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Thursday, September 13, 2012

Big gun: Jayhawks wary of TCU QB

TCU quarterback Casey Pachall throws during the first half against Grambling State on Saturday, Sept. 8, 2012, in Fort Worth, Texas. Pachall went 9-for-9 for 201 yards in just two quarters of the Horned Frogs’ eventual 56-0 rout.

TCU quarterback Casey Pachall throws during the first half against Grambling State on Saturday, Sept. 8, 2012, in Fort Worth, Texas. Pachall went 9-for-9 for 201 yards in just two quarters of the Horned Frogs’ eventual 56-0 rout.

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When TCU quarterback Casey Pachall took the field for last week’s season opener against Grambling State, he did so under a little pressure.

As a first-time starter in 2011, Pachall set TCU single-season records for completions (228), completion percentage (66.5) and passing yards (2,921) and finished 12th nationally in passing efficiency with a 157.98 rating while tossing 25 touchdowns and seven interceptions.

This offseason, what he would deliver for an encore weighed heavily on the minds of many, especially considering this was the season the Horned Frogs were to begin playing with the big boys on a weekly basis as new members of the Big 12 Conference.

After a lot of wondering and waiting, Pachall’s first game finally came. Nine passes and two quarters into it, he earned a seat on the bench. The reason? He completed all nine for 201 yards and three touchdowns while helping TCU build a 42-0 halftime lead.

Never one to overhype a performance, TCU coach Gary Patterson played down Pachall’s numbers earlier this week.

“I always judge quarterbacks on Saturdays,” he said. “And he’s played one game out of 12 so far. He ran the offense he needed to. Our offensive line gave him time, and anytime you get time as a quarterback, it’s a lot easier to be effective. We were very pleased.”

Kansas coach Charlie Weis came away a little more impressed.

“Here you’ve got a big, strong, physical quarterback who’s very accurate and has a strong arm and has some good weapons around him,” Weis said of the 6-foot-5, 226-pound junior from Brownwood, Texas. “He does a very good job of managing the game (and) getting the ball into the players’ hands.”

Because of his versatile skill set, Pachall figures to provide a stiff test for all areas of the KU defense when the teams square off at 11 a.m. Saturday at Memorial Stadium.

Senior defensive end Toben Opurum said Pachall’s experience — he’s now two years removed from backing up current Cincinnati Bengals starter Andy Dalton — makes him dangerous.

Junior linebacker Huldon Tharp said the Jayhawks would have to be assignment-sound to slow Pachall down, sliding into passing lanes and forcing him to put more air under the ball to give KU’s defensive backs a fighting chance.

And defensive coordinator Dave Campo said Pachall’s supporting cast of fast and talented wideouts, led by “front-line” junior Josh Boyce, added to the problem.

“Somehow, you have to get him off his mark,” Campo said. “But the option attack and the zone read limit some of the stuff you can do. So you kind of have to pick and choose. He’s a good enough player that you can’t just sit there and cover.”

On the surface, Pachall looks more like a roadie for a heavy metal band than a Big 12 quarterback. But his 2011 stats and 2012 start prove that he can play the position. Ever the motivator, Pachall’s coach said he needed to see more — somehow.

“Last year was last year,” Patterson said. “Now he has to prove it all over again.”

Lubbock on the mend?

The status of a handful of injured Jayhawks, including starting safety Lubbock Smith, continues to be uncertain as Smith, Kale Pick and Brandon Bourbon have spent much of the week getting treatment and riding exercise bikes at practice.

“All the guys who are injured are day-to-day,” Campo said after Wednesday’s practice. “My experience has been if a guy doesn’t practice he doesn’t play very well.”

One player who could prove that theory wrong is linebacker Anthony McDonald, a fifth-year senior who may play his first game as a Jayhawk on Saturday.

