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5 Questions: Kansas vs. Oklahoma State

Here are our five burning questions headed into KU's first home game under Clint Bowen.

Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

1) Is Tony Pierson actually going to get the ball more?

Coach Bowen has stated this week that the team is going to try and get Tony Pierson the ball more this week, something that the team should have been doing all season. #3 only has 22 total touches through 5 games so far this season, which amounts to not even 4.5 per game on average. That is inexcusable for your best offensive player. Of course Pierson does share a little blame, but the anemic passing game is what's really at fault, and the same goes for coaching (why has Pierson not been in the backfield more if he can't get the ball through the air?). I would hope that Pierson nearly doubles his season output in this game alone, frankly. The more Pierson gets the ball, the better the chance is of something good happening for the KU offense. 15-20 touches would be a good starting point in this game.

2) Will having a competition at quarterback have a positive influence on the offense?

Montell Cozart, Michael Cummings and TJ Millweard were all going to get a shot to prove themselves this week in practice. As bad as Cozart has been this season, I really don't know if Cummings or Millweard would be any better (Cummings looked pretty poor against West Virginia). The thing that I would be most hopeful for from this is no matter who ends up winning the job, that we get to see some fire on offense. No urgency, no emotion is a mantra we have seen on the field this season. Competition at the quarterback position will hopefully spur on some intensity in the offense. We can hope for that, anyway.

3) Is Corey Avery going to be the featured back going forward?

Corey Avery is the younger of the two "starting" running backs for the Kansas Jayhawks offense, but the production of De'Andre Mann has been more impressive this season (granted, in a smaller sample size and with a large chuck of that against weaker competition). Avery has been used more in the last two weeks, which would make it seem as though he has claimed the role of featured back. This will be an interesting situation going forward, and it makes you wonder what exactly Corey Avery has done to claim the starting job (one last note to add, De'Andre Mann only had one carry last week in Morgantown).

4) Can JaCorey Shepherd have a repeat performance this week?

Against the Mountaineers last Saturday, JaCorey Shepherd played a great game, highlighted by four pass deflections. He was a leading factor to Kansas slowing down Clint Trickett and the WVU passing game (he still threw for over 300 yards, but was still held below his season average). For the sake of the KU defense, they could use for him to have another big game against Oklahoma State. He and Dexter McDonald will have their hands full with Brandon Sheperd and Marcell Ateman of OSU, but if history repeats itself, Shepherd should be able to hold his own.

5) Will Trevor Pardula return to form?

Trevor Pardula had 14 punts against West Virginia. 14. by comparison, Kansas State has 14 punts all season (thank you to Jesse Newell for that fact). It was a bad, bad game for the Kansas offense. However, despite having a decent average punt distance last week, Trevor Pardula had several kicks that were very uncharacteristic for him. Short, wobbly kicks that didn't do much in the way of pinning West Virginia deep. He did make up for it as the game went on with some better punts, including a long of 58, but against a team like OSU, Pardula needs to be able to force them into a long field each time the Cowboys end up getting the ball back. I've said it before, Trevor Pardula could be the MVP of this KU team, and he needs to be at his best, because the Jayhawks rely on his ability a lot.