Friday, September 14, 2012

Jayhawks focused on fixing passing attack

Kansas quarterback Dayne Crist fires a pass to receiver Daymond Patterson (15) Rice during the first quarter on Saturday, Sept. 8, 2012 at Memorial Stadium.

Kansas quarterback Dayne Crist fires a pass to receiver Daymond Patterson (15) Rice during the first quarter on Saturday, Sept. 8, 2012 at Memorial Stadium.


Kansas University senior Daymond Patterson didn’t hide his frustration when asked how he would grade KU’s receivers through two games this season.

“For our standards, I would say below average ... well below average,” the wideout said, “because I know what kind of receivers we can be, and I know how we’ve performed throughout camp and spring ball.”

The statistics so far have been disappointing for a KU receiving unit with three senior starters.

The Jayhawks are averaging just 4.9 yards per pass attempt, which is tied for 119th out of 124 teams.

KU also has just two passing plays of 20 or more yards; only five teams in all of Div. I have fewer 20-plus-yard passing plays than that.

“I wouldn’t say I’m very happy with the passing game right now. To say that might be an understatement on my part,” KU coach Charlie Weis said. “But I do believe that the passing game has a lot of room for improvement. I think that it better come on in a hurry, because the better your opponents are each week, you’re going to need to score more than 24 points.”

So what are the issues?

Patterson believes, for one, that KU’s receivers are still trying to get timing down with transfer quarterback Dayne Crist in a new offensive system.

“We’ve been together, as far as winter, summer, spring and stuff, but we’ve only had two games,” Patterson said. “Games are a lot different than going against the guys you go against every day, because you know people’s tendencies. So we’re just trying to get familiar with each other in live action.”

Crist admitted earlier in the week to playing a bit tight, and Patterson has sensed the same nervousness in receivers as well.

When that happens, Patterson believes it’s tougher for receivers to go make plays.

“You don’t play up to your abilities, because you’re worried too much about not messing up and being perfect,” Patterson said. “You’re never going to be perfect, so you might as well go out there and have fun and let the game come to you.”

Video sessions have been the most frustrating part for Patterson, as he sees all the little mistakes that shouldn’t be happening.

“There have been a lot of plays that, you watch film, and you just wish you could get back,” Patterson said. “Run your route a little different, stick them a little harder, block this dude one more second and the running back springs. Like coaches say, you don’t know whether it’s going to be the third play of the game or the 57th play of the game that will win or lose you the game.”

KU threw for just 144 yards on 28 passing attempts in last week’s 25-24 loss to Rice.

Following an injury to senior receiver Kale Pick in the first half, KU’s wideouts appeared to have trouble getting open for Crist. That included a critical fourth-quarter interception with 3:47 left, as Crist scanned the field for six seconds before attempting a jump-ball throw for Chris Omigie.

“I think we are getting separation — not the way we would want to, but we are getting separation,” Patterson said. “We just have to do it more consistently.”

Pick’s leg injury (he’s officially listed as day-to-day) could open up some playing time for backups like Omigie and sophomore Andrew Turzilli.

Neither player has a catch this year. In fact, only three KU receivers (Pick, Patterson and D.J. Beshears) have recorded receptions this season.

“We feel like this week’s a very big week for us,” Patterson said, “to prove that we can be the guys to help this team move forward.”


Micky Baker 7 years, 2 months ago

Hint: Throw the ball to running backs to get them in the open field. Also, how about some quick hitters in the middle from the same set that the bubble screen is thrown. Spring a couple of guys for some long runs after the catch and it makes the defense back off the line of scrimmage and the running game can set up some deep balls.

You have to play to the strengths of the players within the system that Weis brought with him. It can happen, but the play calls have to be more diverse and some times it's okay to take a risk on first down and go down the field a bit. Do that consistently, and everything on offense opens up.

10 or 15 yards down the field, especially if the defense is playing zone. Sneak a guy like Beshears just past the Linebackers and have Crist put just a little air under the ball to get it over the linebackers and have some other receivers and a running back in a pattern to block down the field and break a few big plays and score some points early on Saturday, the the whole playbook is available for the second half.

On Defense, just be more aggressive on the edges with the D-backs and force their receivers to beat us deep. We have a couple of good safeties that can force a couple of INTs.

I know this is a work in progress, but these kids have the ability to learn this offense if the right game plan is used on both sides of the ball. The other team will eat us alive if we give them 5 or 6 yards underneath every first down. Force them into longer than 2 and 6 consistently and get Schyler Miles some more reps during the game.

