Completed chat about KU's Week 2 match-up vs. Rice with football beat writer Matt Tait

September 7, 2012

Matt Tait

Check out the transcript from this morning's chat with KU football beat writer Matt Tait, who sized up the Jayhawks' Week 2 match-up with Rice at 2:30 p.m. Saturday.

This chat has already taken place. Read the transcript below.


Hello everyone and thanks for joining this morning's chat.
Let's just jump right in with our first question....


Could you give your thoughts on how you think the defensive line will play? I have some mixed information so far. For example, Josh Williams seemed to play great during that strip and fumble recovery and rate well in Keegan's ratings, but he was blown off the ball during that 99 yard SDSU run highlighted in Jesse's blog. Also, it is hard to keep track of which players are in the during game festivities while watching on TV. What are your thoughts about the defensive line?

Matt Tait

I think the first week was a great start for the defensive line, which rotated in nine different guys, including 5 interior linemen, during last week's win.

Were they great? No. But did they make plays, were they active and did they disrupt the SDSU offense? You bet. That's what you want from a D-Line and really all you can ask.

I thought a few guys played really well and the rest played well. Keba Agostinho was incredibly active even if his stats didn't reflect it. Jordan Tavai looked great. And Josh Williams had to be accounted for on every play.

The opponents are only going to get tougher and tougher each week, but I think the D-Line will continue to improve and progress and become a pretty solid unit by the end of the season.


Rice blocked 3 PATs, will we have that type of difficulty blocking Nwoso, or did they just have an excellent game plan? I assume this is for FG attempts as well.

Matt Tait

Although he gave the Nwosu kid credit for the blocked kicks and the NCAA record, KU coach Charlie Weis said he thought a lot of the reason for the three blocks was because the UCLA kicker kicked the ball pretty low.

It's an incredible feat but that could be one reason it happened.


Before the season started, there was talk about Michael Cummings entering the game at QB for several plays each game for a change in look. Any update on this?

Matt Tait

No real update. I think a Cummings at QB package is still in the playbook, but I also think it will only come out a couple of times all season — if that.

For one, those types of gimmicks are generally utilized to throw a wrinkle at a defense. For two, with Cummings being the No. 2 QB they're likely less inclined to throw him out there too much because of the risk of injury.

We'll see. But I haven't heard a whole lot about it lately either way.


Do you think Charlie weiss has showed most of his play book or do you think he is waiting?

Matt Tait

I think there's a lot more there that we haven't seen and I think he'll start to unveil a little more each week.

I'm sure there will be some more in there this week — partly because they may need it and partly because they'll want to make TCU prepare for as much as possible — and then I think we'll start to really see some fun stuff in Week 3 against TCU.


Do you expect more fans at this game than the last if so how many?

Matt Tait

I don't know about more... Last week's was a pretty great crowd. The weather should be wonderful, though, and Rice may bring a few more fans of their own, so it's possible.

That said, if KU can pull off a win this week, I'm expecting an insanely good crowd for that TCU game in Week 3.


What would say that the coaches are hoping to see the most by the team this week? What would be the best signal that KU is making tremendous improvments?

Matt Tait

Let's go with Red Zone offense... and, as a result of that, improved pass efficiency.

It seemed like the coaches were pretty pleased with a lot of elements of last week's game, but not finishing drives in the red zone was one of the things they weren't pleased with - particularly Weis.

Look for more trips to the red zone because of better efficiency and look for the Jayhawks to really dial it in when they're down there to finish those drives off with touchdowns.


Matt, I really appreciate your daily stories that you provide.

My question is actually an individual analysis (on your part). In watching the offensive scout teams vs. the KU defensive unit, how has the 2012 scout team quality of players (such as Jake Heaps and Justin McCay) improved the 2012 KU defensive unit, compared to previous years scout teams?

Matt Tait

Sorry for the delay... Had some connection issues....

As for your question, we don't get to see a whole lot of the work the scout team does so I can't really answer that.

I can tell you that Weis said the defensive coaches and the defensive guys on the scout team leave the field every day shaking their heads because BYU transfer Jake Heaps usually picks them apart. But that's a good thing for the KU D and should make them better throughout the season.


