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Rock Chalk Talk Roundtable 9.8.10

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Week two of the roundtable and the RCT crew gathers under some fairly disappointing circumstances. 

I think we'd all prefer to be chatting it up about the areas we could tweak from game one to improve in game two and step away with a big win over Georgia Tech!

Well we did, sort of.  Just in the context of a loss to NDSU instead of a win which we all expected.  Special guest this week KUGrad08.  A RCT Hall of Fame member and a welcome addition to the roundtable at any time. 

Today's Topics:

1.  What was the worst part of the game from your perspective?

2.  What was the best part of the game?

3.  With the Jayhawks faceplant from last year continuing right on into game one, what are your revised expectations for 2010?

4.  Kansas started as a 12 and a half point dog against G-Tech, thoughts?

5.  Kale Pick or Jordan Webb for game two and why?

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 worst part of the game from your perspective?

Warden:  The lack of life at any point was far and away the most disappointing part of the game for me.  We'd been fed the videos about "Believe" and told how much the players loved playing for Coach Gill the last month and then an incredibly lifeless performance?  We knew there'd be some bumps and that this wasn't going to be a 10 win team but damn it looked like they were confused from start to finish.

Denver:  I'd echo the confusion aspect.  This team just looked disorganized and off from the get go.  That was disappointing and that comes down to coaching.  I hope it's adjusting to the huge style difference from a year ago or just a blip on the radar, but I'll need to see something different on Saturday to help me believe that.

KUGrad08:    The worst part about this game was that a second-tier team stood toe-to-toe with us. This wasn't a fluke game a la Nebraskie coughing the ball up EIGHT times and losing to Iowa State by a score. We looked like we were up against a Big 12 team. In every phase of the game. And the team we played sucks. I would have been more comforted (if that's possible) if KU had fumbled 3 times, thrown some picks, given up one or two fluke big plays, etc. At least then I would have said "oh that's stuff that can easily be corrected."

The running game was the biggest disappointment. No holes, no big runs. Just go through the motions type running. If the running back is crappy then we are really going to be relying on a first-year starter more to generate offense, which scares me. Basically our whole offense, especially the run game, looked vanilla. A lot of "32s, 34s" basic running plays I did in pop warner. That's fine, but our best plays came on a reverse and a few options and etc. Open the friggin playbook and get creative. I could have called a better game last night than Chuck Long. Man this game sucked.

Denver: Correction, we did not look like we were up against a Big 12 team. I'd say we played down to our competition more than NDSU playing up to Big 12 standards. The game looked like a high school game at best.

Rockchalk: Well the worst part for me was probably not being able to see any of the plays in any sort of live fashion. Regarding the rest of the world, the worst part of the game was probably the fact that we don't have an offensive line (from what I saw/read/learned from others) at all to speak of. If North Dakota State is busting through our line, I'm downright terrified to face Nebraska and Missouri and Georgia Tech and just about anybody else.

KC: Mine goes almost squarely on Turner Gill's shoulders. Whether it be the questionable benching Pick for the remainder of the game, not making changes in the offensive gameplan (he's not calling plays, but if it's not working, he's certainly got say enough to do something) or the press conference afterwards where he sounded completely lost and/or out of his element. For all the buildup he received since December, his first showing was a flop. Let's ban his parents from any game at Kansas for the rest of time.

Denver: On the topic of Pick, it would appear that that benching is going to carry over to the start of the Geogia Tech game.  I take it you'd rather see Pick?

2.  What was the best part of the game?

Warden:  Really can't think of anything...Owen said the fans stayed for almost the enitre game.  Maybe that?  

Denver: I thought the defense played well for the most part although it was a FCS school so that should be expected.  I also thought that Daymond Patterson and DJ Beshears played well in the slot and showed that we do have at least a pair of weapons on the offensive side of the ball.  We just have to find a whole lot more.

KUGrad08:    One good thing about this game was the reaction from fans, alumni, etc. People are absolutely outraged over this game. If this happened back in the day, people would just laugh and say "man we suck." At least there is some fire.

The game showed us what works (getting the ball to our playmakers, letting Pick use his speed on outside options) and what doesn't work (halfback dives, letting the line have scholarships, etc). Hopefully Gill and Co use this real game action to right the ship, but I doubt it. Gill couldn't get his team to beat North Dakota State, I doubt his adjustments this week will be spell bounding. Did I mention this game sucked?

KC: I really like Grad's answer. I've got a lot of friends that go to KU that are normally, "BASKETBALL SCHOOL, who cares about football?" but they are legitimately upset about the game on Saturday. I think more than anything, the new coaching staff and the takeover was a great chance for many people that were on the fence about "becoming a football fan" and sort of "start over from the beginning" as a KU football fan. Somehow my positive turned negative. That game really sucked that bad, huh?

Warden:  A few more games like the last one and we will be a basketball school.

Rockchalk: If the fans could stay for all of that, then that's the easy answer. That's a freakin' miracle, and obviously students either hated the fat man, hilarious t-shirts be damned, or are in love with Turner Gill. On the football field, I guess the defense played pretty well if they only gave up 6 points. Sure, it was North Dakota State, but the offense only managed 3 points, so in the relative world we all live in, our defense is pretty much the Steel Curtain.


3.  With the Jayhawks faceplant from last year continuing right on into game one, what are your revised expectations for 2010?

