Monday, August 29, 2011


Kansas football foes loaded with stars


Several Kansas University football players will fare better this season because they either have improved their conditioning or have sharpened their minds with an extra year of experience. The problem, of course, is that the players from opposing teams have grown, too. A quick look at the foes on the schedule reveals why the most popular predictions for a KU victory total seem to range from one to three:

McNeese State, Saturday, 6 p.m.: Quarterback Riley Dodge twice was named 5A offensive player of the year in Texas and led Southlake Carroll High to three consecutive state titles playing for his father, Todd Dodge. Again playing for his father at North Texas, things didn’t go as well. Multiple injuries forced a temporary switch to receiver, but injuries to two quarterbacks forced a switch back to QB. After his father was fired, the younger Dodge transferred and won the starting quarterback job. Even though the game was played four years before Riley was born, he’ll be looking to avenge his father’s 55-17 loss to KU offensive coordinator Chuck Long in the 1984 Freedom Bowl. In the third quarter alone, Iowa’s Long passed for 241 yards and four touchdowns en route to 461 yards and six TD passes. For the game, Todd Dodge passed for 180 yards and two touchdowns with two interceptions for Texas.

Northern Illinois, Sept. 10: Dual-threat Quarterback Chandler Harnish threw 21 touchdown passes and just five interceptions on his way to first-team All-Mid-American Conference honors.

At Georgia Tech, Sept. 17: The Yellow Jackets are mad at the world. They’re mad the NCAA stripped them of their 2009 ACC title for improper benefits and obstruction of an NCAA investigation. They’re mad they went 6-7, and most of all, they’re mad they lost to a Kansas team that finished 3-9.

Texas Tech, Oct. 1: The Red Raiders finished 114th in the nation defensively and have a thin senior class. No reason this can’t be an upset, especially if a rowdy crowd shows up.

At Oklahoma State, Oct. 8: Quarterback Brandon Weeden and receiver Justin Blackmon lead nine starters back from an offense that ranked among the best in the nation.

Oklahoma, Oct. 15: Everybody’s pick to win the national title, the Sooners have had a habit of late of stealing the best high school players in Kansas, not that they don’t have enough athletes from Oklahoma and Texas to turn this into a rout before halftime.

Kansas State, Oct. 22: Running back transfer Bryce Brown didn’t take advantage of summer conditioning, but should be in decent shape by the time the Wildcats visit Memorial Stadium. Quarterback Collin Klein presents another running threat. K-State’s weakness, stopping the run, matches up with KU’s strength, but will that be enough to reverse a 59-7 loss?

At Texas, Oct. 29: By the time this game is played, it’s anybody’s guess what quarterback the Longhorns will have under center. My guess: true freshman David Ash. Handing the ball to true freshman running back Malcolm Brown will be the QB’s most important duty.

At Iowa State, Nov. 5: This game should be circled on every KU player’s schedule because it represents the best shot at a conference victory. The Cyclones will have trouble scoring on anybody.

Baylor, Nov. 12: The Bears don’t get much love from preseason prognosticators, but the memory of a 55-7 bludgeoning in Waco is too fresh to think Baylor will be beaten in Lawrence. Robert Griffin III led an offense that produced 678 yards. The underrated superstar is back for the Bears.

At Texas A&M;, Nov. 19: The Aggies have the ultra-organized Kyle Field passion going for them as well as a huge advantage in speed, size, strength, agility, football skill, experience and depth. Other than that, it’s a coin toss.

Missouri in Arrowhead Stadium, Nov. 26: The white-uniform gimmick fell flatter than a Tim Pawlenty speech. When it’s Billy “White Shoes” Johnson, the all-white look can make a player look faster, sleeker. When slow players go with the Man From Glad look, it makes them look softer. The Jayhawks have more speed than a year ago, but it’s probably a good idea to keep the white helmets packed away anyway. With Kansas seemingly ready to mount a sound running game and doubts circling around Mizzou’s ability to stop the run, this should be more of a contest than last season’s 35-7 yawner. If not, the Arrowhead game will have lost its luster and crowds could shrink.


actorman 6 years, 9 months ago

See this is why we need to institute national drug testing ...

texashawk10 6 years, 9 months ago

Riley Dodge isn't likely to be the starting QB for McNeese next Saturday, sophomore Cody Stroud will be the likely starter. The best player for McNeese on offense is their starting RB Andre Anderson who is a Michigan St. transfer.

