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Khalil Herbert continues to handle reduced role

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Kansas quarterback Peyton Bender (7) hands off to running back Khalil Herbert (10) during the first quarter of an NCAA college football game in Lawrence, Kan., Saturday, Sept. 1, 2018. (AP Photo/Reed Hoffmann

Kansas quarterback Peyton Bender (7) hands off to running back Khalil Herbert (10) during the first quarter of an NCAA college football game in Lawrence, Kan., Saturday, Sept. 1, 2018. (AP Photo/Reed Hoffmann

University of Kansas head coach David Beaty would like to get junior running back Khalil Herbert more involved going forward.

It was always going to be tough to get touches, given the quality depth at the running back position. Yet Herbert’s minimal involvement through the early part of the season is especially peculiar after his performance last year.

Beaty, though, believes that will change if the Jayhawks can sustain longer drives.

“I would like to see all of them get more carries,” Beaty said. “It’s not as easy as just saying, well, we should have gave it to Khalil three times this series. You’ve got to string plays together to be able to get more touches for everyone.”

Kansas ran a season-low 55 plays in its 26-7 loss at Baylor in the conference opener last weekend. It marked the lowest number of plays in one game since the Jayhawks ran 49 in their 43-0 loss at TCU in 2017.

Kansas averaged nearly 71 plays per game in 2017 and recorded a clip of 71.66 plays per contest in nonconference play this year. In fact, the Jayhawks have only had three games where they recorded 55 or fewer plays in the Beaty era.

Herbert finished with six yards on two carries against the Bears.

“Offensively, we just didn’t execute well enough,” Herbert said. “We didn’t really have a chance for a lot of us to touch the ball. If we execute, I feel like that will sort itself out.”

For the season, Herbert has just 25 carries and has generated 160 yards and one score. He’s also added five receptions for 24 yards. Over the past two weeks, however, Herbert has handled just four carries and two receptions.

After missing the season opener, freshman Pooka Williams has dominated a large share of the backfield touches. Despite playing one less game, Williams leads the team with 47 attempts for 377 yards and three touchdowns.

It’s no secret that Williams is the team’s most talented back, though both Herbert and Dom Williams have proved they're capable of making an impact, as well. Last season, Herbert was given 31 percent of the team’s carries compared to his 16.2 percent share this year.

“I just try to help my team out anyway I can,” Herbert said. “Whenever I get in the opportunity in the run game, I can do a lot of things to help the team out.”

Herbert has made the most of his limited work. He’s produced two runs that have gone for 20 or more yards, one being a 59-yard touchdown run against Rutgers.

But Herbert might just be the type of player that can improve as the game goes along, so he can wear down a defense. After all, Herbert carried the ball 36 times during his 291-yard performance against West Virginia last year.

Perhaps Herbert will get another chance to showcase that, if Kansas can find a way to stay on the field.

“We’ve got to be more productive offensively,” Beaty said. “We’ve got to go get the ball in the end zone, and we’ve got to continue to work, and we’ve got to create a way to get our playmakers the ball in space a little bit more than we did.”

Comments

Jeff Kallmeyer 2 months, 2 weeks ago

"Kansas ran a season-low 55 plays in its 26-7 loss at Baylor in the conference opener last weekend. It marked the lowest number of plays in one game since the Jayhawks ran 49 in their 43-0 loss atTCU, in 2017.

Kansas averaged nearly 71 plays per game in 2017 and recorded a clip of 71.66 plays per contest in nonconference play this year. In fact, the Jayhawks have only had three games where they recorded 55 or fewer plays in the Beaty era."

Pretty inept offense!

David Kemp 2 months, 2 weeks ago

I think we should worry less about how many plays we run as opposed to being more productive per play! Ball control and clock management are key when u r a lesser team. Use plays that open up the field and our talent

Danny Hernandez 2 months, 2 weeks ago

Can someone tell me who is the QB for tomorrow's game?

Randy Bombardier 2 months, 2 weeks ago

I'm with you Jeff. It is telling. We have three plays punt then they have eight plays and seven points. You do this over and over again and you're going to get very few plays and maybe a few points if we have several long plays in a row, good return, etc. Number of.plays and time of possession are very key.

David I disagree because Woody Hayes coached a dominant run game offense. His motto, "Three yards and a cloud of dust."

Of course he needed 3.4 yards but it makes a point.

Randy Bombardier 2 months, 2 weeks ago

On to the article. What a freaking waste of talent...across the board really. If Snyder had our talent he'd win a national championship.

We can't develop players, we don't know how to use them, we can't game plan, we can't manage a game. Have I missed Anything?

You use Herbert and others to set up Pooka. You see what the defense is doing (hopefully someone who can actually see that) and call the appropriate plays. You use Pooka for bait, for misdirection, in space, quick pitch, reverse, faux reverse, then you switch up these roles. Good grief. When Pooka is in, he must not be in a single back set. Period. Never. It won't work.

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