“He’s come out and done well,” Campo said. “You can tell that he’s experienced. That’s an example of a guy that hasn’t practiced, but at least he’s a fifth-year guy. He’s seen plays, and he reacts pretty well. I don’t know how much he’s gonna play this week, but he is one that could go out on the field and not embarrass himself.”

Comments

kusayzone 2 years ago

Not too many comments about KU football! Can it be that the air has been let out of the KU football crowd this early in the season?

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NebraskaJayhawk 2 years ago

Could it be you posted at 5:00 A.M. CST? We win this game on Saturday and all the people that have already left the bandwagon are back on. I think this game will be close on Saturday.

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stinkybulldog 2 years ago

Close? Really?

17 - 56 TCU

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GridironHawk 2 years ago

spreads down to around 21 so if you are that confident to say KU is going to lose by 39 points then I'd go ahead and bet everything you own on it. I'm not saying it is going to be close because there are too many unknowns. Just seems a little extreme that you feel confident enough to put a score down. Good luck

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Lucas Town 2 years ago

I think we will come out mad and ready to play some physical football until TCU hits us in the mouth. I will be pleasantly surprised if this game is even close. We just have not had a tough football team since Mangino, and it will take another year or two to get that back. These guys to me just are not tough. Of course they always look good in practice according to Tait, look at him. He has no clue what a football team should look like.

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KGphoto 2 years ago

We haven't been tough since Bill Young left.

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Lucas Town 2 years ago

Young left after the 2007 season, we were still competitive in 2008 (8-5) and 2009 (5-7). What I mean is we weren't getting blown out every game like we have since the 2009 season.

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Phoghorn 2 years ago

But with Reesing, Meyer, Briscoe, et.al. we should have been a whole lot better. Big 12 schools were figuring out our offense, so the defense needed to get more stops to make us more competitive. Finishing 0-7 in 2009 with all that senior talent is simply inexcusable.

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danmoore 2 years ago

We couldn't hold onto the ball that season. Even Reesing was fumbling.

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texashawk10 2 years ago

KU's defense gave up 30+ points in 13 of the 16 Big 12 games in 2008 and 2009. Sure you could say, but KU had to play Texas, OU, and Tech those years, but that still leaves 7 out of the other 10 games that KU gave up 30+ to against the north schools who apart from Missouri weren't exactly high powered offenses. KU flat out did not have the toughness to win many close games those last 2 years under Mangino and we saw that problem rear its head again on Saturday.

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Doug Merrill 2 years ago

It would be quite the upset. This team, with a solid O line and great QB are all set to play to our weakness: D-line and defensive backfield. We are now down two starters from a defense that all said was our weakest spot. Our best hope is that we are able to establish a dominating running game and keep the TCU offense off the field. It could happen, but we will have to finish drives this week.

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akgjenkintown 2 years ago

If I bet I would have to take TCU to cover the 3 TDs (the line opened at -26 so there are some expecting that KU will not rollover after the Rice fiasco). One can only hope that the defense steps up and makes some plays otherwise the stadium will be more than half empty by halftime.

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Ben Kliewer 2 years ago

You mean less than half full...

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danmoore 2 years ago

Singing the alma mater after a loss has to be an unpleasant experience for the football team.

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Jim Stauffer 2 years ago

i can't tell after last week what our greatest weakness is. All three units botched the lead we had and caused us to lose.

This season will be a series of tests as to whether we are improving each week. If we keep our heads up and fight to improve I will be happy.

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okiedave 2 years ago

I recall the days that TCU was the annual bottom feeder in the Southwest conference and KU was in the top half of the Big 8. Things do change. This game is going to demonstrate what kind of heart and talent we actually have.

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okiedave 2 years ago

Yep, you are a youngin who does not recall the 50's and early 60's.

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NebraskaJayhawk 2 years ago

The problem is our line is average at best. These guys need to dominate up front. They've shown signs of being able to protect the passer, but I really have not been very impressed with them thus far. We need big play from the trenches on both sides of the ball to win this game.

