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Tuesday, October 5, 2021

Irregular production has KU football offense ranked 100th or worse in a number of key categories

Kansas quarterback Jason Bean (17) scrambles up field during the first half of an NCAA college football game against Iowa State, Saturday, Oct. 2, 2021, in Ames, Iowa. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)

Kansas quarterback Jason Bean (17) scrambles up field during the first half of an NCAA college football game against Iowa State, Saturday, Oct. 2, 2021, in Ames, Iowa. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)

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Though some Kansas football skill players have delivered highlight catches, throws and runs here and there for the Jayhawks early on this season, there haven’t been enough chunk yardage plays to make the offense productive.

Five games into Year 1 of head coach Lance Leipold’s rebuilding project, KU is averaging only 17.2 points per game, which ranks 120th out of 130 FBS teams.

The spikes — such as a 33-point, 530-yard outing for KU at Duke — show flashes of the Jayhawks’ potential, but so far KU’s offense is experiencing more crashes and inconsistencies. As a result, many of KU’s statistical measurements have fallen short of where Leipold and offensive coordinator Andy Kotelnicki would like them to be.

With the help of quarterback Jason Bean’s legs, KU’s rushing attack hasn’t been awful through five games. The Jayhawks entered their bye week averaging 149 rushing yards per game (tied for 80th in FBS).

But their passing offense, averaging 181.6 yards per game thus far, ranks 113th nationally.

The week before a 59-7 blowout loss at Iowa State, KU had its best offensive showing of the season in a 52-33 defeat at Duke. When the Jayhawks were at their best, Leipold pointed out recently, they were getting big plays out of a number of individuals, such as Bean, running backs Devin Neal and Torry Locklin, and receivers Trevor Wilson and Kwamie Lassiter II.

“Now it’s not one dimensional,” Leipold said. “It’s not one person we’re putting this all on. Hopefully as we build this program and this offense, we’re going to have different people to go to and utilize and build confidence in. And then they feel confident about it.”

Similar to some of the challenges KU’s coaches have encountered with members of the defense, Leipold said, the less experienced players need to go through successful situations on game days to build their confidence.

As the belief grows for the offense, Leipold thinks the Jayhawks will be able to take more shots downfield and become more explosive.

“We’ve got to be able to generate more of those (big plays),” he said.

Here’s a look at where the KU offense currently ranks among the 130 FBS teams in some key statistical categories.

KU football’s 2021 offensive stats (through Week 5)

Scoring offense: 17.2 points per game (tied-120th)

Rushing offense: 149 rushing yards per game (tied-80th); 3.8 yards per carry (85th)

Passing offense: 181.6 passing yards per game (113th); 7.1 yards per attempt (tied-86th); 122.48 passing efficiency rating (99th)

Total offense: 330.6 yards per game (113th); 5.1 yards per play (tied-101st)

Sacks allowed: 1.6 per game (tied-36th)

Tackles for loss allowed: 6.8 per game (99th)

Turnovers lost: 5 (tied-32nd)

Fumbles lost: 2 (tied-30th); fumbles lost percentage of 40% (tied-48th)

Interceptions lost: 3 (tied-45th)

3rd downs: Converting on 31.94% (23 of 72) chances (111th)

4th downs: Converting on 21.43% (3 of 14) chances (tied-121st)

Red zone offense: Scored on 56.25% (tied-129th) of red zone trips (9 of 16; 7 TDs, 2 FGs); red zone TD percentage of 43.75% (tied-118th)

Long scrimmage plays: 55 plays of 10-plus yards (tied-112th); 19 plays of 20-plus yards (tied-92nd); 10 plays of 30-plus yards (tied-61st)

Long rushing plays: 21 plays of 10-plus yards (tied-82nd); 7 plays of 20-plus yards (tied-46th); 4 plays of 30-plus yards (tied-24th)

Long passing plays: 34 plays of 10-plus yards (tied-102nd); 12 plays of 20-plus yards (tied-97th); 6 plays of 30-plus yards (tied-80th)

— Statistics from CFBstats.com

Comments

Rodney Schulz 2 weeks, 6 days ago

Good job on the statistics. We really need to face the fact that a complete boneheaded chancellorFired mart Mangino a number of years ago and that reflects the complete ignorance of the university’s management as a whole. It was a complete bunch of idiots who put that chancellor in place and who put the various athletic directors and coaches in place that ran such a poor program. One truly needs to question the viability of the university as a whole and whether or not it is an asset to Kansas taxpayers. When you look at the cost of the university compared to the income of a small town Kansas family the university really is doing a disservice to the Kansas taxpayers. Although the school has an excellent basketball tradition and it is competent academically, you really need to question the value of the university to the state. The football program is just evidence of gross disservice.

