Thursday, September 13, 2007

Jayhawks’ offense clicking

Offense's outburst no surprise for players


Mortensen leading KU defense

Through eight quarters of football this year, the Kansas Jayhawks defense has surrendered just seven points.

KU looking good against Toledo

Let's do some math. The Kansas football team beat Central Michigan 52-7 in week one. Central Michigan beats Toledo 52-31 in week two. In week three, Toledo comes to Lawrence to take on Kansas.

Reader poll

With two 50-point-plus efforts behind them, how many points will the Jayhawks put up against Toledo in Week 3?

  • 0-10 0% 10 votes
  • 10-20 2% 28 votes
  • 20-30 9% 116 votes
  • 30-40 25% 314 votes
  • 40-50 25% 306 votes
  • 50-plus...even more history is made 36% 437 votes

1211 total votes.

Offensive Explosion

114Points scored by Kansas in its first two games of 2007

10KU's rank in NCAA total offense

7Number of different WRs to catch a TD pass

250+ point performances, the first time in school history such a feat has occurred

Ed Warinner sounded like he was spouting a cliche during the summer, and maybe he was.

But Kansas University's offensive coordinator wasn't lying when he laid out the fundamental rule of the Jayhawks' new offensive attack: Get the ball into the playmakers' hands.

That would explain Aqib Talib's two touchdown receptions this season, despite being a full-time cornerback. It also would explain Marcus Henry's 222 yards receiving on a team-high 12 catches in two games. And it helps explain why Brandon McAnderson and Jake Sharp have 27 and 23 carries respectively, a relatively even number for two backs who both average six yards per rush.

KU's offense has been tremendous through two games, and it could continue when Toledo - a team decimated by injuries on defense - comes to Lawrence on Saturday for a 6 p.m. game.

But, really: Was the KU coaching staff expecting its offense to be this effective?

"We had some indications in the spring," KU coach Mark Mangino said, "but we still had a competition at quarterback going on. We needed an additional wide receiver to help us out, and we got that with Dezmon Briscoe, a true freshman. We needed help on the offensive line, and we got that with Chet Hartley, a transfer out of Butler Community College.

"As two-a-days progressed, we felt like we had a chance to be pretty good. We have scored some points, no question about that, but we feel like we have to continue to get better."

Led by quarterback Todd Reesing, a stable of capable wide receivers and an offensive line that has graded out well despite being filled with new faces, Kansas hasn't had much trouble moving the ball down the field.

The proof: The Jayhawks have had two three-and-outs this season. Both drives started in the first quarter of the first game.

With the rust off, KU's offense has been a smooth-running locomotive.

"I don't think we're clicking more than I thought we'd be," tight end Derek Fine said. "It's kind of what we expected, after coming through two-a-days and everybody picked the offense up and was on the same page."

It's led to 14 touchdowns in two games - 12 of them by the offense. Seven different receivers have caught touchdown passes, and three different backs have carried the ball across the goal line.

The fireworks could keep going, too. KU's next two opponents, Toledo and Florida International, have surrendered 50-point games to an opponent. Toledo gave up 52 points to both Purdue and Central Michigan.

Kansas, meanwhile, has scored 50 points in back-to-back games for the first time in school history. But those milestones mean little to the Jayhawks compared with what really matters - that the offense is a creation that's successfully up and running, getting warmed up for Big 12 Conference play starting in October.

"The biggest thing right now is there's still room for improvement," Fine said. "That's the biggest thing for us : to keep improving and keep trying to perfect the little things that our offense needs to make it work that much better."


troutsee 10 years, 9 months ago

Look out KSU! The Hawks are coming to town on 10-6.

Kirk 10 years, 9 months ago

Better opponents will give us a better sense of how damn great we are. I'm not willing to anoint us all-world champs yet.

Kevin Long 10 years, 9 months ago

Lets beat Toledo like a rented mule! Then maybe we will get a little more love from the country.

bmcmich1 10 years, 9 months ago

Kirk, Your skepticism is more than understandable; I myself have plenty of doubts about that first road game. However, you have to realize three things that are cause for optimism:

1) This team is not only beating, but destroying opponents that they are SUPPOSED to beat. That is most definitely not something we are used to seeing. You can't put the cart before the horse; you first must prove you are capable of beating lesser opponents ON A CONSISTENT BASIS before you move up in competition.

2) This team has a solid QB and an amazing, smooth offense in large part because of that solidity at the helm. I don't care what anyone says, ANY of the other revolving-door QB offenses in the Mangino era would have performed considerably worse against the same two opponents.

3) You have GOT to admit, outscoring your opponents 114-7 after the first two games is impressive NO MATTER WHO YOU ARE PLAYING. That means that for the first time in a LONG time we are not stumbling out of the block. We are dominating the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball, scoring at will, and not allowing points until late in games if we allow them at all.

