Another week and another in a series of tough matchups for the Jayhawks. On the bright side this is the first week where our opponent doesn't come into this game as an undefeated team. On the other hand we're still the worst defensive team in the Nation and Kansas hasn't shown much since week two.
This is a game where if Kansas and Turner Gill are going to start working to cool that seat that has recently heated up, they will have an opportunity to compete. Texas has a solid defense but they have some weaknesses and Kansas has the pieces in place to attack it. Offensively Texas is pretty average so the horrific Kansas defense will have a slight break compared to some of their early Big 12 opponents.
Still it isn't as if Kansas has really exceeded expectations at any point this season so that's the concern. So in short, it's an opportunity, just not one that many expect Kansas and Turner Gill to find themselves in a position to seize. This isn't an attempt to be negative. I'll be watching this team come Saturday with bells on hoping for a win. Kansas is just at a point where they have to show and not tell, because the benefit of the doubt has been lost for now.
Kansas Offense vs. Texas Defense
The big news heading into this season for the Texas defense surrounded the departure of defensive coordinator and "head coach in waiting" Will Muschamp. Obviously Muschamp wasn't interested in waiting around for years while Mack Brown padded his legacy, plus you'd be hard pressed to find anyone who would simply pass on the situation down in Florida regardless of what they were "waiting" for.
So how has new defensive coordinator Manny Diaz done? Short answer, pretty damn good. Sure some people will point to the blowout loss against Oklahoma and the 38 put on the scoreboard by Oklahoma State, but in general it's been a good year and when the Longhorns aren't taking on one of the top offenses in the country, they get the job done. Overall they sit 30th in the country in overall defense.
But as solid as they look statistically it doesn't tell the full story. The Longhorns are good at the top of the depth chart but they don't have a lot of depth and that is the danger. A Kansas offense that has been effective in running the football can capitalize on that if they are crisp on every drive, but they can't shoot themselves in the foot. The Longhorns don't do a great job of creating pressure, they aren't moving the line of scrimmage and getting in the backfield and they can find themselves vulnerable at almost any position.
What I'm saying is that the possibility is there. Kansas can win this matchup. At times the Jayhawks have shown that they have the weapons and at times they have shown the ability to be a solid offensive group. But it takes a crisp, focused effort for 60 minutes and that just hasn't been there enough to give the edge to the Jayhawks here. That belongs to the Longhorns. Regardless of what looks to be a lack of depth and some issues, Texas has still delivered on a more consistent basis and that's worth something seven games into the season.
Kansas Defense vs Texas Offense
Well well well. My have things changes in Longhornland since the departure of Colt McCoy. First there was Gilbert. Gilbert replaced McCoy as a true freshman in a National Title game and despite having moments of partial brilliance, Texas lost.
The performance did lead to some optimism heading into last year, but Gilbert and the Texas program turned into a disaster. Gilbert started this season before finding himself benched for McCoy 2.0, then Texas went with the two QB system before settling on David Ash as the starter. That's a true freshman starter and an offense that has struggled to find an identity for the better part of the last season and a half.
In general this is a VERY young offensive group. Ash is a true freshman and the Longhorns are even rotating in true freshman on the offensive line. All in all it has led to a pretty average to below average performance this season. On paper that would lead you to believe that maybe just maybe the matchup could possibly help a Kansas defense ranked at the bottom. While the matchup is better, Kansas has yet to find a matchup that they can win here so that will remain the norm with the edge to Texas.
Now if Kansas can come out with the fire they showed against Oklahoma and force a few mistakes it might present an opportunity but it's always a "show me" situation when you talk about the Kansas defense right now.
Matchup to watch will be the Texas offensive line vs. the Kansas defensive line. We all know about the Kansas struggles up front, but Texas will start some inexperienced players. For Kansas to make something happen the defensive front will need to give the linebackers room to work and find a way to pressure the young Longhorns QB.
Texas sits near the top of the conference in most major statistical categories from a special teams standpoint. Kansas has slowly faded to the back since Turner Gill's now infamous "#1 in net punting" statement.
Without question Kansas has looked improved here overall when comparing it to a year ago. The eyeball test can tell you that, but the Jayhawks still don't perform consistently in this area at a level where it can become a weapon. Even when they do rip off a nice play, there seems to be something to set it back.
Texas can mix it up in this area and cause some problems so edge to Texas.
Well needless to say most of the Jayhawk nation is pretty down on our coaches ability heading into this one and quite frankly Turner Gill really hasn't earned any benefit of the doubt at this point. Take away the recruiting and you really can't find one place where Gill has shown anything to make anyone a believer.
On the other sideline you have a figurehead in Mack Brown and he has won a National Title. Recruits come to him, he has great talent and while sometimes he underachieves he does hold people accountable. Right now the Longhorns are dealing with some significant coaching turnover and that is a result of the failed expectations last year.
So while each have experienced some less than stellar results of late, Mack Brown's career results and future still appear a bit brighter and they speak for themselves. Gill doesn't have much of anything just yet. Edge to Texas once again.