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Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Change of pace: After Army, NIU shifts gears for KU

Northern Illinois coach Dave Doeren walks the sideline in the first half of NIU’s game against Army on Saturday in West Point, N.Y. After facing Army’s run-heavy offense, the Huskies are preparing to face a more balanced attack from Kansas University on Saturday.

Northern Illinois coach Dave Doeren walks the sideline in the first half of NIU’s game against Army on Saturday in West Point, N.Y. After facing Army’s run-heavy offense, the Huskies are preparing to face a more balanced attack from Kansas University on Saturday.

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Associated Press

Northern Illinois coach Dave Doeren walks the sideline in the first half of NIU’s game against Army on Saturday in West Point, N.Y. After facing Army’s run-heavy offense, the Huskies are preparing to face a more balanced attack from Kansas University on Saturday.

Don’t let the numbers fool you.

Sure, in its one-point loss last week, Army ran for 486 yards against the Northern Illinois defense, but the Black Knights also attempted 86 rushing plays and asked quarterback Trent Steelman to throw just three times.

That’s often the result of the triple-option attack for which Army is known, and season after season the Knights’ run-first-and-run-often philosophy severely skews the defensive numbers of their opponents.

When Kansas University’s football team travels to DeKalb, Ill., Saturday for its Week 4 match-up with NIU, the Jayhawks will be playing one of the worst teams in college football against the run. But that’s on paper. Take away the Huskies’ Week 3 match-up with Army, and you’re looking at a team closer to the middle of the pack in rush defense.

NIU coach Dave Doeren, a Kansas City native and former KU assistant, knows that’s true, but he still felt it important enough to remind his players early this week.

“We spent a lot of time (Sunday) on the field with our guys just walking through our base defense and our third-down stuff,” Doeren said Monday morning, “just kind of polishing things back up and getting that option stuff out of their minds.”

In Kansas (1-2), Northern Illinois (2-1) will face a pro-style offense that has been pretty balanced during the first three weeks of the season.

Although the Jayhawks have been far more efficient and productive with their running game, KU coach Charlie Weis has showcased senior quarterback Dayne Crist and the passing game just as much.

Crist has thrown for 616 yards and two touchdowns on 52-of-103 passing. KU’s ground attack has run 110 plays and rumbled to 535 yards and five TDs.

That type of balance figures to make picking a spot to attack difficult, Doeren said.

“It is a challenge,” he said. “I told the guys last week we need to put everybody in neck rolls because that’s basically what everybody’s doing is shedding blocks and tackling, and now you’re back into being an athlete in space.”

Doeren bemoans 2011

In his first game back in Lawrence as a head coach, Doeren’s Huskies fell to the Jayhawks, 45-42, during Week 2 of the 2011 season. It’s a loss that still sticks with him.

“That was a game, in my opinion, that we gave away,” said Doeren of the game that KU won on its final offensive play. “A lot of times, when you lose a football game, the team you’re playing beats ya. It’s really tough when you beat yourself, and I felt like we beat ourselves in that game last year.”

Based on what he’s seen on film, Doeren believes this year’s Jayhawks will be an even tougher team to topple Saturday.

“Well, they’re a much better team than they were a year ago,” Doeren said. “We know we’re gonna have to play a lot better to be in this game. Coach Weis and his staff have done a nice job, they’re playing very sound, and they’re not beating themselves.”

Doeren credits the continued success of KU’s running game and the new coaching staff for KU’s improvement.

“I just think they’ve got guys who know what they’re doing, and they’re putting their kids in really good positions,” he said. “The biggest thing is their defense is playing extremely sound, they’re playing hard, they’re well coached. I mean, (KU defensive coordinator) Dave Campo’s one of the best secondary coaches in college football and pro football.”

Doeren also said the addition of several junior-college and fifth-year transfers had given KU a different edge.

“Tough guys that have really made their team a veteran team quickly,” he said.

Sims to return

With his three-game suspension served, junior James Sims, KU’s leading rusher in 2010 and 2011, is expected to play this weekend.

“I think he has paid his penance,” Weis said. “Sims sitting out three games has certainly not helped us, and it hasn’t helped him. I think there is a right way and a wrong way of doing business, and we are going to be happy to have him back. My job as the offensive coordinator is to sit down with the staff and figure out, with (Tony) Pierson and Taylor Cox having good years, trying to (get) Sims back into that mix.”