Dear Matt,

Did you realize that you can replace “Did you ever look so nice” with “Have you ever beaten Rice” in the Samples 1990’s hit and the rest of the song works perfectly?

Matt Tait

Hmmm. Who knew?


In the spirit of election season ... What football positions would you assign Mr. Romney, Mr. Obama and Mr. Paul?

Matt Tait

Sorry. Not gonna touch this one. It could be fun, but I don't want to fire off the political flare gun and have that topic take over the chat...


Do you expect Crist's timing to be better this game? He seemed to be about a half second late on most of his throws against SDSU. Not sure if it is a trust thing with his receivers or nerves or what?

Matt Tait

I expect Crist to look much sharper. For one, I'm guessing he'll do a lot less thinking and a lot more reacting and playing. Last week, a lot of those throws you're talking about came because he was waiting for his receiver to come out of the break or waiting for a receiver to reach a certain spot before throwing. That's just rust and a lack of playing together and I think this week it'll look better. It could be one of those things that takes a few weeks to really work out, but I think Crist will push the pace a little more and that will force the receivers to either be where they need to be or be on the bench.

I'm not saying last week's 17 of 36 effort was all on the receivers. Crist missed plenty of throws, too. But I think the fact that he was not trusting that they'd be where they needed to be when they needed to be there contributed to an overall rough outing for him and I'm guessing we'll see noticeable improvement on Saturday.


Matt, which do you think is more likely to happen Saturday against Rice: we surpass 500 yards of total offensive or we give up fewer than 300 total yards of defense?

Matt Tait

Better go with KU topping 500 yards in offense. I think Rice has enough offensive talent to be able to put up some points and rack up some yards, but I think they could have a tough time stopping or slowing KU's offense. This is particularly true since I think KU will be extra dialed in and trying to play as efficient as possible after last week.


What have you observed in the kicking game this week? Is there anyone kicking off into the end zone?

Matt Tait

Not much. But that doesn't mean they haven't been working on it. Remember, we don't get to observe the entire practice and, what's more, one of the days we did get to watch was indoors.

It sounds like Nick Prolago and Austin Barone were going to get a serious look this week, but unless they really wowed the coaches - which is entirely possible - I'd expect to see Ron Doherty kicking off again.

I'd put it at a 50-50 chance that it's Doherty or someone knew this week.


Regardless the competition, +3 in the Turnover margin is outstanding. This will obviously boost the defense's confidence, but do you think it is all smoke and no fire getting turnovers from SDSU, or is this going to be THE Kansas Defense (I'm not expecting 5 turnovers a game)??

Matt Tait

I'm glad you put those parentheses in there...

Having said that, I do think you'll see the KU defense force more turnovers on a regular basis this year. The simple fact that they have more activity up front should help a lot and as long as McDougald and Patmon and Smith and Brown are in the right spots, they should get opportunities.

It's not realistic to expect five a game and there may be some games where they get one or none. But I think with the more active and aggressive defense and the offense's attention to protecting the ball, KU could be on the plus side of turnover margin for much of the season.


Ty Mckinney is the Brock Bergland of 2012. I put his chances of actually making it less than 30%. Agree or Disagree?

Matt Tait

I see why you say that - sort of - but I don't think it's a good comparison. I think the simple fact that he decided to wait until January because he didn't want to risk his eligibility status once he finally did get here shows just how badly McKinney wants to be here.

Besides that, it's not like he's going to have a lot of other options at this point, which, whether he did or not, Berglund certainly thought was the case in his situation.

I fully expect McKinney to be a Jayhawk and when that time finally comes and he's here for a full offseason and heads into 2013 ready and more hungry than ever, I think KU fans will quickly forget about him not making it for the 2012 season.

If I'm putting a percentage on it, I'm putting the odds of him coming to KU around 85%.


Matt, Frank Lloyd Wright said "God is in the details." I noticed the precise team workings on the sideline last week.

Whichever O or D team was off the field, they would gather together on their bench with all the reserves and their coaches, while the coaches and reserves of the other team on the field would watch the action.

This really impressed me as a head coach and a staff that really know what they are doing. Am I reading too much into this?

