Why not get a second opinion? After last week I'm always game for multiple takes on our Jayhawks in hopes that maybe one presents an optimistic viewpoint. I mean if the first doc says you're going to die, what does it hurt to ask a witchdoctor or a voodoo master right?
Our second guest blogger comes to us from the slightly less serious, keep it light side of things down in Tech country and a blog that goes by the name of Barrel of Rum.
Once again I did a little Q&A for them and Chris Hall from Barrel of Rum returned the favor with a style that fits their deal over there yet gives us another take on this weekends game. I stuck with the same questions so we can compare answers, enjoy. And hey, he thinks we can score 17!!!
In game one the Yellow Jackets only attempted 8 passes. Josh Nesbitt a career low 6. Do you see this as a result of the competition and not needing to throw or do you think the Yellow Jackets aren't confident in that aspect of their offense?
Throwing the football is for the weak! Part of our lack of passing last week was certainly that we didn't need to but let's not kid anyone, we are a very poor passing team. To say Nesbitt is scatter armed is like saying you guys mildly dislike Missouri; where the ball goes when he releases it is anyone's guess? But a couple things to be aware of for Jayhawks fans on Saturday: 1) when we do throw, it's for huge chunks of yardage (if we need six yards, we'll run) & 2) Carl Torbush faced us last year when he was at Mississippi State & played an eight man front. We countered by throwing for a season high 266 yards in a game that didn't feature a punt. I expect Torbush will try & make us throw if he can.
Defensively GTech is moving to a new defensive scheme and a 3-4 look. What were the strengths and weaknesses from that standpoint in game one?
The weaknesses are less schematic & more personnel related. We're light up front & susceptible to being pushed around if you have a big, physical offensive line. And last week, we missed plenty of tackles along with having major gap control issues. The system is still very new & our defense is very much a work in progress. If I'm Chuck Long, I jump off a building. Sorry, couldn't resist. If I'm scheming against our defense, I use a power run game & short passes designed to isolate the linebackers in coverage. On a positive note for Tech, we adjusted well both in-game & at halftime last week so that's a positive. Our secondary is by far the best unit we have defensively. Watch for #1, true freshman Isaiah Johnson, he's a future star.
The Tech triple option attack is getting more and more attention across the country for succeeding in an era of pass heavy spreads, what has proven effective in stopping or at least slowing the Tech ground attack?
The first thing most people will say is "be disciplined, play assignment football." That's certainly helpful but it really doesn't tell the whole story. The way to beat this offense is to win the physical battles & one-on-one matchups. It's pretty simple. We've struggled mightily with big, physical defensive lines, particularly ones featuring great defensive tackles. If the defensive line can get penetration off the snap & disrupt the mesh on the dive, that can give us fits. Same if you have a defensive end that can disrupt the pitch. If you can mess up our timing, it will make life tough for us offensively. The big myth is that you can "figure out" this offense & scheme to beat it. There's no magic bullet to stopping us. Just line up & win the one-on-one battles, especially at the point of attack. Our big losses under Johnson have come against LSU, Miami, & Iowa, all teams who simply whipped us physically.
Are Tech fans aware of the Kansas disastrous start in week one? And have expectations now changed as to how the game will go in Lawrence because of it?
Tech fans are aware, let's hope the team isn't. This has all the makings of a classic 'trap" game for us: 1) opponent coming off a disastrous loss desperate to right the ship, 2) a road game half way across the country, & 3) a really big conference game against a pretty good (albeit it depleted) division foe on the horizon. We'll need to be focused because I have no doubt the Jayhawks will be looking to redeem themselves. To be honest, I think most Tech fans predicted a win in Lawrence before last week's loss, so I'm not sure how much that effects us.
How do you see this game playing out?
I think Kansas will move the ball on short passes between the twenties. But Tech will stiffen in the "red zone" & points will be tough to come by for the Jayhawks. I expect a lot of short passes from the Jayhawks which will be effective in the first half but Tech will adjust in the second & make moving the ball more difficult. On offense, Tech will clean up some mental errors & be our usual self; efficient & effective. It may be tight at halftime but eventually we wear down the Jayhawk defense and score a couple late touchdowns to seal the victory. Tech 38, Kansas 17.