Warden:  A lot lower than they were last week.  Really thought 6-6 was a lock with a chance at maybe being better because of the schedule.  Now?  4 wins and I'll be happy.  I'm going to give it another week before I completely write off the season, I want to see the effort against Georgia Tech.

Denver:  I was with Warden on this in hoping a 6-6 year might be in the cards. I wouldn't have called it a lock, but I would have said it was realistic and a good scenario for the program.  Now I'll fall into the 4 wins camp based on my trying to be optimistic, but there were teams in the Big 12 that looked pretty good this week and it wouldn't shock me to see this team struggle in a pretty big way.  It feels a bit like a rebuild.

KUGrad08:    Obviously I have lower expectations now, but I am such a homer, I still think this team can win some games. I guess I keep telling myself this has happened before, big upsets, and teams have gotten it together. I think we CAN win 5 games this year, but I am expecting 3-4 (and that might be generous).  

KC: I was always in the camp of 5-7, hoping for 6-6. So, my expectations were never out of this world. They were, however, higher than Saturday's performance. Honestly, I don't see where we win more than a couple games this year. At least not with the way we looked on Saturday. We're definitely not beating Tech or Southern Miss. New Mexico State - maybe? Then, once we get into conference - Iowa State? Baylor? The bottom teams are going to be a dogfight for us every week if things don't change. I'm fearing 1-11, hoping for 4-8.

Denver: There were a lot of teams in the Big 12 that looked good this week.  We're going to be in a dog fight all year, but that's life.

Rockchalk: I don't think I ended up putting it anywhere on RCT, but all along I said I had absolutely NO idea how the hell this season would turn out. Nobody really did. My general guess when people asked was 6-6, but after this I'll go 3-9. I don't think we'll go winless, and think we'll win at least 1 Big 12 game, but we looked absolutely awful on Saturday. 6-6 still isn't out of the question I suppose, but I just don't see it.


4.  Kansas started as a 12 and a half point dog against G-Tech, thoughts?

Warden:  Put as much money as you can on G-Tech.  And do it now before the line changes, no way it stays that low.

Denver:  I don't think there are many that would predict Kansas can keep it this close although there defense did play decent and a running attack like Tech's keeps the clock moving.  If Kansas keeps it within 12 or less, I'd feel like we'd rebounded in a respectable way.  Especially when you consider most Tech fans are expecting a three TD victory or more at this point.

Grad:    Makes sense. KU looked awful, but they are at home and should be absolutely furious after week one. KU will certainly lose, but there will be opportunities to get better. Really the team being down 28-0 could be good for them. Our team got into a close game and was SUPER tight from the second quarter on. Maybe if Tech is killing us (which they will be) we open up the playbook and at least get loose. Wow, has it really come to this?

Denver: I hate to see us fall down by a 28-0 margin early.  I think it would have the opposite effect, Gill could lose this team way too early in the season if that happens.

KC: I don't think we get blown out. Granted, we aren't going to score more than 10 or so (if lucky) but for some reason, I feel really good about the defense. Maybe I'm just grasping for ANYTHING to be positive about and blindly optimistic about them.

Warden: As Denver mentioned on question 2, the defense did look decent on Saturday.  This week is a much bigger challenge and if we can feel good about the defense Saturday afternoon, I'll feel a lot better about the rest of the season.

Rockchalk: Let's just say it's certainly looking like a Georgia Tech blowout, and with it now sitting at just 13.5 points, a seemingly easy bet on Yellow Jackets. But more often than not, Vegas knows what they're doing, and they obviously have more faith in the Jayhawks than any of us do, particularly Warden. So I mean, I still think Tech wins by 21 points, but our defense did play well and our offense can't play that poorly again. So maybe we can at least keep it close for awhile.

5.  Kale Pick or Jordan Webb for game two and why?

Warden: Sticking with Pick for this week.  The offensive line was so bad on Saturday that neither guy had a chance.  Pick's more mobile and that might be the only thing that gives the QB a chance.  

Denver: Looking back I felt like Pick didn't play all that bad and it's really hard to judge one way or the other based on the line play.  I would prefer to stick with Pick myself at this point but the decision to the contrary may have already been made.

I will say that if the running attack is going to be neutralized that much because of poor blocking up front and we have to go to a pass heavy attack, then Webb is the guy based on the scheme.  Guess we'll see.  I've been hearing Webb was named this afternoon as it is.

Grad:    I am still going with Pick. In my opinion he didn't do anything to play himself out of the starting job, and Webb certainly didn't come in and wow me. I think the coaches have to use Pick's legs more, the kid could be dangerous running and that will help him gain confidence and be better all-around. Use more options, some QB draws, bootlegs, etc.

KC: Does it really matter? I think Pick looked better Saturday. I'm pretty sure both will play. Which to me, that's never good when a team goes QB-by-committee, unless it's because you have a future superstar (a la Florida a few years ago when they had Leak and Tebow) that you just have to get on the field. I've always thought that's the worst way to grow a pair of quarterbacks. Neither one ever knows when they're going to be called upon and can never have full confidence. Turner just needs to pick one and stick with it.

Denver: As the saying goes...if you have more two quarterbacks, you have none.

Rockchalk: Connor Teahan. But seriously, I'll go Pick. From what I've read, he shouldn't have been benched in the opener, and it isn't like Jordan Webb came in and set the world on fire. It was his first start, give him at least one more shot before pulling the trigger.