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Monday, October 12, 2009

Change coming to KU football

Jayhawks tinkering to shore up defense

Kansas University defenders Drew Dudley (49), Justin Thornton (46), Arist Wright (41) and Jake Laptad (91) converge on Iowa State running back Alexander Robinson. Robinson rushed for a career-best 152 yards, and the Cyclones amassed 512 total yards, but the Jayhawks escaped with a 41-36 victory Saturday at Memorial Stadium.

Kansas University defenders Drew Dudley (49), Justin Thornton (46), Arist Wright (41) and Jake Laptad (91) converge on Iowa State running back Alexander Robinson. Robinson rushed for a career-best 152 yards, and the Cyclones amassed 512 total yards, but the Jayhawks escaped with a 41-36 victory Saturday at Memorial Stadium.

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KU football hangs on against ISU

The Jayhawks nearly bit off more than they could chew against the Cyclones Saturday. KU was victorious in the conference opener, improving its record to 5-0.

Kansas University football coach Mark Mangino said that defensive changes were imminent following his team’s near-upset at the hands of Iowa State on Saturday, a game in which the Jayhawks gave up 512 yards of total offense to a Cyclones team that had averaged just 379 per game in its previous five outings.

Sunday, he began the process of making them.

“I don’t know if I would use the term ‘simplify,’” Mangino said Sunday, a day after admitting the team’s coaching staff might have thrown too much at players. “I think there are some things in our defensive package that better suit our players than others. So the things that are not really fitting our personnel we probably will remove, and the things that do, we’ll continue working in the areas of getting better at it.”

Saturday’s schemes certainly didn’t seem to present many problems for Iowa State, which took Kansas (5-0 overall, 1-0 in the Big 12) to the wire in a 41-36 loss. The Cyclones’ ground game rolled up 219 yards behind tailback Alexander Robinson, and quarterback Austen Arnaud — who completed 25 of 40 passes for 293 yards and two touchdowns despite entering the game ranked last in the Big 12 in passing yards per game — had little problem picking apart the Jayhawks’ lackluster secondary.

“We had a great week of preparation for these guys,” Arnaud said afterward. “They do a lot of the same stuff, and they are not going to change their ways, and we took advantage of some of the stuff they did today.”

Despite the obvious issues Saturday, however, Mangino insisted he hasn’t come close to giving up on the unit. He praised the play of the defensive line, citing the pressure his linemen applied despite finishing the game with just one sack, and spoke encouragingly of his team’s ability to improve fundamentally.

The problems, it seems, stem from an underachieving secondary and an inexperienced linebacker unit that includes Justin Springer (coming off a torn ACL), Drew Dudley (making the transition from offense) and true freshman Huldon Tharp (who made his first career start against the Cyclones).

Following Sunday evening’s practice, Mangino didn’t write off the possibility of personnel changes heading into Saturday’s matchup with Colorado, a team that struggled mightily early this year but led then-No. 2 Texas, 14-10, at halftime Saturday before eventually falling.

“I’m the type of coach that I always study our personnel, and I’m always looking to see that we get our best 22 players on the field, that we get the right players in the two-deep, and that we’re using the right kids at the right times on the field,” he said. “I always tinker with things. Anything’s possible. But my focus right now is really just getting better at the things that fit our players.”

For their part, players didn’t dodge questions about their performance.

“We’ve got to get this fixed, or else we’re just going to end up an average team,” senior defensive back Justin Thornton said. “There’s no way we’re going to win the Big 12 North or beat some of these other teams in our league playing like that.”

Sharp update: Much like the members of his team’s fan base, Mangino said Sunday he wishes there were some concrete news involving injured running back Jake Sharp.

“I’m like everybody else — I’d like to know more,” Mangino said. “I think our medical staff would like for it to happen right away. It’s just a situation where he’s just not healing at the rate that our medical staff would like for him to.”

Mangino reiterated that he wants Sharp — who was in uniform on the sideline wearing a wrap around his calf — to be 100 percent before he returns, and, in truth, the team’s running game hasn’t seen much of a drop off in the senior’s absence. True freshman backup Toben Opurum rushed for more than 100 yards in his first career start against Southern Mississippi on Sept. 26 and nearly reached that mark against the Cyclones, finishing with 98 yards and a touchdown on 24 carries.

“We could probably put him out there, (but) he would not be the Jake Sharp that we know, so that doesn’t serve our program well, and it certainly doesn’t serve Jake well,” Mangino said. “So we’ve got to wait and just be patient. Jake is following the advice of our medical staff and just doing the best he can.”

Jayhawks slip in AP poll: Following Saturday’s uninspired performance against Iowa State, the Jayhawks dropped one spot to No. 17 in the Associated Press poll, though they held steady at No. 15 in the USA Today/Coaches poll.