NebraskaJayhawk 7 years, 2 months ago

I think you are right and I think they will do it this week. I am holding to my guns that this game will be a close one. I think the whole team senses this urgency in the season and are going to show up to play.

VaJay 7 years, 2 months ago

I HOPE you are right. I'd really like to think our receivers will improve on their ability to get separation & that Crist will up his completion percentage & effectiveness.
Once that happens - our ground game could do some serious damage - imagine Pierson having a bigger crease in the line to go through.

Ross Cargo 7 years, 2 months ago

I'd use that shovel pass a bit too. I think Pierson getting that shovel pass could do damage. It also helps slow down the pass rush a bit.

Ross Cargo 7 years, 2 months ago

7 yards per pass attempt, 9 yards per completion. I believe those are the base numbers you have to reach, kind of like 4 yards per rush. Of course, you want a receiver that can stretch the field for 15-20 yards per completion. We just are not getting the ball down the field enough passing. We get very little run after catch yardage. Lastly, if you are just getting 5 yards a throw, you should be completing 70% or better.

Ross Cargo 7 years, 2 months ago

One other comment and I promise to go away. Run some draw plays. The big key is to MIX IT UP and DIVERSIFY the plays.

JakeBarnes 7 years, 2 months ago

The receivers do not get open very often and when they do Crist seems to miss them. Either he is nervous, and so are they, or the timing needs more work as noted, or Crist isn't the QB he once was.

However, they better concentrate on defense. TCU is a superb offensive team. Coach Patterson and/or his coordinators have always been first-rate at teaching offense. I hope this isn't a blow out.

Marcia Parsons 7 years, 2 months ago

I can't decide whether he is missing the receivers, or if the receivers don't get to their spot and he ends up throwing into empty space or an INT.

Chris1955 7 years, 2 months ago

When you have a QB who seems to be afraid of being hit, combined with below average receivers who can't run routes correctly, can't get separation from the DB, and don't particularly have good hands, why expect anything different? Have we ever heard of a screen pass to the RB out of the backfield?

Granted, I've only watched one game on TV, but the passing attack seems like it's still stuck in spring football.

I'll be attending the NIU game, and hope we have this figured out by then.

minnhawk84 7 years, 2 months ago

I watched Crist complete a pass against Rice knowing full-well that he would be run over by a blitzing DB. He took the hit and went down. Didn't seem afraid on that happy feet.

jhox 7 years, 2 months ago

I haven't noticed a lot of fear from Crist in terms of getting hit. In fact, he seems to do a good job of waiting until the last possible second when nobody is open. He hasn't been very accurate, that's for sure, but he has stood in there and taken the hits like a man.

But it's not all on him. Receivers are not getting very open and, while the line does a nice job run blocking, they are not very good at pass protection.

JakeBarnes 7 years, 2 months ago

Agree all around. I remember when KU had great track teams, before the foreign invasions.

texashawk10 7 years, 2 months ago

And it's because of people like her that KU T&F deserves modern, up to date outdoor facilities. There is a reason why KU has never hosted the Big 12 outdoor T&F championships. With new modern, up to date facilities KU will be able to finally host the outdoor Big 12 T&F championships and given the history of KU T&F, I wouldn't be surprised if they could host the NCAA championships as well. This is why KU needs to build new outdoor facilities.

nuleafjhawk 7 years, 2 months ago

AtlJay - thanks for the Double D update, there are many of us that are interested in athletes that are among the BEST at what they do.

Speaking only for myself, when someone starts a post with " I know this is totally unrelated to football............" I actually perk up! I am momentarily infused with hope and joy !!!

Oh, lighten up people, it's a joke. Mostly.

Ryan Woods 7 years, 2 months ago

KMathis - Next time, don't respond if you have something negative to say.

Robert Brock 7 years, 2 months ago

I don't put much faith in these receivers.

NebraskaJayhawk 7 years, 2 months ago know how many tough catches Briscoe & Meier made for Reesing? They didn't have blazing speed, but both had size and knew how to run routes and were tough as nails. I don't know how many balls...good balls..that Reesing lofted up for Briscoe downfield with a receiver hanging all over him. Briscoe had the ability to go after the ball and make the play no matter the consequence. We seriously need Ford, Omigie, or Turzilli to step up and be this guy because Crist can get them the ball and I think he will. These people that have jumped off the bandwagon and onto Crist's back are going to regret their words on this site. But Crist does need a receiver or three to step up and be a Briscoe or a Meier.

vd 7 years, 2 months ago

Timing with receivers in game situations. I wonder if CW thought of this before he ran Webb off?