This preview of McNeese was published two weeks ago so I doubt Dodge has taken the starting job unless there's been an injury to Stroud.

Joseph Kuebel 6 years, 9 months ago

Ya, and Gilbert is UTs starter... So we do know who's expected to be under center for the Texas game.

actorman 6 years, 9 months ago

(referring to Topcity's comment, not the article, in case anyone was wondering)

Joseph Kuebel 6 years, 9 months ago

This is why we need national drug testing.

Varlo52 6 years, 9 months ago

A totally uninformed guess: We win all the games we "should" ... and two we "shouldn't."

jmsuther 6 years, 9 months ago

Looks to be like best case senerio is 5 wins. If Ku has another dream season 6. Can't wait to see what the coaches have done with the team. Hope they didn't f it up like last season

Robert Brock 6 years, 9 months ago

To me, the only way the Hawks can win three games is if they manage to upset the Cyclones.

Benjamin Piehler 6 years, 9 months ago

Nothing new in this article...I can't wait for the season to start and I don't have to read what we already know... we have to play some good teams with respectable players.

Not so sure OU is "everybody's pick for a national title" though.

Randy Bombardier 6 years, 9 months ago

Upset of the season. OU. Not that we will beat a lot of teams or have a winning record, but I think we will relish being the spoiler and will to the amazement of many will do so. This is just a gut feeling.

Fred Whitehead Jr. 6 years, 9 months ago

This has happened before, back in the early 70's a Bud Moore team went to Norman and upset the OU team that became national champion that year. This was before the BCS BS was instituted. But don't hold your breath.

Gary Wirsig 6 years, 9 months ago

More details...

The biggest shocker was Kansas beating Oklahoma 23-3 in Norman. Jayhawk Coach Bud Moore went slightly bonkers in calling it "the greatest victory there has ever been in the history of college football." Ditto Tackle Dave Scott, who suggested that the game ranked just behind "the coming of Christ." But the upset win certainly justified the dancing and hollering that went on in the team bus after the game, and the whooping, beer-burbling group that greeted the Jayhawks back home in Lawrence.

The loss ended Oklahoma's unbeaten streak at 37, fourth longest in college football history. It was Kansas' first win over the Sooners since 1964, Oklahoma's first loss at home since 1971 and Barry Switzer's first defeat as a head coach. "It ain't much fun," he said.

Last spring, realizing the inevitability of such an unhappy event, Switzer had said he hoped it would be "a good team that beats us, that we don't beat ourselves." Unfortunately, it was more the latter than the former. The Sooners committed turnovers in eight consecutive possessions. "We lost it ourselves," Switzer concluded. "We've played this way before against inferior teams, but we always got away with it. If you play a good team and make mistakes, you lose."

With a 5-3 record including a loss to Washington State, Kansas' chances seemed minimal before the game. The Jayhawks were hurting, and the Sooners were hoping to embarrass Moore. Last December, just after he moved his belongings from Bear Bryant's staff quarters to the head coach's office at Kansas, Moore had been quoted as saying that the Alabama wishbone was the best in the country.

So Oklahoma came out testy, but after the Jayhawks had held the Sooners to just a field goal in their first three possessions, Kansas Strong Safety Kurt Knoff began entertaining the heretical notion that "we might win."

The Oklahoma three-pointer—a 52-yard kick by Tony DiRienzo—was the game's first score. DiRienzo had shorter opportunities on the next two possessions, but one was blocked and the other, a 37-yarder, was wide to the left.

Gary Wirsig 6 years, 9 months ago

...and the conclusion...

Through most of the first half, meanwhile, Kansas gains had been modest. But strange things began to happen when Eddie Lewis broke through to block a punt, which Mark Boyer recovered at the Sooner seven. Three plays later Quarterback Nolan Cromwell, the Big Eight's leading rusher, scored from the five, escaping several defenders on the way. Kansas suddenly was ahead 7-3—and Oklahoma's troubles had only begun.

