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Monday Rewind - Texas Tech: KU O-Line in need of drastic improvement

The natives certainly became restless after Saturday's 54-16 slamming by 20th-ranked Texas Tech, and who could blame them?

What started in fantastic fashion and, at least for a bit, looked like it could bring an end to KU's 21-game Big 12 losing skid, quickly began to look a lot more like the embarrassments of the Turner Gill era than the handful of encouraging efforts Weis and the Jayhawks showed in 2012.

When thinking back about this game and, really, the entire season thus far, there are plenty of things that pop up in the suddenly stacked column of issues plaguing the Jayhawks.

But for my money, the one area of weakness that stands out above all others — and I don't think it's even close — is the sub-par play of the offensive line, which not only has struggled with to knock people off the ball but also can't seem to find any consistency both in terms of who's in the lineup and the performances they deliver from game to game, quarter to quarter, even play to play.

While talking to tight end Jimmay Mundine after Saturday's loss, I asked him if he thought we were all guilty of taking for granted just how good last year's line was. It's been well documented by now just how much experience Tanner Hawkinson, Duane Zlatnik and Trevor Marrongelli had logged in their KU careers. But maybe we focused too much on their years of service and overlooked their ability.

I know I'm guilty of that. I thought, with the size of attitude of these new guys the Jayhawks had brought in, it was merely a matter of them learning the offense and getting comfortable with one another and then the KU ground game could pick up where it left off, perhaps even be better.

Oops. Way off.

Not only has the play of the O-Line dropped off from last year, but the ground game has suffered, too. And worse than KU no longer having complete confidence that it can run the ball against anybody is the fact that the Jayhawks' opponents now think they can't at the same time. Yikes.

So here's the million-dollar question: What can the Jayhawks do about their O-Line issue? The answer will not be easy to find, but somebody has to find it, and quick, or else the next eight Saturdays are going to look awfully similar to the last one.

I've had plenty of conversations with people about this since Saturday's game — even threw out a few thoughts on Twitter — and I stand by my theory: If the line can't perform any better than it has, the play-calling hardly matters. I mean, what plays can you call that work when the line doesn't block?

The only ones I can think of are the ones we saw early in Saturday's loss to Texas Tech and late in the victory over Louisiana Tech. The ones where quarterback Jake Heaps was throwing a pass just milliseconds after receiving the snap. That takes the pressure off of the line, which is good, but it puts the pressure on Heaps and his receivers to be perfect and in sync, which hasn't exactly gone swimmingly so far this season either. Still, if it's me making the decisions, I'd rather have the onus on Heaps to make plays than ask the line to hold up.

Weis said on this morning's Big 12 football coaches teleconference that some serious changes were coming to the depth chart this week — we'll get a copy Tuesday — and he also indicated that the O-Line could look drastically different.

From what I could gather, it sounds like IQ and understanding the looks from opposing defenses has as much to do with the line's struggles as anything. Therefore, it stands to reason that, at least for this week, Weis will be plugging in the smartest guys he has up front to see if that helps.

Of course, the possibility exists that these guys can and will improve. Guards Mike Smithburg and Ngalu Fusimalohi are new to the Big 12 and have had several good moments so far. Plus, they've got the mindset you're looking for — the kind that says, 'Yeah, I want to kick your butt and I don't care if I break my nose doing it.' KU needs more of that. KU needs more of that at every position, but the Jayhawks could especially use more of it in the trenches.

The opportunity is there for someone or some guys to step up. I don't care if your name is Gavin Howard or Riley Spencer and you're a senior who's been around a while and fallen down the depth chart, or if you're a true freshman like Joey Bloomfield, who ranks near the top of the roster on the list of guys who are excited to be here and would probably do anything for this program. The opportunity is there for guys to prove they can play mean, nasty, tough football. Heck, if I'm a defensive lineman who isn't playing much, I'd ask for a meeting with the coaches to see if I could switch positions. That worked out OK for Hawkinson.

Oops. There I go again, assuming anybody can do what Tanner did. That's my bad. I now know it's not that easy.

But getting angry, having some pride and playing a little pissed off is something anybody can do.

The question is, will they?

