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Tuesday, September 14, 2010

KU football turns to shotgun formation for revitalized success

Kansas University quarterback Jordan Webb looks for a target against Georgia Tech as he gets pass protection during the fourth quarter on Saturday at Memorial Stadium. The Jayhawks have been operating effectively out of the shotgun formation with Webb at the helm.

Kansas University quarterback Jordan Webb looks for a target against Georgia Tech as he gets pass protection during the fourth quarter on Saturday at Memorial Stadium. The Jayhawks have been operating effectively out of the shotgun formation with Webb at the helm.

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A lot of the talk this offseason focused on the new offense that first-year head football coach Turner Gill would run at Kansas University and how Gill and his coaching staff would ask its quarterbacks to go under center more than KU fans were used to seeing.

Jayhawks look like united team for first time this season

Coach Turner Gill said the game against Georgia Tech was the first time KU looked like a working team this year.

KU's Springer named Big 12 defensive player of the week

Senior linebacker Justin Springer recorded a career-high 15 tackles against Georgia Tech.

That still might be the plan, but it certainly wasn’t part of the recipe for upsetting No. 15 Georgia Tech on Saturday.

With red-shirt freshman Jordan Webb taking over for sophomore Kale Pick as the Jayhawks’ starting quarterback, the Jayhawks relied a lot more on the shotgun than expected.

Webb, who finished 18-of-29 for 179 yards, with three touchdowns and an interception, worked primarily out of the shotgun during the first three quarters, going under center only on obvious running downs.

In the first half alone, 34 of KU’s 38 plays were run from the shotgun. The funny thing about that stat was that two of the four plays that came with Webb lining up under center went for touchdowns.

“We can do a lot of things in this offense,” Webb said after the game. “But with their defense, it just suited us best to go shotgun. We ran well out of the shotgun, and we threw it well, too.”

Despite running 76 percent of its plays from the ’gun, the KU rushing attack still gained 141 yards on 41 carries and was especially effective when running the draw out of the passing formation.

The disparity between the two formations changed a little in the second half, largely because the Jayhawks shifted to the run to eat away at the clock. Still, KU ran 20 plays from the shotgun and 13 from under center in the second half.

“It’s not necessarily that we’re going shotgun exclusively,” Gill said. “I think that just fit what the gameplan was. As we continue to get to know our players better and (figure out) what fits our personnel, then that’s what we’re going to do.”

As long as Webb remains the starter, the shotgun likely will be the featured formation. Webb played his entire high school career in the shotgun, and Gill has said on more than one occasion that he believes KU’s wide receivers are a major strength for this team.

Asked if he thought Webb looked more comfortable when setting up behind the line of scrimmage, Gill leaned toward yes.

“I guess I can’t say that at this point in time,” Gill said. “As we continue to move on, we’ll find that out. He probably is a little bit more comfortable (in the shotgun) just because (he’s used to it). But I think he can do both. We’ve seen him do both in practice, and he’s been able to be comfortable dropping back and in shotgun.”

Springer honored by Big 12

KU linebacker Justin Springer, a senior co-captain from Los Fresnos, Texas, was named the Big 12 Conference defensive player of the week on Monday.

“They recognized Justin Springer, but I think our whole defense should get credit, too,” Gill said. “Justin is the leader of our team and a captain, but, man, our whole defense played well. It means a lot to our program just to get recognized (for having) good football players.”

Springer posted a career-high 15 tackles — including three for loss and one sack — in KU’s 28-25 victory against No. 15 Georgia Tech Saturday.

Through two games, he is averaging 11 tackles per game, which ranks second in the Big 12 and 20th in the nation.

KU to play in 37th state

When KU plays at Southern Miss on Friday in Hattiesburg, Miss., it will mark the first time that the Jayhawks have played a football game in Mississippi.

In its 120-year history, KU has played games in 37 states and Washington, D.C. The states KU has yet to kickoff in: Alaska, Connecticut, Delaware, Georgia, Idaho, Louisiana, Maine, Montana, New Hampshire, North Dakota, Rhode Island, South Carolina and Vermont.

Comments

rockemchalkemrobots 3 years, 7 months ago

Interesting article, Matt. Should "kickoff" be two words in the last paragraph, since you seem to be referring to the act of kicking off, and not the even (a "kickoff")?

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waywardJay 3 years, 7 months ago

Wow Mr. Tait. You got a rough crowd tonight. Basic Math works. Perhaps you should teach some basic Journalistic ethics to Keegan.

The question may be, had we run 29 more plays, what is the probability they would have been from shotgun.... Not likely with a lead trying to run down the clock. While the hardline math of 71 total plays and 76 percent of those plays were out of the shotgun, I think What garden was suggesting that percetange would have been lesser under a bigger sample size......

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Jayhawk1075 3 years, 7 months ago

Good article Matt. Thanks for more good work.

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Randy Bombardier 3 years, 7 months ago

Good article once again, Matt. I am really looking forward to a new and improved secondary. Hopefully, will see some picks this week and a few passes batted by the DT's would be nice. Nothing gets into the head of a QB like jumping up and batting down his pass. Psych!

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gardenjay 3 years, 7 months ago

Wow. Math is about feeling? How about watching a football game and waiting for a fractional play - that 0.0563% of a play - if you think about it, there's some humor in there. But maybe you're right, and independent thought is to be hammered down like a nail sticking up, an old Japanese saying. That often fits these boards. Anyway, better get back to my lawn mowing job - rc

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Jared Grillot 3 years, 7 months ago

Good freakin' grief. It's not about too much precision, not enough precision, or what we expect as Jayhawks. It's math. Pure, simple,wonderful math. To find what percentage one number is of another number, you divide, then multiply by 100. Whether you choose to round or not, for precision, is up to you, but it doesn't change the mathematical CERTAINTY that 54 plays from the shotgun divided by 71 total plays is (to the nearest whole percentage point) 76%. That can't be changed by how you feel about it. This can be accomplished by the same process whether we run 71 plays, 15 plays, or 392 plays. Covered in MATH 002 at KU. Wow. Thank you, Mr. Tait, for doing good math.

