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Sunday, October 31, 2010

Matt Tait’s KU football notebook

Iowa State defensive back Michael O'Connell stops Kansas receiver Daymond Patterson short of a first down during the first quarter Saturday, Oct. 30, 2010 at Jack Trice Stadium.

Iowa State defensive back Michael O'Connell stops Kansas receiver Daymond Patterson short of a first down during the first quarter Saturday, Oct. 30, 2010 at Jack Trice Stadium.

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KU vs. ISU highlights

Highlights from Iowa State's 28-16 victory over Kansas on Oct. 30, 2010.

Jayhawks turn up pressure

For the second week in a row, Kansas University’s defense showed significant improvement in getting pressure on the opponent’s quarterback.

The Jayhawks, led by a career-high seven tackles from defensive tackle Richard Johnson, forced Iowa State quarterback Austen Arnaud into several rushed decisions and sacked him twice.

“It feels good,” said sophomore Toben Opurum, who made his second straight start at defensive end. “I think it’s something that we’ve been lacking in previous games, and we stressed it a lot this week, getting into the backfield and getting pressure on the quarterback.”

Johnson and senior Jake Laptad each sacked Arnaud once. Johnson’s takedown in the first half was the first sack of his career. Laptad’s improved his career total to 18.5.

Defensive tackle John Williams made his first start of the year and tallied five tackles, tied for third on the team Saturday.

In addition to joining his linemates in creating pressure, Opurum also delivered two monster hits on ISU running back Alexander Robinson. One problem: Robinson did not have the ball either time.

“I knew if the back had the ball, he had an opportunity to do anything with it,” Opurum said. “He’s a good running back, so you make sure you take him out of the play at all costs.”

Gill plays it safe

KU coach Turner Gill said the decision to run out the clock late in the first half, instead of trying to get the ball into the end zone, was a safety measure designed to ensure that the Jayhawks took something positive into halftime.

“Just a case of making sure we didn’t turn the ball over,” Gill said. “Wanted to make sure we got an opportunity to get some points on the board and didn’t want to take a risk.”

Asked if the precaution was as much about the chance to have the lead at halftime as it was being cautious, Gill agreed.

“That was the thing,” he said. “We would have a lead at halftime, and I think that’s a plus.”

Fourth-down momentum

Twice during the first half of Saturday’s loss, Gill instructed his offense to go for it on fourth down in KU territory.

“Momentum,” Gill said. “I wanted to keep the momentum going. I thought we needed to do some things there, also send a message to our football team that I believe they can get it done.”

Senior co-captain Sal Capra said he loved both calls.

“Yeah, definitely,” Capra said. “You like going for those fourth downs because he’s putting it on the O-line to get that extra yardage, and I definitely like that.”

The Jayhawks converted both times. The bold moves led to just three points for the KU offense.

Webb still the starter?

In the first start of his career, KU junior Quinn Mecham finished 22-of-33 for 149 yards, one touchdown and one interception.

Was it enough to earn him a second start next week against Colorado?

“We’ll evaluate,” Gill said. “I’m not going to make a comment at this point in time on it. I thought he gave us a chance to win the game. That’s what we wanted him to do.”

Moments later, Gill elaborated on the status of the position.

“I think if Jordan Webb’s healthy he’ll be our starting quarterback,” he said.

Webb missed Saturday’s game because of an injury to his non-throwing shoulder.

Comments

murph 3 years, 9 months ago

Way to go, Coach Gill! Great job. The new guy has the team playing respectably, has key personnel on the team praising him, and you basically say if the guy who can't seem to get those things accomplished can drag himself out there, you'll bench the successful one again. Great planning. I certainly see why you're worth the big bucks. Or not.

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GridironHawk 3 years, 9 months ago

Let's look at the reality of this.... Losing to ISU (by far the worst team KU has played in the Big 12 so far) by 19 is not a success. I know the score showed 28-16 but that late touchdown was against the 3rd string ISU. And gaining 4.5 yds/attempt and 6.5 yds/completion and throwing 1 int vs starts and 1 TD vs 3rd stringers is not a success. I agree Mecham looked okay for his first start but a healthy Webb still gives KU the best chance to win. A healthy Pick is even a better option (as evident from Mecham's 3rd string status). Mecham looked good cause KU had the lead at half. However, that was because our D actually played some D. Our QB has no control over that... I'm okay with letting Mecham start but lets not go and blame Webb for our last 3 blowouts. Without Webb, we would not have scored in any of those games.

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Kevin Studer 3 years, 9 months ago

Yeah, that contract Gill is living under now is Perkins's gift that will keep on giving for years. Thanks, Lew. Way to take a dump on KU on the way out the door.

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jayhawkinATL 3 years, 9 months ago

Yep, about as bad as the ending of the UGA/UF game (for UGA).

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Mark Lindrud 3 years, 9 months ago

So the defense is starting to apply pressure which is good so we are slowly finding who can be a difference. It is a start as far as that goes.

Instead of being aggressive we play conservative at the end of the half instead of taking a chance, which we need to do more of. We look like a boring team who is easy to defend because we don't test the defense.

Gill says we will evaluate the quarterbacks giving Mecham confidence thinking he did a good job then backtracks by saying Webb will start if healthy. I say give Mecham another chance and if all else fails stick to your guns and don't sound wishy-washy.

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