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Originally published October 16, 2008 at 12:00a.m., updated October 16, 2008 at 10:17a.m.

Keeping QB Bradford off balance vital for Jayhawks

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2008 Oct. 15 KU football practice

KU's Holt no stranger to Sooner football program

KU senior linebacker James Holt is no stranger to the Oklahoma Sooner football program.

Goliath vs... goliath

Sam Bradford, Oklahoma:

Attempts: 185

Completions: 134

Yards: 2,052

Yards per game: 342

Touchdowns: 23

Interceptions: 5

Todd Reesing, Kansas

Attempts: 239

Completions: 171

Yards: 1,980

Yards per game: 330

Touchdowns: 15

Interceptions: 3

Kansas vs. Oklahoma

When: 2:30 p.m. Saturday

Where: Memorial Stadium, Norman, Okla.

TV: Sunflower Broadband chs. 9, 12

Records: No. 4 OU 5-1; No. 16 KU 5-1

So far this week, the Kansas University football team's strategy for slowing down Oklahoma super-sophomore quarterback Sam Bradford has centered on a single idea: disruption.

When the 16th-ranked Jayhawks travel to Norman on Saturday for a 2:30 p.m. kickoff against No. 4 Oklahoma, they'll be looking to make life particularly difficult for the Sooners' signal-caller: Bring pressure early. Flush him from the pocket. Force him to throw on the run - preferably with a defender nestled snugly into his personal space.

"When you've got an (offensive) line like he does, he has a lot of comfort zone back there," KU linebacker James Holt said. "But we're going to try to bring some pressure to him and hopefully try to get him out of his game."

While these tactics are by no means a new concept against Bradford, making them work in a game situation has proven a difficult task for opponents this season.

Through the first six games of 2008, Bradford ranks in the top four nationally in pass efficiency (second, 201.23), passing yards per game (fourth, 342) and total passing yards (fourth, 2,052). He is considered among the favorites to win Oklahoma's first Heisman trophy since Jason White in 2003, and against then-No. 5 Texas last week, when Bradford pieced together a 387-yard, five-touchdown performance, it marked the third time this season Bradford had thrown for five touchdowns in a game.

Said Kansas coach Mark Mangino: "Going into a game, no matter who the quarterback is, you would like to be able to disrupt his rhythm a little bit. We certainly want to be able to do that. But the fact of the matter is, (Bradford) doesn't get disrupted very often. He doesn't get flustered. He has a bad play, he quickly puts it behind him and moves on to the next one."

Bradford has had help, of course. Oklahoma features arguably the best offensive line in the country, returning all five starters from last year's 11-3 team. And with a stable of top-tier receivers in Manuel Johnson and Juaquin Iglesias, the Sooners feature two players who have combined for 1,046 yards and 13 touchdowns with six regular-season games left to play.

"Every receiver's pretty good," said Jayhawks cornerback Chris Harris. "And their receivers have picked it up a lot with their run game struggling."

Even the team's only significant weakness - like Kansas, the lack of a consistent running game - hasn't seemed to have any ill-effects on the 6-foot-4, 218-pound sophomore.

Although the Sooners were held to 48 yards rushing against Texas last week, and just 25 against then-24th-ranked TCU, Bradford managed to keep his team's offense moving in both games.

On Saturday, as Kansas looks to beat Oklahoma for the first time since 1997 and take a big step toward claiming their first outright Big 12 North title in school history, the team's success in this venture will likely be tied directly to the amount of mayhem they can inflict on Oklahoma's quarterback.

"(Bradford) is extremely accurate with the ball," said KU defensive end Russell Brorsen. "And a guy like that, the more pressure you get on him, the better off you're going to be."

¢KU Quarterback Club to meet: The KU Quarterback Club will meet today from 5-7 p.m. at the Paddy O'Quigley's located in the Holiday Inn Holidome.

Game highlights and speakers will begin at 5:20 p.m., and "Hawk Talk" with KU coach Mark Mangino will be held from 6-7 p.m.

Comments

Kman_blue 13 years ago

Uhhh....KU were co-champs of the Big 12 North last year! Hello??? Anyone home in the research department here or does nobody remember anything that happened before yesterday??

Rivethead 13 years ago

You have to understand.....Doogie is an MU alum. And like all his fellow methheads, they still don't believe or admit we shared the North title with them last year, despite the trophy sitting in our trophy case.

Michael Leiker 13 years ago

This is a horrible idea and I hope it's all talk. Any attempts at getting in OU's backfield will be futile. Seriously, we might as well rush two and play cover 3. I hope this is all bark and no attempted bight because we could send 7 and not get pressure in this one. Play it safe D this week please. Limit posessions.

rccoleon 13 years ago

while the trophy may be in our trophy case, anyone who really believes we won the north last year is lying to themselves. We didnt go to the Big 12 Champ game. End of story. I'm all for rubbing the trophy in Mizzou's face about it, but we didnt really win the north.

avaholic 13 years ago

Anyone know why the fire alarm went off at the stadium last night? It seemed to go for about 45 minutes.

KanedaMGM 13 years ago

"their first outright Big 12 North title in school history"Kman see the outright part??

