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Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Captain Toben Opurum: Kansas motivated by 2-10 record

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Rarely one to wear his feelings on his sleeve, Kansas University senior co-captain Toben Opurum recently talked bluntly about the toll KU’s 2-10 season a year ago took on him and his teammates.

“There’s no way you can go 2-10 and not be motivated by that,” Opurum said at Big 12 media days last week in Dallas. “It’s embarrassing, to be honest, and it’s not something that anybody wants to be a part of any more. That alone will motivate guys to give a little more effort and play with a little more intensity.”

KU coach Charlie Weis also has discussed the role that the past two seasons would play in his rebuilding project, and he, too, said he believed the record harmed his team’s confidence.

“One issue, the one that everyone sees, is the fact that we’re 2-10 and 3-9 over the last two years, having won one conference game in that time frame,” Weis said. “The other one, which I think is maybe even more important, were not the losses last year but how badly they lost so often.”

The Jayhawks lost six games by 30 or more points a year ago, and, while he might not be able to promise more victories right away, Weis said it is his intention to put a more competitive team on the field immediately.

“Once you get your team more competitive on a weekly basis, more wins will naturally follow,” Weis said. “That that’s the No. 1 job that we have to permeate all the way down to our players is that we expect them to know what to do and go out and do it hard for 60 minutes. I think that at least gives you a chance.”

Opurum honored

Opurum on Monday was one of 40 college football players named to the Ted Hendricks Defensive End of the Year Award Preseason Watch List.

The 6-foot-2, 245-pound senior from Richardson, Texas, who finished the 2011 season with 45 tackles, including 10.5 behind the line of scrimmage and four sacks, will split time between defensive end and Sam linebacker. He played defensive end during the entire 2011 season after switching from running back to linebacker in 2010.

In its 11th season, the Ted Hendricks Award is named after the first three-time All-American, who played at the University of Miami.

DT McKinney delayed

Monday night, during a joint appearance with KU men’s basketball coach Bill Self on KLWN’s “Rock Chalk Sports Talk,” Weis confirmed that junior college defensive tackle Ty McKinney, of Trinity Valley CC in Athens, Texas, would report to camp at least a couple of days late.

McKinney, who was originally slated to arrive on campus in June but had to stay in Texas to finish a class, was one of the late arrivals Weis talked about last week in Dallas. He emphasized that even though McKinney would be late, McKinney was still coming and would still play.

The Jayhawks are slated to report to campus Wednesday and will begin fall practice Thursday.

Comments

CrimsonAndBlueForLife 1 year, 8 months ago

All season long, Charlie Weis has been emphasizing the fact that we were 2-10 last season. Weis' approach has clearly rubbed off onto Toben Opurum.

For Toben's sake I hope we make it to a bowl game. Despite his greatness, he has had the misfortune of playing through three bad seasons and enduring the turmoil of two coaching changes. I hope we make it to one; but realistically, I don't see it happening. My prediction is a 5-7 record for this KU team.

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Ryan Shelton 1 year, 8 months ago

Maybe I'm crazy, but I think we can make a major statement when TCU comes to visit early on.

Our winnable games include: Rice, SDSU, NIU, ISU, BU, TTU, and TCU. Can you imagine being 4-0 going into Manhattan in October?

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Chris1955 1 year, 8 months ago

The students leaving at halftime tradition is really one that I hope can be eliminated. Winning should be a remedy for this ailment. I'm guessing it can be accomplished.

Remember the 2007 76-39 victory against Nebraska? I doubt any KU fan in their right mind would have left that game at halftime!

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KjayhawkprideU 1 year, 8 months ago

I can't wait for this year to begin. This is my prediction- we will go 7-5 this year with 3 very close wins over ISU, Baylor, TTU and an upset win over TCU covering the 15 point favorite, +3 non- con. games. These kids have something to fight for and and a chip on their shoulders. We need to make sure the stadium is full of screaming fans ready for a great year. RCJ!!!!!

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okiedave 1 year, 8 months ago

Having been raised in Lawrence, I am an annual Jayhawk optimist -- hoping each year is going to be a great year. However, last year we were simply outmatched.. When we bring the same out-matched players back to go head to head with the same competition, it does not bode well because they have also matured and gotten a year of additional experience.. Weis is going to need at least one additonal good recruiting class for Kansas to be able to go head to head with most Big 12 teams and compete in a respectable manner. With that said, I am always hoping for a surprise year.