On the Sooners' second play in the second half, a bad pitchout gave Kansas the ball and set up a 32-yard field goal by Bob Swift. That made it 10-3. Next possession, the Sooners ran twice and lost the ball again, at the OU 40. Here the Jayhawks got tricky. Facing a fourth and one at the 21, Moore passed up a field-goal attempt and sent Halfback Laverne Smith around right end. Smith turned the corner, juked Zac Henderson and went all the way for a touchdown. Now it was 16-3. After two more Sooner fumbles and a goal-line interception, Oklahoma Assistant Coach Larry Lacewell realized "it was obvious we were going to lose." On the other side of Owen Field, Cromwell was ecstatic. "As we got going in the third quarter we realized we would win," he said later. "We weren't in awe of Oklahoma anymore."

Certainly, Halfback Smith wasn't. He swept to the right again in the fourth quarter, scoring from 18 yards out to complete a drive that began at the Sooner 32. Overall, Smith had 88 yards on 18 carries while Cromwell, who did not throw a pass, had 69 on 23.

Randy Bombardier 6 years, 9 months ago

Thanks so much for the history. It was a great moment. I remember well the Ransom Rambler.

johnnyhrdwd 6 years, 9 months ago

KU beat OU in 83 or 84, OU's starter got hurt and his backup who played the game was none other than Troy Aikman.

Ben Kliewer 6 years, 9 months ago starts Saturday already. Regardless of how bad we're going to suck, I'm still excited! Rock Chalk!

nuleafjhawk 6 years, 9 months ago

Kleave - i seriously wanted to get mad at your remark, but it's so weird, I just had to laugh!!

jhox 6 years, 9 months ago

If a loss to Missery is enough to cause the game at Arrowhead to lose its luster, then if we do have to get beat, I hope it isn't close. I want those games back on the campuses where they should be. At least we'd have a home field advantage once every two years. We've yet to have even a 50-50 crowd at Arrowhead. The first year was probably 60-40% MU, and subsequent years have been even more in their favor.

Why our AD would want to keep going there is beyond me. Money is not a bad thing, but it is a bad thing when the pursuit of it costs you potential wins against your arch rival.

They argue that it makes for a closer drive for KC fans, but I live in the O.P. / Prairie Village area, and I can get to Lawrence as fast as I can get to Arrowhead.

Andy Tweedy 6 years, 9 months ago

I am in total agreement with you there! I walked on the Hill in '86 and the single best football environment I've ever been in for a KU game was the '05 game against Misery! I'm not sure I've ever heard the rock chalk chant louder in Allen than I did that day! It was awesome to see a Kansas football crowd make that kind of noise! I miss having that game on campus, too...

Andy Tweedy 6 years, 9 months ago

I'm going with 4 wins. We beat McNeese, ISU and win one or two that maybe wouldn't make sense as of now. I think our defense will be hard pressed to slow most Big XII teams down, but my hope is the running game will keep that defense off the field. More importantly, I think we'll represent much better than last year. Hopefully, I feel at least this good about the season come next Monday!!! I love me some 'Hawk football!!!

Kevin Randell 6 years, 9 months ago

You know...there's an old saying in coaching. "Even the sun shines on a dog's @$$ some days". Look, take "spirituality" out of the Believe slogan this year. As a coach myself who have been apart of a major upset. If your guys know their assignments and "Believe" in their team and abilities...the sky's the limit! I say the nay-sayers have had their time to gripe and moan. Football season is here....and if you are a TRUE BLUE KU fan, then let's support our team, and if we are successful in wins...then lets party and have fun! You know this KU Alum is happy and excited to make the 3.5 hour drive to EVERY game! Rock Chalk Jayhawk!!!

