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Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Jayhawks used bye week to self-assess, prepare for Texas Tech

Frustrated, Kansas safety Mike Lee pulls off his helmet as he makes his way to the sidelines after a West Virginia touchdown during the second quarter on Saturday, Sept. 23, 2017 at Memorial Stadium.

Frustrated, Kansas safety Mike Lee pulls off his helmet as he makes his way to the sidelines after a West Virginia touchdown during the second quarter on Saturday, Sept. 23, 2017 at Memorial Stadium.

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After three consecutive losses, the Kansas football team’s players and coaches had more down time than usual to regroup this past week, thanks to an idle Saturday on the schedule.

When the 2017 calendar first came out, third-year head coach David Beaty didn’t know whether he liked the timing of the Jayhawks’ bye. But in retrospect, Beaty entered preparation for this Saturday’s home game against Texas Tech glad the off week came when it did.

In his first season at KU, the bye came after two losses. In 2016, it arrived after three non-conference games. This fall, though, the Jayhawks (1-3 overall, 0-1 Big 12) got to experience a bit of league action, courtesy of a 56-34 loss to West Virginia, before pausing to reassess.

“There's some things that are synonymous, I think, with the conference that helps you out a little bit,” Beaty said at his Tuesday press conference. “You're seeing a lot of the same body types, which I think is very helpful for us. We were able to get one game under our belt against a very similar offense and really some similar things on defense, which was good, allowed us to see what we needed to shore up against some of those schemes, so I thought that worked out good.”

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Kansas quarterback Peyton Bender (7) throws during the second quarter on Saturday, Sept. 23, 2017 at Memorial Stadium.

In his first Big 12 game, junior quarterback Peyton Bender completed 17 of 32 throws for 197 yards — his first outing at KU below 300 — with a touchdown and two interceptions.

The self-assessment portion of the bye week for Bender included honing in on reads and seeing on video when and where mistakes were made. KU’s starting QB admitted his seven interceptions on the season are “too many.”

After getting some extra time to examine how he can improve, and having a loss to WVU as a barometer of where the offense is at, Bender agreed the bye came at an ideal time.

“It’s definitely nice, I think mentally and physically. Probably a little bit more mentally for me,” added Bender, who avoided injury while suffering nine sacks and other hits during the first four games. “But I know a lot of guys were playing a little bit banged up, so obviously the bye week’s always good for that. But, I think the bye week came at a good time. I think we’ve got a good stretch of games here where we can really compete, and we’re looking forward to seeing what we can do coming off last week.”

Junior defensive end Dorance Armstrong Jr.’s week also included video study and trying to correct personal mistakes. The captain also said many Jayhawks were able to restore themselves physically.

“We had treatments like three times a day — just getting our body right and not having anything to do but getting our body right,” Armstrong said. “I think a lot of players took advantage of that.”

While some ice baths took up part of sophomore safety Mike Lee’s time to unwind, the defensive back didn’t take much of a mental vacation.

“I always watch football. That’s the game I love,” Lee said, explaining he finds himself following offenses closely, to see if he can spot tendencies. “That makes me a better player on the field.”

Lee watched the Dallas Cowboys and Denver Broncos more in a diagnosing fashion than as a fan, and also caught some of Texas Tech’s 41-34 loss to Oklahoma State.

As Lee studied the Red Raiders (3-1, 0-1) he watched the offense’s formations, the routes receivers took and who quarterback Nic Shimonek looked for when he dropped back to pass. Lee also tried to gauge whether Shimonek had any tells before he threw deep.

“Really, they’re like a fast offense,” Lee said of what stood out most. “They like to move with a lot of tempo, stuff like that. And they’ve got some smart plays. So they can trick you if you’re not really focused on what you’ve got to do.”

Beaty said much of KU’s extra prep time for Texas Tech (11 a.m. kickoff, Saturday at Memorial Stadium) went toward making sure players are “squared away” on particular individual responsibilities within various play calls.

Armstrong expects such attention to detail will benefit the Jayhawks.

