Sunday, September 25, 2016

Jayhawks preparing to take on top passing offense

Texas Tech quarterback Patrick Mahomes (5) throws a long touchdown pass to wide receiver Zach Austin under pressure from Baylor defensive end Jamal Palmer (92) in the first half of an NCAA college football game Saturday, Oct. 3, 2015, in Arlington, Texas. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)

Texas Tech quarterback Patrick Mahomes (5) throws a long touchdown pass to wide receiver Zach Austin under pressure from Baylor defensive end Jamal Palmer (92) in the first half of an NCAA college football game Saturday, Oct. 3, 2015, in Arlington, Texas. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)


Sure, the University of Kansas football team had a bye this past week, but the Jayhawks likely wouldn’t have minded even more time off for preparation, considering what awaits them Thursday night in Lubbock, Texas.

When the KU defense takes the field at Jones AT & T Stadium, it will be charged with trying to slow down Texas Tech, the top-ranked passing offense (547.7 yards a game) in the nation — led by junior quarterback Patrick Mahomes II, who leads all FBS players in passing yardage (497.7 a game).

Kansas head coach David Beaty, a known admirer of Red Raiders coach Kliff Kingsbury and his Air Raid offense, understands the type of unique road test the 6-foot-3, 230-pound Mahomes presents to the Jayhawks. Beaty described the third-year starter as “really good,” “very talented” and, well, big.

“He's hard to tackle. He's very well-coached. He's got a ridiculous arm,” Beaty marveled. “He can throw it from anywhere, and he breaks rules, because he'll throw it to the wrong guy and he'll still put it in there. He'll throw it to a guy that you're not supposed to be going to, and that guy still is able to get the ball because he can put it in a hole about that big. Really talented guy.”

Mahomes enters the week tied for second in the nation in passing touchdowns, with 14 in three games, even though the FBS leader, Cal’s Davis Webb (18 passing TD’s) and the quarterbacks with which Mahomes is tied — Washington’s Jake Browning and Missouri’s Drew Lock — all already have played four games.

Texas Tech (2-1) has posted a whopping 61.0 points a game, while winning at home versus Stephen F. Austin and Louisiana Tech and losing at Arizona State. Even in defeat, the Red Raiders put up 55 points.

“A lot offensively what you've seen in the past,” Beaty said, comparing Tech’s offense this season its recent high-scoring predecessors. “Very dynamic, terrific quarterback. Guys out wide are very capable — very capable. They've got a couple of really good young running backs — really good running backs — so very difficult.”

The Jayhawks (1-2) enter the Big 12 opener for both programs highly ranked in some key passing defense categories — obviously aided by opening the season against an overmatched FCS opponent, Rhode Island. KU has allowed just 135 passing yards a game (fifth in FBS) and ranks 14th in passing efficiency defense, at 99.07.

Thursday night spotlight

Beaty said the Jayhawks look forward to their weekday trip to Lubbock, for a nationally televised game — 7:30 p.m. kickoff on FOX Sports 1.

“To us it's a great recruiting opportunity. It really is,” the head coach said, “to be able to play on a night where you're the only show, really, which is great.”

The only other FBS game on the schedule Thursday is Connecticut at No. 6 Houston (at 7, on ESPN).

Beaty didn’t anticipate he or his assistants placing any extra pressure on their players due to the spotlight.

Although he wants the Jayhawks to embrace a rare weeknight showdown, Beaty admitted he prefers playing on Saturdays. A former assistant for Mark Mangino at KU, Beaty recalled a conversation the two of them had before a Friday night matchup at South Florida, in 2008.

“I remember he and I were just riding on the bus, and he's like, man, this is going to be a great environment, but man, college football is meant to be played on Saturday,” Beaty recalled, “and it always stuck with me.”

However, Beaty added, this week’s variant in the schedule was out of his control, so he didn’t spend much time worrying about it.

Both the Red Raiders and Jayhawks enter the game coming off an idle week.


Andy Godwin 4 years, 5 months ago

It is a bit of a surprise that KU is only a 4 touchdown underdog going into the game. After the Memphis debacle, the spread by game time could even be greater. Potentially a bright spot is that the defensive backs, who appear faster and better in one on one coverage (unfortunately the defensive line has not shown the ability to consistently pressure the quarterback or stop the run up the middle), so maybe they can help keep the game from getting completely out of hand. Hope proven wrong, but likely to be a long Thursday night when "you're the only show" unless the offense can do their part and help keep the defense off the field.

“To us it's a great recruiting opportunity. It really is,” the head coach said, “to be able to play on a night where you're the only show, really, which is great.”

Calvin Miller 4 years, 5 months ago

When you don't have any ability to "coach-up" your players, your only option is to try to recruit better and hope the athletes take over a game.

Kevin Robert Fest 4 years, 5 months ago

How is it a great recruiting opportunity if you get blown out and everyone is watching? At least during the other games over the years KU played on Saturdays just like the rest of the nation and our poor play and blow outs were effectively backpage news because there was a hundred other football games going on at the same time.