;

Comments

gorilla10 11 months, 2 weeks ago

Matt, I know the line isn't doing its job but it didn't look bad in the first quarter. I think you're right though. This football team needs more physical and mental toughness all around. That might be the toughest thing to "teach" these players especially in this program that has been down for quite some time. The ability to face adversity during a game also stands out to me. If one thing goes wrong, it all goes wrong and I've seen it happen to KU far too many times. Remember the 17-0 lead we had against Tech a few years back? That one I will always remember. Anyways, I think we need to be smarter and a lot tougher all over the field. I don't believe that our talent is that far behind some of these other Big12, yes Big12 programs. Tech had a great team last year and excellent qb yet we took them to overtime with a one dimensional offense because they could EXECUTE!!! Take Kstate for instance, they have mental toughness and can face adversity during a game. 5 turnovers and terrible qb play and they still almost upset OSU on the road. Weis has a tough job to try and turn this attitude around at KU but I still believe in these players AND coaches and hope they get it turned around. My two cents for the day! ROCK CHALK!!!

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Matt Tait 11 months, 2 weeks ago

Well said. Maybe I'm being a tad hard on the O-Line, but it's gotta start somewhere. And they've been a huge reason for the struggles on offense the past three games.

It's kind of like a snowball effect, you know. If they can get one area fixed (in this case the OL) then that will allow them to fix another and another and another.

If they can't, dig in for another long season.

I don't understand the "fans" that seem to take joy in trashing this team, though. Makes no sense to me. It's still your school, these guys and the coaches are trying... You don't have to like what's happening or like what you see, but to take pleasure in tearing them apart just seems strange to me.

To each his own, though.

(and I realize you weren't doing this, gorilla, just kind of came out)

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gorilla10 11 months, 2 weeks ago

Couldn't agree more! The players and coaches are working harder than any of us to get this program turned around. I struggle to look at anything beyond midway through the 3rd quarter of Saturday's game as a reflection of where we are at as a football team. As I sat and watched Tech pick up a 3rd and 14 backed up inside the 20 I knew that could be a turning point, and unfortunately it was. Also, bringing in Cummings when we had them off gaurd with Heaps hurt as well. This game would've been totally different if a couple of those stops and plays were made. That's exactly why Weis has a tough job. We can't get down on ourselves when something doesn't go our way. When faced with those situations a player needs to step up and make things go our way! That's when we will turn the quarter and win again!!!

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Brad Farha 11 months, 2 weeks ago

@Matt -- best use of "quotes" around a term, ever. They are not fans, and they drive me nuts.

Someone (Coach?) made a comment on another article that people who stayed until the end of the game should get hazard pay. I don't want hazard pay, I want more fans to stay and cheer on the team, even when it's bad.

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Titus Canby 11 months, 2 weeks ago

It's easy to be a KU basketball fan. But it says quite a bit more about your loyalty to be a KU football fan. Those who go to the football games - and support the team win or lose - are the real fans.

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Doug Cramer 11 months, 2 weeks ago

Gorilla - Mental toughness is certainly an issue that can be improved. But I disagree with our talent level being of Big 12 caliber. Secondary and skill positions are Big 12 talent...but not either side of the lines.

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gorilla10 11 months, 2 weeks ago

In no way did I mean at every position! Sure, we're weak in some areas but I believe this years talent is much improved from the last three years and is in no way as far off as some people believe it is.....That game on Saturday was about execution and mental toughness. Our guys are much better than that second half displayed!

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Ethan Berger 11 months, 2 weeks ago

I do disagree about talent. For the offensive side of the ball and defensive line. I like Jake heaps so I don't think he is much of an issue right now. We have a stacked backfield of running backs. But when it comes to Big 12 you need three things QB, WR, and O line. From my seat on my chair on saturday our guys where making mistakes that have been taught since they were 7 years old in pee wee. If a wideout runs the wrong route or a o linemen misses an assignment, then we can point to coaching staff. But when receivers aren't coming to the ball and using their hands to catch, and D line men our getting under our o line men and pushing them back, it means we lack the players. Many basic mistakes were made. Weis does need to do much better but I fear that the Turner Gill era set us back more then we think.

