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Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Weis, Jayhawks well-aware of Big 12 loss streak

Kansas running back James Sims moves toward the goalline against Colorado during the first quarter, Saturday, Nov. 6, 2010 at Kivisto Field.

Kansas running back James Sims moves toward the goalline against Colorado during the first quarter, Saturday, Nov. 6, 2010 at Kivisto Field.

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The numbers are staggering and Kansas University coach Charlie Weis is not hiding from them.

By the time Saturday’s 11 a.m. kickoff against No. 20 Texas Tech rolls around, 1,063 days will have passed since the KU football team last defeated a Big 12 Conference opponent. Weis opened Tuesday’s meeting with the media with a roll call of the numbers associated with a dreadful drought that has spanned 21 games and four seasons. Going one step further, Weis revealed that the number balloons to 1,455 days if you only count current members of the Big 12. KU topped Iowa State, 41-36, on Oct. 10, 2009, and did not win a conference game again until Nov. 6, 2010, against Colorado.

“Yes, I have those numbers down,” Weis said. “And, at (Tuesday’s practice) that will be one of our main conversation pieces.”

Finding extra motivational tactics is nothing new for Weis and his program, and KU’s second-year coach stressed that confronting the dubious streak was not some sort of punishment for his players.

“You don’t do it as a negative,” Weis said. “You just say, ‘This is where we are. We’re gonna beat somebody. You want to get this out of the way?’ You don’t look at it like, ‘You have to win this week to get this over with.’ But you make them aware of what the issues are. As the program is building, you have these hurdles you have to get over and this would be a good time to get over that hurdle. It’s Homecoming. 11 o’clock. Everybody’s gonna be fired up.”

That includes the Jayhawks themselves, who picked up some momentum from a 13-10 victory against Louisiana Tech two weeks ago and took that into last week’s bye and preparations for unbeaten Texas Tech. Momentum, motivational tactics and wanting to snap a nasty streak count for much without making it happen on the field. But Weis said he was more pleased with his team’s mindset heading into Big 12 play this year as opposed to last year.

“I think our players are expecting to win this week; they’re not hoping to win,” he said. “Now, they might be an eight-touchdown underdog, I couldn’t tell ya. I don’t follow that stuff (Texas Tech is favored by 14 points). But we haven’t played a game this year where our team expected to lose or hoped to win. And that’s part of the psychology involved with starting to win. You have to expect to win, not hope to win. They’re two totally different mentalities.”

Defense ready?

So much of KU’s offseason was spent preparing the defense to be able to handle the faster tempo for which Big 12 offenses are known. And even though the Jayhawks only saw glimpses of the fast-paced style during their three non-conference games, Weis believes his defense is ready for a Texas Tech offense that is averaging 85 snaps (compared with 70 for KU’s offense), 39 points and 520 yards of total offense.

“We’ve practiced a lot, for the defense, snapping it really quick,” Weis said. “We’ll snap it as quick as you can snap it and, if nothing else, I think our own offense is giving our defense an opportunity to have to play on the fly and play at a very fast pace.”

Admire at center

There were a couple of tweaks to KU’s depth chart this week, with the offensive line seeing the biggest change.

After starting at center for the first time in his career, sophomore Dylan Admire has replaced Pat Lewandowski as KU’s first-string center. Lewandowski remains second at the position, but Weis said Admire, though smaller (6-foot-3, 280 pounds vs. 6-5, 295), brings more athleticism.

“That’s an ongoing competition,” Weis said. “That’s not a closed deal. It’s just that, right now, there’s a couple things we’re trying to do and Dylan’s gonna get the first go at it. I could list it as ‘or,’ but Dylan’s gonna start the game.”

The other notable change on the offensive line comes at right tackle, where junior Zach Fondal is back with the first team and Riley Spencer has moved into a backup role at left tackle behind senior Aslam Sterling. Red-shirt freshman Brian Beckmann is pencilled in as Fondal’s back-up.

Other changes

Outside of the offensive line, there were no major changes to this week’s depth chart, but there are a few worth noting: Trent Smiley and Jimmay Mundine remain 1-2 at tight end; senior wide receiver Christian Matthews is back on the list as the second option behind starting Z receiver Tre’ Parmalee; the only change to the defensive depth chart is at Will linebacker, where Samson Faifili and Jake Love now are listed side by side, with only the “or” separating them.

Popular punter

During KU’s bye week, former Kansas City offensive coordinator Weis made a quick trip to Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City, Mo. One of the first people to find him was Chiefs’ all-pro punter Dustin Colquitt.

“The first question Colquitt asked me was, ‘Tell me about your punter,’ because he was worried about losing his job two years from now to this kid,” Weis said of KU junior Trevor Pardula. “He said, ‘Did he really kick a 78 yarder?’ I said, ‘Yeah, the next one was only 65.’ It gets their attention.”

Comments

Bewareofthephog Fifety-Five 6 months, 2 weeks ago

This team would be much better if we had Pearce Slater, Chris Martin, and Nick Harwell.

