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.



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.


wats211 1 year, 6 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 went to his head..and Gill didn't hire assistants who could sell KU and sell the program..pathetic...Charlie comes in in ...cupboard nothing..Gill left him its great to see 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 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 season tickets and support the Williams Fund


danmoore 1 year, 7 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.


DaNeille Davis 1 year, 7 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... KU 76 Nebraska 39


97jhawk 1 year, 7 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!


KGphoto 1 year, 7 months ago

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


Tony Bandle 1 year, 7 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!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


clevelandjayhawker 1 year, 7 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.


shelleysue 1 year, 7 months ago

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


jaymar74 1 year, 7 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.


KGphoto 1 year, 7 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.


mikehawk 1 year, 7 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.


Reuben_J_Cogburn 1 year, 7 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.


Cody Stumma 1 year, 7 months ago

So... run the football. Got it.


Robert Brock 1 year, 7 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.


Shaun Hardie 1 year, 7 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.


Bangkok_Jayhawk 1 year, 7 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.


JHWKDW 1 year, 7 months ago

Hey any improvement is a giant step from last year. Rome was not built in 1 day. Hey look a little down I-70 West, did Coach Snyder do it in one game or one day? takes time.A foundation is important, and I think Weis has the right idea.


texashawk10 1 year, 7 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.


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