Topcitykid10 6 years, 9 months ago

@ Arch I'm not on drugs or havnt smoked weed in 3 years. I just believe from treading the articles, watching the gridiron seeing scrimage highlights. A LOT of people aren't giving KU a chance this year bases on a first head coach from last year, give Turner a chance he's brought itn talent and young talent is hungry to play anyone and can beat any team on a Saturday. Sorry that I have faith in the program but once again IMO 7 wins.

actorman 6 years, 9 months ago

I will be in the area this weekend but my flight doesn't get in until nearly game time on Saturday. I'm hoping to make the second half. Wish I could be there for the rest of the games. Although I think Topcity is nuts for predicting seven wins, I'm still excited for the season and look forward to the team being much more competitive than last year.

Todd Simpson 6 years, 9 months ago

I'll be coming in from Texas to watch this game!!! can't wait

Randy Bombardier 6 years, 9 months ago

As if we needed further motivation, ESPN's the Bottom 10 has us on the wait list. I think we should make em eat crow.

nuleafjhawk 6 years, 9 months ago

I'd call you an idiot, but I don't want to insult idiots.

Randy Bombardier 6 years, 9 months ago

OU. We will be the spoiler and beat OU. I also think we have a decent shot at Tech, ISU, Missouri, K-State, and Texas. I think our speed at LB will also keep us close with Baylor. We are better than you think. You will see. We will have bumps but no way this team goes 1-11. No way.

Randy Bombardier 6 years, 9 months ago

I also don't know about the idiot part, but I know who the KU fan and supporter is.

nuleafjhawk 6 years, 9 months ago

inteldesign, I read most of your posts and I respect and agree with your views on most things, especially those things outside of football and sports in general.

I know most people don't read the replies unless it's directed to them, so I just want to apologize for my "idiot" remark. Even though it wasn't directed at you, I should be a little more mature than that - believe me, I'm well old enough to know better!

nuleafjhawk 6 years, 9 months ago

The idiot remark, which I should not have made and apologize for, was directed at the cute remark about Turner Gill, not your prediction of what our record will be.

As far as being capable, we are CAPABLE of beating any team on the schedule. Have you ever watched a sporting event? Any sporting event? There is this thing called an UPSET - it happens...................oh - every weekend. Watch for it.

You know, if you want to predict 1-11 that is your perogative. You have that right, just like inteldesign has the right to pick us to beat Oklahoma. He's been consistent with that and I think he believes in his heart that we will (and I hope he's right).

I'd be happy if people would lay off the fire Turner Gill talk for at least two more years. Very few people are going to walk into a mess like he was handed and turn it around in a year or two. He deserves a fair shot.

Joseph Kuebel 6 years, 9 months ago

Support your team, I'm sick of hearing this. Mangino won 4 games in 8 years versus the B12 South... I'm sure recruits wanted to go play for a coach that mocked his players and had no relationship or talked to zero of his guys after their football careers were done. Sure, tough love works if you have a player that knows you genuinely care about them. But its obvious talking with several of the football players during his tenure that nobody liked him. I'm not saying you have to love your coach. And being a p---k towards them may motivate some players to approach his prodding as "I'm gonna prove this guy wrong", but that "motivation" doesn't work to create a positive team atmosphere. We had players that basically quit giving a __ on the team after starting 5-0 and ended with 7 straight Ls. Who wants to take orders from a drill sergeant?

Turners recruits haven't even started playing yet, and if you're a true KU fan the improvements in recruiting alone should tell you we are much closer to producing a faster more talented and consistent team than we had. Had we kept Mangino 11+ players had planned on transfering...but I'm sure you wanted to keep him, right? I'm sure KU woulda had quite a fun time recruiting after that mess.

Support your team, we are in transition from a slow "blue collar" team to the direction of a faster more talented group, once Turner has a 3 or 4 years and doesn't produce then I can agree that maybe we should look elsewhere, until then its uneducated to say fire TG who has a bunch of players that don't come close to fitting his scheme.

hailtoku 6 years, 9 months ago

We will start the year 3-0.

You heard it here.

Joseph Kuebel 6 years, 9 months ago

Im sure the McNeese qb is out for blood cuz Longs team beat his dads team 4 yrs before he was conceived. Really, keegs hell be looking to avenge his dads loss?... It's fine to mention this, but to incorporate that fact in the context displayed is a major stretch.

Commenting has been disabled for this item.