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Rivethead 11 months, 2 weeks ago

But basics need to be be practiced too. That's my concern. I think the OL are spending so much time trying to learn all of Weis' complex formations and schemes that there isn't enough time for them to practice the basics.

You look at the scholarship offers our OL and DL guys got from other programs....it's clear they exhibited enough talent in HS and JUCO to be Big 12 talent. If they weren't then those other school wouldn't be offering too.

Put me down for one who doesn't think talent is our issue.

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Ethan Berger 11 months, 2 weeks ago

Basics should become instinct. For our guys to be big talent, the should have been heavily recruited by big 12 schools. One McCay can't even get on the feel. Many juco o line men who had to go that route because they weren't good enough. Receivers dropping balls at this level is a talent issue. So is creating space. Coaches should be better at teaching routes but if your not quick enough to get space then your not. And as of now only Parmelle has that quickness.

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namohcan_99 11 months, 2 weeks ago

If we are changing the line only now, we are done for this season. These things should have been solved prior to the start of the season. Apparently these things are either not showing up in practice or the staff is ignoring them in the hopes that suddenly everything clicks.

Is this the offensive genius that is Charlie Weis? Com'on. Maybe if Grunhard is in over his head, and I'm just speculating that he may be, wouldn't an Offensive Coordinator help, maybe someone who could also help coach the line? That's my suggestion on a fix. I know it won't happen until next year, now.

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TommieSmithElbow 11 months, 2 weeks ago

"If we are changing the line ONLY now . . . . "

What website have you been reading? The coaches have been displeased, modified, and changed the OL after every game so far. And yeah, it's definitely coaching (insert sarcasm font). They are coaching centers who amazingly get illegal procedure AND holding penalties, incorrect snap counts, and spray their hikes across the width of the field.

Matt nailed it on the head that this starts and rotates around the performance of the OL, and all of the creative play-calling in the world are just band-aids. Leach emphasized great linemen, and they are still reaping benefits because of their legacy of OL recruiting and red-shirting. As much as we hate to see it, it is going to take time and recruiting to overcome all of the damage done by the last 4 years of recruiting linemen, and then not fully developing them. It's ugly and brutal to watch at times, but it is a reality that we're just going to have to work through, regardless of who the Head Coach is, or who is calling plays. It's still better than the coaches (Gill) who act like "all is well."

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Mark Lindrud 11 months, 2 weeks ago

As someone who has coached before you almost always tinker with your team throughout the season unless you are blowing out teams by halftime. You see a weakness and you address it. You see players during camp and they can look really good, but sometimes they may not turn out to be gamers or they just are not ready yet to step up. We have had quite an influx of players, but some just may not be ready and yes if a guy is a senior then guess he never had it. I would say whatever change happens this time needs to be in place for a few weeks and possibly can rotate a few players here and there if continuity is still an issue. I am not one to keep rotating offensive lineman, but right now that maybe what is needed. By playing guys this year experience will be gained and as we all expected, this wasn't going to be a bowl season, but another year in the growth process. Are we going to take our lumps? Yes, and we already saw that, but we can't quit trying and fixing the issues so we can improve. I do agree an OC needs to be addressed in the offseason and someone who has complete control over the offense.

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jay_cheese 11 months, 2 weeks ago

Trying? That's what we need to be content with? Well excuse me but the bar was a touch bit higher 2 coaches ago. I'm not trying to tear down my alma mater or not support. I've never once personally attacked any of the kids that play. There have been a couple BAD coaching decisions made over the past 5 years (starting with letting MM go....). We can wait around and realize this or call it what it is today. Either way the current leadership is not showing any results but I will keep hoping they can win a game.

I believe another fitting cliche is the "Dutchman and the dike". Plug one hole or crack and another opens up....

You are a journalist, not a school cheerleader. Most adults can handle the results....no need to try and sugarcoat or label others that don't agree. I know how CW handles the media and I truly wouldn't want your job. Best of luck and let's hope this thing get turned around. No money left in the safe for football so be prepared to sit this stuff out for another few years....

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Matt Tait 11 months, 2 weeks ago

Long past sugar coating... Have you read my stories? I do my best to call it like I see it and, right now, it looks pretty rough. In the summer, that wasn't the case.

