Circle Rutgers as potential victory for Kansas football
Doug Meacham became the Kansas football team’s seventh offensive coordinator in eight seasons at the start of 2017, one of the more disturbing of many signs of instability in the program.
Amazingly though, KU hasn’t had the most turnover at the OC spot, even though two head coaches, Charlie Weis and David Beaty, hired and fired themselves as offensive coordinators.
A school on KU’s 2018 schedule has had even more turnover.
John McNulty, back at Rutgers after spending nine seasons working in the NFL, is the school’s ninth offensive coordinator in nine seasons.
McNulty had a successful run as OC at Rutgers under Greg Schiano, but he doesn’t inherit the sort of talent he worked with during those glory years.
Rutgers visits David Booth Kansas Memorial Stadium for an 11 a.m. kickoff Sept. 15. For a number of reasons, this qualifies as a realistic shot for Kansas to land its first nonconference victory vs. an FBS school, if it doesn’t already happen the previous week at Central Michigan.
Kansas ranked 118th in the nation among 130 schools in total offense with 329 yards per game in 2017. Rutgers ranked 129th with 262.7 yards. KU was 120th with 18.7 points per game. RU checked in at 121st with 18 points a game. The Jayhawks had six more turnovers than the Scarlet Knights.
Quarterback play was a problem in 2017 for Rutgers, which scored big on the recruiting front. True freshman Artur Sitkowski graduated high school a semester early so that he could compete for the starting job and generated a great deal of excitement with an impressive spring game.
A three-star, 6-foot-5, 205-pound pro-style quarterback from Old Bridge, N.J., originally committed to University of Miami but changed his mind.
Jerry Kill, who retired after one season as OC at Rutgers, did a terrific job in convincing Sitkowski to come back home to New Jersey after spending a year at IMG Academy in Florida.
Nobody disputes that Sitkowski is the most talented QB on the Rutgers roster, but head coach Chris Ash has not yet named him the starter.
If Sitkowski does win the job, facing a quarterback in his third collegiate game, even a talented quarterback, isn’t such a bad thing. An experienced Kansas defense might be able to confuse him and/or hurry him into making mistakes.
Plus, the Scarlet Knights play Ohio State the week before visiting Kansas, so they’re liable to come into town with plenty of aches and pains.
The schools last played in Beaty's first season, when Rutgers own at home, 27-14.
In keeping with the tradition of a KU sports fan who circles potential victories for the football team and potential losses for the basketball team on pocket schedules, circle Rutgers, even though the Scarlet Knights won three Big Ten games last season.
Also, be prepared to win a trivia contest should you be asked to name all of the offensive coordinators at Kansas and Rutgers since the start of the 2010 season.
Rutgers: Kirk Ciarrocca, Frank Cignetti, Dave Brock, Ron Prince, Ralph Friedgen, Ben McDaniels, Drew Mehringer, Kill, McNulty.
Kansas: Chuck Long, Weis, John Reagan, Eric Kiesau, Rob Likens, Beaty, Meacham.