Sure, when the competition stiffens those numbers are bound to suffer, and Mangino still has a lot to prove ON THE ROAD, but the fact that we are winning in this fashion makes me feel a LOT better about Oct. 6. This year's team is different; and if you can't see that and at least get a little excited about it there's no hope for you!

kevbo 10 years, 9 months ago

I too am reserving judgment until 10/6. However, I agree with above...there is cause for optimism.

justanotherfan 10 years, 9 months ago

I agree with both sides. It's awesome to finally be manhandling lesser teams, something that we haven't done in the past.

At the same time, Mangino has been horrid on the road in his tenure, losing games to lesser teams. I worry that we may have struggled on the road against the very same Cent. Mich. team that we destroyed in Lawrence.

KU is better than K-State from a talent standpoint. But I wonder about whether Mangino and staff have solved those road issues. After all, K-State has at least been tested against a hostile environment, regardless of what you think of Auburn's team (probably a decent, but not great outfit).

The K-State game could determine whether this is a great season or another 3-5 conference year.

troutsee 10 years, 9 months ago

mich1 is right on. Agree whole heartedly. This team is special. Look out B-12 North and South. The Hawks are aflyin. I expect big things the whole year, away and home.

bmcmich1 10 years, 9 months ago

Some very valid points justanother, and I hope my enthusiasm isn't being misconstrued as kool-aid drinking blind optimism either. I am fully aware of Mangino's road woes and that first one does scare me.

I just don't get the people who automatically write off everything we've done the first two weeks just upon seeing the opponents. You have to look past that and know that it's more about what we are doing better than how bad the teams we've played have been.

We as fans have every reason to doubt Mangino's ability to go in there on 10/6 and come back with a W, but after what we've seen the past two weeks and hopefully will continue to see the next two, there is reason to be a lot more confident he will.

troutsee 10 years, 9 months ago

Agree. Our sophomore, first year linebackers of 2006 are now second year starter juniors. Our two big question marks going into this season, QB play and D-end play, are looking very positive. The return of Hazelhorst is huge. The team chemistry seems right. Talib is supplying good leadership and a heavy dose of optimism, which this program really needs, especially when considering the pessimism of many alumni. Heck, we were almost 10-2 last year with a pathwork team. I agree with Mich1, many, many favorable signs this year.

The game in Manhatten will be tough but we'll win.

And for God's sake, don't wear purple to the FIU game and scream when we have the ball. The coaching staffs of all teams have their teams prepared for loud away crowds.

Kirk 10 years, 9 months ago

Bring it, dirt burglars!

You want a piece of me?? You want some of this??

BXII championship is ours

Dirk Medema 10 years, 9 months ago

I'm a little confused why everyone is slamming SELA & CMU. SELA I can understand. They were an overmatched D-1AA, but CMU was the MAC champ last year.

Before the game, there was all sorts of hand wringing because it should have been such a challenging game. CMU was pummeled, so the challenge part wasn't accurate obviously, but it would seem to me that they redeemed themselves reasonably well in week 2.

CMU beat Toledo even worse than Purdue did in week 1. Granted, Purdue is not ranked this year, but they have been a consistent bowl team generally finishing in the middle of the Big10.

I would not begin to say that we are playing at an elite level, because that involves all the players and coaches executing consistently against all opponents at home and on the road, and there is no history of that happening. There is also no reason to completely slam the schedule, because at least CMU has shown themselves to be a decent team.

10/06 should be fun. Let's start a football string at the "basketball school" (Did you see the link listed yesterday?).

CasperCorps 10 years, 9 months ago

I think we kick a.. and we will continue to whether on the road or at home. Toughest game of the year will be A&M..

sevenyearhawk 10 years, 9 months ago

Casper ...

and I'LL be there, along with Jimmy_Dean and fabio (we planned this separately)

For me, it will be the last stop on my tour of Big XII stadia, and for my encore starting in 2009 I plan on visiting SMU, Rice & Houston ... I've been to TCU's campus already for the Ft Worth Bowl.

There is no doubt that this team is gaining confidence, and I don't think the Purple Kitties are that good, but time will tell!

rtjayhawk 10 years, 9 months ago

I'll wait to see how we do in conference play, but we sure are playing great ball right now. Let's get some revenge on Toledo!

Alan Halvorsen 10 years, 9 months ago

trout- You're saying the coaching staff had Meier ready last year against Toledo? I don't remember all the stats. exactally. I know there were five turnovers, because he was unprepared for the enviroment that toledo offered.

That's just Toledo man, imagine how much worse KSU will be! The coaching staff MIGHT try, but they won't have the offense prepared for what they will encounter. Making noise would help the team. I think it would show everyone that we are serious about winning in mancrappy, for once!

Time to change the culture around here!

Alan Halvorsen 10 years, 9 months ago

By the way I didn't see this article till later cause it wasn't under the football articles. Anyway this prof. thinks that mangino was out of line for his actions toward Raimond.

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