As for you knowing how Charlie Weis handles the media, he's been one of the best coaches I've ever covered and I'll tell you why: He's blunt, honest and fair with us just as he is with his players.

Good for you for not attacking the kids and mocking the program. I didn't say all fans were doing this but there are plenty out there who are and, sugar-coating or not, I'll never understand that.

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jay_cheese 11 months, 2 weeks ago

I agree. Fans need to support their team in thick and thin. But this situation is more challenging for a couple of reasons: -We did have a very successful coach recently -CW hasn't shown any prior success as a head coach I have no clue as to what motivates him as a coach or how he relates to our players. In my opinion, fan support shouldn't be the main reason we succeed or fail. Game play will be that reason. It does also all comes back to winning...win and you can tell the fans what to do anytime, lose and there should be much bigger things on the "to do" list than worrying about the fans. Anonymous forums aren't exactly bastions of responsible commenting either. Hope you don't expect much under these premises. Again, my hope is that our players do well and can win some games.

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TommySmithElbow 11 months, 2 weeks ago

Jay_Cheese: "We did have a very successful coach recently"

Enough about Mangino. Anyone who watched the last 7 games that year, and listened to all of the allegations, know that the person who destroyed themself as the KU coach was the man in the mirror.

Mangino was "a very successful coach recently" is like summing up legacies such as "O.J. Simpson was a great NFL and Heisman Trophy winning running back" (i.e. as long as you're willing to overlook the downside.)

P.S. Lance Armstrong was also a very successful Tour de France cyclist . . . . . A-Rod was a very prolific home run hitter . . . . . . Charles Manson was a frustrated musician . . . . Missouri looked good prior to March Madness . . . . . and let's not forget the charismatic leader who successfully led Germany out of economic recession in the 1930s and built them into a world superpower . . . . . .

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Lance Cheney 11 months, 2 weeks ago

Are you comparing Mangino to Hitler??? Why, I never! (Totally joking here, but somebody had to say it.)

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TommieSmithElbow 11 months, 2 weeks ago

Actually, I thought that comparing someone to the anti-Christ, Mizzou, is the worst thing you can say (laughing).

(And for all of the other posters, I wasn't comparing Mangino to anyone. I was just pointing out that the rapt fascination that people have with someone at the beginning can't make you blind to their serious, shall we call them "flaws", and their subsequent failures. I liked Mangino, thought Perkins was way out of line, but Mark's program had peaked and was spiraling down, and I think the recruiting abyss started in his last year or two. Same thing happened to Bill Snyder in his first term at K-State, but he folded, let Prince rebuild the recruiting, and then came back when the cupboard wasn't so bare. Maybe Mark would be successful after someone restocks the cupboard. Perhaps. Just a thought.)

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NebraskaJayhawk 11 months, 2 weeks ago

Sick as this may sound, all of those people you mentioned had great success at what they did. However, Mark Mangino was no Charles Manson nor Adolph Hitler. Good grief...

Also, I'd like to add that there was a lot more going into those 7 losses than the witch hunt that was insuing. Namely, the star QB had a groin injury that kept him performing the way he was capable of performing. And....our OL wasn't too good either!

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Brad Farha 11 months, 2 weeks ago

Exactly! Hate how people gloss over the fact that Reesing got hurt during the 5th win that season, and that took away his strengths.

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jay_cheese 11 months, 2 weeks ago

Did you just throw a Hitler parallel into my opinion of our football coach? I'm speechless at that. And as bad as your opinion is of MM at the end of his regime, it's still 10 times better than what we have today. I'm all about moving forward but that is exactly the problem I have. We're going the wrong direction.

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Rivethead 11 months, 2 weeks ago

"and listened to all of the allegations"

Funny. Your post makes it sound like you not only listened to those allegations, but BELIEVED them. Do you believe everything you hear?

FACT: we never heard Mangino's side of the story. FACT: we never will because his silence was confirmed with the non-disclosure agreement in his buyout.

Mangino did not destroy himself. A shady AD who used a public witch hunt and private players-only meetings did.