Layne Pierce 2 weeks, 6 days ago

Rodney

Would you have said the same thing all the years that KState was horrible?

RCJH

Jim Stauffer 2 weeks, 6 days ago

Benton, I am a bit lost in the stats. The long scrimmage plays, running and passing indicate we are better the longer the play. Is that true or do I misunderstand the higher ranking on the longer plays?

Charlie Gaughn 2 weeks, 6 days ago

While we're talking stats here's some more. Since KU has had a football program the most dismal 10 year stretch occurred (you guessed it) between 2011 and 2020 with a total of 18 wins. Even more discouraging is that the most successful 10 year period occurred between 1902 and 1911 with a total of 69 wins playing only 85 games. Comparing this to our friends down the road to the west, their worst 10 year stretch was between 1943 and 1952 with only 10 wins. However, under Snyder they snagged 100 wins between 1994 and 2003. Pretty meaningless statistics other than you can say that historically we can't expect much.

The total demise of this program occurred with the hiring of Charlie Weis as he chased off 29 scholarship players to bring in his "Cavalry" of juco and graduate transfers. That turned into disaster and we've never recovered from a numbers standpoint. Now with the transfer portal and new redshirt rules it's that much tougher if not impossible.

I like what I've seen out of Leipold. It's going to take a lot of committed "diamonds in the rough" and player development to get this program turned around. Jason Bean appears to have stepped in nicely at QB. Can any one tell me how many years of eligibility he has left? I've heard two and I've heard three including this year.

Layne Pierce 2 weeks, 6 days ago

Charlie

I believe that we have everything we need to be successful, except an adequate offensive line, and depth on the defensive line. In other words, linemen, linemen, linemen.

Forget the qb, even there we have 3 people who could do the job.

Maybe we should recruit 3/4 lineman, if we can even get that many to come.

RCJH

Dirk Medema 2 weeks, 6 days ago

Layne - Looking back at recruiting classes, the ‘17, ‘18, and ‘19 either included very few OL, or retained very few. I think we got and retained 5 in 2020, but you are absolutely right that we have a big hole where we need a foundation. I don’t think it’s quite as drastic for the DL, but it is just as important.

Because there are 11x2+2 positions, and recruiting class have about the same # of openings, a balanced recruiting class would have 5 OL, 1QB, 1or 2 RBs, 3-4 WRs, 4 DL, …

It gets imbalanced when we whiff as noted above.

Dirk Medema 2 weeks, 6 days ago

Jim - Good observation on the long plays. I think what it indicates isn’t so much that we are better at long plays as it indicates that the other numbers are propped up by those long plays. It means that we aren’t getting the consistent drive sustaining plays, which results in the other stats being so low.

Consider a scenario where you get a 30 yd play followed by 3 plays of 0 yds. The average is great, 7.5 ypp, but the drive ends and we’re back on D. As an alternative, if the O consistently get 4 or more ypp, then we’re still on the field and scoring pts even though the ypp is worse.

There could be other factors in play, but I’m reminded of a comment from Carter Stanley in the middle of his one really successful year. He said that everything changed for him during the last summer when he stopped trying for a home run on every play and instead made yardage plays to keep the drive alive.

Maybe the coaches saw some of that mental tendency during camp, because they commented more than once prior to the season about wanting the players to be consistently good vs occasionally spectacular.

Dirk Medema 2 weeks, 6 days ago

It’s good to remember that Duke was by far the second worst opponent on our schedule, so those results are likely the statistical outlier and not a reasonable expectation. It’s likely a long year with little signs of progress. What the team needs is for fans to stay supportive of the process they’re going through to get better. (Hat tip in your direction Matt.)

Layne Pierce 2 weeks, 5 days ago

Totally agree Dirk, With the caveat, that we should be able to see signs of progress. We cannot lose as we always lose and say that we see improvement. We should begin to be in games longer, and we should see the offensive line have at least some moments of performance. Duke was a total embarassment because they are hardly a juggernaut.

RCJH

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