Matt Tait

Not at all. But you have to remember that that's what happens at most places and with most good coaching staffs.

It's great to see that kind of focus and organization back on the KU sideline, but it's definitely not something that's unique to Kansas.


Good job Matt keep it up!

With this $20 mil a year new TV deal, how soon can we expect changes to the stadium?

Matt Tait

It's something I'm tracking and I have heard all of the rumors out there, but my gut still tells me that an official announcement of any kind is still a ways off.

As for the TV deal being finalized... we knew it was coming but it's still one of those things that is nice to have done and also can allow the Big 12 to become even more relaxed and comfortable when thinking about the future and stability.


Good stuff, everyone... let's take a couple more.


Are the Jayhawk faithful still singing "Home of the Chiefs!" and chanting "RHFHO" on kickoffs? If not, great! If they are, would you like to offer a public service announcement asking them not to?

Matt Tait

It's kind of tough to hear in the press box sometimes, so I'm not sure. I don't recall hearing home of the Chiefs but I did hear the other...

If you're not a fan of either chant, the best thing to do is ignore it and not call attention to it.

I don't think a few words here from me is going to make much difference either way.


Rice spotted the Bruins 19 point and then got it going, even when the Bruins scored, the owls didn't give up until late in the fourth...will KU have more difficulty putting this team away?

Matt Tait

I think it's important for people to realize that this has the potential to be an absolute dog fight. Rice is coming up here with the expectation of winning and they have enough talent, size and experience to get the job done.

I like the match-up for KU simply because of the timing of things. I think after last week the Jayhawks will be dialed in and also will hit the field without that Week-1 rust. But if they're not sharp, particularly with their keys and reads on defense, KU could be in trouble.

I'm not expecting this to be a case where KU puts Rice away until very late if at all. This one could be tight right down to the end.


Week 2 score prediction? What position group should we keep a special eye on to solidify this as an impressive W?

Matt Tait

I went with 40-27, Kansas. I like the odds of KU bouncing back in the passing game and I like the running game to continue to roll.

As for defense, I don't think KU will hold Rice down by any means, but I think they'll do enough to keep them at bay and force them to scramble a little bit.

In my opinion, the KU linebackers will be the group to watch in this one. They were decent but not great last week, but they'll need to be sharp this week to contain Rice's option attack and to make sure that QB Taylor McHargue doesn't hurt the Jayhawks with his legs even when he drops back to pass.


Really enjoyed the post game singing of the alma mater and proud of the way the students hung around. My question is this....would you allow me to play the alma mater on my bagpipes for the post game, if the band doesn't want to have to hang around for it? Unusual question I know, but just one I thought I would throw out.

Matt Tait

I don't mind you playing the bag pipes at all, but I think you're barking up the wrong tree. The facilities folks at KU might have more of an issue with it than I do. Maybe you could set up outside of the stadium and serenade people as they walk out. I'll keep an eye out for you. Good luck!


Finally, we love the percentage wheel, give us a good one, I'd suggest the following bracket:
31+-Blowout -

Matt Tait

And there it is... Good one to end on. And thanks for the parameters this week, since mine overlapped last week.

Here goes:

1. KU wins by 9-19 - 40%
2. KU wins by 1-8 - 36%
3. KU loses - 16%
4. KU wins by 20-30 - 6%
5. KU Blowout - 2%


Aaron Carpenter 7 years, 8 months ago

Matt- I did not have time to get my question in but.....The most alarming thing I saw Saturday was the inability of the offensive line to move them at all in short yardage plays. It was the first game but the o-line will get eaten up if they couldn't move SDSU. Any thoughts?

Kevin Crook 7 years, 8 months ago

Matt is a great Dude. He and Jesse and the rest of this staff really make this site enjoyable. Thank you!

Jack McEnaney 7 years, 8 months ago

Wouldn't you feel like an idiot saying rhfho on kickoffs and then giving up returns to the 40 or 50. It's not like we have awesome kick coverage. Also why do our fans make so much noise when we go for it on 4 th down? SHUT UP

clevelandjayhawker 7 years, 8 months ago

Id rather have fans that dont know when to make noise or be quite for audibles/quick counts than fans that leave at halftime. for RHFHO...Why not embrace a tradition thats more than 1 game old, even if some of you dont like it? college guys +beer pregames+ football= a kickoff yell

I thought this was America? Rock Chalk

pepper_bar 7 years, 8 months ago

So you'd rather have a full house and lose than a half packed house and win? Interesting choice. I'd go the other way; I like winning.