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Pbbut 11 months, 2 weeks ago

My definition of a "tough guy" is not someone who goes out and wins every fight, but goes out and fights anyway, knowing he might lose.
There are several issues with the line that can be taught in terms of technique and physical training, but the thing I never thought I'd see from a Weis/Grunhard line is not playing with an attitude and toughness, and that appears to be the case.

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Titus Canby 11 months, 2 weeks ago

Right with you Pbbut. I'm thinking of Cool Hand Luke.

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Stephan123 11 months, 2 weeks ago

Well written article that makes a valid point. The coaches are more than competent and given time they will improve this team to where it can compete. Recruiting may become more difficult with each embarrassing loss but it was also difficult starting from zero in the post Gill era. The O- line has not lived up to expectations but I see improvement in other units. Heaps is a good quarterback but maybe for this year we can use the backup QB and revert to the old "wishbone" offense and hope for the best.

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Matt Tait 11 months, 2 weeks ago

Still need the line to perform better to go that route. Trust me, Heaps isn't the problem. The players love the guy, they play hard for him and they respect and follow him as a leader.

Weis has said all along that the desired goal is to put the best players on the field and sitting Heaps to play Cummings would not be a step in that direction.

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Matt Tait 11 months, 2 weeks ago

That's why I said a "handful" of games... Nobody's glossing over anything or trying to pretend last year was great. But the fact that they were more competitive at times and had some close calls can't be disputed.

Either way, what happened in the past hardly matters now. That's yesterday and this team should be a lot more worried about tomorrow.

We'll see what happens.

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kujayhawk 11 months, 2 weeks ago

Playing "pissed off" does nothing in college. It's about being mentally tough and executing the play.

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Matt Tait 11 months, 2 weeks ago

Good point. Pride can certainly be a factor in those areas you're talking about, though, right?

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texashawk10 11 months, 2 weeks ago

Matt, any chance Weis just decides to start playing some of the younger OLinemen to start building their chemistry and getting them game experience for the future since the OLine can't really get much worse than it is now.

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Matt Tait 11 months, 2 weeks ago

I wouldn't rule anything out. I think the guys who work the hardest and show the most discipline from here on out will be the guys that play - regardless of size, experience, status, etc.

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Brad Farha 11 months, 2 weeks ago

It can get worse. If bad blocking drops down to almost no blocking, players can get hurt. With 8 games to go, I don't think you throw out the season to start prepping for next season. I don't think you ever do that -- I think you fight to win every game.

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nwhawk 11 months, 2 weeks ago

At what point does Weis need to admit that, despite his efforts with the offense, he needs some help? I don't doubt that Weis is giving it his all. But part of taking responsibility is admitting when you don't have the answers, and finding someone who does.

Weis took Dayne Crist, who was good enough that he competed for an NFL job, and coached him into the bottom of the QBR ratings. He's doing the same to former 5 star Jake Heaps. He's got a stable of running backs who everyone thought was among the best in the conference, and he's failed to put them in a position for success.

GET SOME HELP! GET AN OFFENSIVE COORDINATOR!

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DanR 11 months, 2 weeks ago

Yes. Get an offensive coordinator.

The constant finger-pointing at the offensive line has worn thin. They CAN function as a unit, as we saw in the first quarter last week and on a few steady drives against Rice. But, Weiss is constantly calling plays that put the line on their heels and eventually in impossible situations. He's constantly trying to outsmart the defenses which are not gambling at all. The stupid penalties are also a reflection on coaching.

And it's about time someone interviews Grunhard about all this, because--as a coach--he's sure not transferring his knowledge and experience to the players.

As for the constant experimentation, I find it impossible to believe they don't know who the best blockers are at this point.

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DanR 11 months, 2 weeks ago

Actually, I bet if you asked Grunhard (and he could reply honestly), he would say he put the smartest and best five linemen out there in the first game, and constantly screwing with the line chemistry is the worst thing to do.

OK, I was left guard, and I'm slightly biased.

