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Friday, October 8, 2021

Everyone’s got to own it’: KU football looking for numerous improvements after bye week

Kansas head coach Lance Leipold reacts during the first half of an NCAA college football game against Duke in Durham, N.C., Saturday, Sept. 25, 2021. (AP Photo/Gerry Broome)

Kansas head coach Lance Leipold reacts during the first half of an NCAA college football game against Duke in Durham, N.C., Saturday, Sept. 25, 2021. (AP Photo/Gerry Broome)

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When his Kansas football team returns to competition on Oct. 16 after an open week on the schedule, head coach Lance Leipold expects to see in-game evidence that the Jayhawks maximized their extra practice time.

And Leipold will be looking for upgrades all over the field.

“The good and the bad of this is we have to improve in every area,” Leipold said of the Jayhawks, who entered their bye week on a four-game losing streak and fresh off a 52-point beating at Iowa State.

As Leipold brought up during his press conference this week, it’s not as if one side of the ball is playing “lights out” and the performances on the other side of the ball are holding KU (1-4 overall, 0-2 Big 12) back.

“There’s plenty of improvement to go around,” Leipold said. “And that can help during these type of times, because you can speak candidly and everyone’s got to own it in the locker room, which keeps the locker room together.”

The Jayhawks practiced Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday during their bye week, and Leipold said the coaching staff wanted to just “keep taking the right steps” with the players.

That’s been a key component of the process since Leipold and his staff got to KU after the conclusion of the program’s spring practices. And as they work their way through a challenging season for both the offense and defense, Leipold said the coaches aren’t looking for moral victories but are tracking progress in numerous facets of the program.

“I say it every week. There are areas of improvement happening. We had our fewest missed tackles,” Leipold noted of one aspect of KU’s loss at ISU. “Again, that doesn’t mean we’re not giving up big plays. And there’s certain things — we’ve got to defend the quarterback better and things like that.”

By the time the Jayhawks play again versus Texas Tech on Oct. 16, two weeks will have passed since their blowout loss at ISU. The extra days to prepare afforded KU the opportunity this week to get a head start on preparing for the Red Raiders (4-1, 1-1), who will face TCU on Saturday before making the trip to Lawrence next week.

During KU’s practices earlier this week, Leipold said players spent a decent amount of time with the offense facing the defense. Some team segments were similar to preseason camp, with rapid fire huddles to make sure more players got reps and younger players would have opportunities to be involved.

“A lot of positives for these three days of practice,” Leipold said, adding the players got Friday, Saturday and most of Sunday off once they were done with their Thursday requirements.

Leipold said he hoped the players would take advantage of that three-day break between practices to get better in every way they could, be that with their academics, watching video clips, putting in extra work on their own and/or finding time to get their bodies some rest.

“But hit the field Sunday night with great enthusiasm,” Leipold added.

Saturday plans

With no game this week, Leipold said his calendar got freed up to do something he usually doesn’t have as much time for on Saturdays in the fall: “I’m gonna be a dad and a husband,” he said.

The KU football coach said the Leipolds Saturday plans this week were to make a quick trip to watch his daughter, Lindsey, play volleyball.

This weekend is the only chance Leipold has this year to see one of his daughter’s games. Lindsey is a senior setter and libero at Stetson, in DeLand, Fla.

“It’s starting to hit me a little bit it might be the last time I get to see her play a sport competitively,” he said.

Much of the KU coaching staff, Leipold added, will be out recruiting on Saturday. The head coach was on the road doing the same earlier this week, and said he will be able to get away to do some more recruiting this coming week, as well.

Comments

Micky Baker 1 week, 5 days ago

It isn't breaking news that there can be a lot of improvements made with the current roster. We should at least be competitive Saturday against Texas Tech. We should be in the game during the 4th quarter by eliminating early mistakes like those made against Iowa state that let them run away with the game early. For example, QB runs ball holding ball with both hands and doesn't bounce the ball of his own thigh. If there is an open guy early, get rid of the ball, even if it is only for 5 or 6 yards on 1st or 2nd down. Nickel and dime the opponent if that's what they want to give up. Wear them down. Keep the defense fresh. If it's 3rd and short, do not try for the home run unless it is necessitated by the time left on the clock at the end of the half or game or there is a wide open guy down the field. I'm playing recliner QB for sure. With that said, We had some success moving the ball against ISU a couple of weeks ago, but we couldn't finish the drives and it led to a blowout loss. If we get 2 or 3 12 to 15 play drives that end up in TDs and 15 to 20 minutes off the clock in the first half Saturday, we'll have a chance to win.

Brian Wilson 1 week, 5 days ago

I understand your desire to tell the coaches what plays to run.....because I do too. There are plays and offensive systems designed to run out the clock and to compensate for not having as much athletic talent. I was hoping we might hire a coach that was going to install one of those systems. But that's not what happened and I have a feeling that Leipold and company are the real deal we just need to give them some time. At this point, I tell myself we just have to understand, KU had limited time to prepare in the offseason, and those plays are not really in Leipold's playbook, and running those plays is counter productive and takes away from running and learning plays that Coach Leipold intends to use in the future. So look, the season is done. This is good practice. We are not going to win this year. We might as well get as much practice and do as well and possible and try and win some practice games while learning our new play book and system. And fffffff, is it painful and ugly!!!

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