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ottomark 3 years, 7 months ago

Does anyone else hate how horrible the folks that comment on the KUSports site can be? I get going after them for biases, etc., but for the most part those that comment show a lot of stupidity and unwarranted anger. I'm all for a discussion, but keep it civil and don't assume the reporter is wrong, biased, dumb, or mathematically challenged...I really appreciate having a site like this where I can get a lot more KU sports information than I can from any other source...

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Ben McDaniel 3 years, 7 months ago

This article would make a lot more sense if I knew what terms like "shotgun," "under center," and "quarterback" meant. Anyone know of a good "football for dummies" website?

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741hawk 3 years, 7 months ago

Matt, You are a refreshing addition to the staff. Enjoy reading all the information you provide. Well done.

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SF_jayhawk 3 years, 7 months ago

I don't know why I find myself reading all the comments. It's like a car accident or reality TV - I know I shouldn't keep reading, but for some reason I can't stop myself.

A lot of the comments are insightful, but some of them are just painful. After reading gardenjay's comments today about precision, I feel compelled to make my first blog post on the internet...ever.

Gardenjay, you are on message board probabation...for at least a week. You are embarassing KU grads everywhere with your theories and arguments. Your first comment made no sense, but the rebuttal was even more ridiculous. Please fix.

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lozar34hawks 3 years, 7 months ago

I didn't get to watch the GT game. I live down in Waco Tx. didn't get televised. I'm definitely looking forward to friday night! SUPPORT CRIMSON N BLUE DOWN SOUTH!

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KU_FanSince75 3 years, 7 months ago

My bad! I meant to say, "It is the first road game for KU." Sorry!

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KU_FanSince75 3 years, 7 months ago

Matt, I enjoy your articles, as always!

Will the Jayhawks be ready to play on Friday night? Good question! It is being televised, just like the Georgia Tech game. However, it is the road game for KU. The latest line is that KU is a four-point underdog. This means a close game---hope the Jayhawks have what it takes to win on the road. Rock Chalk!

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gardenjay 3 years, 7 months ago

No, it's not ridiculous, for the same reason you shouldn't say it was 76.0653%. Come on! Precision is how well you know something; and if you had 100 of something, then you could have 76 of it, or I guess if you ran 'half-plays'. But, on the other hand, writing 75% has the same problem since it doesn't imply less precision....might implode here. In my little world, I would prefer to read about 75% though. Overly precise figures are friggin annoying to me.

It's just one of those things like 'mom knows best'; I mean, really? But we swallow them every day, so I just will give it up. :)

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Dirk Medema 3 years, 7 months ago

Lozar - I'm more concern about KU's pass D this week than the Rush D, which was just fine last week. We did give up a lot of yds on the ground, but that is GT, and a bunch of that came early in the game. The staff/players made nice adjustments during the game, and really started attacking the option. USM on the other hand will have a much stronger passing game, so the game plan will be completely different this week.

Definitely agree with you concerning being ready to play. First road game, and a short week on top of it does not bode well for being prepared. Still believing.

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lozar34hawks 3 years, 7 months ago

If KU can play like they did against georgia tech, and maybe a little better on the rush defense. they will beat USM. The question is will KU be ready to play friday night?

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NebraskaJayhawk 3 years, 7 months ago

I think coach Gill will run whatever he wants to run despite our opinion. However, Quigley would be fine in the power I instead of Opurum this season. Like you, I like Opurum in the backfield as well, but the majority of the handoffs would still go to Sims anyway. Sims's only talent isn't just making people miss. That young man runs with some authority as well. I'm very excited to see if both the O-Line and D-Line continue to improve as the year goes along. They're going to have to if they want to win some games in the Big XII this year. Nebraska, Kansas State, and Missouri are three very good teams in the North this year.

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JHawk74 3 years, 7 months ago

To have a power running game, you need a great offensive line and power running backs. The only power running back we have is now playing Linebacker and our offensive line isn't great at this time. We should stick with the spread offense and have both pass and running plays from it. Most top college teams are running some kind of spread offense now. It would be nice in the future to have the ability to go to a power I and run the ball down someones throat but we will have to wait on that for at least another year or two.

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ttoulouse 3 years, 7 months ago

Seems like the staff is realizing that these players were recruited to play the spread and not the power-I game. That being said, Gill has implemented a much stronger running scheme than Warriner did toward the end. Plus I think Sims is better at making people miss than Sharp could. But the power game is coming considering the O-line that is on its way next year.

As for the states, here's to thinking we won't be returning the favor to NDSU anytime soon. Maybe we can send the basketball team instead...

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exiledhawkfan 3 years, 7 months ago

That's ridiculous gardenjay...I really hope you're kidding. By that logic, you thinking that batting average statistics are worthless and "too precise", since no major leaguer gets 1000 at bats per season.

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gardenjay 3 years, 7 months ago

Look dude, if there were only 38 plays in the first half, you probably had less than 100 plays run by KU in the game. You are therefore making something more precise than it really is by citing 76% of plays, and that just violates everything KU fans [should] stand for. I want to see the fans fill the stands, and we need accurate and exciting reporting to fulfill that aim. Get to it!

OK, time for a beer, :)

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pigballin 3 years, 7 months ago

Mr Tait,,can you just write what the coach says without your addition of words.?I think he makes himself clear.

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