Cmill1221 7 years, 2 months ago

Really? You think Webb could do better? Chris has only had two games. Webb had two years.....

flyingfinn 7 years, 2 months ago

"because the better your opponents are each week, your going to need to score more than 24 point"....that statement coupled with the statement coach Weis mad at halftime of last week's game "we're going to half to score more points" lead to believe Coach is well aware of glaring deficiencies on defense. The one postive is we could have scored more than 24 points if our QB had hit some open receivers. He is going to have to show some 5 star qualities or it will be long season. I have said all along that I just hoped we would be more competetive because the cupboard was left mighty bare. We'll see this week how competetive we really are.

Tony Bandle 7 years, 2 months ago

The vector of distance must be coupled with the pre-established line of motion in order to be arriving at the point of oblong intersection for manual contact and compression. the right pattern, throw with accuracy, catch the ball.

It's not rocket science!!

Fototherapist 7 years, 2 months ago

I admit that a lot of wind has been removed from my sails. Actually, that happened during the SDSU game when I saw all the same mistakes being made from last year.

Setherick 7 years, 2 months ago

I said this after the SDSU game, but it needs to be repeated. The problem with a number of the mistakes isn't that "we suck," but rather that the team lacks confidence. That's what has been most apparent in the first two games. They get a lead and don't know what to do with it. As much as I don't want to blame him for everything that has gone wrong with the team in the last three years, I think the confidence issue is directly attributable to Gill who never really appeared to expect anything out of the team - on the field, off the field, in the locker room, from players that claimed they were football wunderkinds and never arrived on campus. This lack of confidence showed up again in the Rice game when the team just couldn't seem to put Rice away even though they kept showing flashes of their potential. Unfortunately, I don't think this problem gets solved this year although I expect it to get better.

Tony Bandle 7 years, 2 months ago

Well, I do congratulate you on the consistency of your posting ID and your post!!

bigtex 7 years, 2 months ago

Too bad Pick got hurt early in the 3rd quarter against Rice, he is are best go to guy in the crunch. It hurt the team when he was not there in the 4th quarter. I think the out come of the game would of been different if he was on the field.

Curtis Stutz 7 years, 2 months ago

Hope for a speedy recover for Pick, need you back against N. Illinois. Get it together Weis/Crist/Patterson/Beshears, no reason for the passing game to be dragging down the offense. Gonna need to show the defense there's a reason to stop TCU tomorrow. How many times in the Gill era did the defense look alright for a while and then fall apart when the offense gave it up quickly over and over in terrible field position? Do your jobs, help those guys out, give them something to be fired up about.

KGphoto 7 years, 2 months ago

Patterson being nice and PC: He was open on almost every play I just re-watched on DVR. Crist missed him in the end zone early, because he waited too long. He missed him on nearly the same pattern later in the game, high and inside like the first one. He didn't even look at him on the failed fade to Beshears in the end zone, where Patterson was completely alone over the middle with his arm in the air for an easy TD. Late in the game in a third and long Crist fired a pass to an open Patterson that forced him out of bounds instead of giving him a chance to make a play after the catch. After that play, I saw the frustration on Patterson's face. He wanted to scream!

Finally Crist steps into one: Turzilli was WIDE open flying down the sideline in the 2nd half. This is the play Crist was brought in for. This is the money shot! He let it rip! A beautiful spiral, arching and pointing directly down... past TZ by several yards. Too bad because that would have most likely shut everybody up for awhile, and given us a nice cushion. Not to mention put his average back in place.

Perhaps there is a chemistry thing. Perhaps some receivers aren't getting open or they aren't on the same page, but on most of the BIG plays, the touchdown plays, Crist has failed miserably. Weis knows it. Crist knows it. And be damn sure Patterson knows it because he has a zero in the TD column, and he'a earned a 3.

Other things I noticed:

The right side of the line was exposed badly in the 4th quarter. Neither Dent nor Howard could block even a grain of Rice. We need Spencer back in there. The left three guys stick to their guy, in fact Zlatnik flat out terrorizes his guy. The right side is pushing and grabbing.

The first two plays of the game were gadgets. Both plays stunk out loud. No more gadgets the rest of the way. The second drive looked like what we need to be doing. Normal running plays over the left and quick, sharp 5-6 yard passes.

Crist CANNOT throw off his back foot. Two interceptions and two missed TD opportunities came after a bad throwing motion. Another near interception was also the result of him waiting too long then throwing while trying to avoid a direct hit.

