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Originally published October 21, 2009 at 12:00a.m., updated October 21, 2009 at 09:02p.m.

Keegan

No time to waste

KU offense’s first-quarter production could use a boost

Kansas quarterback Todd Reesing passes under pressure from Colorado linebacker B.J. Beatty during the third quarter Saturday, Oct. 17, 2009 at Folsom Field.

Kansas quarterback Todd Reesing passes under pressure from Colorado linebacker B.J. Beatty during the third quarter Saturday, Oct. 17, 2009 at Folsom Field.

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Finding something about which to nitpick the Kansas University football team’s offense would be akin to winning the Batmobile in a raffle and griping about a scratch on the door, getting selected by Cindy Crawford in the Dating Game and obsessing on her mole, having Eli Manning under center and complaining his name’s not Peyton.

So be it.

This is Oklahoma week, and really good won’t be good enough to prevail in the Sooners’ first game in Lawrence since 2001. Kansas must play a near-perfect game to beat OU for the first time since 1997.

KU’s 503.3 yards per game in total offense ranks second nationally to Houston. The Jayhawks’ 38.8 points per game ranks fifth (behind Texas, Texas Tech, Houston and Cincinnati).

Is it greedy to want improvement? Of course it is. It’s also reasonable. Kansas has amassed those remarkable offensive numbers without always getting out of the blocks smoothly. Two games into the Big 12 portion of the schedule, KU has scored nine first-quarter points, compared to 21 points in the second quarter, 20 in the third and 21 in the fourth.

“It’s obvious the last couple times we’ve been off to a slow start,” Kansas coach Mark Mangino said. “What’s really amazing about it is, once we get going, we just keep rolling. ... Some of our opponents have done some different things a little bit out of character from what we’ve seen of them on tape, so you have to adjust. Would we like to adjust sooner? Yes, but let’s put it this way, the kids are not going to have early success against something they haven’t seen before.”

Alonso Rojas has punted 22 times, but just six times — an average of once a game — in the second half.

The combination of offensive coordinator Ed Warinner and Todd Reesing has been more than impressive at making in-game adjustments.

“It starts right with Todd,” said senior Kerry Meier, whose nine receptions per game ranks second nationally to Bowling Green’s Freddie Barnes (12.14). “Coach Warinner will speak with the coaches, and then coach Warinner will speak with Todd. From there it’s a big relay system to the rest of the players. A lot of what goes into it is what coach Warinner sees. A lot of what comes out of it as well is what we see and what we have to say to the coaches.”

Reesing tends to throw more accurately as the game progresses. Once he gets a hot hand, Kansas has shown it can score a ton of points without eating much clock.

“When we start rolling, we’re a tough ballclub to handle,” Meier said. “What’s crucial is to get into the flow and get started early. That’s what we’re going to have to do this week. Straight from the get-go, we’re going to have to put points on the board because who knows what this OU offense is going to be like. They don’t have their Heisman guy but with their backup (Landry Jones), from what I’ve seen him play, he’s a good one. I’m sure they’re capable of putting up a lot of points. We’re going to have to bring our A-plus game if we’re going to beat these guys.”

Kansas has broken through several barriers during Mangino’s reign, including beating Nebraska twice and winning three bowl games in four seasons, but a Mangino team hasn’t yet won a game against any of the three Big 12 South teams on this year’s schedule, going 0-9 against Oklahoma, Texas and Texas Tech.

What would a victory Saturday mean?

“It would be another step to where coach Mangino is trying to get this program,” Meier said. “He’s trying to get this program to the top. We’re definitely going to have to do some great things. If we should take care of business this week against OU, I think it’s another of those big wins that puts Kansas in the running of getting to a top, elite program. With the Orange Bowl win and the big win last year against Missouri, it ranks right up there with them. Especially in my career, all the big wins we’ve had have been on the road. We haven’t really had a big-time win in Memorial Stadium.”

To get one, Kansas will need its best wire-to-wire execution and game plan of the season from its offense against an Oklahoma defense ranked third in the country, allowing 9.67 points a game versus a tough schedule that included close losses to ranked foes Brigham Young, Miami and Texas.

“It’s going to be a stiff challenge,” Meier said. “We’re going to have to do some great things to win.”

• A previous version of this story contained an error.

Comments

Dirk Medema 10 years, 3 months ago

It would seem the 2 NU games - "We shucked the world" and the 70 something game, were big games. IMO anyway, but maybe not as much so to the players since NU was down. Kerry wasn't here for the first win in a while against the kittycats.

number1jayhawker 10 years, 3 months ago

Kerry was also a redshirt when we beat the Corn for the first time, in what seemed like forever, in 2005.

FSUJHAWK 10 years, 3 months ago

This is going to be a great game. Something tells me it's going down the wire and we'll see something unexpected from the defense. Regardless of the result, this game will dictate the direction this team is heading as there are absolutely no easy games remaining on our schedule.

Good luck guys....we believe in you...!!!

RCJHGKU!!!!

KUbsee69 10 years, 3 months ago

Mangino says we would like to adjust sooner. How about we just adjust the Sooners :)

Joe Baker 10 years, 3 months ago

We believe, question is do they believe they can do it? I think if they show and play like they're capable and let all this mental junk go, they can beat any team in the nation.

Exactly- "just adjust the Sooners"

RCJHKU

Blake Post 10 years, 3 months ago

Perhaps we must show something early that the other team has not seen. I dug the double pass, back to Reesing last game.

As I stated before and often, NU is an average to fair team, with constant media and commentator hype. They were overrated and I knew underrated Tech would prove it. They did and they killed the corn dead. Mr. Hong Kong Suey could not win by himself. NU was lucky vs. MU. Once in a while Iowa State beats neb.

OU will be extremely difficult. They held Tex to 16. teams that can hold down your scoring always have a good chance. I hope the spread spreads them out, get rid of the ball quickly and diminish the pass rush and blitzes that way. Brett Favre is doing that a lot. Good Hall of Fame example.

KUFan90 10 years, 3 months ago

I'll nitpick. Our O-line needs to get better. Both in the run game and in pass protection. Reesing needs to be more accurate out of the chute. We need to get Opurum into the game plan sooner and more frequently even if Sharp is available. We passed the ball way too much at CU. The 2 turnovers happened on pass plays of course.

These are all must haves in order to compete this Saturday.

KGphoto 10 years, 3 months ago

Rojas and Brandstetter are performing well, but I'd like to see something special from the rest of the special teams. A return TD is long overdue. Even some long returns would be nice to give Todd and the boys a few more short fields.

Rojas should be doing the kickoffs. The only reason Brandstetter was getting deep kickoffs against CU was the altitude. At home he's landing them on the 15 yard line. That won't cut it from here on out.

Kenneth Hillman 10 years, 3 months ago

Let's just get a win this weekend Hawks. I know you can do it!

Rock Chalk!!

Dale Koch 10 years, 3 months ago

I totally agree, Opurum needs to be in the game. We ran the ball effectively when Sharp was out. Go Hawks! You can beat this OU team.

100 10 years, 3 months ago

Play each set of downs like you are starting at 2nd & 10 every possession. That's where your play calling should be. Attack, attack, attack...

No more wasted downs. No looking back.

Attack.

Steve Brown 10 years, 3 months ago

note to fans: If/when we win this game do not, I repeat do NOT rush the field, stay in the stands and act like it's expected to win big games.

old guy.

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