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constantlyej 1 year, 8 months ago

Too bad that the conference got tougher just as the Jayhawks are starting to rebuild. So is life.

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lmontague 1 year, 8 months ago

I think that the best improvement for the defense will be the offences capability to move the football. It will give the defense more rest for the secnd half.

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edmondjayhawk 1 year, 8 months ago

I too love the optimism but I just don't see more than four wins...if even that. Probable wins against SDSU and Rice and possible wins against N. Illinois and Iowa State are what I see. Other than Iowa State at home, I don't see another Big 12 game that's winnable...the offenses in the Big 12 are too explosive for our defense....I like the direction that we're headed but it's going to take some time to get the athletes on the defensive side of the ball to win in this conference. It's still amazing to me how TG could let a program fall as far as it did in only two years.

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NebraskaJayhawk 1 year, 8 months ago

There's too many IFs. One that glaringly stands out right now to me is at WR. Every good team has at least one stand-out receiver. Not sure we have that, but maybe we will. Nobody, and I mean nobody, has had a season for us that earmarks him as "the guy". I was at the spring game and Crist does look like a general behind the line. I know it was just a spring game, but the dude can flat out sling it and he just looks like a stud back there. But if he doesn't have open receivers, it doesn't matter how good he is. Our O-line last year was average at best. I'm not sure it's going to be much better this year, but I'm hoping the new S&C coach has these guys motivated. The defense...I'll believe it when I see it, but the D is key to us staying in ballgames....not the offense. Mangino turned this program around on the D side of the ball, and that's what it's going to take if Weis is going to do it as well. I hope you're right though , Bangkok, and I love your attitude.

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Danny Hernandez 1 year, 8 months ago

I too could see 6-7+ wins this year. Count me silly or plain optimisitic but with a break or two here, Kansas could win a few games they're slated to lose and once the winning feeling sets in, everything is off the table because attitude and preparation can win games. If our O line can protect Crist, he stands a chance of leading the Big12 in passing. He's got the better arm in the Big12

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troutsee 1 year, 8 months ago

Good analysis. I share your enthusiasm and optimism. Other teams need to be ready to play this bunch of Jayhawks.

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Bangkok_Jayhawk 1 year, 8 months ago

I wrote this a few days ago on an old post but I am curious if anyone else is thinking the way I am. Don't want to sound like a hopeless optimist but...

If I had to put my life savings on a win number I would bet on 3-4 wins. That being said, every year there are "breakout" teams that have dramatic improvement. I don't know if there is another team out there that has had more upgrade this off season than Kansas, and I would not be absolutely shocked if we had one heck of a ride that ended up with +7 wins and a bowl appearance.

Offense... QB: Webb was average. Crist will be a massive upgrade. O-Line: We return a lot and they should be in much better shape. A year wiser and more experienced as well. Zlatnik and Hawkinson are good! RB: Miller was good, but Pierson and Sims, a year older and wiser, should be better. WR: Same guys plus Patterson and Ford so we should improve a bit. TE: Biere was good but I have faith that Ragone/Brooks/Mundine will team up for even better production.

Special Teams: Gibas will be missed but Carnes is experienced. Doherty is the same guy from last year so our kicking game should be equal. Patterson is back so our return game could be better.

Defense... D-Line: Awful last year but we didn't lose anyone. Opurum, WIlliams, Young, and Agostinho will be more experienced and in better shape with Holsopple. Everyone is raving about the new guys so you have to believe our worst position has been upgraded. LB: Johnson will be missed but Willis, McDonald, Miles, Reynolds, and Tharp should combine for a better unit than last year. D Backs: McDougald is a player at safety and hopefully Smith steps up. Brown and Patmon look to at least be respectable. Hopefully another guy, maybe a freshman, steps into the mix and plays well. Will need it in the pass happy Big 12.

Also...

Coaching: Obviously a massive upgrade. Weis seems to be great. Also, Campo, former NFL Head Coach and DC > Vic Shealy who was appointed last minute. Strength and Conditioning: Apparently it was a joke for the past few seasons. Tait and others are praising the heck out of Holsopple so I have to imagine that there will be a drastic improvement in that area.

Again... Not saying I am betting on it, but there could definitely be something special in the making as early as this year if everything pans out.

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