Kansas, the AP’s top-ranked Big 12 North team heading into the weekend, was supplanted by North foe Nebraska, which improved to 15th in the wake of Thursday’s victory over Missouri. The Jayhawks are the fourth-highest rated Big 12 team in the poll, behind Texas (No. 3), Nebraska and Oklahoma State (No. 16), and ahead of Oklahoma (No. 20).

Comments

Fred Davis 10 years, 3 months ago

I'm all for personnel changes, but who exactly is Mangino and Co. going to replace his inexperienced linebacking group with? More inexperience? I say take the three fastest linebackers KU has and line 'em up out there... Sure, they might miss an assignment here and there, but you can't coach speed, and if there's one thing this defense is lacking, it's speed.

And where is Vernon Brooks? Are you telling me this guy can't see the field? Is Drew Dudley or Tharp better than this kid, an All-American at Blinn? If you're going to tinker, do it right and give us somebody that can provide tangible results on the field or at least gives the fans the impression that the defense is trying to so something different.

If this defense doesn't improve, and I just keep asking myself how its going to happen, but this team, could very well go 2-5 or 1-6 to finish the season. I don't see KSU as an automatic win anymore, I don't see CU as automatic, and if Gabbert is healthy by the time KU reaches MU, he might throw for 500 yards, and with Nebraska, that could be a win for the simple fact the Huskers offense is as bad as KU's D, so no telling what might happen there...

KU is 5-0, and that's the positive in all this. The defense did stiffen up last year to some extent after the blasting from Texas Tech, and the D actually finished the year playing OK... So the blueprint is there I suppose for KU to fix what has been an atrocious group, but I'm not holding my breath. If this D ends up ruining what could be a promising, special year, Bowen needs to go and he can take Bill Miller with him. If he's supposed to coach up LBs, I'm not seeing it. And I don't care who he's coached before, a young Ray Lewis isn't on this team.

Rivethead 10 years, 3 months ago

FreddyD: I agree with your points for the most part. If you look at Vernon Brooks tape, he's phenomenal against the run and screen passes. But he's nothing special if he has to drop into coverage. But guess what's been kicking our ass? The run and the screen pass. So get him in there!

As far as Miller, I think it's too early to point the blame on him. Fact is, we may just not have any talent or speed at LB.

areyouserious 10 years, 3 months ago

one sack is a result of a 3 or 4 man rush the entire game.......how about we change some things up and bring 6 or 7 every once in a while??

Andy Hess 10 years, 3 months ago

Did Bill Miller and Clint Bowen miss tackles, fail to execute an effective pass rush, and play out of position on the field this weekend, or was that our players? Some of you don't seem to understand that a coach can only do so much with schemes. Ultimately, it comes down to the players' ability to execute those schemes. As I recall, Bowen did a fine job with the secondary when he was co-coordinator in 07-08 and had real talent at CB and Safety. Now he has a lot of inexperience along with Stuckey and Thornton trying to do it all themselves. It's about talent and ability, folks. Not so much about coaching.

Rivethead 10 years, 3 months ago

swishy:

I agree with you. However, we had two weeks to prepare for ISU. One of those weeks (they bye week) we worked on fundamentals. Tackling is fundamental.

The extra week of prep did not show on Saturday. We looked fundamentally horrible on D on Saturday.

KU_Alumn_2000 10 years, 3 months ago

I think the personel changes that will eventually be needed is within the coaching staff. You don't go from a program that is consistently good under bill young...and then take this much of a nose dive under Clint Bowen. Mangino shouldn't have to put this much of his focus on the defense when he is managing the entire machine. From what I hear...Clint Bowen is a heck of a guy...but he is clearly overmatched.

psychoanalyst 10 years, 3 months ago

To me, this quote speaks to 65% of our problem:

“We had a great week of preparation for these guys,” Arnaud said afterward. “They do a lot of the same stuff, and they are not going to change their ways, and we took advantage of some of the stuff they did today.”

WOW! It's obvious to other players (via thier O-coordinators) that we are inflexible in what we do. I don't mind that if you do it well, but Saturdays recently have showed us that we are not.

I agree players need to make plays, but being out of position and playing passive is not the way to build a defensive unit with some attitude and confidence. I still hope Bowen can turn it around, because I really want him to succeed.

shelleysue 10 years, 3 months ago

Thank goodness. However, I do wish coach had done more over the two weeks off. It's been obvious help was needed for quite some time. Looking forward to seeing the new and improved defense!

JS82 10 years, 3 months ago

When league play comes everyone knows their opponents very well. That is the struggle because you are not going to fool anybody. Iowa State took advantage of that and did that last year to us also. A win is a win and no one looks at style points down the road. Hopefully the defense woke up a little on Saturday and it will spur them on to better efforts in the future. If there is one person I worry about the most it is the DB Patterson. He has had problems even against the easier teams on our schedule and had problems on Saturday also.