“We had two weeks to prepare for them, so it’s a pretty big deal,” the junior defensive end said. “There should be no reason we should have a lot of mistakes preparing for a team for two weeks.”

Injury update

Two weeks after first hinting at the possible return of sophomore safety Shaquille Richmond, Beaty said Tuesday KU “probably” will have the Dallas native back this week.

“We haven't had his services since (Richmond suffered an undisclosed injury before the season began), so it was an aiming point to get him back on the field here, so we think we are going to have him back in that secondary for us, which is good,” Beaty said. “We’ve got some depth back there now, which will be great.”

The coach added other players are “doing pretty good” from a health and availability standpoint — “It was a good week in that regard.”

Armstrong ‘fine’

Although an injury to his right hamstring sidelined Big 12 Preseason Defensive Player of the Year Armstrong during some of August camp, Beaty said the injury didn’t linger.

“He's fine. Athletically or physically he's fine. He hasn't had any issues with his leg,” Beaty said.

The 6-foot-4, 246-pound defensive end is sack-less through four games, which Armstrong continued to describe as “frustrating.” He has made 22 total tackles (four for loss) and been credited with five QB hurries.

Considering how many snaps Armstrong played during the first third of the schedule, Beaty hoped the bye week would help his star D-lineman.

“But he hasn't been hurt,” Beaty added. “That hasn't been a problem for him.”

Comments

Jack Hoff 2 weeks, 6 days ago

Next time ask Peyton bender and Carter Stanley why they are at the Bull getting drunk on the weekend during the season with a 1-3 record. Maybe watch some film late at night instead of partying during the season. Doesn't sound like "letting our bodies recover" to me. I doubt Mason Rudolph is out getting messed up on a Saturday night. But whatever.

Jack Brooks 2 weeks, 6 days ago

Dang. I was hoping to read they self-assessed Clint Bowen out of the DC position and into some functionary job in the AD.

Bryce Landon 2 weeks, 6 days ago

KU can self-assess all they want, but they're not beating Texas Tech. Not with the coaching they have, especially on defense. FIRE CLINT BOWEN!

Dillon Davis 2 weeks, 5 days ago

If we come out after a bye week, at home against the 3rd or 4th worst team in the conference, and lay a big fat egg I am going to be FURIOUS.

Chris Bailey 2 weeks, 5 days ago

Well, since we're the worst team hands down will you be that surprised?

John Brazelton 2 weeks, 5 days ago

Negative posters are getting old! The difference with this season's defense and last year's is last year's defense had a very experienced defensive back field (mainly Seniors with at least two or three years of starting experience).I will only be upset if they don't start getting better each game.

Bryce Landon 2 weeks, 5 days ago

Well then, I guess you'd better get ready to be upset because this team has not been getting better with each game for quite a while. And why shouldn't we be negative when nothing is changing or getting better and shows no sign of doing so?

Chris Bailey 2 weeks, 5 days ago

You're so right. I'm so happy with the consistent losing we've had since the last seven games of the 2008 season. Every team improves throughout the season from game one, barring injury. We are truly no better now than we were year one after Mangino yet we hear every year how much better this years squad is gonna be starting the season. Personally I've given up on us winning anything in the near future. I watch just to see how bad it's gonna be and hope it's not too bad.

John Fitzgerald 2 weeks, 5 days ago

1.) If healthy, Stanley should get the start. Bender hasn't shown me he's the best QB on the team and the only thing he has to show for anything is throwing for over 300 yards a game. But his completion percentage, interceptions, and decision making in the pocket are disappointing at best.

2.) Our defense is just bad. And not just because the DB's are new, but because they look unprepared. Look at Mike Lee...He has a great talent and played all of last year. But he still can't make the proper reads to play defense? That's on the coaching.

3.) I hope we run the heck out of the ball this weekend. Maybe we caught WVU off guard and Tech will be more prepared, but our run blocking and Herbert looked incredible.