Micky Baker 7 years, 8 months ago

Except for in 2008, having a half packed house was one of the reasons KU lost close games that year. A loud crowd for the opponents to overcome is a part of home field advantage. Use it. Beer is still there after the game.

clevelandjayhawker 7 years, 8 months ago

didnt know crowd noise affected the outcome of the game. I always thought it was things like turnovers, blocking and differentials in scoring. but sounds like you know more than John Madden

"the team that scores the most points is going to come away with the win here today"

pepper_bar 7 years, 8 months ago

You obviously know a lot about football.

Sam Brockert 7 years, 8 months ago

So...Allen Fieldhouse offers no advantage to KU's basketball team?

clevelandjayhawker 7 years, 8 months ago

pepper- thinking a little noise can cause a difference (how many fans are making noise on 4th down when we are going for it, def not the majority) is crazy. These are BCS confenrence football players

chiefs- you cant really flase start in bball, different sports. advantage yes, but is it really the "noise" or is it more than that? you prob have to ask a player or coach Self

Marcia Parsons 7 years, 8 months ago

I do hope RHFHO isn't considered one of KU's traditions. It isn't the swearing that bothers me, even though it's unfortunate for those who have young family members there. I think it's embarrassing because it's so stupid and so old. Didn't that movie come out in 1998? It wasn't funny at the time unless you were under 16, and it's even less funny now. If it makes the students feel grown up to shout swear words, that's fine, but the least they could do is be clever or maybe original. Copying from a 14-15 year old movie is pretty bad.

KGphoto 7 years, 8 months ago

Jeremy Eddington, Rice's top RB last week, is out with a lower leg injury.

Rice RBs only rushed for 82 yards last week. Without Eddington, the healthy RBs for this Saturday clicked a total of 44 yards against UCLA, on 16 carries. 2.75/carry.

Shut down McHargue and it's over.

pepper_bar 7 years, 8 months ago

Thanks for the advice Matt, but I prefer to keep bringing up the Home of the Chiefs and RHFHO nonsense. It'll keep happening into infinity if nobody objects.

Those stupid "traditions" represent a negative part of the KU gameday experience, and they have for years now.

clevelandjayhawker 7 years, 8 months ago

Its college students...

You cant drink at memorial (legally), now you want to take away cussing? I thought this was America?

Chris Bailey 7 years, 8 months ago

I think the fact that many children are at the games would be enough for students to know what's right and wrong. Although I would much rather have the home of the chiefs out than the other! I can't stand that. It's so dumb!

Ethan Berger 7 years, 8 months ago

Unless the kids are really looking for it, its hard to understand. I was at the game this weekend with probably 10 kids around me and not one knew what was going on.

pepper_bar 7 years, 8 months ago

College is often where Americans learn the difference between "I can" and "I should." Just curious, cleveland, are you a college graduate?

railer20 7 years, 8 months ago

This is America...and you are a Dbag!

Sam Brockert 7 years, 8 months ago

It is memorial stadium. It makes KU fans look like complete morons to say home of the chiefs...

Sam Brockert 7 years, 8 months ago

Ok , is Lawerence in KC? Is Memorial Stadium really Arrowhead in disguise? No and No, so what sense does it make to say home of the Chiefs? It is home of the Jayhawks.

clevelandjayhawker 7 years, 8 months ago

it is home of the Brave, its America, unless you listen to pepper bar. Not saying im a fan of yelling Chiefs, but its not difficult to figure why it happens. KC/KU fans have passion, even if its misused at times.

clevelandjayhawker 7 years, 8 months ago

I paid tution, bought the sports pack, walked up a long 5 blocks, I sat through horrible losses: I think college students can and even should yell/support the kickoff team. If you don't want to hear students yell on a kickoff sit on the west side. yes im an alum pepper. for the parents im sorry, but tell just try and cheer loudly over it or sit on the west sideline.

we havent had a lot to cheer about at football games; let students, in the student section, do what they want to do. besides it's fun to yell.

pepper_bar 7 years, 8 months ago

Your tuition was obviously well-spent.