Rivethead 10 years, 3 months ago

sdoyel:

If you don't have 3 quality LBs how do you ditch the 4-2-5?

You have to get your best 22 players on the field as much as possible.

If Ryan Murphy is better than Justin Springer....then the 4-2-5 makes sense.

docholiday024 10 years, 3 months ago

I can't be seeing what i think i see?! Are you telling me that just because a guy did good at a cc that he will be able to make the jump to the big 12 and produce the same results? No body is really that naive are they? We have a talented D. You can see flashes of that every time they take the field. Talented Yes, Experienced No. Are they Gelling, Yes, but not as fast as us fans or the coaches would like. Young players make mistakes, does that mean you give up on them? If you think we should, then you are not a true football fan, nor do you know much about the game. You would think that some where on here you would hear some say something about the fact, that our young guys are learning to win the close games. That they are learning, when things aren't going as well as had been expected, they find a way to win the any way. Why is it people are always the half empty type of people. As for our coaches, leave them alone, they are doing what needs to be done. They will get it fixed! ROCK CHALK JAYHAWK congrats on 5-0!!!!!!! Beat Colorado!!!!!!!

mdfraz 10 years, 3 months ago

KU Alumn-"Consistently good" under Bill Young? My friend, 2007 was good, 2006 was awful.

37 points for Toledo. 39 for Nebraska. 42 for Okie St. 36 for Baylor (and not with Robert Griffin). 42 for Mizzou.

Those are dominating defensive performances.

Bill Young had great talent and did a good job with it in 2007. I'm glad he was here and he is better than Bowen. But even in 2005, our defense wasn't consistently overpowering. The run defense was great, the passing defense was no better than average.

I can't figure out how our secondary is so bad. I truly fear that we must not tell our d-backs to look back to try to make a play on the ball when they see the receiver look up and start to make a move to catch it. I know it's a difficult thing to do, but that's their job. I see corners for other teams do it all the time, so it's clearly possible. At first this year I thought maybe it was just Anthony Davis who couldn't do it, but watching Patterson never turn around on multiple plays, I am afraid it may be a coaching thing. If it's not, our guys apparently just aren't very bright.

And is it just me, or is Drew Dudley way out of position on a lot of plays?

Steve Brown 10 years, 3 months ago

one sure way to win a war or a game is to know what your opponent is going to do, mix it up and insure that the calls from both offense and defense sideline hand signals as well as reading lips from coaches can't be read by the other side...then mix it up....do something unpredictable once in while..

more important than the surprise is the attitude....'85 Bears. '66 Packers. they were great defenses and when they gave up scores they shook it off and continued to dominate..

the D needs a winning attitude...and treated that way by us, media, coaches, and themselves. All they hear all day long is that the KU offense is great...in my book when the defense allows less points than our O puts on the board, then by definition they are great .... the TEAM wins .... not just the O.

David Robinett 10 years, 3 months ago

mdfraz

absolutley correct on our corners never turning around when they could easily make a play.

however, it may not be as easy as waiting for the receiver to flinch - I've noticed Meier gives no indication the ball is there, and just lets it drop into his hands on long bombs.

Joe Baker 10 years, 3 months ago

I don't care what's done, but don't play Sharp against CU. I would like to see him back against OU, 110%!!

I think Opurum is doing really well.

ManG has his work cut out with these "changes." Arnaud picked us apart and I guarantee you, Stoops and Bradford will pick us to death. I don't even want to think about what McCoy and Potts will do to us if we don't tighten that secondary. The D will have to get rushes and sacks to give the safetys and corners a chance to pick some passes! ISU's WRs just ate us alive.

I think every team in the B12 just found their game plan against us!!

Go KU and beat CU

Vincent Patterson 10 years, 3 months ago

I can sum up what I witnessed at Memorial Stadium in one word..."SOFT". That is what the defense looked like. A bunch of kids out there who looked like they were scared to hit somebody. I can't believe how many arm tackles and guys jumping on backs, taking rides I saw! They better man-up real soon, or this season is going to turnaround really fast. Important thing is that they did get the W and finally made a stop when they had to, although I don't know if I call it a defensive stop as wide open as that receiver was on that last play. Just an overthrown pass. Man-up boys or CU, TT, Texas, OU will clown yall!

labbadabba 10 years, 3 months ago

We're getting beat on screens and quick slants simply because of our lack of aggressiveness in the secondary.

We play 8-12 yards off the ball nearly every play which allows accurate quarterbacks to throw underneath all day long. Even with 3 linebackers this is a problem much less 2. We have an extra DB so we can play a 2 or even 3 deep zone. So hopefully the big play is eliminated. With that kind of cover, why not play aggressive on the line. Jam receivers, disrupt routes and timing. Play solid contain 3 yards off the ball to blow up screens. Heck maybe even bring in a zone blitz or two.