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Lance Cheney 11 months, 2 weeks ago

To go along with nwhawk's comment above (I posted this on Jesse's article yesterday, and got no response, so hopefully Matt has an answer for us):

Matt, have any reporters (LJW or other writers) asked Weis at his press conferences about hiring an offensive coordinator? It seems like a question that gets asked on this site more and more every week, and I feel like it's one that needs to be asked to the man himself. I actually figured it would get asked Saturday, after that stinker of an offensive performance.

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nwhawk 11 months, 2 weeks ago

I'd be interested to know how many other college teams have a head coach that also operates as offensive coordinator. Seems pretty uncommon, and when things are uncommon, there's usually a reason. While Charlie has shown some maturation since the "decided schematic advantage" days, his insistence on remaining the head coach and offensive coordinator seems to suggest a pride or ego issue that remains as a hurdle to this program.

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Robert Brown 11 months, 2 weeks ago

Matt- Just curious, why do you refer to blow-outs during the Turner Gill era and while not acknowledging similar blow outs last year. The last two games last year against Iowa State and West Virginia were as bad as any during Gill's time and these were some of the worst teams in the conference.

There seems to be a lot of people who are giving this current staff a pass because of what they inherited from Turner Gill even though the cupboard was bare when Gill took over. I realize that Turner Gill was a bad hire, but continuing to bring him up seems to serve as an excuse for the unsatisfactory progress being made during the Weis regime.

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Matt Tait 11 months, 2 weeks ago

Fair question. And, as someone who has covered every minute of both of those eras, I can assure you the two were not the same, regardless of the score.

With the Gill era, it became historically bad performances stacked on top of each, with each new week bringing a new mark of record-setting futility. Although Weis' first squad was blown out a couple of times, it also sprinkled in some signs of encouragement and progress, which, to me, made the whole thing much better than what we saw with Gill.

Just think about the Oklahoma game last year. That was an absolute trouncing, yet the very next week KU came back home and nearly beat Texas.

I'm not seeing it's been pretty, but Gill's teams were historically bad and often appeared lost and like they had quit. Last Saturday and maybe West Virginia last year were the first times I saw that with Weis' teams.

Like I said, though, completely fair question. That's my answer.

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Robert Brown 11 months, 2 weeks ago

I appreciate your answer. As you mentioned you are around the team very day. I am fan who lives in Texas and do not see the behind the scenes so I always value your input.

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JayHawkFanToo 11 months, 2 weeks ago

By the time the last two games rolled in last year, the players were physically exhausted as the lack of depth kept the first string players longer than they should have.

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AZJHWK 11 months, 2 weeks ago

I agree with the need for an OC, few successful at being HC and OC, Gundy for example, he would be sitting with the QB while the defense was on the field. I don't agree with the musical chairs at O-line. Haven't the coaches had since spring to see who the best are? I always hear about chemistry and the O-line, there can't be any if there is always a new face or two. If you look at the Tech QB, he basically took the snap and threw the ball, of course his receivers were generally wide open. When he did hold the ball, we got pressure on him, but with the D-backs playing 5-10 yards off, he had a lot of easy completions. Heaps holds the ball, he even ran out of bounds for a loss a couple of times rather than throw it away, is that poor coaching or just panic? I'd prefer to see us focus on the run game, they say O linemen prefer to run block, try 2 tight ends and a fullback/Hback and take the air out of the ball.

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KGphoto 11 months, 2 weeks ago

I agree the OL has no chemistry, but they are also being physically dominated, individually.

That play by Heaps really pissed me off. Anytime somebody runs out of bounds for a loss it just blows me away. It shows their head isn’t in the game. That goes for the RB’s too. Throw it away and save the yards! That shouldn’t have to be coached. You should have learned that as a childhood fan of the game.

I think part of the problem is that Weis is panicking a little. He’s getting a little TOO fancy lately. The Cummings experiment seemed totally unnecessary last Saturday, However I’ll give Weis credit for finally passing out of the read option.

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DanR 11 months, 2 weeks ago

Two tight ends and a running back to block? Play action? WHhhaaaaaa? We need to keep those wide receivers on the field as decoys.

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KGphoto 11 months, 2 weeks ago

I feel bad for James Sims. Any chance he had of becoming the Jayhawks' all-time leading rusher flew out the window last week. I think he’ll be lucky if he gets into 3rd at this point.