Nobody's saying college kids shouldn't yell.

clevelandjayhawker 7 years, 8 months ago

just regulating what they can and can't yell?

pepper_bar 7 years, 8 months ago

Now you're catching on. Again, "I can" versus "I should."

I respectfully suggest you consider attending graduate school somewhere besides Lawrence.

clevelandjayhawker 7 years, 8 months ago

So I cant yell at games (unless you approve what I say) and now I cant go to grad school at KU?....thought this was America, United States of pepper_bar

Dale Stringer 7 years, 8 months ago

I say dump the idea for a bigger 70K seat stadium until we get parking for the 50K seater we have now. We definately have room to build better parking. If we could fill a 70K seat stadium, people would have to park in N. Lawrence. And I know there is no good way to do it, but we need more than one-lane roads (with all the cars parked on them) to get to the stadium.

I'm torn over this, but overall I think it is better to dump the west Lawrence idea, make Memorial into a track-n-field stadium and build a new stadium on West Campus. This does hurt the party house experience though at the hoouse near Memorial.

KGphoto 7 years, 8 months ago

As much as Zenger has emphasized keeping tradition, I don't see it. The football tradition trumps the track tradition.

Andy Tweedy 7 years, 8 months ago

I also don't see anybody moving the stadium away from that brand new football facility. That would be pretty stupid.

Andy Tweedy 7 years, 8 months ago

I'm not sure how many seats would be added if we got rid of that stupid track, but that would be a good start. I think adding seats just for the sake of adding seats (when we can't fill what we have) is stupid. But the track sucks, and if that means adding a few thousand seats, I say it has to happen. Leave more expansion for a subsequent project. But to take the stadium away from the hill would make me really sad!!!

HAWKS1 7 years, 8 months ago

Regarding the kickoff yell, I am certain thousands more would participate in a chant if it was an appropriate cheer. The old geezers on the 'West side are not drinking or full of "youthful exuberance". We have matured and realize what is right and what is not and are not about to join in on that one. The team is playing not just for the current students but for all fans of the University of Kansas. I'm sure they would rather hear 50,000 yelling something positive rather than a few thousand throwing our RHFHO. My humble opinion.

Chris Mossman 7 years, 8 months ago

I've been to a few University of Arkansas games and the woo pig sooie chant during kickoffs is a pretty cool thing to hear. Not just because it doesn't involve profanity but the chant relates to the University. What does RHFHO have to do with KU other than we just wanna be immature and unoriginal? Oh sorry, I know it's America, we can yell and say whatever we want (no matter how stupid it is)...

tical523 7 years, 8 months ago

I don't care at all about rip his . . . head off but I absolutely hate the home of the chiefs thing. It is disrespectful to the National Anthem and the history of the U.S. but even more just plain stupid, Lawrence is not the home of the chiefs it is the god damn home of the Jayhawks!

Micky Baker 7 years, 8 months ago

The history of the rise of the Jawhawk is a real part of American History too. Kansas became a free state at the beginnings of the Civil War, and the Jayhawk rose after the raid of Lawrence.

mdfraz 7 years, 8 months ago

What amazes me most, more than the fact that we aren't an NFL team and aren't in Missouri, and the fact that students can't come up with something more original that a chant that was in a movie almost 15 years ago, is the fact that students are so insular to think they are the only college football fans that like to drink and be rowdy/obnoxious. There are 120 DI programs (at last count, anyway) and most, if not all, of them have students wanting to drink and get wild at games. How many of them are so unoriginal as to have to chant RHFHO or embarrass the university by trying to emulate a Missouri NFL team?

As others have pointed out, just because you CAN (yes, this is America) doesn't mean you SHOULD. You want a chant? Come up with something original, like dozens of other student bodies have managed to do.

Rivethead 7 years, 8 months ago

Yes. As an Alum, I demand CLASS from my student body. Not sure why that's so hard.

Chris1955 7 years, 8 months ago

The next topic for discussion: Is it less filling, or taste great?

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