But no.

We just trot out our base defense every down. Sure, we might run a line stunt here an there but otherwise it's the same look. The same soft man to man package every down.

Swishy asks: "Did Bill Miller and Clint Bowen miss tackles, fail to execute an effective pass rush, and play out of position on the field this weekend, or was that our players?"

I say it WAS Clint Bowen. Our guys are so out of position that they are forced to make open field tackles. We're letting offenses dictate the play rather than forcing them to make changes.

Look at the Iowa State's last possession on 3rd down. It was the same inside slant that burnt us all game and all season. However this time, we played a press and jammed the receiver which disrupted the route and Arnaud's timing and it nearly resulted in an INT.

docholiday024 10 years, 3 months ago

labbadabba Says:

"We just trot out our base defense every down. Sure, we might run a line stunt here an there but otherwise it's the same look. The same soft man to man package every down.

Swishy asks: "Did Bill Miller and Clint Bowen miss tackles, fail to execute an effective pass rush, and play out of position on the field this weekend, or was that our players?"

I say it WAS Clint Bowen."

Wow i did not know that Bowen was so talented as to be able to play 11 positions all at once. Look man it is plain as day you know little about this kind of stuff and are just trying to stir the pot so to speak. You can coach players all day long, show them where they need to be, and even where they need to go once the play starts. Now try to keep up cause here is where it gets a little hard to understand. None of that is the same as actual game experience! When you are out there and it is for real, things don't always work as they drew them up on the board. If our coaches are doing anything wrong it is the fact they are not preparing them for what to do when it don't work as planned.

This team is learning how to win when people have given up on them. That is what makes a champion! To look all the people who don't believe in them in the eyes and say; really cause i thought we are 5-0, must be doing something right. Guess what guys we are going to go out each week and do what we have to do to win. It may not be pretty, but we will do it!

Think about it people, 5-0 and you guys are acting like we are 0-5. Does any of you realize we are one win away from doing something that us Kansas fans have only dreamed about? A third bowl game in as many years!!!! That is how you get the talent to beat the teams like OU and UT. Even teams like UF, USC, ND and OSU. Stay in the national spotlight show the recruits that you are developing a winning tradition at KU. Every once in a while a guy like Reesing or Meier, or Briscoe, maybe even Opurum, or Pick, or McDougald comes along and shows us just what to expect in the future. Give them a break people they will do what needs to be done.

Chad Dexter 10 years, 3 months ago

labbadabba, Good post. I was yelling late in the game for Bowen to blitz. You get some pressure on Arnaud and he throws poor passes. That actually applies to most Qbs.

docholiday024 10 years, 3 months ago

feedback71 says: "I was yelling late in the game for Bowen to blitz. You get some pressure on Arnaud and he throws poor passes. That actually applies to most Qbs."

Go ahead and blitz a guy like Arnaud, that way he can beat you with his feet! Everybody knows the way to beat a dual threat QB, is to contain him with your four line man use you LB's to shoot the gaps to stop the run and have your secondary zone cover the receivers. You can gamble once in a while on a blitz, but only when you think it will be a complete surprise, and you better disguise it well. If you don't then there goes a big play. Yeah that is great advice!

KANSTUCKY 10 years, 3 months ago

Changes....

I would try stopping the run and also the pass in no specific order. A tackle or two would add a new dimension. Pretend the opponent is the basketball team stealing all the hot chicks. C'mon boys earn a little respect, D.

Dyrk Dugan 10 years, 3 months ago

everybody just needs to take a deep breath....this WILL get better. Tharp is a true freshman, Dudley has not played until this year....it will improve.

this isn't about speed, or the lack thereof...or athletes. it's about toughness. it's about anticipation. all their TD passes on Saturday were simply too easy....our d backs didn't go for the ball or anticipate the cut at all.

we are getting killed on misdirection, and crossing routes. their first possession, the Robinson kid just drifited out of the backfield right away toward the sideline, and NOBODY picked him up....boom, 54 yards.

that's what MM talks about being tough. we have to come up and make the play...we have to believe what we see and then react instantly. you can't THINK and play defense...it's all reaction....and we don't do that well right now.

that being said, i have a quibble with MM's assesment of the d line. we should stop the run better than Saturday....and a lot of that was pure holes up the middle. on one sprint draw handoff, Robinson didn't even have to cut...he just took the ball and went straight ahead for 20 yards. that should NOT happen.

we have CU coming up, and we can dramatically get better with them, before the meat of the schedule comes. i trust the coaches to start getting it fixed, if it indeed can be fixed. remember, vs. USM we praised the D for only giving up 32 yards in 22 plays in the 4th quarter. so they can do it. it just has to be consistent.

docholiday024 10 years, 3 months ago

And they did it the way i said to do it. Watch the game. they contained him up front shot the gaps with their LB's and covered with a zone. Easy to say hard to do when you have inexperienced LB's . Our saving grace is we have a little experience in our secondary!