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Darin Bradley 2 years ago

Average at best? Don't be surprised if a couple of those guys are playing on Sundays. Our O line has taken nice steps. With any kind of completion ratio from Crist we would be saying how much they've improved. When Crist gets hurried/sacked its "typically" b/c he's held the ball way too long. We can run the ball too. Again, our O line is not our issue. On the D line, I've seen push that's been disruptive but not produced sacks. Again, this is an improvement from last year. If our linebackers would become solid tacklers, things change significantly for our squad. I put a lot of the Rice loss on the LB's

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Tony Bandle 2 years ago

Jump off the Kansas Bandwagon!!??.....Hell, no. not me. I'm a St.Louis Ram season ticket holder, at $1500 a year for seats, I haven't seen a victory since "W" was President.

I'm hanging in there for the long haul with STL and KU and the rest of you "Chicken Hawks" who dump and run can just keep running.

RCJHGKU!!!!!!!

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Ron Prichard 2 years ago

I'm with you on KU, but you lose me at STL. :-)

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bville_hawk 2 years ago

Crist has to have a decent passing game for us to have a chance and assuming we can run the ball with some success. By decent passing game I mean at least 250 yards, 0 picks, connects on 50%+ of his passes. Nothing great, just solid.

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NebraskaJayhawk 2 years ago

Okay, this is the deal. We lost to Rice. Everyone expected us to beat Rice. It was a letdown to say the least. However, UCLA struggled against Rice. I watched the game. It wasn't until midway-late in the second half that UCLA sealed the deal. Nebraska, ranked 16th in the nation got beat by UCLA last week. We might have played a decent team last week...who knows. It's hard to tell early in the season, but all these people who have been gunho since the hiring of Weis and are now complaining after one loss after we knew it was going to be a long year...I wish these people would just stop being fans altogether...seriousy. Come on people...get real. Let's give Weis and Co. a little more respect than that. Let's give a coach a chance to fufill his contract....you do realize we gave Terry Allen 5 years. You people are laughable at best.

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Jay Waxse 2 years ago

As a TCU fan with KU at a close second (TCU alumni...grew up in Kansas), I don't think this game will be close. It's always nice to see a good KU fball team balance the sports spectrum that bball dominates but I have a feeling this game will be a blowout. Prediction: TCU 41 KU 13. Gary Patterson has been preparing this for a long time with another good defense and Casey could honestly make a run at the Heisman if he doesn't get drug tested or get injured.

PS I know it is unfair but don't worry, I'll be rooting for the Jayhawks when the bball team comes to Fort Worth...which will also be a blowout.

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Jay Waxse 2 years ago

Ill rephrase that last comment...My alma mater comes first always, but it's a win-win when my two teams matchup

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danmoore 2 years ago

41-13 would actually be an improvment from some of last year's blowouts.

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Curtis Stutz 2 years ago

No doubt this is an opportunity for the defense to step up against some very good offensive players and get a feel for what it's going to take to slow down Big12 offenses. Hopefully the passing game improves and the running game continues to be effective. I'm not expecting KU to make a lot of noise in this one (obviously a win is ideal). Just go out there, play aggressive defense, make some plays on offense, don't let TCU run away with this one. Just need to see that gradual improvement that leads me to believe an upset could come later in the year.

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Phoghorn 2 years ago

Mr. Tait: Can you set me up on a date with the Snorg Tees girl?

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Randy Bombardier 2 years ago

This biggest thing I am hoping for in this game is better QB performance and if that is not happening, we see a new face or two for the remainder of the game. Also, hoping we use the pass expeditiously, only when necessary, that we are a run-first offense and have solid game management. If we have a fourth and two from the four-yard-line go for the first down of TD, don't kick the field goal unless it is the first posession or really important that we do, the point being with the new kickoff rules don't give them the ball on the 25. We might score but if we don't make them drive the length of the field. To me the rule change dictates a change in philosophy about when you for for field goals.