4.) More on Bowen... His defense was better last year, but still ranked pretty low (around the 70's in overall defense I believe). Beaty didn't hesitate to change his OC when it was needed. What's the hold up on the defensive side? Is there a string attached to Bowen that says he can't be let go? I like Bowen, but I'm waiting on someone to give me a good reason Beaty should keep him around.

5.) I don't see how we stay within 30 points of this game, but all I ask for is a little competitiveness and competency from the players and staff. Is that too much to ask?

Prediction: Kansas 24 - Texas Tech 60

Bradly Moore 2 weeks, 5 days ago

I am going to Ames next week. I am going with 2 ISU grads and they are traveling 700 and 500 miles respectively. ISU is averaging 58,200 fans this season. They show up and cheer for their team. Their coach has a record of 5-11. They haven't been to a bowl since 2012, they haven't won a bowl game since 2009. So my question, is why Jayhawk fans refuse to support their team. ISU fans do. Do they have any hope of a bowl? Do they have rich tradition? What's the difference? All of you people that piss and moan about the football team, and don't show up and support them are a bunch of spoiled brats. And to you a%#holes that say "When does basketball season start?" during football season, are the worst fans. You are the KU "fans" that every opposing teams' fanbase hates. You are not fans. You don't support The University of Kansas. If you did you would support ALL of the university and its programs. You just want to pick a winner. That's not hard!! Anyone can do that!!. Take a stand!! Show the world that you are a Jayhawk through and through, not just another fair-weather Jayhawk basketball fan. To the REAL Jayhawk fans: Get out there and cheer on this team!!! Show them that you care!! Show them that you are proud to be Jayhawks!!

Bryce Landon 2 weeks, 5 days ago

As a KU fan now living in Iowa, I can safely say that Iowa State fans support their crappy team because there's nothing else to do in central Iowa.

Brock Wells 2 weeks, 5 days ago

I feel the same way Bradly!

I think HCDB is a the right track and feel like if I don't support the players who work hard everyday to get better and more importantly improve their life potential by playing D-1 football... who will?

Chris Bailey 2 weeks, 5 days ago

I do support the team but can we stop the year in and year out BS of us becoming something we're not? We aren't any good. Bottom line. KUSports.com needs to stop filling our heads with this crap every year. We aren't gonna win more than 1-2 games and 3 if we get really lucky. That's my BIGGEST complaint. I'm tired of hearing the predictawheel BS. We suck. Watch the games. Cheer. Have a beer. Enjoy the games. That's great. But stop telling us how great we're gonna be every year while we fall flat on our faces.

Bradly Moore 2 weeks, 5 days ago

Hey John. What is your solution? Just piss and moan? I bet you are the first guy to tell other fans "wait til basketball". Aren't you? How many games have you been to in the last eight years. How are you trying to change the culture?

John Fitzgerald 2 weeks, 5 days ago

I've had season tickets the last 5 years and haven't missed a single home game in that time. The three years before that I lived in California for work so wasn't able to attend any games but still watched and supported them. And before that I was a student that attended all the games. I even made the trip to the Orange Bowl. And I didn't fly, I drove. Also, you look like an ignorant a-hole right now. Move along.

Bradly Moore 2 weeks, 5 days ago

I too am a season ticket holder. I take my wife and three kids to every game. We are out there supporting our players and coaches. I am confident that HCDB will make the necessary changes after the season. We are very very young. We are still 15-20 scholarship players short. Things will turn around. Our players and coaches have made a commitment to our beloved university. Let's make a commitment to them.

Bryce Landon 2 weeks, 5 days ago

David Beaty's name is now on a list of coaches "on the hot seat" from CBSSports.com. On a scale of 0 to 5, Beaty has a 4 rating, as in "Start Improving Immediately". HCDB began the season with a 1 rating, as in "Safe And Secure".

https://www.cbssports.com/college-football/news/2017-college-football-hot-seat-rankings-15-coaches-who-should-now-be-nervous/

Chris Bailey 2 weeks, 4 days ago

A certain Art Briles is looking for a job! Perhaps we could entice him to resurrect his career at Kansas. I mean let's face it Baylor wasn't a destination school when he took over there.

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