The Jayhawks also are expected to have available long snapper Justin Carnes, who also was suspended for the first three games of the season.

Comments

texashawk10 2 years, 2 months ago

Doeren is about 5th or 6th coach or analyst I've heard or read comment about KU being much more sound and not beating themselves this year which is very encouraging to hear. Nobody has said KU is good yet, but that those that saw KU last year can definitely see a difference from the past couple of years. Those that have only seen KU this year have been in agreement that Weis laying a good foundation and has KU headed in the right direction which is always encouraging to hear from people who are paid to know football.

Ashwin Rao 2 years, 2 months ago

I am not disagreeing, but many times is it just coach speak... But the differences in attitudes & scores do speak volumes.

texashawk10 2 years, 2 months ago

If Doeren or other coaches were the only people saying that, I would agree that it was just coach speak. But, when you get the in-studio analysts also saying pretty much the same thing about KU's improvement from last year and those people are paid to be honest about what they see, that's where the credibility in regards to KU's improvement and looking like a a more disciplined and sound team comes from.

vd 2 years, 2 months ago

WOW. What do you expect other coaches to say????? If Gill would have replaced Weiss, they would have said the same thing.

vd 2 years, 2 months ago

When Kelley replaced Weiss at ND, find a opposing coach's quote, about ND, that said "ND has not improved".

Steve Corder 2 years, 2 months ago

So what if all coaches sound alike? This team is better.

Randy Bombardier 2 years, 2 months ago

You are right. It is there between the lines. These coaches know what they are doing (as opposed to the guys before them). Doeren also talks about all the additional players, JUCO and transfers. He is not just giving lip service. I think we will win this game.

Displayhawk 2 years, 2 months ago

I agree 100%. Thank God Dr. Zenger had the basketBALLS to get rid of HCTG, and bring in HCCW with Coach Holsopple. They will get it turned around from the abyss that we had fallen into.

nuleafjhawk 2 years, 2 months ago

I agree with your Coach Snyder analogy, BUT - Weis ain't going to hang around Lawrence for 20+ years, so he needs to get things rolling the right direction in a hurry.

Doug Cramer 2 years, 2 months ago

Newleaf is exactly right. How long will Weis and Campo stick around after they realize that this job is more difficult than they thought. This is where I challenge Weis.....when the going gets tough...will he have some diligence, tenacity, some sticktooofness ?

We need a phenomenal recruiting class the up coming year...and so far...we are ranked dead last in the Big 12 for 2013 recruiting.

Ron Prichard 2 years, 2 months ago

Sticktooofness. There is a word for the decades. I'm not exactly sure what it means, but I like it. It just sounds like a football word.

nuleafjhawk 2 years, 2 months ago

lol -- I was going to say something too. I love that word, whatever it is.

Bangkok_Jayhawk 2 years, 2 months ago

I agree that this program won't be built overnight but the thing about building is that it needs to be going solidly in the right direction. Had we beaten Rice and scored a touchdown against TCU, things would feel a lot different right now. We need to steal some victories this year to show progress.

VaJay 2 years, 2 months ago

Absolutely disagree. If we are not getting blown out every game & are competitive & scare the daylights out of some top 20 teams THAT is progress. Do you remember how bad it was last year?? Do these scores ring a bell? - 66-24, 70-28, 47-17, 59-21, 43-0, 61-7.

Patrick Leiker 2 years, 2 months ago

I think people should be prepared to see a few scores like that. The Big XII is GOOD brother, and we have to play the whole lot of em. Hopefully less then last year, but with the offenses that we will see, I don't see how we don't get blown out a few games.

VaJay 2 years, 2 months ago

We are violently agreeing with each other. I said "not getting blown out every game". I know it's a rocky road.

vd 2 years, 2 months ago

That close loss to Rice is an improvement over the close win we had last year against NIU.

m_j_k 2 years, 2 months ago

vd, Are you out of your mind? Rice is not in the same league as Northern Illinois. Northern won 11 games the last 2 seasons and throttled some good teams. KU barely beat them last year at home. This has the potential to be a blood bath.

There was even some talk about bringing them into the big 12. If we underestimate them, it will be a long day.

Shaun Hardie 2 years, 2 months ago

If this were a home game would NIU be favored to win? No, but since its an away game they are, by 10 points no less. In my opinion, the pressure is on NIU to not beat themselves like they did last year. NIU is a good team that is favored to win the MAC. But their defense is not good at all. We should run this into the ground and play action pass occasionally for big pass plays. NIU gave up a ton of yards against the rush but they gave up a lot more on big plays like KU did last year. My only hesitation is we were saying the same thing about Rice game vs UCLA when they gave up 3 plays of 70 or more yards.

