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Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Keegan

Georgia Tech another tough test for Kansas

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Touchdown Jayhawks wallpaper

Download this great celebration photo taken by KUSports.com staff photographer Nick Krug.

After seeing how easily Northern Illinois senior quarterback Chandler Harnish exploited the soft spots in Kansas University’s pass defense, it’s natural to consider the run-oriented option spread offense favored by Georgia Tech a welcome change of pace.

Not so fast.

When the Yellow Jackets do pass, they rely on as difficult a receiver to defend as any on KU’s schedule, and don’t forget, Oklahoma State preseason All-American Justin Blackmon is on the schedule.

If Georgia Tech wideout Stephen Hill decides to make himself eligible for the NFL draft after this, his junior season, he could become the third Tech receiver chosen in the first round in a seven-year span, following Calvin Johnson (2007) and Demaryius Thomas (2010).

In victories against Western Carolina, 63-21, and Middle Tennessee State, 49-21, the long-striding, 6-foot-5, 206-pound Hill amassed 307 receiving yards on just seven catches. That’s an average of 43.9 yards per catch. He has touchdown catches covering 82, 77 and 71 yards. Hill, from Lithonia, Ga., won the state long jump as a senior in high school with a leap of 25 feet, 83⁄4 inches. KU’s Jareb Stallbaumer took 13th at last spring’s Big 12 championship with a jump of 23 feet, 11⁄4 inches.

Junior quarterback Tevin Washington’s off to a strong start, but Hill’s the loudest talent on an offense that so far ranks near the top in the nation in several categories. Tech is tied for second with 56 points per game, third with 629 total yards a game, sixth with 339.5 rushing yards per game, first in passing efficiency (no interceptions, 22.3 yards per pass attempt), No. 3 in third-down conversion percentage (70.8) and tied for first in red-zone offense (10 for 10, 10 rushing touchdowns).

In last season’s 28-25 KU upset of Georgia Tech at Memorial Stadium, Hill caught a 40-yard TD pass and a two-point conversion for the game’s final eight points. Defenses must pay so much attention to the run against Tech that Hill is left to abuse single-coverage.

It will take another tidy, monster day from the Kansas offense Saturday in Atlanta to compete. As is the case with Georgia Tech, the Jayhawks run the ball to open up the pass and have a member of the passing game who ranks high in a national statistical category. That would be quarterback Jordan Webb, who is fourth in the nation in passing efficiency, three spots behind Baylor’s Robert Griffin III.

Webb, who showed the ability to scramble in Saturday’s come-from-behind, 45-42 upset victory against Northern Illinois, has completed 70 percent of his passes, averages 10.7 yards per attempt and has thrown six touchdown passes without getting intercepted.

Bigger and faster than NIU, Georgia Tech figures to put more pressure on Webb.

“His scramble throws were impressive,” said KU offensive coordinator and chief Webb tutor Chuck Long. “He was not a great technician at throwing on the run (last year). He really worked hard on that in the offseason.”

The emotional edge swings from a KU team driven to show it should not have been the underdog against NIU, to Georgia Tech, a team seeking to avenge last season’s loss. Tough, tough game for KU.

Comments

Jason Keller 2 years, 7 months ago

This game is so pivotal in the rebuilding of this program. If KU can steal this game in Atlanta, it will be another fantastic recruiting foothold for the off-season.

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Randy Maxwell 2 years, 7 months ago

Plz GA Tech throw more than normal, go away from your strength

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kycamp0 2 years, 7 months ago

Yes, I forgot to mention Webb. He looks like an All Big XII quarterback out there, scrambling, making plays down field. He is only a red-shirt Sophomore but he out dueled a Senior quarterback with some weapons that is a projected mid-round draft pick.

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Randy Bombardier 2 years, 7 months ago

Why KU will win:

  1. We will finally get a couple of turnovers. The option is very vulnerable to that.
  2. We will see some things we have been holding back, like Pierson on kick returns.
  3. Last year we ran the 3-4 and stopped Tech even though this was not our usual defense. This year it is and we are better at it.
  4. McDougald is ticked and wants to redeem himself. The whole secondary wants to prove something. We are not only going to see a couple of fumbles in the option, we are going to see at least one pick.
  5. We have faced adversity and overcome it. If it is a close game or we get and sustain the lead, Tech will collapse.
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jhawkrulz 2 years, 7 months ago

I think there are a couple of things that give me hope about this weekend.

1) We beat them last year, with many that perceive our team has improved and GT has not improved since last year. 2) GT is more of a run team than a pass team (not saying they won't throw the ball), but if they are a run first type of team, it seems like we have been somewhat decent against the run (which has surprised me). 3) We are due for a turnover or two this game. 4) Hopefully, it will allow us to go over after the quarterback since they run more of an option.

5) We are in the Big XII...wait are we still...I get confused...nevermind that would matter for the game.

Good luck Jayhawks.