Doug Merrill 10 years, 3 months ago

I had a great seat (thanks to a buddy) in the south end zone for the first game that I have been lucky enough to attend in two years.

It was an interesting vantage point (especially on the final four plays) and the item I saw was that our middle linebacker didn't stay home. On the running plays (QB and RB) that ate up 11 and 13 yards at a crack, our LB had taken off laterally at the snap.

Some cue (one of their RBs or WRs moving?) that our coaches have told him to trigger on to move out of the middle appeared to be something ISU was able to use as a fake against us. Obviously I don't know squat, but this is how it looked from the fourth row.

docholiday024 10 years, 3 months ago

dougmd says: "It was an interesting vantage point (especially on the final four plays) and the item I saw was that our middle linebacker didn't stay home. On the running plays (QB and RB) that ate up 11 and 13 yards at a crack, our LB had taken off laterally at the snap."

That is my point exactly! Thank you! once these guys get the experience they will be fine. This is conference play, every body knows everybody, cause they seen them last year and the year before and even the year before. It is harder to win in conference than out of it. They will be fine in the end, even from the fourth row! wished i would have been in those seats.

Jeff Hargate 10 years, 3 months ago

What is depressing is the 293 passing yards on the 4-2-5. You would think the rushing D would suffer, but obviously it is the entire unit. I think we all need to remember that this was 1 game and improvement can be made from week-to-week. If we get to the Texas game and we are still making the same mistakes the blame can fall on Bowen. Last year we went through 3 or 4 Freshman or red-shirt Freshman DB's before we settled on Thornton making the switch from safety. It looks like more of the same this year. Hopefully the red-shirts (Kande) can make a huge impact next season.

labbadabba 10 years, 3 months ago

Doc -

2 can play at this game. Having played on the defensive side of the ball for years and being a knowledgeable football fan I feel that I at least know what I'm talking about on a cursory level which is all this discussion truly is. Please try to refrain from making such suppositions.

You state - "Think about it people, 5-0 and you guys are acting like we are 0-5. Does any of you realize we are one win away from doing something that us Kansas fans have only dreamed about?"

Yes, this is great, but this will probably the best KU team will see for at least a couple years, who knows if we can continue to catch lightning in a bottle. My concern is why potentially waste an opportunity to have a truly special year on a coach who is learning on the job.

Now, of course I agree that Bowen can't be in 11 places at once. My point, if you had read my previous post, was that the fact that Bowen's schemes so often place our defenders out of position they are unable to make a play. This isn't something that I'm just making up. This has been observed under Bowen since the beginning of last year.

I recognize that this team does not have Talib or McClinton however there's plenty of talent to go around especially for the 4-2-5 scheme which I find really rather fascinating. We have more overall D-line depth than 2007 and a secondary that is probably close to being what it was in 2007. The LB's aren't there but the depth in our secondary should account for that to a degree.

That being said, the fact that O-Coordinators around the Big-XII KNOW that we will rarely bring a safety blitz, or that we will virtually NEVER disrupt timing routes, or rarely have our DE's playing contain to limit screens, or that our CB's will almost ALWAYS play 8-12 yards off the ball. They know it. They know it and the game plan against it. The accurate passers in the Big XII like their chops when they watch KU film.

The scheme is a joke. A good team, check that even a bad team will take those underneath reads all day long and despite the 3-deep coverage all it takes is one broken tackle and it's a score. That's exposing your players to an awful amount of risk and accountability. Just because for some reason we like to play soft.

docholiday024 10 years, 3 months ago

labbadabba says:

"Now, of course I agree that Bowen can't be in 11 places at once. My point, if you had read my previous post, was that the fact that Bowen's schemes so often place our defenders out of position they are unable to make a play. This isn't something that I'm just making up. This has been observed under Bowen since the beginning of last year."

I said: "You can coach players all day long, show them where they need to be, and even where they need to go once the play starts. None of that is the same as actual game experience! When you are out there and it is for real, things don't always work as they drew them up on the board. If our coaches are doing anything wrong it is the fact they are not preparing them for what to do when it don't work as planned."

If you have played as much as you say you have and are as knowledgeable about football as you say: then that should have been something you said. and you also say: "Yes, this is great, but this will probably the best KU team will see for at least a couple years, who knows if we can continue to catch lightning in a bottle."

That is being a good weather fan, and i know you are going to be puffing out your chest and say things about me, that's fine do so. the fact is i have been a Jayhawk football fan for over 40 years. I have seen it all, talked about it all. I have played football, even did some coaching. never at a d 1 level but coaching still the same.

