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Thursday, September 4, 2014

SEMO’s 77 points catch Kansas’ eyes

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Kansas University defensive coordinator Clint Bowen said Southeast Missouri State’s season-opening 77-point outburst against Missouri Baptist last week definitely caught the attention of the KU defense.

“It did,” Bowen said of the Redhawks’ 77-0 victory over Missouri Baptist last Thursday. “We walked in on that Friday, and a lot of guys hadn’t heard or seen the game Thursday night, and when we did mention the number, 77 points, that’s hard to put up 77 points against air.”

SEMO outgained Missouri Baptist 516-81 in total yards and scored on a long run, a long pass and special teams and also added a defensive touchdown to the final tally.

Given the way things have gone for the Jayhawks lately, it’s unlikely that they were in danger of overlooking the Redhawks in the 6 p.m. Saturday season opener at Memorial Stadium. But as soon as the players heard or saw the final score, that option was taken off the board completely.

“For any team to put up that amount of points is a huge feat,” senior safety Cassius Sendish said. “When you look at it on paper, it’s like, ‘Wow. What did they do?’”

Added junior defensive lineman Ben Goodman: “That means they had to be clicking pretty good on offense. We did get the details on the opponent they were playing, a first-year football school, but still, 77 points is 77 points, and it’s hard to put that up. We have to be focused and ready for this game. They might be an (FCS) team, but it’s not a joke. It’s not gonna be a walk in the park. We really have to lock in.”

That should not be a problem, according to Sendish, who said the large number of seniors on the KU roster, many of whom have played a big part in KU’s 4-20 record over the past two seasons, made him certain his squad would be all business come Saturday.

“For me, I take every opponent the same way,” Sendish said. “We’re trying to do something that hasn’t been done around here in a long time, so the attitude is gonna be the same whether they won by one point or won by 100.”

Senior Buck lineman Michael Reynolds said Southeast Missouri’s Week One explosion put KU in the position to make an early statement on defense.

“I’m guessing that has lifted up their confidence,” Reynolds said. “We all know that not many people respect Kansas football, and we just want to change that this year. We want to show our identity, and we want to be seen as an aggressive, tough defense and a fast defense from beginning to end.”

Different feel

KU lineman Ben Goodman said this week’s practice had a little different tempo than the four weeks of preseason camp the Jayhawks just wrapped up before sitting through a Week One bye while most of the rest of the country kicked off its season last weekend.

“It was a major difference,” Goodman said. “We came out with energy and juice every day of camp, but just knowing that we’re not going to be banging up against each other and not scrimmaging against each other, it was turned up a little more this week.”

Asked how tough it has been to wait a few extra days for the season opener to arrive, Goodman’s eyes lit up before he answered.

“It’s anxious, like a dog on a porch when somebody’s running by,” he said. “We just want to jump off and chase them. We’re really ready.”

O-line a true crew

After explaining that being on the brink of starting his first Div. I college football game “really does feel like a dream,” KU center Keyon Haughton, who held off challenges from red-shirt freshman Joe Gibson and true freshman Jacob Bragg during camp to win the starting job, discussed the collective strength of KU’s front five.

“We all know what we’re good at,” he said. “In any certain play, we all know how we’re going to do it and what the next person is going to do, too. It’s that chemistry. Everybody knows where they’re gonna be, what we’re gonna do, and we just have that connection.”

Haughton said the bond came from playing the entire spring and most of camp with the same five guys running with the first team.

Comments

Lucas Town 2 weeks, 4 days ago

Awesome, I think these guys are ready to play. As I read this article, I could almost feel the determination and focus that Sendish and Goodman were displaying. I hope they are ready to put the rest of the Big 12 on notice. RCJH!

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Doug Cramer 2 weeks, 3 days ago

Lucas - thats the kool-aid running through your veins. Don't worry though, it'll go away after that game in Durham.

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Lucas Town 2 weeks, 3 days ago

Your probably right. If this first game winds up closer than we would like and we get raked in Durham then after 2 games, things will look much the same as they did before. But a 30+ point win on Saturday and a close game at Duke might show this team is slowly turning the corner.

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Micky Baker 2 weeks, 3 days ago

You'd probably be able to have conversations with people if you didn't accuse everyone of "having kool-aid" running through their veins. It's also a worn out cliche. Try to respectfully disagree. It's not that hard.

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Bob Bailey 2 weeks, 3 days ago

Yeah, maybe the team got the message. But what about the coaches??

They haven't taught tackling or coverage for 4 years! If you didn't see the 1 1/2 hour movie about Bo Jackson on ESPN, you probably don't understand tackling. Bo was perhaps the world's greatest athlete; perfect coordination, timing. speed, strength, etc. He was ranked ahead of Babe Ruth and another who played in the old time colored league. He played for the KC Royals, coming out of AL. He switched to two sports finally. If you saw him being tackled you would understand Elmer Schaake's 1941 Rules for tackling. If they didn't follow them perfectly, the defense missed the tackle on Bo. He's the only guy ever mentioned that could/did pull his own leg out of a tackle, and also pulling his leg out of his hip. He went on rehab, but unfortunately it goofed up his system. He was still a good athlete, but having the perfect body didn't work any more.

You have to have some knowledge of tackling to teach it and to understand it. Unfortunately, the whole football industry has forgotten about tackling. It takes about three tacklers to do the job, and today's runner can drag the tacklers 6 - 8 yards; and without group help, the tackler will miss the entire tackle 30 - 65% of the time. See USC v Fresno for poor Defense. USC scored 3 TD's the first quarter last Sat.

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Jack Jones 2 weeks, 3 days ago

Attaboy, Bob ~ I'm sure the coaches will very much appreciate your analysis and valuable insights on tackling, which as you suggest, they are completely unaware of. Couch coaches are an invaluable asset to a major college ~ or any college athletic program. And, especially so because their numbers are legion.

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Micky Baker 2 weeks, 3 days ago

Sure, 77 points got their attention. But we should also be aware that it was Missouri Baptist's first football game ever and they play in the NAIA.

I watched a little of the Duke game. They just out manned Elon, and they should have. Duke is not as good as they were a year ago. They don't have the 2 QB system that they had last year as the better of the two QBs transferred to California. Cozart is more athletic than their QB is.

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Lucas Town 2 weeks, 3 days ago

I would argue that Cozart may have an edge athletically, but at this level I'll bet the athletic gap is minimal. The experience the Duke QB has is worth a lot. This should be a great match up. Cozart and Pierson vs. Boone and Crowder. Can't Wait!

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