Improved Kansas secondary faces difficult test vs. Baylor receivers
The Kansas secondary played exceptionally well during the nonconference portion of the schedule.
The Jayhawks have allowed 5.1 yards per pass attempt, a figure that ranks them 11th nationally. They have allowed one touchdown pass and have seven interceptions, three returned for touchdowns.
You have to do a whole lot right to compile numbers that exceptional against any level of competition. Still, nobody is in denial that the defensive backs’ jobs are three days from becoming a great deal more difficult.
Nicholls State, Central Michigan and Rutgers all lack the same thing: A passing attack. The three schools have combined to throw five touchdown passes and 15 interceptions. Subtract the numbers against KU and it computes to four TD passes and eight picks. In contrast, Baylor has thrown six touchdown passes and two interceptions.
The Bears always flood the field with a blend of long, fast receivers and shorter, fleet receivers. Tennessee transfer Jalan Hurd, a converted running back, is 6-foot-4, 217 pounds. Junior Denzel Mims is 6-3, 208. Explosive freshman Tyquan Thornton is 6-3, 165, and Marques Jones is 6-2, 204. Chris Platt is only 5-11, but his speed makes him a deep threat as well. It will be interesting to see how true freshman cornerback Corione Harris, coming off an outstanding effort that included an interception vs. Rutgers, fares against Baylor’s size. At 6-1, 180, Harris has good size for a cornerback.
“I really like the Mims kid,” Kansas coach David Beaty said. “I think Mims is, I think he might be the best receiver in the league and there's a bunch of good ones in this league. … This league is full of terrific receivers. And it's hard to choose one. But Mims stands out to me. He's a playmaker. He's big. He's fast. He makes plays. I think he's got perfect size, good length. I know he didn't play last week, but competitors like that, you know they get well. He'll be out there Saturday, I'm sure.”
Beaty, who enjoys breaking down receivers, having played and coached the position for so many years, shared his thoughts on more than just Mims.
“They have the Jalen Hurd kid who transferred from Tennessee,” Beaty said. “He was a running back. He's reshaped his body. I think he's lost 20, 25 pounds, certainly looks like a wide receiver now. Has really worked on his craft. Possesses a lot of skill, a lot of skill. They hand him the ball off in the backfield a couple times and he can still certainly do that. He's got terrific vision.”
Beaty said of Platt: “I was hoping he'd graduate and move on. But he's still there. And he's a track guy that can really run and I've listened to Matt talk a lot about how unselfish he is.”
Baylor has had 19 passing plays of 20 yards or more, compared to just four for Kansas, which gets most of its explosive plays from its running game.
“They have the ability to make a big play at any time, but we're going to have to prepare well this week because I'm not sure we've seen a group of guys like this put together,” Beaty said. “This is a pretty strong group of wideouts.”