You don't ever think of it as "catching lightening in a bottle"! This team will reload not have to rebuild as you suggest. We are working our way to the top. The problem is people like you who want to come in question people who are doing a good job, because you think you can do better. It was experience that let us slip a little, not coaching, please know the difference.

Christopher Hauser 10 years, 3 months ago

Slow and small, that is the problem with our defense. This defense reminds me of the Denver Bronco defense last year. I just dont think we have the horses up front to get to the quarterback on a consistant basis. The secondary looks like it is worried about getting beat deep so they give a 7 yard cushion and still get beat deep. Lets face it, all phases of our defense are doing a lack luster job and it may be because of something that is beyond their control, the talent level just might not be there yet. Hate to say it but it may be the truth. What we lack in speed and size needs to be made up in heart and sometimes heart is not enough. Of course these (I hope) comments may be way off and we turn in a stellar performance the rest of the year. You can do all the scheming in the world but if you dont have the talent to implement the scheme you will be mediocre at best.

lama 10 years, 3 months ago

I hope we see more Brooks and Tharp and less Springer and Dudley. They may be out of position some as they are inexperienced -- but they are faster and more talented. Given the problems on Saturday -- I'd get as much talent on the field as possible.

docholiday024 10 years, 3 months ago

"That being said, the fact that O-Coordinators around the Big-xii know that we will rarely bring a safety blitz, or that we will virtually NEVER disrupt timing routes, or rarely have our DE's playing contain to limit screens, or that our CB's will almost ALWAYS play 8-12 yards off the ball. They know it. They know it and they game plan against it. The accurate passers in the Big XII lick their chops when they watch KU film."

Again with the Blitzing: Tell me people what is the most dangerous play in all of football? THE BLITZ.

When you blitz, every player on that field better know just where he needs to be. They better know just what they need to do. If not: ouch.

Wow did you see that 60 yards pass play for a TD. Or that was great 59 yard run for a TD.

A blitz is a scheme teams use as a stop gap. It is not a true Defensive play. Before we can truly Blitz we have to be fundamental sound every where else, or you guys will be posting that we lost the game because we blitzed too much.

troutsee 10 years, 3 months ago

Agree with laba.....too soft....too predictable....although we did blitz Murphy several times. I particulary liked the jail house blitz on 3rd down on ISUs final possession. For those of you who say it was only one game, it really has been a season long problem...even trailing back to last year, although we did finish the season better last year.

plotku 10 years, 3 months ago

The thing that concerns me most is our defensive line. We are SLOW. There is no pressure while just bringing our front 4. There isn't this year, and there wasn't last year. The coachs noticed this last year and began brining Holt to defensive end on obvious passing downs. Because our defensive line is so slow every quarterback has all day to throw, and gets to abuse our weaker secondary. SO here's the deal either find some speed sitting around on that bench to put pressure on the QB or prepare for the better teams in the Big 12 to embarass our defense.

100 10 years, 3 months ago

That's exactly right Coach Mangino.

It's like having a 5'10" quarterback Todd Reesing take the snap under center (instead of shotgun) every possession & 85% of the time, have him hand it off.

First of all you're taking away Todd's vision to pass. Secondly you're taking away one of the best passers in the game by making him hand it off nearly all the time.

Thankfully we don't do this -- so why have we "taken the vision" & playmaking from our very capable Defensive players?

This is crystal clear -- they are being overcoached, being given way too many things to think about. Except for the last two plays of the game (which looked awesome with the pressure & tenacity) they look chained down.

Let them free Coach Mangino! Let them flourish (or occassionally fail) & take ownership!

Our Defensive guys need to do what they're good at -- attack.

Not sit back on our heels (in what looks like prevent defense).

Let's simplify & make it fun for the Defense, its time for a new "attitude"... Attack!!!

That said, let's get fired up & get ready for Colorado!

labbadabba 10 years, 3 months ago

Doc - I'm not sure when I puffed out my chest said anything about you. I simply stated my background and asked that you not make any suppositions. Please don't read too much into it.

  1. I realize game plans change and players aren't always in the correct position come game time however these aren't new observations. It'd be one thing if our guys just had an off-day and didn't have their head into it but our DB's have played soft for 2 years now. I don't think it's very hard to draw the conclusion that it might have something to do with coaching.

  2. I appreciate that you have followed KU for many years and have coached in the past but that does that mean that there is no room for disagreement?