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John Fitzgerald 6 months, 2 weeks ago

Weis will get at least 1 more full year after this one regardless of what happens, and I agree with it 100%. I'm frustrated like everyone else that we're not playing like we expect, but the reality is, who do we bring in that's better than Weis? Zenger reached for Weis and luckily he got him. I don't think many quality coaches are going to come in here if a guy like Charlie, who has a few superbowl rings, couldn't change the program around. I think his only mistake so far is not having an offensive coordinator. But I'm not a coach nor do I have any experience in the matter, so I'm going to have faith he knows what he's doing. If we win 3 games this year, I feel we can win 5 or 6 next year, and that I will be happy with. Some important things to note coming into this game:

1.) We're sitting on a winning record after 3 games.
2.) Our defense is playing very strong. 3.) We've won a close game, and did it with special teams. 4.) We have identified our weaknesses and know how to fix them. 5.) We have momentum.

At this point, I'm optimistic Charlie has a strong game play, it will just come down to execution. RCJH!!

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Andrew Horigan 6 months, 2 weeks ago

Dustin Colquitt will have a job as long as he has legs, dude is the best punter in the NFL.

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nuleafjhawk 6 months, 2 weeks ago

Well, Talib has done fairly well in his athletic endeavors but no one's ever accused him of being smart or classy.

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coloradojayhawk 6 months, 2 weeks ago

Unrelated to the article, I was watching the New England vs. Atlanta football game Sunday evening, when introduced Aqib Talib said North Dallas, TX high school for where he was from. Pretty low class for someone who benefitted greatly by his attendance at KU for three years. I don't know the rules for those intros where players say they went to school, maybe they only say where they graduated from, but imo he should say Kansas, not his high school. Considering one of the Falcons said his elementary school, maybe it's up to the player. Just feeling slighted. It's all about me, after all.

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machinegun 6 months, 2 weeks ago

I wondered why it took so long for Vegas to set the line for this game. Now that it is set at 17 and a half, I realize that the real question was "How much is enough to get the boys to choose Kansas?" Maybe we can kick 6 extra field goals with that running game that a number of you continue to advocate. Time to face reality. We need to pass the ball and pass it often.

The major problem is the offensive line. Grunhard is so busy promoting his former Bishop Miege players that he has failed to do his job. I know that Grunhard is a Notre Dame guy and in Charlie's world that is enough to let him screw up repeatedly. Pass protection is pitiful. At times, it is nonexistent.

Charlie Weis was hired to produce a high scoring, winning program. So far, he has 3 wins against cupcakes and the team is averaging 18-19 points per game. Remember when Charlie said we needed to score more than 30 points to beat Rice? How did that work out?

The great Charlie Weis was supposed to be an offensive genius. Maybe Charlie is a genius but more likely he is just another Notre Dame blowhard believing that he is better than he really is. He recruited two 5-star QBs to run his complex offense. Charlie turned the first one into a rambling wreck before throwing him under the bus. The second is well on his way to the bench if he can't score enough TDs against Texas Tech. This is a must win game for Charlie. This is a must win for the team. Everyone will be at the game including the big time Williams Fund donors. I am praying for rain.

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Andy Tweedy 6 months, 2 weeks ago

The picture that came with this article makes me so sad!!! I NEVER leave KU games early, save for this one time in 2010! I was just so frustrated with the play and the score at the end of the third quarter that I decided to head start my drive back to Omaha. As I walked to the car, I heard "touchdown Kansas!" As I was driving back by the stadium, I heard "touchdown Kansas!" This went on until I was almost to I-29. I SUCK!!!

Lesson learned though, even if the game does get bad this weekend, Omaha can wait!!!

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mikehawk 6 months, 2 weeks ago

We have to shorten the games in Big 12 play. Anything we can do to limit three and out. Run the ball, for gosh sake, either huddle or take time at the line of scrimmage. Keep the receivers in front of you and make them go the length. String some first downs together, and we need at least three turnovers this Saturday to have a chance to win. The biggest upgrade this year from last year, including QB, is the kicking game and we need it this week and throughout Big 12 play. A bunch of these teams can hang anywhere from 40 to 70 on you. There is no doubt we are getting better, but these teams are nothing like we've seen so far. They can turn games into 7 on 7 drills. I've watch us and we don't look anything like 7 on 7.

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Tony Bandle 6 months, 2 weeks ago

I am truly sorry, you all, but, most likely, make it 1064 days and counting.

Someday this streak will end...unfortunately, it will probably not be this weekend. Our Jayhawks are just not there yet. CW is making progress on the mental side of things but the talent side still needs to grow and mature.

We need the O-Line to gel. We need better play calling [an OC to free up Charlie to manage the whole team?]. We need better tackling. We need receivers to hold onto the ball. We need more takeaways. We need to buy into our strength, the running game, and stick with it.

We need more than we can provide in only the fourth game of the season. Frankly, if we hang tough with Tech, I'll consider that a real sign of positive progress.

