Jayhawks already trying to implement changes to their offense
Tuesday night, after a 10-point loss at Texas, Kansas coach Bill Self promised that he would do more to help fix KU’s struggling offense.
It remains to be seen how well the buttons he pushes work on game day, but the work definitely has begun.
Freshmen guards Devon Dotson and Ochai Agbaji on Friday briefly explained the things the Jayhawks have emphasized during the film sessions and practice time since the Texas loss. And, according to Dotson, the new mentality has a lot to do with attacking quicker and more often.
“He’s just made some tweaks in the offense, just getting right into things sooner and just getting more aggressive with things,” Dotson explained. “Changing some sets here and there. Just tweaking it to make it better.”
As the team’s point guard, Dotson said he thought a lot of the initiation of the new offense would fall on his shoulders and he added that overall leadership was another popular topic this week.
“That’s something that this team needs right now and we just keep working at it and leading each other in the right direction and helping each other out.”
Changing things on the fly, whether it’s the offense or the voice, or voices, leading a team, can be difficult. And, from the sound of things, that has held true for the Jayhawks this week.
“Practice yesterday was kind of a struggle,” Agbaji said before Friday’s practice. “But today we’re going to come in with positive attitudes. I know everybody’s just going to lift each other up.”
Asked to explain why, or how, things were off during Thursday’s practice, Agbaji pointed to energy as much as anything.
“Things weren’t really going offensively,” he said. “Nobody was really up. There was no emotion. We were kind of flat yesterday. We’re going to figure it out today, though.”
Asked for his assessment of his team's Thursday practice, Self said simply, "It was fine."
"I don’t know if I’d say great, but it was fine," he added. "We put in some new stuff and some new wrinkles so yesterday was kind of a day where guys were trying to get comfortable, but it was fine.”
Before Thursday’s practice, during KU’s regular film session, Agbaji said the Jayhawks “fixed some of our offense,” and then tried to implement and execute the changes during practice.
“(To) make it more simple for Dedric (Lawson) to get touches because, obviously, he’s going to be getting a lot more attention as we move on throughout the Big 12 Conference,” Agbaji said.
Lawson, KU’s leading scorer and All-American candidate who currently averages 19.2 points and 10.9 rebounds per game, has struggled in the past two games.
Partly because of the defense played against him and partly because of the lack of offensive support from his teammates, Lawson has made just 11 of 33 shots in KU’s back-to-back losses while still finding a way to put up 33 total points and 22 rebounds in those setbacks.
While the offensive changes might take some time to fine-tune, Dotson said the team was trending toward getting over the rough 72-hour stretch in Kentucky and Texas.
"You know, that Tuesday loss (at Texas) hit kind of hard, but you’ve just got to forget about it and move forward to Texas Tech (3 p.m. Saturday at Allen Fieldhouse),” Dotson said. “I feel like we’re in a positive state. We know we have a big one Saturday. It’s a huge game for us and we’re just preparing this week for it and getting ready for it. (Thursday’s) practice, I feel like we were all pretty much together. We communicated. We just wanted to get better and I feel like this week should be a big week for us.”