Wednesday, November 1, 2006

Jayhawks ready to remain defensive

KU hopes to use Colorado effort as solid foundation for closing stretch


It's hard to say whether Kansas University's football defense turned the corner last week against Colorado. After all, the CU offense has proven to be about as dangerous as a toothless puppy.

But Saturday's 20-15 victory over the Buffaloes could have been just what KU's defense needed - a good day against a less-stellar foe to reassure the Jayhawks of what they're capable of.

"It was pretty big because we finally got the monkey off our back," lineman Jason Thompson said. "People were counting us out, and I think we did a good job."

The Jayhawks (4-5 overall, 1-4 Big 12) now have to take the show on the road. Needing two victories for bowl eligibility, Kansas has just one home game left. That means the other monkey clinging onto their shoulder pads - the dreaded road struggles that have been documented to death - has to get shook off, too. Or else Kansas will be home for the holidays.

"We haven't won (on the road) for almost two years," cornerback Aqib Talib said. "We're due for a road win. It's about that time that we get one."

This much is certain: It won't come if the defense doesn't show how far it's progressed - particularly against the pass.

KU's late-game bugaboo earlier this season was fueled by holes in the pass defense, leading to comeback victories by Nebraska, Texas A&M;, Oklahoma State and Baylor. Some of those breakdowns seemed to be corrected at least a little bit against Colorado. The Buffaloes - not a great aerial team, sure - had just 144 passing yards against the Jayhawks, 61 coming on the meaningless final play of the game.

Audio clips

2006 October 31 Football Press Conference

Talib, like he's been all season, was the catalyst. The preseason All-Big 12 cornerback picked off two passes, returning one 59 yards to set up the go-ahead score. He also had two pass breakups, upping his passes-defended total to a league-best 18.

"Aqib Talib played well," coach Mark Mangino said, "and has all season."

While Talib is a rock, Kansas coaches continue to monitor the rest of the Jayhawks' pass defense, looking for any edge to make them even a little better. Last week, speedy wide receiver Dominic Roux was moved to cornerback to provide more depth. Two weeks ago, the red shirt was lifted off Thompson to get more of a rotation going against Baylor.

It paid off versus Colorado. Now it gets a real test against Iowa State, a beaten-up team that has potential firepower among its offensive skilled players.

"Every week, we've been getting better and better," Talib said. "Colorado's passing attack wasn't as strong as Oklahoma State's or Baylor's. This will be a good test for us this week, Iowa State, to see if we did turn the corner."


Jay_lo 13 years, 2 months ago

It would seem that if the article was written to highlight the improvement in KU's pass defense, that that simple fact could have been included to make the defense appear even more impressive. I'm sure sportswriters have access to research that the rest of us don't. ESPN's play-by-play also listed the pass as incomplete. I researched that far before spouting off. And yes I know that they have a disclaimer that the play by-play may not reflect changes made after the fact. I stand corrected on the official stats, however my intention was for the team to get the credit they deserve, not to discredit r.w.

thebashman 13 years, 2 months ago

dont be dumb guys......the pass was ruled COMPLETE because if it was accepted, the game wouldnt have been over....wood is completely right about it....there is a good reason he is the one posting this article and not commenting about research before you guys spout off at the mouth....wood obviously did....nice job ryan and your stories are great as always

Jay_lo 13 years, 2 months ago

The meaningless last play of the game did not add 61 yds to the passing total. The quarterback was flagged for crossing the line of scrimmage, and it was announced in the stadium that the pass was officially ruled incomplete.

bg_duck1 13 years, 2 months ago

jay_lo is right, it was announced that the last play of the game would not count b/c an illegal forward pass (like what happened) does not count towards a player's stats wood is wrong btw Aquib is the best corner we have had in the last 30 years w/o a doubt

Leprechaunking13 13 years, 2 months ago

Wood doesn't ever know what he is talking about when it comes to sports the only reason he got a promotion to KU sports from the high school sports is because journal world gets on its knees for Freestate and so did ryan wood so they gave him a promotion. he should never have been allowed to write about sports in the first place you can tell he has no clue what he's talking about, but on that link he posted it says that mangino declined that penalty so those yards did count geniuses but i do agree that ryan wood sucks a big one

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