Greg Ledom 4 years, 5 months ago

It's not a great recruiting oppportunity if you get blown out, but that's stating the obvious. However, what a GREAT opportunity if you don't get blown out, hang in the game, show progress, make TT stay in the game, heaven! etc., etc. If our coach thought anything different, how disappointing would that be. Let's go Hawks!! Rock Chalk!!

Michael Lorraine 4 years, 5 months ago

I'll be happy if we lose by only 4 TD's. Would like to see Stanley behind center.

Kevin Robert Fest 4 years, 5 months ago

To lose my 28 would be a win at this point.

Gary Amble 4 years, 5 months ago

I doubt we're even competitive in this one but it is an opportunity to show off our new fast paced offense. If we can just get a few drives going so some kids get a flavor of what we're building then I suppose it's possible we could get into a few homes. If coach Kingsbury is indeed a great friend of coach Beaty I believe he will call off the dogs before it gets too ugly. I hope not but if TT shuts it down and runs the entire 4th QTR away I think it will do our program more harm than good. Who wants to play for a team that has pity paid to them?

Lance Cheney 4 years, 5 months ago

"Our new fast paced offense" = 1st down: throw quick 0 yard pass that goes nowhere; 2nd down: run up the middle, maybe gain 1 yard; 3rd down: throw bubble screen to WR that gets blown up behind the line of scrimmage; 4th down: punt.

So technically yes, it is fast paced because the offense was only on the field for 43 seconds.

Randy Bombardier 4 years, 5 months ago

God help us. I really feel for our defense. Bowens got his hands full. Unless the offense can get a first down its going to be one continuous assault on the D. I'd rather see us run a scrum every play and use up every second our offense can than to see a hurry up and punt offense. Incomplete, incomplete, incomplete (or interception, fumble). If we make it through a series without giving away the ball even though it's a minor victory I would sure hate to see us give them the ball back having only run a minute off the clock.

This has the makings of historically bad since their drives average about 2 minutes. If we cannot run the ball at all, we're going to be really bad. If we turn the ball over four times, it may just result in four one-minute or less touchdowns.

This could be Beaty s Georgia Tech game (year two, Turner Gill) where they averaged ten yards per carry.

Of course, miracles can happen. I would like to say I think we can but after the last two outings I'm very skeptical.

Robert Brock 4 years, 5 months ago

KU's offense needs to produce a lot of first downs in order to keep TT's offense off the field. Cozart can't turn it over - even once.

Prediction: Tech 77, Kansas 15

Edward Daub 4 years, 5 months ago

Texas Tech's defense resembles "swiss cheese". Arizona State scored 68 points! Louisiana Tech scored 45 points!

Our offense definitely needs to keep "moving the chains"! I will be very interested to see who plays QB for us in this one.

Kevin Robert Fest 4 years, 5 months ago

No way Cozart plays NO WAY! Play Willis or Stanley ANYBODY but Cozart.

Ryan Woods 4 years, 5 months ago

Texas Tech's game plan: Burn Marnez Ogletree deep. Run outside to Ogletree side because he'll bite inside every time. Screen pass to Ogletree side because he'll bite inside every time.

Lance Cheney 4 years, 5 months ago

I get the feeling you don't have a lot of faith in Marnez Ogletree.

Micky Baker 4 years, 5 months ago

So many questions to be answered yet. We are still short handed in terms of scholarship guys by a big a margin. We do have a lot more speed and strength than a year ago. All I can say is patience is required. We cannot hold Beaty responsible for what happened before he got here. I'm committed to Beaty for at least 4 years. During the 4th season, I will either call for him to be replaced or we'll at least get to 6 wins. It was that bad when he took the reins, and he didn't cause it.

Brian Wilson 4 years, 5 months ago

I'm with you Micky! No way Beaty should take heat prior to having a full complement of players. It will take 4 years just to get back to ground zero. Weiss really took a dump on KU.

John Joseph Gorski 4 years, 5 months ago

While this is true, there still needs to be signs of improvement to show the team is headed in the right direction.

Brian Wilson 4 years, 5 months ago

Beaty is doing just that. Shear numbers of worthy freshman recruits, and shear number of players improving their measurables in speed and strength. We went from 5 players that could bench 325 and or run a 4.5 40 to more than 20. At that pace in two more years we will have 40 and a team full of legitimate scholarship players. At that point what you are missing is experienced depth, winning experienced depth, that can pass along the finer points to the next generation.

Bob Bailey 4 years, 5 months ago

Yes he did ; no OC, no DC; no Defensive Scheme!

Brian Wilson 4 years, 5 months ago

In this game, in order to burn time and to make it easy on a bad offensive line we should run the veer or option a few times in the game. We have the speed to get a few yards this way and maybe we can get a first down or two before we have to punt.

Bob Schutz 4 years, 5 months ago

I remember reading an article that suggested that teams with KU's ability should go for it on just about every fourth down....maybe worth a try

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