100 13 years ago

Technically, KU did tie for the big 12 north. The team we tied last year, lost to OU twice. Twice. Once by 3 TDs. The only game KU lost was to a nationally ranked #3 team on a neutral field -- by one touchdown. Now, to the point: as far as I'm concerned, if KU beats OU on Saturday, it doesn't put us in last year's big12 championship game, but it does tell me why the team that couldn't beat OU last year didn't go to a BCS game and KU did.

SBNation 13 years ago

This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.

Drew Bender 13 years ago

100, This is not the same team as last year... No team in the Big XII is the same as last year

Marcia Parsons 13 years ago

He said "first outright Big 12 title," K-man, meaning not a tie for first, but actually undisputed first.

Dirk Medema 13 years ago

RC - We did not win in Arrowhead. We did not win the right to play for the conference championship. We most certainly were co-champions of the BigXII North. The team earned that recognition by winning all but one game they were scheduled to play, the same as Mizzoo. Ironically, a similar scenario played out in the South as well.Be frustrated all you want about losing to Mizzoo, but don't step on all the work that the team did. They deserve our respect for winning the rest.We were '07 BigXII North FB Cochampions.Rock Chalk

KU 13 years ago

KG...Bradford doesn't want to run. He'll try to stay in the pocket. I do think we need to play him straight up most of the time rushing 3 or 4, but we have to bring heat in key situations to give him a change-up. Fortunately, OU doesn't have the best running game so we should make them one-dimentional.

Trobs 13 years ago

We went to an BCS bowl and won. Mizzou lost their second game to Okie (watching Choke Daniels give up midway through the third quarter was classic). Okie then went and lost to West Virginia. Winning the North? Who cares, we have the biggest bragging rights of all the Big 12 last year.

beebe1 13 years ago

Got a notice to vote for QB at O'Brien. Did all the stuff -- but never got a chance to actually vote! Can someone tell me what went wrong?

Kman_blue 13 years ago

oldalum and KanedaMGM - Dugan added the "outright" AFTER I posted my original comment. Notice the "Updated 10:17 a.m., October 16, 2008" That's what was updated.

100 13 years ago

ESUJayhawk: from all I understand, MU is the same from last year. OU is obviously better. KU is (supposedly) weaker. So if KU beats OU this year (at their place)... It's simple math really: it does reflect on the 2007 season, and it will make the MU fan base very mad. Isn't that too bad? And we will finally have a chance to wonder, the ultimate, "don't even talk about it" question(s) of last year's fantastic 12-1 season: 1. "what WOULD have happened if we could've tied MU at the end of that game last year?(we were one Aqib Talib punt return from tying that game). 2. How WOULD we have handled the big12 championship? And... 3. If we would have beaten OU, HOW would we have handled the BCS championship game? Finally 4. COULD we have been ( if we played a near perfect game against LSU) national champions in 2007? (afterall, we did receive one vote for #1 in the final poll)In short, Saturday's game against OU has a lot more to do with this year, but, with a KU victory, it also gives us a temporary time machine into last year's dream season which was temporarily wrecked in Arrowhead with a freezing 1st half (Reesing throwing with gloves), a bad gameplan and a late bus to top it off.A KU victory Saturday wipes away the Jayhawk Nation's national TV embarrassment of the Arrowhead debacle, just as the UNC-KU final 4 game finally burned down Roy doghouse, once and for all.

KGphoto 13 years ago

Flushing Bradford out of the pocket does nothing. He's very comfortable, and accurate, on the run. He always beats the blitz, and he'll stand in and take the hit. Basically forget sacking or hurrying Sam.Rush 3 and try to lock down the secondary. With our linebackers, we could run like a 3.4.4. Then get that ball. We probably need to take some chances to create turnovers and more offensive opportunities. Our playmakers are the linebackers and safeties, let them make the plays. Bradford threads the needle a lot and we could try to jump in on some of those. All I know is we aren't going to win by playing conservatively. They out-man us. We have to show them something they didn't see on film, both physically and mentally. What do we have to lose?

100 13 years ago

Actorman: I respectfully disagree. If we win tomorrow I think you'll completely understand: Go into OU's Memorial Stadium and win. That is every bit as big as a Final 4 win. Especially when the team that kept from having a shot to play in the national championship game the previous year couldn't beat 'em in 2 attempts.

actorman 13 years ago

"A KU victory Saturday wipes away the Jayhawk Nation's national TV embarrassment of the Arrowhead debacle, just as the UNC-KU final 4 game finally burned down Roy doghouse, once and for all."100, that is a stretch of EPIC proportions. Sorry, but as great as this win would be, it would do NOTHING to erase the frustration of that game. Comparing it to the UNC game--which was in the FINAL FOUR--is ridiculous. Now if KU was to get through the season unscathed and beat Texas for the Big XII title and then get to the BCS championship game and win it, THAT would make up for last year.

bdku 13 years ago

sometimes i wonder why i read all these comments... it seems like most of you don't bother to read the whole article before posting... please do that in the future.

William James 13 years ago

Everyone needs to remember, this is the same Dugan that said our only chance at winning this game was to get Choke Daniel to transfer to KU before the game.Hey Dugan, how about them Cowboys! I loved watching your QB choke in primetime.

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