Rock Chalk Talk Roundtable 9.29.10

via cdn3.sbnation.com

Just three of us for the roundtable this week.  I was on the road for work at a pair of conferences so Warden took the lead and has five solid questions that should bring about some differing opinions.

Today's Topics:

1.  With non-conference play wrapped up, what has been the biggest surprise of the season?  


2.  What do the Jayhawks have to do in order to be competitive in Big 12 games?


3.  What Big 12 opponent are you looking forward to playing? 

4.  Texas lost, Oklahoma has flirted with losing the last two weeks, and Nebraska struggled a bit over the weekend.  Is the Big 12 down? 

5.  If I counted correctly, we've got 16 days until Late Night.  Who is your starting five for the basketball team?

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.  With non-conference play wrapped up, what has been the biggest surprise of the season? 

Owen

Biggest surprise to me has been the role reversal of our team. The talent on the offense hasn't been where we thought it could be and defensively I'd dare to say that we might be better than expected.  That's a surprise.  Unfortunately our defensive improvement isn't able to overcome our offensive shortcomings at this point, but I'm optimistic that we're starting to understand what we have and moving in the right direction.

Fetch

First of all, I am offended Warden didn't know my e-mail address. With that out of the way, I totally agree that it is the defense. I don't think we are the deepest there, but the improvement is great to see. I think the improvement that Webb has had week to week is nice as well, as is James Sims appearing to be a quick study.

Warden

Sorry Fetch...Anyway, for me it has to be the quick changes in the backfield to Webb and Sims.  Seems like Gill and the other coaches knew who the better players were in the first week but were hesitant to come in and make that call right away.  Maybe they figured the position changes they announced at the start of the season were enough and other moves would look like panic moves or they just wanted to give the older guys a chance to prove themselves.

 

2.  What do the Jayhawks have to do in order to be competitive in Big 12 games?


Owen

Special teams has a long way to go and has to become a strength.  Our offense isn't good enough to play out of a hole everytime and no defense in the Big 12 can compete for four quarters while giving the other team a short field.  Kick coverage has to get better, the return game has shown some spark lately, but if both can come together at the same time maybe this team can start winning the field position battle or at least balancing it out and giving the team a chance to be competitive.

Fetch

For me it's running the ball well. That way we can take some pressure off Webb and keep the line from having to pass block a lot, but it also gives our defense a lot of much needed rest. Special teams is huge as well. No more punt blocks please.

Warden

Agree with Fetch on running the ball effectively.  Eat some clock, give the defense a rest, and move the ball towards mid-field on every possession.  As Owen mentioned, the specials teams has looked rough.  If we're punting from deep in our own territory often, this team is going to give up points.


3.  What Big 12 opponent are you looking forward to playing?  

Owen

Kansas State.  It's a big game on a Thursday night in front of a National audience.  Kansas State is beginning to get quite a bit of respect across the country and they deserve it so far.  The game in Lawrence provides Coach Gill an opportunity to build up some good will with the fanbase, his team and some momentum on the season and in recruiting. It's a big game.

Fetch

I'm saying Nebraska. I understand that Missouri are our biggest rivals, and the K State game will be huge, but the opportunity to kick them out of the Big 12 with a loss would be huge.

Warden

Got to go with the Wildcats.  For the same reasons mentioned above.  The top two games every year are Missouri and K-State and this year is no different.  K-State has found a bit of life with Snyder back and it would be great to take that life back down a notch.  The game is a winnable one but Kansas is going to have to have its stuff together to pull off the win.


4.  Texas lost, Oklahoma has flirted with losing the last two weeks, and Nebraska struggled a bit over the weekend.  Is the Big 12 down?  

Owen

Yes, absolutely.  The league lost a lot and is very young in a lot of critical areas.  It's similar to the ‘07 season when Kansas went on their Orange Bowl run, unfortunately Kansas just didn't do the things necessary to position themselves to make a similar run.

Warden

Big 12 is down.  I'm still not sold on Nebraska as a Top 5 team and the two big south schools haven't looked all that impressive.  I wonder if this will be the year where the South sees a non-UT/OU team in the championship game.  I won't be surprised if TCU and Boise State are the only undefeated teams at the end of the season.  Hopefully that's the case, will make for interesting BCS discussion in December.


5.  If I counted correctly, we've got 16 days until Late Night.  Who is your starting five for the basketball team?

Owen

I'm going to make the assumption that Josh Selby is going to be eligible and say Selby, Taylor, Morningstar, McMorris and Markieff Morris.  As the season goes I think EJ could move in to Morningstars spot with his added length but Self is big on trust and I think Morningstar wins out early.

Fetch

I'll stay the same. Depending on the versatility of Markieff I think we might see Robinson starting because he's more dissimilar to Marcus than Kieff is, but I think that will take some time. I will say this though: I'm not in the habit of second guessing one of the best coaches out there, and last year there was an excuse (Cole), but this year if we don't run teams out of the gym regularly I don't think I'll be able to forgive HCBS.

Warden

Same as Owen.  It should be interesting to see the rotation this year, especially if Selby is eligible.  The bigs have four guys that can play minutes without getting schooled and the guard position will be loaded with guys with different skill sets.  Reed has to get minutes based solely on his shooting ability.  I've been a big Taylor supporter throughout the last year and have high hopes for him this year but if he lays an egg early, move to an EJ/Selby combination on the point.  

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