  3. We HAVE caught lighting in a bottle. All our best players have come of age together and are now upperclassmen. We are prepared to reload but do you really think we're going to have a better team next year? Or perhaps even the year after that? We might, and I hope we do. We have some serious talent. But this year is going to be our best shot...I resent that you referred to me as being a 'good weathered fan'

  4. Blitz. I agree with you there. I'm not advocating a full-on blitz. In fact it was just one little point I brought up in a much longer diatribe: "That being said, the fact that O-Coordinators around the Big-xii know that we will rarely bring a safety blitz, or that we will virtually NEVER disrupt timing routes, or rarely have our DE's playing contain to limit screens, or that our CB's will almost ALWAYS play 8-12 yards off the ball. They know it. They know it and they game plan against it. The accurate passers in the Big XII lick their chops when they watch KU film." (thank you for correcting my typo btw :D )

Since taking the defensive helm, I've never been a fan of Bowen. He's going to need to do a lot to change this Jayhawk's perception.

Kevin Long 10 years, 3 months ago

Don't hit the panic button yet, but put your hand on it! I'm glad Mangino finally addresed that there is a problem. And I don't like Bowen as D cord. I think he plays way to soft. I hate seeing those d-backs 10 yards off the line. Get up on em! If you get beat you get beat, but don't just give chunks of yards up. We will find out more soon enough.

beebe1b 10 years, 3 months ago

The changes are very basic, and it has to start with the Defensive Coordinator. Only got see the last game, but it seems that NO ONE is checking out all the eligible receivers, especially the Coordinator. They are apparently playing a modified 'Prevent' Defense. That 'keeps' the receiver in front of them at all costs. That onlyhas use in the last play of either the first or second half. And a lot of the time they are protecting a 'territory' most of the time with no receiver in it. Example: the receiver was shown in the midst of four defenders standing on the corners of a square, with at least two to three yards away from the Defenders. Oh they caught him all right, after he had made 10 to 12 yards down the field! Hey, they did that all day long!

And they blitzed the defender from the right side of the field -- but the line backer didn't cover the right end of the line! Screen pass with no screen. They caught him 10-15 yards down the field!

And the defender in the end zone saw his man turn around and go across the field. The defender turned the wrong way (left instead of right). Because of the wrong turn, the receiver was 2-3 steps ahead of him! TD!

Ohio State defense a couple of years ago was first class. He took the head coaching job at Cinti -- see where they are in the standings! They never got a crossing pattern beneath the LB's, and up close, if he caught a pass, he was dropped in his tracks without even turning around.

Some good guys are on this page -- if you don't hire one of them, take the Defensive Coordinator from Cinti!

jhokfan 10 years, 3 months ago

I’m not ready to throw Bowen under the bus. We simply do not have the talent on the defensive side. I trust Mangino when he says we need to simplify the defense because I agree with his assessment that we are asking too much from them. We will have to accept the fact that our defense will not be great or even good this year but I believe Mangino will eventually get the most out of these players. Even though the defense has been very questionable, in the last two games they made the stops when it mattered most. Many have pointed out that we were within a few feet of losing Saturday but the defense was able to put pressure on Arnaud on 4th down. That is a low percentage pass and it was not bad luck on the Cyclones part that resulted in their losing.

Kevin Long 10 years, 3 months ago

I see your point jhokfan. But I am not talking about even just this season though. I am talking about last year too. What was the excuse then? I think Bowen would be a great LB coach or something, but just can't seem to run the entire D. Just my opinion.

mdfraz 10 years, 3 months ago

labbadabba, I would just point out a few things from one of your earliest posts. 1) I don't know how many times, but I know for sure 3 or 4 times we DID blitz Ryan Murphy off the corner. The only sack we got all day was Murph tracking Arnaud down. So to say we never blitz is inaccurate. Do we blitz enough? That's debatable, but if/when you do, you put THAT much more pressure on the rest of the guys not to slip up and give up a huge play. 2) We play soft coverage in the secondary, and for most of the year so far, it seems we are playing quarters defense. I don't think we have been playing a lot of man to man. Some, but not a lot. I understand if more often than not you want to keep guys in front of you, especially if you have a young and inexperinced group of guys out there, but we do need to get in the receivers' faces more than we do.

I think our LB's are not experienced enough yet to cover the slants and hooks, and it shows. I don't know if that will get any better; I certainly hope so. I don't think Dudley has the game plan mastered yet, and I don't think he's all that fast. I'd rather see Tharp and Springer out there. Arist has disappointed me a little in pass coverage too. I'd love to see Stuckey walking up as more of a hybrid LB, both for the fact that he's a good run stopper and that he would provide some leadership and experience underneath at the 5-9 yard range. I hate the cover 4 we seem to sit in and I think we should do more of a 4 under/3 over, but I'm not the coach.

labbadabba 10 years, 3 months ago

I never said we never run a safety blitz ... only that we rarely blitz.

Ryan Mullen 10 years, 3 months ago

Does anyone know if Bradley Beal will be coming to late night.

InfiniteJ 10 years, 3 months ago

Arnaud said it himself: “They do a lot of the same stuff, and they are not going to change their ways, and we took advantage of some of the stuff they did today.”

