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Tuesday, September 24, 2013

KU football still tinkering with trial and error of faster tempo on both offense and defense

Kansas quarterback Jake Heaps throws to the sideline against Rice late in the fourth quarter on Saturday, Sept. 14, 2013 at Rice Stadium in Houston, Texas.

Kansas quarterback Jake Heaps throws to the sideline against Rice late in the fourth quarter on Saturday, Sept. 14, 2013 at Rice Stadium in Houston, Texas.

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Through three games, the Kansas University offense has flashed its share of the up-tempo offense that has become as common in the Big 12 as games played in Texas.

The idea for KU to incorporate a faster pace into its offensive flow came during the offseason, when head coach Charlie Weis, linebackers coach Clint Bowen and associate head coach in charge of defense Dave Campo first put their heads together to try to figure out a way for KU’s defense to keep up with the rest of the Big 12.

What they decided on was to have two offensive units ready to roll at all times during certain portions of practice. One would run the play that was called against KU’s defense and the other would wait on the sideline, ready to rush to the line of scrimmage as soon as the previous play had ended. What resulted was a fire drill of sorts, that sent the two offenses running around like mad men and the defense battling to keep up.

“Twelve seconds or less,” Weis said, when asked how quickly the KU offenses were snapping the ball during the drill. “I’d say that’s faster than most all of the teams (in the Big 12). Twelve seconds was the latest. There were times we snapped it in eight, snapped it in 10. We almost couldn’t snap it in time for the guys to get off (the field) so the conditioning was really for the offensive players running off the field after every play. When we first started doing it was kind of comical to watch to be honest with you.”

As time went on, the KU defense became more comfortable facing the faster tempo. That does not mean KU’s defensive players always found a way to stop the plays that were run against them, but they did get to the point where they felt more at ease facing such chaos.

“It’s similar to a baseball batter,” linebacker Jake Love said. “All season he’s seeing 80 mph fastballs and then he sees a 90 or 100 mph fastball and he’s like, ‘Oh, crap.’ Us being able to see (offenses) at a faster pace in practice helps everything slow down when we get into the games.”

None of KU’s first three opponents ran the kind of up-tempo style the 2-1 Jayhawks will see when they face the likes of Baylor, Oklahoma State and Texas Tech during the next nine weeks, but there were times, particularly against Rice and Louisiana Tech, when KU’s defense was tested. In the loss at Rice, the Owls ran 78 plays. Last week, Louisiana Tech ran 87 plays.

So far, the Jayhawks’ offense has averaged 71 plays a game, but has employed the no-huddle look from time to time. In the opener, a 31-14 victory against South Dakota, KU had a stretch in which it snapped the ball at an average of 14-15 seconds. That’s easily as fast as any of the Big 12 offenses and, according to Weis, a result of the offense preparing the defense for faster speeds in practice.

“We’ve been working on this quite some time,” Weis said earlier this season. “And that was part of my thought methodology back in November and December, when I was thinking about trying to get our defense better. If we’re going to practice it, let’s do it ourselves. I’m an offensive guy. You think I want them doing all that work and not getting anything out of it for the offense?”

For a team that features an almost entirely new offensive line, a new quarterback and a new batch of wide receivers, three games is hardly enough time to make a definitive call on whether the offense is effective or not. But one thing is certain: KU must score more points on a more consistent basis if it hopes to compete in the conference this season. The Jayhawks are averaging just 19.3 points per game, the second lowest mark in the Big 12. Only 2-2 West Virginia averages fewer, at 18 points per outing, and six of the league’s 10 teams have averaged 32 points per game or more. Weis knows that and you can bet he will be emphasizing it this week as the Jayhawks go through their second and final bye of the season.

“We were much more productive in the pass game (against Louisiana Tech),” Weis said Monday morning. “But now we have to be able to tie the run game and the pass game together. We’re still not scoring enough points to win, and that’s where we have to make our drastic improvement.”

Comments

Lance Cheney 7 months ago

I wonder what the stats are when we run the hurry-up, no-huddle offense vs. the traditional, slower offense. How many TDs, first downs, turnovers, 3-and-outs, etc. do we yield with each one?

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spenc1324 7 months ago

Juco will factor into our recruiting at least though the next few year the difference will be cam we coach them up to be ready for D1 football!!! Its happening on the defensive side of the ball for sure.... The question is when is the offensive side gonna come around???

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Lance Cheney 7 months ago

"When we first started doing it was kind of comical to watch to be honest with you.”

Keystone Cops! Haha.

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Jim Jackson 7 months ago

I still firmly believe that we need to continue to recruit the JUCOs hard (3/4 of next class) for immediate impact, 20-21 year olds until our record is respectable enough for 4 star players to listen to us.

Thoughts?

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danno1313 7 months ago

Slow offense or fast offense doesn't matter if you don't block, catch etc. So how about fundamentals first. There's a thought.

