For the second time this season, Kansas University’s football team is facing the reality of playing a ticked off opponent.
A few weeks ago, Oklahoma rolled into Memorial Stadium on the heels of a shocking loss to bitter rival Texas and rolled the Jayhawks in response, 62-7.
Saturday, when Kansas heads south to take on 13th-ranked TCU, the Jayhawks will be walking into a similar storm created by the Horned Frogs’ loss to Oklahoma State and Heisman Trophy hopeful Trevone Boykin’s rough outing against the Cowboys.
The loss, along with Boykin’s four-interception day, dealt a significant blow to TCU’s chances to compete for a national championship and to Boykin’s shot at hoisting one of the most famous trophies in all of sports.
All season KU coach David Beaty has inspired his team to remain sharp in putting the emphasis on what Kansas needs to do to improve.
But Beaty, speaking on Monday morning’s Big 12 coaches teleconference, said he expected to see a TCU team with something to prove in Fort Worth, Texas, this weekend.
“You can say that those things are not part of it,” Beaty said. “But I think you have to know the environment that you’re going into. And that’s not just the place you’re playing. That’s the mental state of that team, the circumstances surrounding their last game or where they’re at right now and, you know, this team’s not unlike that Oklahoma team that we just saw.”
Beaty said the Frogs, who enter this weekend at 8-1 overall and 5-1 in Big 12 play, figured to be a little extra fired up for this week’s matchup with Kansas.
For one, they’re back at home.
For two, they likely are eager to prove that last week’s loss was a fluke.
“This team had such high hopes for a national championship, and, with the way the landscape’s going, they’ve got a chance to get back in this thing,” Beaty said. “So I think it starts for them this week by trying to go back and re-establish themselves. ... You can say what you want, that those things aren’t in the players’ heads, but they do think about those things.”
As for what Kansas will be thinking with just three cracks remaining at getting Beaty a win in his first season in charge, the KU coach said the song remains the same for his players.
“The approach that we’ll take is very simple: The best way we can handle any and all of those things is to handle us getting better at us,” he said. “We did some good things in the game the other night, particularly defensively in that second quarter and we got the run game going a little bit better, but we didn’t sustain it.
“We don’t control the schedule, so, obviously, that’s not something we put a lot of emphasis on. But you know me. We deal in reality. ... They’ve got some things that they can get accomplished and we certainly have got some things that we can get accomplished that could help both of our programs monumentally. So we’ve both got a lot to play for.”
Willis on the mend
Beaty said Monday morning that quarterback Ryan Willis, who injured both groins during last weekend’s loss at Texas, was showing improvement and moving around better than he did before being pulled from Saturday’s game against the Longhorns.
His status for this week’s game at TCU remained unclear Monday morning, as Beaty said he wanted to see how Willis moved and looked at practice before making any judgements.
KU-WVU set for 11 a.m.
After taking on TCU this Saturday at 11 a.m. in Fort Worth, the Jayhawks will return to Lawrence to close out the season with back-to-back home games. The first of those will come Nov. 21 against West Virginia, and the Big 12 announced Monday that the game between the Jayhawks and Mountaineers would begin at 11 a.m. and be televised by FOX Sports Net.