To expect a victory....well, I hope with all my heart I am dead wrong...but I'm afraid I am probably not.

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Lucas Town 6 months, 2 weeks ago

For me Tech is a hard team to read. They have not really beat anyone except for TCU and they have been a big disappointment so far. I like that this game is at home and we have had 2 weeks to prepare. It would be amazing if KU would find a way to pull this one out. I do think that this will be a close one. If KU doesn't win, we will all be able to tell that we are about the turn the corner. RCJHGKU!

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Robert Brown 6 months, 2 weeks ago

Tech is a 17 point favorite. That seems high to me. If I were a betting person, I would take KU and the points.

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741hawk 6 months, 2 weeks ago

Having reviewed the LaTech game, I would rather have Spencer handling the Blind Side than Sterling. I saw Sterling get pancaked in the first quarter. I had never seen a left tackle get completely run over. I was so embarrassed for him I expected to see him jog to the bench and hide.

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Keith Gellar 6 months, 2 weeks ago

Who gives a @$#$ abt KU Football. Didn't yall hear- Three top preps to be at Late Night.. Hollaaaaaaaaa!!!

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Keith Hummel 6 months, 2 weeks ago

How sweet would it be to put an end to this streak of futility? The odds are against us doing it this weekend, but it's possible.

This game should tell us a lot about our nickle and dime packages, and how good our corners really are. If Dextor McDonald is still leading the nation in the Passes Defended category after Saturday then we'll know he's the real deal. Tech won't have a short field as often as they have in the past because our kicking game is so much better. That should give our defense more opportunities to make plays.

Offensively I think we will move the ball but I'm concerned about the red zone. As Weis said we will have to score a lot more points than we have been if we're going win this game. We will have to do more than kick field goals. Unfortunately, Texas Tech is ranked 2nd in the conference in Red Zone Defense and we're ranked last in Red Zone Offense, so we have our work cut out for us. I also think it goes without saying that we have to win the time-of-possession contest to keep that offense off the field as much as possible.

The aspect that has't been discussed much yet, and that I think may work in our favor, is turnovers. Tech has thrown 8 interceptions this year. If we can get a couple of those, and convert them to touchdowns, then I like our chances.

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akgjenkintown 6 months, 2 weeks ago

“I think our players are expecting to win this week; they’re not hoping to win,” he said."

I expect them to lose, but am hoping for some miraculous improvement on both side of the ball. The musical chairs with the offensive line has negated the only advantage KU had coming into the season, i.e., a stable of very capable running backs. In the Big XII, you can't shut down the high powered offenses so you need to be able to score and with regularity. That has not happened in the 15 games since Weis (the purported offensive genius) took over and has run the offense. Before the season (I again did not drink the pre-season kool-aid) I predicted 3 wins and now am hoping that this modest feat is still achievable. KU was lucky to win against LA Tech and will need things to go their way at least for one week to stop the winless streak in conference play.

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Jonathan Allison 6 months, 2 weeks ago

I'm glad to hear that the team still expects to win.

I no longer expect to win, but I still think that we'll have a chance. I think that out of KSU, ISU, TCU, TTU, WVU, UT, OSU that we'll pick up a couple wins. What makes it tough though to predict is that right now it looks like TCU and ISU might be the weaker opponents, but we play both of them on the road. KSU might be one of the weaker teams in the conference, but I expect they'll play their best game all year against us. WVU looked solid against OSU, but can they take their show on the road?

Theirs just a lot of question marks still out there in the league.

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JHWKDW 6 months, 2 weeks ago

As the late Al Davis of the Oakland Raiders used to say "Just Win Baby"!

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nuleafjhawk 6 months, 2 weeks ago

"You have to expect to win, not hope to win. They’re two totally different mentalities.”

That's some good stuff, Charlie! It's been a LONG time since our players have bought into that. I believe it makes a big difference and I hope they get that soon.

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Adam McEwen 6 months, 2 weeks ago

I think the only real problem this team has is confidence. Athletically, we are pretty sound across the board, and much of football is just having pure athleticism. We are successful and talented at the running back position, largely I believe because running back is the one position where you don't think, you just run for your life. If these guys can get out of their own heads, they will win some big games this year.

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jayhawkintx1973 6 months, 2 weeks ago

Well, I do think that KU should be pumped, but they had also not expend all of their energy early. They need to play a full game and be focused on fundamentals, especially our offensive line. If they can open up lanes for the running backs and set up the play action, we'll get some opportunities down the field. But if they are there early, take them and make them pay for it. If they stack the box, we have a guy in Pierson that can get past the second level quickly and hit him in stride with only a safety to stop him and I like Pierson's chances against anyone one on one.

Execution is the name of the game.

Other than that, we're going to have to give Jake chances with high percentage, quick passes. Force them to back off some then we can run it down their throats and they'll have to guess.

Rock Chalk.

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kay_you 6 months, 2 weeks ago

The law of averages are on our side. Go Jayhawks!

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