KGphoto 7 years, 2 months ago

Well, I'm not actually giving up on him, despite my whiney ranting after the game and my analysis above. That pass to Turzilli actually lit me up for a second. It was a thing of beauty right up until it passed over his stretched fingers. I was about to start whooping it up!

He has some positives too. He's big and he gets a good look over the line which allowed him to zip several nice 10 yard 1st downs to TEs over the middle. TEs I doubt Webb would've been able to see. He obviously has a rocket launcher on his shoulder, he just needs a major sight adjustment, and some more targets like the racing TZ.

Another positive was the way he came back after missing Beshears on the fade. I said he should've waited and found Patterson across the middle. The very next play he waited and found Mundine exactly there.

Another couple things. Omigie got a LOT of snaps in that game. He had a couple nice blocks, a couple weak blocks (one that would've sprung Pierson for a 50yard TD) and at least one terrible route that left Crist misfiring to Pick in the corner of the end zone. But I don't think he got a single target except for that last desperate INT Crist threw. If there are chemistry problems, this is one of them.

I think Beshears has been demoralized. His body language is pretty bad right now. He needs a big play to get him back into it.

When did McDougald go from SS to FS? I'm I crazy or was he a SS? I want him back at SS. He's basically a LB/SS hybrid anyway.

I think all of our big defensive plays came with Tavai in the game. It wasn't him making the play, but he was always in. Mojo?

Heeney is a man possessed. I questioned "coach" on his analysis of Linton missing the tackle, and I was wrong. Heeney tore into Linton after the play. Prediction: Heeney registers an INT against TCU.

texashawk10 7 years, 2 months ago

Agree with most of what you just said. Other than Pick and Patterson, the route running by the receivers this year has been atrocious and a pretty big factor in Crist's struggles to me. Not letting Cirst off the hook, because he has missed his fair share of easy throws this year, but most of the receivers aren't helping him out much either with their route running.

If McDougald was playing FS against Rice, I would guess it was after Lubbock Smith went down because the FS is the one who makes the calls in the secondary and Linton is not nearly experienced enough to make the calls on defense. I also suspect that McDougald was still playing as a SS and just took over the play calling duties for the secondary.

I've noticed that Jordan Tavai has been getting double teamed quite a bit and that frees up someone else to really get some pressure on the QB and force a bad throw or a allow someone to record a TFL. If he still requires getting double teamed quite a bit in conference play, then we could see the defense continue to force turnovers at a pretty decent clip.

On that 4th down play, Linton flat out overran that play, I assuming because of his inexperience and adrenaline from getting his first meaningful snaps, and that is what gave the Rice TE a cutback lane and the first down. Ben Heeney is going to be a stud by the time he leaves KU and if he doesn't get drafted, he will have a chance to make a 53 man roster in the NFL one day.

Randy Bombardier 7 years, 2 months ago

Suggestion for improving our play: Forget the passing game. If Crist is not accurate again he has an injury he hasn't told anyone about. You can't be off that much unless there is an injury. If Patterson and others are getting frustrated and Weiss doesn't deal with it then we will have a huge morale problem, which will lead to an effort problem, which will lead to a credibility problem across the board. If Crist does not start making some throws Charlie Weiss is going to have more problems than he started with. He himself has already stated that Cummings has a cannon for an arm. He can also run if need be. He can't be any less accurate.

As far as throwing to the receiver or to space, depends on the play but almost always a quarterback is throwing to receivers. Can't do it any other way on a broken play. Imagine Reesing, Briscoe, Meier with this backfield. The 2008 season would have been much different.

bigtex 7 years, 2 months ago

Spread Football makes room for receivers, it is designed for passing. Regan is Rice's OC, he was on Mangino's staff, that was Mangino's spread offense we watched last Sat,. People don't understand offenses very well, each offense has different concepts. Reesing ,Briscoe ,Maier just like the offense at Texas Tech for years under Leach put up big numbers because of the spread.

KGphoto 7 years, 2 months ago

That bomb to Turzilli was about 2 yard short of being a textbook NFL style highlight play. That was Kurt Warner to Isaac Bruce material. Like you said, just need to tune it up.

Can you tell I'm feeling better? Just needed a few days to mourn.

Micky Baker 7 years, 2 months ago

It was close, just a little air under the ball and Turzilli runs underneath it for a TD. Maybe Crist is starting to get a bit more comfortable. We need a good showing tomorrow.

Micky Baker 7 years, 2 months ago

Matt Marcincin. Does anyone know about him? I can't find a scouting report, but it is reported that he left the Penn State football team. Not a guy that we could for this year, but could probably be a guy for next season. He has better size and is about 197 lbs. Just don't know the speed.

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