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Sunday, November 9, 2008

Kansas secondary takes a step back

Nebraska QB Ganz throws for 324 yards against beleaguered backfield

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2008 KU-Nebraska football

Podcast episode

Spodcasters

Spodcasters Postgame: Nebraska

The guys (Tom Keegan, Jesse Newell) tie up loose ends following the Jayhawks' 45-35 loss to Nebraska in Lincoln, Neb. The two discuss KU's disappointing play Saturday on the offensive and defensive lines and also wonder what changes are next with the Jayhawks' secondary. The two also discuss whether fans ...

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— Just a week after it seemed to have things figured out, Kansas University's football secondary looked young and confused once again in Saturday's 45-35 loss to Nebraska on Saturday at NU's Memorial Stadium.

The Jayhawks, after giving up just 207 passing yards the week before to Kansas State quarterback Josh Freeman, were torched for 324 yards by Nebraska quarterback Joe Ganz.

"(NU) played good enough to win the game, but at the same time, all of us feel like we let ourselves down," KU cornerback Justin Thornton said. "We felt like it was more that we made too many mistakes. You can't do that against a good team and quarterback like Joe Ganz."

Most alarming for KU were the blown coverages.

Often, NU receivers seemed to be running across the field without anyone around them.

One example was Chris Brooks' 25-yard touchdown catch in the second quarter on a third-and-10. After getting by the linebackers, he found a huge hole in the middle of KU's defense.

It was only the third catch of Brooks' career.

"We had a lot of coverage busts and mental mistakes, things you just can't have against good quarterbacks," Thornton said. "We've learned in the Big 12 you can't make mistakes like that because all the quarterbacks, most of them are good."

KU coach Mark Mangino also was disappointed with NU's last touchdown, a 14-yarder from Ganz to Nate Swift on a third-and-13.

On that play, KU's Anthony Davis was the only defender close, and he trailed Swift by a good five yards.

Mangino admitted after the game "that should not have happened."

"There's some young guys getting a baptismal. They're learning a trial by fire," Mangino said. "I guess that's the best way for it to happen sometimes."

KU's secondary was forced to field inexperienced players in the second half, as Daymond Patterson left the game due to an undisclosed injury. He did not return.

"Sometimes, grooming (players) on the practice field is not the same as playing in a game," Mangino said. "Some of those younger guys are getting repetitions and are getting beat on some plays, but we're going to live with it. It'll pay off for us."

Thornton refused to make injuries an excuse for the struggles in the secondary.

"We have guys that are capable of stepping in for whomever on defense," Thornton said. "When your number is called, you've got to be ready, and you've got to come out and make plays. That shouldn't have been a problem. A guy goes down, the next guy's got to be ready."

It won't get any easier for KU's pass defense. The Jayhawks will go against one of the leading Heisman candidates (Texas' Colt McCoy) and also a preseason Heisman favorite (Missouri's Chase Daniel) in their next two games.

"Guys are going to be focused because this one hurts a lot," Thornton said. "I think after a loss like this, guys are really going to get the picture."

Comments

Cora Smith 13 years, 8 months ago

Having a "freshman" defensive coordinator and freshmen Dbacks is a recipe for Deeesaster!

FlaHawk 13 years, 8 months ago

"There's some young guys getting a baptismal. They're learning a trial by fire," Mangino said. "I guess that's the best way for it to happen.Trial by fire or Dante Inferno? Not a real literary type, but KU defense is decccending raplidly to lower and lower levels.A QB that can not hit 80% completion rate and 400 yards against KU is not a Division I QB (IMHO)!KU zone coverage is pathetic and ou know they can not play man-to-man without getting torched.Colt McCoy and Chaz Daniels will have over 1,100 yards combined against KU and the Inferno goes deper.Maybe Johnny Cash's Ring of Fire is a more modern metaphor for Hawks pass deense.

flouis 13 years, 8 months ago

Sparko, I am going to have to disagree. We have NO CHANCE of winning out. If our defense couldn't hold it's own against Nebraska it is going to get torn to shreds by UT and MU.It's a shame that our defense is as pour as it is and I am still not sold on how switching up the d-backs in the middle of the season was going to help this years team. I think they could have waited till the off season. Instead I feel it cost us a shot at a bowl game. Remember 6-6 teams aren't guaranteed, think back two years ago.Needless to say, I am very disappointed in the results this team has produced and the decisions the coaching staff has made.

JBurtin 13 years, 8 months ago

If you do the math 6-6 should land us a bowl this year.That's part of the reason I defended Mangino so much in 2006. It was only the second time in Big Twelve history that 9 teams became eligable and somebody was going to be the odd man out.He did enough to get us a bowl game in a very young year. He just happened to draw the short straw.Only 4 teams will be eligable from the South this year. That leaves 4 openings for the North. Missouri, Kansas, and Nebraska are already qualified, Iowa State is out. That only leaves K-State and Colorado as possibilities, and we have a tie breaking victory over both of them.

Sparko 13 years, 8 months ago

Defensive coaching is a real issue, but wow, the Big XII may have as many as 6-7 NFL quarterbacks right now.. I have never seen the like. Tebow would be a lower tier quality Big XII QB. Not sure where all the talent came from, but they don't miss often. Harrell dismantled a great OSU defense yesterday. Anyway: Ganz' arm strength is tremendous. Playing the Huskers in Lincoln will never be a joy, but they are a tremendous offensive football team. The Big XII is budgeted for football. Kansas can still win out--home and Arrowhead can't hurt. This is a great Big XII, and we shouldn't kid ourselves. This isn't like losing to Iowa or Oregon State. . .

brighthawk02 13 years, 8 months ago

I would like for someone to explain to me how Nate Swift is able to run uncovered across the middle of the field 5 times. This cannot simply be a bad coverage call or poor coaching, these players are making mistakes that they should have stopped making in high school. Harris starring in the backfield as his man is running wide open toward the endzone at the end of the first half was pathetic. Of course that was only one of 50 mental mistakes we committed during this game, and I am not including the missed tackles as mental errors because then we would be over 100.I was really disappointed that we showed so little passion in this game. Last week we came out and hit everyone like we wanted to knock their teeth out. This week we looked way to timid, almost like we were waiting for them to come after us.

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