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KGphoto 2 years ago

That's one guy on a long list of TCU players to be wary of.

Waymon James, B.J. Catalon and Matthew Tucker could rip us up in the run game.

Aside from Boyce, the Frogs are getting Skye Dawson back this week. He's only a Mountain West 4x100 outdoor champ who has clocked a 4.28, and a 10.82. Then there are about 3 other speedy WRs who I'd take on our roster in a second.

Somehow we have to control the ball or we are gonna get real tired chasing all those waterbugs out there.

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texashawk10 2 years ago

Track speed and football speed are two very different things. If a player doesn't know how to move laterally or run good routes, then it doesn't matter what their speed out of football pads are. Jerry Rice and Emmitt Smith weren't the fastest track guys, but they were hard to catch on a football field if they got in the open field.

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KGphoto 2 years ago

They aren't that different. For every Jerry Rice and Emmit Smith, there is a Bob Hayes, Ron Brown, Darrell Green or RGIII. Being a track star doesn't mean you AREN'T fast on the football field either. I assure you, these guys are hard to catch, and Skye Dawson is on of the fastest football players in the country right now.

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texashawk10 2 years ago

I don't see this one being very close. Campo is still running a pretty conservative defense with pretty conservative play calling. I have a feeling it'll be that way most of the season too. As frustrating as it can be to watch on Saturday's, I do agree with what Campo is doing. He's making sure the defense has the base package down first before installing more complicated aspects of his defense. We hardly saw any blitzes from the defense in the first game. This past game against Rice, we saw the LB's blitz a little bit more frequently and even a couple of blitzes from the secondary. I expect to see Campo continue to build on those two things this week and who knows, we might even see the defense moving around a little to disguise what they're doing. I don't really expect to see that though as I believe Campo wants to see the defense get the base and blitz packages down first because it's very easy to get out of position when you're trying to disguise a blitz or man coverage and have a huge play happen as a result of it. Barring major injury problems, I think by the end of the season, we'll see a defense that looks nothing like what we're seeing now in regards to just lining up and letting the offense read the defense. I think by the end of the season, we'll see a defense that's very active in regards to presnap movement trying to disguise what they're really running and with any luck, maybe they'll start putting up better numbers too (I don't have high hopes about that one, but a person can hope).

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coolhand357 2 years ago

I'm hoping for a better perfomance from our kicker. Sigh....

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KGphoto 2 years ago

He's a third string walk-on, but I guess I would take what we could get.

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danmoore 2 years ago

I'm okay with the kicker but the coach has to know his limit. If he can't hit from beyond 40 then it means we are in 4 down territory sooner.

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coolhand357 2 years ago

Agreed. But it would be nice if he could put one through the end zone once in a while on kick-off. Sigh...

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danmoore 2 years ago

One less coat of paint on the goal posts and that kick that hits the uprights is 3 points.

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NebraskaJayhawk 2 years ago

Wrong. Time for Josh Ford, Chris Omige, or Andrew Turzilli to show up. We need someone with size at WR.

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KGphoto 2 years ago

Yes! As a kick returner. Every time I see Beshears fighting for yards I vomit.

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NebraskaJayhawk 2 years ago

I could go for that. Maybe that's what you meant, KUHawk.

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april28 2 years ago

Their quarterback is so stupid, he had to have the plays tattooed (sp) on his arm.

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troutsee 2 years ago

SDSU and Rice both moved the ball on us, better than I expected, so TCU will have no problem moving the ball. Conversely, we have not generated an offense no where near what I thought we would. The play of Christ and his lack of mobility has made this offense almost as boring as last year's offense. We can only hope that SDSU and Rice are better than billed. If not, we are in for a long, long season.

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JaHawk4Life 2 years ago

TCU 59 KU 13

1 for 2 on extra points 0 for 3 on FGs

Thankfully the Horned Frogs take their foot off the gas in the 3rd quarter.

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