Sunday, September 26, 2010

Matt Tait’s KU football notebook

The Kansas special teams unit huddles together before kickoff against New Mexico State during the third quarter Saturday, Sept. 25, 2010 at Kivisto Field.

The Kansas special teams unit huddles together before kickoff against New Mexico State during the third quarter Saturday, Sept. 25, 2010 at Kivisto Field.


KU football highlights: NMSU

Highlights from the Jayhawks' game against New Mexico State University on September 25, 2010.

Turner Gill postgame: NMSU

Turner Gill addresses the media after the Jayhawks' game against New Mexico State University on September 25, 2010.

It’s down the field they go

Through three games this season, Kansas University quarterback Jordan Webb had been sacked an average of four times a game. Saturday night, during KU’s 42-16 victory against New Mexico State, Webb was not sacked once, leaving the red-shirt freshman QB with a huge smile on his face. So pleased was Webb with Saturday’s performance by his offensive line, he actually was looking forward to today.

“It’s an awesome feeling, obviously,” Webb said. “I won’t be very sore (today). Our offensive line played great today. Communication was really good, our tempo was good, and overall it was just an execution thing.”

Staying on his feet more allowed Webb to look down the field more, and the KU wide receivers made that worth his while.

Webb hit deep passes to Johnathan Wilson and Christian Matthews and just missed on a handful more. Wilson finished with three grabs for 57 yards, including a long of 35 yards, which came early.

“That’s what we need,” Wilson said of the deep ball. “We just need some shots down the field to back ’em up. Our short passing game is great. Guys can make plays. But we need to take some shots. What I tell him is just put the ball in the air, and I’ll make a play for you.”

Gill flashes arm band

KU coach Turner Gill sported an arm band on his left arm in support of coaches against muscular dystrophy.

The band, white with green graphics and blue and green writing, was part of a national movement. The writing on the band simply said: “Coach to cure MD.”

“This week (was) “Coach-To-Cure,” Gill said. “The American Football Coaches Association picked this weekend to help support a tremendous cause, muscular dystrophy, which is a genetic disease that affects a lot of the young men in our society today. So we are very supportive of that.”

Gill on the fake field goal

On KU's opening drive of the night, Gill elected to attempt a fake field goal instead of kicking the 30-yarder. The fake failed when holder Alonso Rojas' throw to Tim Biere sailed out of the back of the end zone.

"I figured that everybody was thinking it was unlikely that he would do this because of the weather, No. 1," Gill said. "And then, No. 2, I just felt it was something good to do at that particular time. You gotta take those opportunities when they present themselves. Sometimes they work, sometimes they don't."

This and that...

New Mexico State became the fourth straight KU opponent to win the game’s opening coin toss. However, the Aggies became the first team this season to elect to receive instead of deferring its choice to the second half. Despite starting the game with a 54-yard kickoff return, NMSU went three-and-out during its first series.... Attendance for the Jayhawks’ third home game of the season was announced as 46,719.


Dan Harris 10 years, 1 month ago

Trolls come out of the woodwork after week one then go into hiding after week two, out they pop again after the S.Miss loss. Guess where they are today!

Robert Brock 10 years, 1 month ago

Let's see how the Hawks deal with Robert Griffin and the Baylor Bears on the road before staking out solid opinions as to whether KU is starting to really improve.

Dan Harris 10 years, 1 month ago

And we have a winner for 1st troll posting!

kranny 10 years, 1 month ago

I'll chime in. This team has some talented skill kids with some speed but across the board we're not that talented. Webb is going to be a good one, smart, decent on his feet, good arm, doesn't turn the ball over(a bit lucky so far-had one interception dropped). Sims, Beshears, WR are good players. Our line played good but as mulaza mentioned it's NMS. When the Big 12 schedule hits, our line had better find their cajones. Our defensive line played decent by stuffing the run game and forced plays to the outside but didn't record one sack and maybe only a couple of hurries. Baylor has a decent team with a good QB(shifty and fast with a decent arm). Our D-line needs to come up with some plays. Special teams are still a big concern. What's with the 40 yard returns when KU kicks off? Overall the team is starting to come together and you can tell that they love to play football. Everybody will have to be patient this year. I'm hoping for 3 more wins and be surprised with 5 more and a possible bowl bid.

JBurtin 10 years, 1 month ago

Meh, there are always going to be casual fans and naysayers that disappear on the young years. I really don't mind young teams cause it's fun to watch a team grow. Personally, the only thing I've been disappointed with so far was fact that we didn't find enough plays to squeak out the win against NDSU. Score a touchdown somewhere in that game and we'd be 3-1 right now and pretty much everyone would be happy.

Yesterday's win was exactly what we needed right now. Not because they are a good team, but because it gave our team some more practice at simply running their offense and finding an offensive identity. We could have run the ball the entire game and run up the score, but I like the way that the coaches made the players run a balanced offense for the sake of getting some game film to work from.

We've obviously got some studs in Beshears, Patterson and Sims that I think can make us competitive in the Big 12, but we'll need the offensive line to step up the pass protection. I like the fact that the staff has already picked up several offensive linemen for next year as an atmosphere of competition should create a recipe for future success (Gill taking a page from Nebraska's book on this).

Defensively, I've been very impressed so far with the way our linebackers are attacking the run and we've already shown that we can do this against good competition. Unfortunately as most people predicted we just don't have the ponies on the defensive line to get much of a pass rush, so that will have to be addressed over the next couple of seasons. Without a good pass rush our DB's are simply being left out there for way too long. I said before the year that we'll get beaten by teams that have a good enough passing game to take advantage of the lack of pass rush and it looks like it's still ringing true.

Overall, with the offense finding some identity and a good run defense I think we'll have a chance against K-State, Colorado, possibly Iowa State, and (strangely enough) Nebraska. Nebraska being the obvious sore thumb that sticks out in that bunch, but I feel like a Gill coached team might just play their best game of the season against his Alma Mater, and they rely pretty heavily on the run to make their offense roll.

Who knows what will really happen? I just want them to be competitive enough to allow this staff full of excellent recruiters to keep reeling in the talent.

Still thinking 5-7 with some close losses that we might pull off in future years.

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