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Thursday, September 26, 2013

KU offensive line seeking more toughness during bye week

Kansas running back Darrian Miller is upended by Rice linebacker Nick Elder during the second quarter on Saturday, Sept. 14, 2013 at Rice Stadium in Houston, Texas.

Kansas running back Darrian Miller is upended by Rice linebacker Nick Elder during the second quarter on Saturday, Sept. 14, 2013 at Rice Stadium in Houston, Texas.

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Judging by Kansas University football coach Charlie Weis' comments on Monday morning's Big 12 coaches teleconference, it's been anything but an off week for the KU offensive line.

On the heels of back-to-back sub-par performances by KU's most overhauled position, Weis said Monday that piecing together the front five on offense remained “a work in progress,” and it seems likely that, from this point on, the most physical players will inherit the most important roles.

“In the run game this past week (in a victory over Louisiana Tech), just like the week before against Rice, I thought that we didn't get the best of it,” Weis said. “If we're gonna be any good, we need to be able to run the ball efficiently. You gotta be able to control the line of scrimmage, and for two weeks in a row that hasn't been the case.”

So rather than using the early part of their second and final off week of the 2013 season to take it easy, Weis turned up the heat.

“We're doing something different each day (of the off week),” Weis said. “But the first thing we're gonna do is we're gonna beat the hell out of each other on Tuesday. We still need to become a tougher team and I think that the off week is a good week to do that.”

After proving it could run the ball against anybody during 2012 the Jayhawks have gotten off to a slower-than-expected start in that area in 2013. KU's run game still has produced an average of 4.5 yards per carry, but Weis was not pleased with his team's effort up front against either Rice or Louisiana Tech. Eight linemen got into the mix against LA Tech, with two — center Dylan Admire and right tackle Riley Spencer — making their first starts at Kansas and the others getting sprinkled in because of injuries, which Weis said earlier this week were not thought to be serious.

“They might be banged up a little bit physically,” he said. “But I think their egos are more banged up than their bodies are banged up.”

Tackles and junior-college transfers Mike Smithburg and Ngalu Fusimalohi both suffered minor injuries during the win against the Bulldogs and veteran reserve guard Randall Dent missed the game altogether.

Senior Aslam Sterling made his third straight start at left tackle and juniors Pat Lewandowski and Zach Fondal as well as sophomore Damon Martin all are vying for spots.

“I don't think inexperience is the issue,” Weis said. “We have about seven or eight guys that are all involved in the mix and we'll just see where it is going forward.”

KU has spent its off week focusing on different aspects of the season ahead. One day the Jayhawks took an early look at their Oct. 5 opponent, Texas Tech. On another they emphasized self-scouting and fundamentals.

Regardless, the Jayhawks have focused on a couple of key things while prepping for the Big 12 gauntlet that lies ahead — tightening up and capitalizing on the momentum of being 2-1.

“I'm really not a big fan of byes,” Weis said. “But I think now is a good time for us to say, 'OK, we got three games in, here's the things that we do decent, here's the things that we're not very good at and see if we can't try to fix some of these deficiencies that we have.'”

Comments

Randy Bombardier 6 months, 3 weeks ago

If you wanna be loved on Saturdays as a coach you have to be willing to be an SOB every other day of the week. Yeah, Charlie Weis bring more of that Jersey attitude. Too much nice makes the boys think they can slack off.

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KURiggins 6 months, 3 weeks ago

Thank God. Our OL stinks so far. Its why Heaps and our running game has been bad. Its not Heaps or our RBs, in fact we upgraded talent but we gotta block.

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danno1313 6 months, 3 weeks ago

A car load of nuns is tougher than KU's offensive line.

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Bursting 6 months, 3 weeks ago

I thought week 1 was the bye week?

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JayDocMD 6 months, 3 weeks ago

Toughness. Either you have it or you don't. Good luck "seeking it" over the bye week.

2

rockchalk_dpu 6 months, 3 weeks ago

This will also be the first test against a throw-first team for our new look defensive scheme with 5 DBs. Can we get enough pressure to force the redshirt QB to be uncomfortable and make a quick bad decision, or will he have plenty of time to sit back and pick us apart all day? As good as our secondary could be, they can start to look pretty average if they have to defend for more than 6 seconds each snap. Its just too tough to maintain assignments when the QB has that long to survey his reads and find someone. I think the key to stopping them will need to be unleashing the linebackers and trying to speed TTech up to where they make mental mistakes. If we can do that, perhaps we can fluster the QB and get him further off his game.