Tell you one guy who’s probably glad he’s red-shirting. Taylor Cox.

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Phil Leister 11 months, 2 weeks ago

Glad someone else mentioned this. What was supposed to be our one strength, running, has completely been nullified. And here we all thought Sims could run for 1,000+ this year.

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KU 11 months, 2 weeks ago

Spread it. Four wide, one back. Use jet sweeps and play action/misdirection off of jet sweeps 2/3 of the time to keep the d-line and linebackers honest. Heaps needs to deliver the ball within 2 seconds to avoid the rush.

As bad as our offensive line play has been, the chances of success are better getting the ball quickly to the perimeter where it's 2-on-2 or 3-on-3 with skill position players. It's a much higher probability of breaking a play throwing the ball wide than handing off to a running back behind this line.

If Heaps is really a good QB, we need to lean on him to raise the level of play of those around him. That's what great QB's do. Reesing did it. I haven't seen anything out of Heaps to lead me to believe he is a great QB, but the chances of riding him to success are a lot greater than riding the offensive line to success.

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DanR 11 months, 2 weeks ago

Matt, I look forward to your analysis of the wide receiver situation and just maybe how their non-existence is affecting the performance of the offense and how defenses are stacking up against us.

Can't get open on a pass route over five yards, can't catch the ball, and they don't block downfield. The best quarterback and offensive line in the world can't make up for all of that.

Shuffling the depth chart on the offensive line isn't going to make a bit of difference.

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Cora Smith 11 months, 2 weeks ago

Mangino was able to win without All Americans on the offensive line because he had a mobile quarterback. Our line is not good enough to have a pocket passer as its' quarterback. Reesing was able to see the big picture all the time and nimble enough to keep going until someone got open. Heaps can not do that and we will have no success until we get the right quarterback who can take a beating. Winning will bring a better offensive line and allow us the luxury of a pocket passer.

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milehighhawk 11 months, 2 weeks ago

Anthony Collins wasn't too shabby.

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JayHawkFanToo 11 months, 2 weeks ago

On Mangino's best year, he had the benefit of playing only 8 conference games and none against the better south teams.

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Rivethead 11 months, 2 weeks ago

And Weis has the benefit of never having to face Texas A&M (which KU did in Mangino's best year). So what's you're point?

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KGphoto 11 months, 2 weeks ago

Maybe you should un-rivet and re-assess.; ) Weis’ schedule has been unimaginable. Mangino never... NEVER... faced anything like what Weis faced last year, and probably this year too.

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JayHawkFanToo 11 months, 2 weeks ago

You mean the Texas A&M that finished 7-6 and unranked? Maybe you should talk about the teams KU did not play:

Oklahoma 11-3 finished ranked 8.

Texas 10-3 finished ranked 10

Texas Tech. 9-4 finished ranked 22

Now, you were saying?

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shufly 11 months, 2 weeks ago

Rebuilding is a process, that's whats happening on Saturdays. We've come a long way from Gill's product. Mangino had a couple of years but the program was headed down. His best year was with two of the better OCs/DCs, a gem of a quarterback, another savior quarterback that converted to one of the best wide recievers and playing a novel offense (spread) that the powers hadn't recruited for. We got the quarterback because nobody was recruiting him, a fluke. The program slid down with the departure of coaches, recruiting and lack of flukes. Charlie is building the program (will succeed) but having difficulties doing a four year job in two. Rock Chalk

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Rivethead 11 months, 2 weeks ago

We have pretty good running backs. I think we can all agree with that.

Yet rarely do we use them. How many times during the Tech game did we go with empty backfield?

That makes no sense to me. Weis is purposely leaving some of his best players on the sidelines. Who would you rather have on the field: Sims or Embree? Miller or Coleman?

I can't think of a single play this season where we used a lead blocker (another RB or even our FB) for another RB.

While I agree we have issues with our OL, it's only a symptom of other issues.

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gorilla10 11 months, 2 weeks ago

The OL runs it all. Without them, the best running backs in the country are below average....

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KGphoto 11 months, 2 weeks ago

Agreed. We need a play action in the worst way. For the life in me I can’t figure out why we aren’t doing what the Pats do so well. Sell the play action.

