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Rock Chalk Talk Roundtable 9.15.10

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Week three and my how things have changed.  Last week was full of doom and gloom, now a cautious optimism sweeps over the masses.

Before we dive into the roundtable, anyone interested in grabbing a beer/bloody mary or two or maybe more before the NMSU game. I'll be in Lawrence early, probably head over to my favorite spot Louise's West.  maybe an afternoon tailgate?  Anyone?

Today's Topics:

1.   What was the biggest surprise for you in terms of the Jayhawk performance against Georgia Tech?

2.  Game one a 6-3 loss against NDSU.  Game two a 28-25 win over a ranked Georgia Tech.  Is the real Kansas closer to the Tech game or closer to NDSU?

3.  Coach Gill was pretty definitive in saying that Webb is the starter after the game.  That said, Pick did come in on "wildcat" type packages, do you like this move?

4.  The Kansas defense, are you ready to jump on the bandwagon?

5.  The staff made a few depth chart adjustments in week one and more appear to be on the way for Tuesday.  Anything you'd like to see changed?

Thoughts from any and all are welcome and if you'd be interested in participating in the future, send me an email.

1.  What was the biggest surprise for you in terms of the Jayhawk performance against Georgia Tech?

KC: Having seen only the first half of the game on TV, to me it was Jordan Webb's confidence and comfort level starting his first college game. His numbers weren't spectacular, (179 yards, 3 TD, 1 INT) but they were solid and at no time did he look too far out of his element that made you wonder, "why is he playing?" After the NDSU game, I was firmly in the Kale Pick camp. I thought Pick looked decent and Webb looked shaky and far out of his element. Maybe a full week of preparation knowing he would start gave him the confidence. Safe to say he'll have that same belief going through this week's practices, so hopefully he comes through again.

Warden:  The offense as a whole.  From uninspired play and play-calling in the first game to what was shown against Tech makes it hard to believe it was the same team and coaches.  Two possible reasons for this I can think of and one is the staff really was hoping to limit what was shown in week 1 and the other is the staff had zero trust in Kale Pick.  I think there is truth in both.

Denver:  I'll change it up a bit and say the linebackers. The group has taken a lot of heat over the past but they showed up to play on Saturday. They weren't perfect and nobody expects them to be, but they did represent the three leading tacklers on the team and they were flying around making plays. It was great to see.

KC: No mention for Terry Keeston? That kid and Smith Lubbock are going to make a hell of a safety duo the next couple years. Me likey.

Denver: It's not that they didn't impress me, I just wasn't surprised by Terry Keeston or Smith Lubbock.  Lubbock was solid last year and had the expectations headed into this season.  Keeston, did well in game one and the staff has been raving about him since the move.

2.  Game one a 6-3 loss against NDSU.  Game two a 28-25 win over a ranked Georgia Tech.  Is the real Kansas closer to the Tech game or closer to NDSU?

KC: If anybody says, "in the middle," they should be banned. Pick a side. For me, they're closer to the Tech game. Keep in mind, they weren't spectacular on Saturday; they did just enough to get the win. There were mistakes, and that's something to expect with a young team. However, there were moments of promise and hope, as well, and that's something we were promised when Turner Gill took over. Saturday was a mixed bag - exactly like I think the entire season will be.

Warden:  Closer to what we saw against Tech.  I think Tech was probably a little overrated but they definitely gave Kansas a game on the road.  If anybody says "closer to NDSU", they're looking ahead to a very rough and boring season.  Closer to Tech means the Jayhawks will be competitive (at the worst) in most of their games.

Denver: Agreed, it's closer to Tech.  The Tech game was what we were led to expect from this team. This isn't going to be the Kansas that blew people out in ‘07 or at times in ‘08.  This was going to be a fairly balanced attack, a team that takes what the other team gives them on offense and a defense that attacks.  They'll get beat at times, but they'll also make the exciting play during the course of the game. Quite simply it was fun football to watch.

KC: I foresee this team losing to Iowa State one week, then beating someone like a Nebraska or a Missouri the next. A la NDSU and Georgia Tech. It's just gonna be that kind of season, I think. All over the map, up and down, but fun.

Warden:  I'll take fun over what we experienced last year.    

Denver: You mean you'd prefer highs and lows compared to a consistent sinking feeling for two months?  Yeah I guess I agree with that.

3.  Coach Gill was pretty definitive in saying that Webb is the starter after the game.  That said, Pick did come in on "wildcat" type packages. Do you like this move?

KC: Sure. Pick has athleticism that Webb doesn't really look to possess. (Pick move to WR, anybody?) If you decide you have to run those certain type plays in the game plan, I prefer Pick to do so if Webb is my other option. If you really want to run a "WILD-cat" play, I'd take Christian Matthews in the shotgun with James Sims and/or Deshaun Sands alongside in the backfield. Let Webb worry about the regular offense.

Warden:  I like Webb as the starter.  Not sold on the use of Pick right now.  I'm going to wait until after Friday's game and then look at a few things and I'll make a decision then.

Denver: I'm with KC a little on this. I think it's ok, but I also like the thought of Matthews in there for something like this. I guess the question for me is whether or not it's necessary. I almost did a post on the first play that Pick ran from the Wildcat because honestly it was executed extremely well. All he had to do was make one man miss and he was in the endzone. He didn't this time, but man that play looked good.

KC: If there's one wild card that won't ever be played, in my book, it's Matthews seeing time at QB. The more I've thought about bringing him up, the more I dislike my own idea. Let's just let Webb (and Pick if we MUST) settle into the role and do his thing. It looked pretty good Saturday.

4.  The Kansas defense: are you ready to jump on the bandwagon?

KC: If Justin Springer plays like an NFL first round draft pick every week, you bet your sweet ass I am. Is that going to happen? Doubtful. That was a game that played right into Springer's position. He played his best game as a Jayhawk and was the most valuable player, at least for me.  But, the fact still remains there's little depth behind him and the other starters at linebacker. Let's see how they, and Springer specifically, fare against a team that prefers to pass the ball, rather than run it right at them every play.

Warden:  No.  Still gave up a ton of yards to Tech on the ground and while that's not a huge problem because everybody does it, I want to see it against a more diverse Division 1 offense.  

Denver: Agree 100%. Tech might have catered a little bit to our strengths at linebacker.  Headed into Hattiesburg they are going to be asked to be much more versatile and do some of the things that will be crucial in the Big 12.  We'll see how they respond. That said, HUGE hats of to the group so far this year.  They've looked very good for all the concerns regarding depth and talent.


5.  The staff made a few depth chart adjustments in week one and more appear to be on the way for Tuesday.  Anything you'd like to see changed?

KC: I'd love to see Toben get a chance to actually play. I know he's raw at the position, but there's no better way to learn than playing the game, and there's no way in the world he isn't getting antsy and/or irked to be given a chance.

Warden:  Agreed with KC about Opurum seeing the field.  I like how they're handling Terry, so far.  Use Sims as the primary back and I'll be happy.  Maybe find a TE that can pick up a blitz and block a little bit, do we have one of those?

Denver: I wouldn't mind trying someone at right tackle. In game two the line made some fairly big strides, but it's fairly obvious that Brad Thorson isn't at 100%. He won't make that excuse, but I'm pretty convinced that the foot isn't fully healed. Maybe Riley Spencer can give it a shot, let Thorson get healthy and then switch back if needed. Ah...who am I kidding, this is completely unrealistic. If Thorson can go they're probably leaving him in there.

KC: Yeah, we've yet to see Turner Gill show a willingness to pull or move an incumbent player from his starting spot or his position as a whole, and let someone else have his minutes, right? (sarcasm).