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Tony Bandle 2 years, 7 months ago

Why Kansas will win:

1] Dominate the game, time of possession and field position with potent running attack. 2] Score early and play with a lead. 3] Ignore home crowd and focus on opponent...not playing in a dome. 4] Cut down penalties, turnovers and missed assignments. 5] Utilize the pass at most opportune moments.

Why Kansas will lose:

1] Let the home crowd rattle them. 2] Turnovers, penalties, poor tackling. 3] Lack of pressure on the quarterback 4] Be content to be respectable. 5] Try to do too much, too fast, too soon.

I feel that, yes, Kansas absolutely has a chance to win this game but we better use the first 1 thru 5, not the second 1 thru 5.

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cg1029 2 years, 7 months ago

Let's not get ahead of ourselves... The Offense has not faced a good Defense yet and it is easy to look fast vs two teams from small conferences.

Anyone who thinks that because GTech gave up 21 pts their D is not good should probably look at the facts. In the first game they were up 28-0 in the first Qtr and fumbled a punt giving W Car the ball 1st and Goal, and later up 42-14 Tech had a kick blocked and returned for a TD as the Half ended. Really their D gave up one TD.

VS Mid Ten they Tech was up 42-7 so you would assume that it was 3rd team Defense at that point.

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KGphoto 2 years, 7 months ago

BTW do we have injury updates other than Williams?

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Randy Maxwell 2 years, 7 months ago

Two things stand out as hugh areas of improvement. One is Webb, he has come light years from where he was this time last year and two is the O-line. They are now for the first time in a long time a better run blocking unit than a pass protection unit. They are physical at the point of attack.

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KGphoto 2 years, 7 months ago

Gotta go with mikendal and dagger to some degree.

I don't think we're stopping GTech any better that NiLL, but if you don't turn it over to them, they can really only score so many points. Probably in the forties. So if we can keep up with them offensively, (and if WCar. and MidTen, can each score 21, I think we can) it should be an interesting finish.

No reason this game can't be exactly like the Nill game, even though the offenses are different styles. We played the option well last year, and are better equipped to stop it this year, but it's an away game, so that cancels out.

Key stats for KU to win: -300 yards rushing -10 or more TFLs -3 third down stops -1 fourth down stop -0 turnovers

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kycamp0 2 years, 7 months ago

I hope you're joking longtimehawk. Have you watched them play yet because I've been seriously impressed with our young crop of running backs, our team speed, our O-line, our focus, special teams, etc. Our defense is awful but I think we can sneak up and upset some people with this team. Turner Gill has made a "believer" out of me.

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longtimehawk 2 years, 7 months ago

It appears KU is not very good again and I can see its going to be a tough year as there is not any improvement.

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Jayhawk61 2 years, 7 months ago

Dagger, I was thinking the same thing, though their numbers so far still look pretty impressive.

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Dirk Medema 2 years, 7 months ago

It should be safe to say that KU is by far the toughest opponent GT has faced so far this year.

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Mike Kendall 2 years, 7 months ago

Man, 113th nationally in pass defense---like they said in "Waterboy, we suck!"

It will be interesting to see how our offense will fare against their defense. Also, how we do for the first time on the road. I just saw yesterday that we are a 15-point underdog. No surprise there.

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Keith Hummel 2 years, 7 months ago

From the Atlanta Journal this morning, the following quote from Joe Speed, Tech's inside linebacker coach:

“Kansas is a very physical football team. They’ve got different personnel groups than the ones we’ve just faced these past two weeks. They’ll go 11, 12, 21, 22, even 23 personnel. (Explanation below) They’ve got three returning linemen up front, they’re big and physical. They’ve got speedy wide receivers and a running back who runs pretty hard.”

The numbers are names for different offensive groupings. The first number is the number of running backs and the second is the number of tight ends.

Clearly, our offense is already making things difficult for some defensive coordinators out there. I only wish I could say the same about the offensive coordinators planning for our defense. Kansas’ first two opponents completed 78.4 percent of their passes. It’s the second-highest rate allowed in FBS. We are ranked 113th nationally in pass defense and 101st in total defense. I think we can safely say Tech is going to open up their passing playbook against us.

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ttoulouse 2 years, 7 months ago

I know our D will struggle with their O. Question is, will their D struggle with our O?

One of the biggest factors in this game is playing on the road. other than the Reesing years (mostly 2007), we've struggled mightly on the road. Since this team seems to have it's "swag" going, it will be interesting to see how and if the road games affect them as much.

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willie_fu_fu 2 years, 7 months ago

Exactly in what way was Ga. Tech not better than last year?

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DRsmith 2 years, 7 months ago

Every game this year will be a tough test because KU is not very good.

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s6u6r6f 2 years, 7 months ago

Wow, a 25 foot high jump! I haven't been that high since the 70s!

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gardenjay 2 years, 7 months ago

You say the GT receiver did a 25 foot high jump? Without a pole? If he can also do a 300 foot long jump they should just use him for kick returns.

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