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gorilla10 11 months, 2 weeks ago

Matt, this is off topic and I'm not sure whether you read this deep into the message boards but what do you think about scheduling? With such a struggling football program why aren't we scheduling three non-conference home games? This should be a no brainer if you ask me. 1. Builds confidence 2. Better bowl odds 3. MOMENTUM if we take care of business

Snyder took this approach for years and KU should be doing the same thing. I believe that confidence could take this team a loooong ways!!! Even though to most we're in the "cupcake" category but we need to be taking the "cupcake" non conference approach if you ask me.....

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Magicman76 11 months, 2 weeks ago

Matt, I enjoy reading your articles. I think you do a great job covering KU football. I agree with you that the play calling is not the problem. I've coached football for 30 years, half of it at the college level. I've been a huge KU fan for many years and would love to see them start winning. We have a lot of "fans" that are obviously ignorant when it comes to football and what it takes to win at this level. If any of you thought that Weis would have it turned around already, you were dreaming. Let the coaches do their jobs and try supporting the team. I'm sure that Weis and staff are 1000x the coaches that any of you are. I stayed at the game until the last snap Saturday and listened to all of the negative whining and griping. I hate losing too, but let Weis have a chance to get it turned around. Some of you, obviously, don't like Weis. At least support the program and the school. If you don't think we're making any progress from the Gill years, then you don't really watch the games. Do we still have a lot of problems? YES!!

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moose1 11 months, 2 weeks ago

Let me first say I am not impressed with what Weis has done as a coach. His play calling has been questionable at best over the course of his tenure here. Be that as it may I am not calling for him to get fired. I don't think the school can afford it. I am not saying that things would be turned around either. However, I am not seeing substantial improvement. The defense is a little better, but the offense is worse. It seems like KU is solving one side of a Rubics cube. They solve one side and then solve another, but mess up the side that was correct. Jay_Cheese talks about the Dutchman with his finger in the dike is very appropriate. I have and will never tear down the kids. I won't do the same to the coaches, but I do think it is more than ok to question what they are doing. I am and alum and I was in the stadium on Saturday, and it was painful to watch. It was like watching a loved one get beat up, and you can't do anything about it. I'll admit it I left early. I just couldn't take it anymore.

I guess my question is for the optimists commenting here, is what do you point to give me fans hope? Overall I don't see any net improvements to the program. I think KU is going to get blown out a number of times over the rest of the season. So what is the hope, and do NOT say time. I agree it takes time to totally rebuild a program, however it does not take that much time to see measurable improvement. Especially on offense where Coach Weis is supposed to be an expert. I'll ask it again what as KU fans do we place our hope on?

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Magicman76 11 months, 2 weeks ago

I think you place your hope in the direction the program is going. Players are going to class and getting their grades, a much better strength and conditioning program, players being held accountable for their actions on and off the field, and the coaching staff working hard at recruiting. It starts with the overall program. All of the teams that I coached, that were outstanding, had outstanding players. You have to coach them up, but the talent is there. While the talent level is getting better, we're still not close to being there at every position. The hardest thing for the coaches to do is getting the players to buy in and commit 100% through blind faith! The players have to believe that if they commit, this thing can turn around. I'm looking to see signs of improvement the rest of the season. It may not come in wins, but in overall execution. We can't afford penalties, turnovers, missed assignments, and lack of effort. I have faith that Weis will take care of that. I would hope to see much more improvement next year, with almost everyone coming back and some talented newcomers adding to the depth. Recruiting should be our number one priority for getting this program to where we all want it in the future.

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jay_cheese 11 months, 2 weeks ago

Matt Tait: Just wanted to wish you the best of luck covering the Jayhawks going forward. It appears the LJW has changed it's commenting policy and is now affiliating itself via Facebook. Best of luck getting all of those sophisticated facebook users for your new comment crowd. I'm still very dissappointed that you tried to label those that have different opinions as not fans. While I expect for you to hope for the best for school, please understand that not everybody sees things the same. The results (current and past) speak largely but I'm sure we all would agree it's one giant work in progress...just disagree on personnel, time, and leadership. Rockchalk

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