I'll be there rooting hard for that first Big 12 win, hope the students and fans come out in force too.

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Jonathan Allison 6 months, 3 weeks ago

I still believe in the guys that we have on our roster. I think that we have good players who are still a little low on the learning curve.

TTech is riding high right now and I think that we can knock them off of their high horse.

It's going to take a strong showing from both the OL and DL. The defense will have their work cut out for them, but Tech is 103rd overall in rushing yards, and our defensive backfield has been an area of strength.

But Tech is gonna score points and we will have to score points too. We will need to be able to run and pass, so OLine play is crucial.

Let's go OLine! Get tough, get strong, get mean!

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Terry Lee 6 months, 3 weeks ago

Speaking of Grunhard, why hasn't he been mentioned or quoted in ANY of these articles about the offensive line lately. When an article is about running back we hear from Reggie, when its about the D-line we hear from Buddy.....why haven't we heard anything from Grunhard. My prediction is he will be gone after this year. Seriously JW -- is Charlie refusing to let Grunhard speak?

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JHWKDW 6 months, 3 weeks ago

Ill tell you what, the La. Tech team on that Defensive line had 2 guys who could play on Sunday one day.People always talk about the offense they have had, but the defense on that team was underrated.

I think the offensive line under Coach Grunhard will be ok. You got to realize they lost some good starters from last year. They will get it together soon.

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Doug Cramer 6 months, 4 weeks ago

Coach - You want to fix some deficiencies that our team has...go recruit the freaking crap out of some big...talented...athletic...and DEPENDABLE...big nasties in the trenches. We lack talent in the trenches...plain and simple.

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Charles Logan 6 months, 4 weeks ago

This Kool-Aid has no sugar in it. I'm not drinkin it....... This team is in trouble. Our offensive, and defensive lines are both about to be manhandled by the teams in our conference. But I'm a KU fan, and I will watch every game....

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Mark Lindrud 6 months, 4 weeks ago

At least they're addressing the issues and not covering them up. This staff is being proactive and I'd say that's progress.

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BringBackMark 6 months, 4 weeks ago

Will Zenger put up with this Clown past this year? He's proven at other schools that he can't win at the college level. His super bowl rings were simply being at the right place at the right time. Those teams continued to win without him. For all of the Kansas City crowd that thinks he's so wonderful, where's Matt Cassel (sp) now? Let's get a real coach and start turning this program around.

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Tippyhawk 6 months, 4 weeks ago

Can anyone direct me as to how to bypass or eliminate the Google survey. PLEASE!!!!!!!!!!!!

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Brett McCabe 6 months, 4 weeks ago

You may have seen this, but here is a link to some pics on Rock Chalk Park: http://www.kuathletics.com/galleries/?gallery=58

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Janet Scott 6 months, 4 weeks ago

A football team that needs to get tough? That's like saying Dolly Parton needs to get feminine. This group of soft players, the O-line, is softer than a fresh "pile of crap", to use Charlie's descriptive words.

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gorilla10 6 months, 4 weeks ago

Let's go DEFENSE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! ok, you get the point.......

Looking forward to a fun, competitive conference season! If we want to get this program headed in the right direction the players and staff need more support than any school in the country. Rock Chalk

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gorilla10 6 months, 4 weeks ago

Let's go FANS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! WAKE UP, get to the game and show your support!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! No half assin it during Big12 play!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Rock Chalk

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gorilla10 6 months, 4 weeks ago

Let's go O-line!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Big game against Tech next week!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Let's WIN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Rock Chalk

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Ron Prichard 6 months, 4 weeks ago

The offensive line play may be the most frustrating part of the season so far. The GIF shown by Jessie a couple of weeks ago deconstructing a play against Rice was almost embarassing to watch. There is no way an offensive line should get blown up like that. If this team is going to be any good, it has to have an attitude that, "you may be bigger, you may be faster, you may be stronger, but I'm going to be on your *** all day long, so get ready." This team needs to play like it's hair is on fire every single play. Tenacity and that good old fashioned "want to" can go a long way, especially along the offensive and defensive lines. If this team--and the offensive line, in particular--can find that determination to never give up on a play and go 100% all the time, then I think we'll see some improvement and maybe even some more wins. But if the line continues to perform like it did the last two games, we could be in for a long, long season.

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