Robert Brock 2 years, 2 months ago

Sims at running back, Pierson at slot; Sims gets 180 yards rushing while Pierson catches 7 passes for long yardage. KU wins by three touchdowns.

texashawk10 2 years, 2 months ago

Sims won't get enough carries to do that. Cox is playing too well right now for Sims to 100% take over that role, but I could see Sims and Cox combining for 150+ yards on Saturday. I also don't see Pierson lining up as a receiver often enough to get that many receptions either.

Reuben_J_Cogburn 2 years, 2 months ago

I don't foresee KU winning this game.

But if they do, it will be a testament to the new direction of the program.

mikehawk 2 years, 2 months ago

I hate that I'm saying this, and it is not a make or break game in the LONG haul of rebuilding this program, but it would do this team a lot of good to win this game. It's not that it is because we are a Big 12 team and they are not exactly a known entitity as a football powerhouse, but dang, it doesn't help in rebuilding to lose to Northern Illinois Univ. Big conference teams put these teams on their schedule early to win and gain experience for their conference games. We just flat out need to win this game because...well, I don't want to say it. We just to need to get this one.

texashawk10 2 years, 2 months ago

The biggest thing this game is important for is that KU hasn't won a road game since beating UTEP in 2009. A road win would go a long ways towards building the confidence of this team and make winning in Manhattan, Lubbock, and Waco possibilities.

KGphoto 2 years, 2 months ago

I'd be shocked if we run it more than 55%. Charlie has a plan, and that's to get better each week, with a balanced offense. He wants to beat K-State a lot more than Nill, and, IMHO, he is going to use this game to get ready for them. If we win great, but he needs Crist and the receivers to be operating on all cylinders or he'll get embarrassed in the rotten apple.

Charlie will NEVER abandon the pass, even with a great run game, and even against a poor rush defense. Honestly, it might end up being part of his problem. He's a little too stubborn about his methods to just change. Hopefully this passing offense gets tuned up quickly, because everybody who thought we could just run over people this year will be waiting a looooong time.

Reuben_J_Cogburn 2 years, 2 months ago

Listen...I'm all for focusing on our strengths. We have great running game, and we should not deviate from that. But everyone is complaining that we didn't run the ball as much as we should have in both games. But I disagree.

There were several occasions that the run was straight-up shutdown. Opponents begin to stack the box and dare us to throw. Weis isn't focusing on the pass out of stubbornness; rather out of sheer necessity. You have to establish the pass to keep the defense honest. Otherwise, we're no different than last year's team.

It may look like he's forcing the big play, or trying to pad Crist's stats. But we have to make the passing game work...at all costs.

NebraskaJayhawk 2 years, 2 months ago

Yeah, I think you are probably on to something here. He has always been a "take what the defense gives you" type of coordinator. Much like Mangino was as an offensive coordinator under Snyder. They had a hard time stopping the run against us in the first half and may have made some adjustments at half. Could be why we went to the air in the second half. I have to be honest and say that I didn't notice if there was a different defensive scheme or not from TCU after half.

Patrick Leiker 2 years, 2 months ago

I also think he was talking about recruiting Juco players in that reference.

Mike Nicco 2 years, 2 months ago

I’m starting to have some questions about HCCW’s play calling. The last two games our offense has played worse in the second half. You can still be a great offensive mind and run the ball…

jaymar74 2 years, 2 months ago

Pierson may lead this team in receiving yards by the end of season with Cox and Sims close to each other in leading for rushing yards. That is a solid threesome for next year.

shelleysue 2 years, 2 months ago

I hate to say it, but I wish we had a kicker coming off of suspension.

clevelandjayhawker 2 years, 2 months ago

+100, we cant afford missed oppurtunities inside the 30 and no reason to not kick it out of the endzone on kickoffs

clevelandjayhawker 2 years, 2 months ago

New commit!! Andrew Bolton, DE, had 18 sacks last year at a JUCO. Offers from LSU and Iowa and hes gonna be a Jayhawk.