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KGphoto 7 months ago

Hey, uh, don’t look now but we are NINTH according to ESPN’s Big 12 power rankings. Nosed out Iowa St.!!

http://espn.go.com/blog/big12/post/_/id/72721/big-12-power-rankings-week-4-4?ex_cid=espnapi_public

Maybe Victor Simmons can give us a 5 minute celebration dance.

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Dirtyphog 7 months ago

I think this bye week came at a perfect time, they were able to play a few games.. Get some experience and now they can try and change what they need to before big 12 play. Our defense has been the biggest surprise, Sendish and Heeney are clicking. Now we just need our offense to get on the same page and we can be competitive in the big 12

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ccarp 7 months ago

Let's not get going too fast on offense, we may want to grind some clock!

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Cameron Cederlind 7 months ago

"that sent the offense running around like mad men"

sounds like we've got this down really well, they executed this perfectly in-game.

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Brett McCabe 7 months ago

I realize now from the photo above that it was the intimidating crowd at Rice Stadium that really defeated us that night. Too much crowd noise reverberating off of the empty metal bleachers.

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Janet Scott 7 months ago

This is like riding and whipping a 3 legged horse to go faster.

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Robert Brock 7 months ago

Our offense will work if the line blocks. Fast or slow. Just block.

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BayPark 7 months ago

Speeding up the offense is risky, because if it doesn't work, it's awfully tough on a gassed defense.

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David A. Smith 7 months ago

I don't think we can make that call until the line gels. We'll know more once the struggles on the line are eliminated. Controlling that variable will expose any other deficiencies.

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Kevin Randell 7 months ago

A couple of things. 1. Matt, how long have you waited, and how good does it feel to put "the 2-1 Jayhawks" in a story...lol. 2. I know the receivers are still having trouble with catching the ball. I just remembered something Leach use to do at Texas Tech. He would have his Wide Receivers line up across, with a little distance, and catch tennis balls coming out of the shooter. It really seemed to help with the Wide Receivers hand-eye coordination and catching abilities. I am not sure if they have thought about using that idea, but hey if it worked for them, may be it might work for us?

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KU 7 months ago

Matt, what I really want to know is when are we going to roll out some really cool uniforms? If we just wore some kickin' unis, we would score more points and win more decisively. The Smiley, Cuddly Jayhawk helmet emblem needs to go, too. The 1941 War Hawk is the ONLY Jayhawk emblem that should be allowed on a football helmet......ever.

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KGphoto 7 months ago

Has Campo ever given any detail as to why he kept giving LaTech a 7 yard cushion, even though they kept exploiting it for 7-10 yard gains off quick sideline passes? I was pulling my hair out watching that play. I bet it accounted for half their yards on the day.

It’s about the only pass Higgins could complete. Why not take it away?

On the offensive side I can see Weis beginning to realize he’ll never run a true pro-style offense at KU. One of the reasons we have such parity in college football is because the little/slow guys figured out a way to keep up with the big/fast guys offensively. IMHO, the more Charlie goes with the flow (swallows his pride) the more competitive we’ll be. At least until we can get our roster more established.

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Janet Scott 7 months ago

This is like trying to tune a Yugo with four flat tires.

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John Fitzgerald 7 months ago

Two words: Offensive Coordinator

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Charles Logan 7 months ago

I still think they should tinker with Cozart, Miller, Pierson, and Sims on the field at the same time. If ignored. Cozart & Miller Could be names we see next on the transfer list.

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Dickless Head 7 months ago

Sinful.

We need our team to get together Wednesday evenings and pray to the one and only Lord our God Savior. He is the only One who can actually make this season a success; the only one who can improve the satanic play on the field.

You all make fun of me and my comments. But I know the Truth, and the Truth has already set Me free. It can set you free too, if you let the Lord God into your heart.

Pray. Ask for forgiveness. This life is merely preparation for eternity. You don't want to spend eternity with the devil. He has a pitchfork and a pot of fire and it would not be pleasant. Spending eternity with the Lord our God would be Heaven. Pardon the pun lol. You would get all the blessings you receive. You would love all that deserve love and deserve all the love you get. It really is an amazing proposition that awaits each and every one of you.

This team is satanic. It worships the devil and his pointy ears, and I am tired of it. I am starting a movement right now to clean up....not our play....not our academics...but our spirits. As it says is Matthew chapter 6 verse 10, For Those That Clean Up Their Souls, Will Find Life. That is what it is all about, my Christian friends.

Bless this team with the Lord's spirit and the ways of the wind. May He bless each and every one of the players in good times and in bad. May He help them win the game of life one game at a time, regardless of danger and changes in the weather. The Lord is all we need.

Pull out your bibles, both figuratively and spiritually. Read the entire book from cover to cover. That is what I did on a cold, dark, miserable December day in 2006. It changed my life forvever. I'd recommend you do the same.

This team is full of good, strong, proud black men. May the Lord bless them, regardless of color and nationality. May He grant them strength to win on the field and in the game of life forever and ever ALL MEN.

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