It's almost like KU is playing "prevent" the entire game.....the "bend-but-don't break" defense isn't working, and it's getting old.

Ben Kane 10 years, 3 months ago

We have always relied on an over-achieving defense during the MM era, this is mostly due to a large talent differential that is biggest on the DLine. However, I believe that it is our linebackers that our killing us right now. I'm not giving up on our D yet. Give MM a chance to make some changes. As has been stated earlier, if we can get up on some teams early that will make them more one dimensional and should assist the D. Stoping the run and forcing field goals should be the goal right now. I think our offense may be the best in the big 12 so I guess that makes us like the new TTech who always put up monster numbers and had a bad D. hopefully we can be more successful than they have been.

mr_jhawk4477 10 years, 3 months ago

I feel like I've seen this story before. This reminds me a lot of the 2005 Fort Worth Bowl season, where we were god awful on defense before shoring things up with a few schematic and personnel changes late in the year and ended up finishing very well that year. It is also similar to last year where we got torched a few times but looked much improved by the last few games. I believe that Mangino and Co. can turn this thing around but I worry that it might not happen soon enough. Hopefully we will see an improved and rejuvenated defense Saturday in Boulder. Rock Chalk 5-0 though!!

Christopher Hauser 10 years, 3 months ago

I think a realistic goal for this defense would be to get 3-5 stops a game. If we can do that and our offense is hitting on all cylinders than we can still be on schedule to win the North. I just dont see this defense getting more stops than that and maybe that goal may be to high even with changes.

bluebackslider 10 years, 3 months ago

Well, if winning is such a problem. We can always bring Terry Allen back to coach up the defense.

Brian Powell 10 years, 3 months ago

CHANGING UP THE D, like Mangino says (I hope), is more in-game than anything:

  1. what Lighthawk said. Being a little unpredictable and aggressive on D is a HUGE factor that doesn't show up directly in the stats, but ends up in the quotes of the opposing quarterback like Arnaud - and can end up costing you the game, experienced personnel or not.

  2. first half of labbadabba's post. aveat: if the opposing QB is a runner or not. I think mixing up the blitz/cover is important, but you have to watch a guy like Arnaud who can take off and run on you.
    I would err on the side of bringing more pressure though, because the theme here is that our secondary is having trouble covering (if they sit back 10 yards on their man!)

I'm a half-glass-full guy when thinking about the 5-0 start, but the naysayers have a point when you think about how crappy those 5 teams were!
Personally I think bye weeks are great -- for setting you up for a lackluster performance. That was probably part of it...

The other thing to remember is this: even though the score was close and the D wasn't great --- the win would've been stronger if our O had played like it normally does (the obv. INT, a few bad throws/catches, etc.)

Ken Throckmorton 10 years, 3 months ago

Can't blame it all on the 'backers, although would rather have better group. The announcers talked about the experienced and large Cyclone line. What probably happened is they opened up a can of woopass on our d-line, and u need best linebackers in the country to make up for that. Look for more of the same when we face big o-linemen in B12. What coach may want to consider is starting Greene for Johnson at LT and moving Johnson to LE in place of Ony, hoping to slow down the running game at least. Will have to play bend not break, perhaps blitzing more when they get in the red zone.

KGphoto 10 years, 3 months ago

Personnel? Coach has been throwing the kitchen sink at every team coming down the pike. If somebody was ready to step up... it would've happened.

It's gonna be a tough stretch. Hate to say it.

I'll be at the CO game. And honestly, I'm not looking forward to it.

kranny 10 years, 3 months ago

I wish we could see an offensive yards total by quarter. After watching the game, I'd say that in the 3rd quarter is when the D sucked it up and the defensive play calling went weird.

gardenjay 10 years, 3 months ago

I like to think HCMM wanted the defense to be predictable and play poorly to trick the future opposition into thinking our defense was predictable. Then, come game day, WHAM!!! We hit them with Laptad, Thornton, Stuckey and all the lesser sung heros in whole new ways they NEVER saw on game film. HCMM is a trickster! Rock Chalk!!!

ShazzyD 10 years, 3 months ago

If you ask me, the most underachieving player on defense so far is Thornton. He gets beat regularly in coverage, and often misses tackles in the running game. The same tackles that Chris Harris made on his own every play in our 1st game when he played that position.

What we really need right now is for a CB to step up that can replace Chris Harris on the outside, so that Harris can move back to Nickel. Harris is a beast at nickel and we need him to be playing there. His best attribute is his tackling. He is being taken out of the game at CB.

beebe1b 10 years, 3 months ago

Don't fight the talent on Defense! They are right up there with the Offense; except Reesing, Meyer, and (top receiver) my poor memory.

The 'scheme' has them all out of position! That and poor coaching on which way to turn, looking for the ball on time, then going for the ball.

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