Jonathan Briles 2 years, 2 months ago

The guy is a beast, but it was 18 TFL not sacks. He had 9 sacks. I'm pretty excited to get him though because if LSU, Iowa, and Mississippi State are offering a scholarship he must be pretty damn good.

clevelandjayhawker 2 years, 2 months ago

good catch, little over excitment on my part, hopefully Jesse or Matt puts out an article soon. I think he will have 3 years of eligibilty left.

texashawk10 2 years, 2 months ago

He's listed as a sophomore on Hinds website so he should have three years to play two.

Ron Prichard 2 years, 2 months ago

Wow! That's the first I have heard about it. Is there somewhere we can read about this guy? Awesome if we were able to go up against LSU and Iowa and get a committment.

Tony Bandle 2 years, 2 months ago

Please check my math, but 486/86 = 5.7 yards per carry. Something tells me that if you gain 5 plus yards on every play, your odds of winning go up slightly!!!!

RUN THE FRICKIN' FOOTBALL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

KGphoto 2 years, 2 months ago

So Riley Spencer is out for the year? I just saw a tweet.

Jacob Zutterman 2 years, 2 months ago

I to want an explanation for this. I saw it as well...

97jhawk 2 years, 2 months ago

Coach Chuck needs to use Tony Pierson in a Percy Harvin like fashion.

TP's got the speed and athleticism to make the plays in the backfield, on the edge and in the slot just like Harvin. He proved it last weekend. Harvin is only 5'10" and around 185lbs. Those numbers are similar to TP's. I not sayin', I'm just sayin'. Think about it CCW!

Randy Bombardier 2 years, 2 months ago

Well, Pierson did catch quite a few balls this last week. Would also like to see us try the triple option some time. We have the perfect mix of backs for that.

DaNeille Davis 2 years, 2 months ago

Here's a little something to remind us of KU football success and how sweet it is! Hope to get there again someday soon...http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MFnWaH.... KU 76 Nebraska 39

741hawk 2 years, 2 months ago

I came prepared with a sign that read "Show No Mercy."

KGphoto 2 years, 2 months ago

Awesome! 76 points and there was still 11 minutes remaining!

How about Pierson running Sharp's route at the 1;25 mark. Every snap! Absolutely impossible for a LB to cover him on that route.

danmoore 2 years, 2 months ago

Doeren has a nice resume. Wonder what if any interest he had in the KU job. Not that I have any regrets about Charlie.

texashawk10 2 years, 2 months ago

I know he was very interested in the KU job and would've taken the job in half a heartbeat had he been offered it. If I recall correctly, after Weis was announced as the new head coach, the flight path of the plane Zenger was using was listed and there were two stops in Chicago. That would lead me to believe that Zenger may have been getting ready to interview Doeren for a second time in person, and probably offer him the job, but Zenger got the call from Weis and went with him over Doeren. Of course that is speculative and we don't know for sure whether or not Zenger interviewed Doeren, but it would seem logical given Doeren's ties to KU and DeKalb's proximity to Chicago.

danmoore 2 years, 2 months ago

I'm onboard with CW but I am under the impression that after 5 years one of two things will happen. He will either be fired or take another head coaching job. Doeren's from the area. Maybe this is his dream job. Hope we didn't miss that opportunity for a good long term head coach.

Benjamin Piehler 2 years, 2 months ago

Good point... 6 seasons at most CW is with us, I'd guess.

Not sure the Alum would have been as pleased with Doeren considering Gill had beaten him that year.

wats211 2 years, 2 months ago

Never in my life ..since the great Bob Valasente have I ever seen a disgrace of a coach like gill turned out to be...especially with his background...He was so effective in the Osborne system that I was hoping for something similar to what Solich is running at Ohio..a hybrid Devaney/Osborne system.....smash mouth with options..and always attention to weight room details...but when Gill starting making big money..it went to his head..and Gill didn't hire assistants who could sell KU and sell the program..pathetic...Charlie comes in in ...cupboard bare...no depth..no nothing..Gill left him ..NOTHING....so its great to see ..how well we are playing..with nothing...Dayne Crist isn't Cam Newton..but hes still an awesomne kid and a great competitor...I am a pretty smart guy...I bought season tickets and upped my ante to the Williams fund...so should all ...Charlie and company are salesman...just like Saban...This is the greatest school ...PERIOD...great campus...thanks to MANGINO...we now have the facilities....these coaches will make it happen...lets fill the stands..and everyone who is an alum...buy season tickets and support the Williams Fund

Brak 2 years, 2 months ago

Thanks for the laugh, I'm sure the sarcasm will be lost on most here.

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