we're going to be a middle-of-the-road team.


5.  Any second guessing at quarterback? Any at all?

Owen:

After watching running quarterbacks rule the day last Saturday, maybe just a smidge.  But overall I do think Webb has shown a better pocket presence which seems to be a big need with our current o-line concerns.  So for me, just a tiny...tiny bit.  But I'm good with Webb and I wouldn't look back.

Matt Tait:

Not at all. Webb showed incredible poise and toughness against Southern Miss despite being battered on just about every play. The pocket collapsed around him all night (if it even formed at all) and he didn't once get upset or point the finger at anyone else. He sucked it up and tried to make plays. Those are two traits you want in your quarterback. I thought it was important that the KU staff left him in and let him be the guy. Huge vote of confidence for Webb and a great move by Gill and Co. This team knows who its QB is now. No doubt about it.

Warden:  

No.  But I do have concerns about Webb right now.  He's fighting a hell of a battle between the offensive line not doing their job, receivers not getting any separation from the defense, and what seems to be poor communication between plays.  One thing that stands out on the QB's, Kansas is only averaging 5.7 yards per pass attempt, that will not get it done.  Just takes too many plays to move the ball and it means trouble if first and second down isn't successful.  Don't know who to blame it on but right now that number is attached to Webb.

KC:

Not yet. Webb won the job against Tech. Unless he goes 2-17 with 4 picks, he can't lose it in one game.

Warden:  

Only Pick has the ability to lose the job in less than one game.

X
Log In Sign Up

forgot?
Log In Sign Up

Forgot password?

We'll email you a reset link.

If you signed up using a 3rd party account like Facebook or Twitter, please login with it instead.

Forgot password?

Try another email?

Almost done,

Join Rock Chalk Talk

You must be a member of Rock Chalk Talk to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at Rock Chalk Talk. You should read them.

Join Rock Chalk Talk

You must be a member of Rock Chalk Talk to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at Rock Chalk Talk. You should read them.

Spinner

Authenticating

Great!

Choose an available username to complete sign up.

In order to provide our users with a better overall experience, we ask for more information from Facebook when using it to login so that we can learn more about our audience and provide you with the best possible experience. We do not store specific user data and the sharing of it is not required to login with Facebook.

tracking_pixel_9347_tracker