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Sunday, November 9, 2008

Keegan

Keegan: Huskers won this one on lines

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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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Reader poll

Who do you miss most from last year's Kansas football team?

  • Brandon McAnderson 8% 181 votes
  • Derek Fine 2% 49 votes
  • Aqib Talib 40% 896 votes
  • Bill Young 19% 422 votes
  • Marcus Henry 1% 24 votes
  • Anthony Collins 9% 215 votes
  • James McClinton 17% 384 votes
  • Cesar Rodriguez 1% 26 votes
  • Other 0% 17 votes

2214 total votes.

— Slammed to the ground for the second consecutive play, Kansas University quarterback Todd Reesing was pulled up by a teammate and slowly made his way off the field for the final time Saturday.

He tried to run to the sideline, but his body wouldn't cooperate, so he hobbled, a beaten man, roughed up from start to finish, still clever enough to make a game of it, but in the end, beaten by a better team.

The quarterback is the one who shows the bruises, but when that happens, it generally means the real beating took place in front of him.

Such was the case on another cold and gray day in Nebraska's Memorial Stadium, where Nebraska won, 45-35, by controlling the line of scrimmage on both sides and surviving its tendency to spit up the football.

Afterward, first-year Nebraska coach Bo Pelini marveled at Reesing's toughness and talent.

"I was taken aback by his size," Pelini said. "He's not the biggest guy in the world, but he has a huge heart. He's a playmaker, and the whole offense runs through him. He's a heck of a football player. I have a tremendous amount of respect for him."

Pelini is right about Reesing being a playmaker, and he's not the only big-time Big 12 offensive player on the Kansas roster. Reesing, Dezmon Briscoe (176 receiving yards), Kerry Meier and Jake Sharp all fit the description. All four players scored a touchdown, and so did Dexton Fields.

None of the five touchdowns came as the result of Kansas linemen blowing Nebraska's defenders off the ball. The touchdowns came as a result of clever play-calling, nifty footwork and flat-out speed. Finesse, yes. Physical domination, no.

The basic difference Saturday boiled down to one quarterback, Nebraska's Joe Ganz, having the time to wait comfortably for a play to unfold in front of him and the executing it, and the other quarterback having to make do with what little time he was given.

Too often, that has been the story in the year after Kansas won the Orange Bowl and finished with a 12-1 record. Mix in a secondary that is seldom at full strength and mighty shaky even when it is, and the result is a team that needs to pull off a major upset in one of its remaining two games (Texas, Missouri) to finish better than 6-6.

Nebraska's front four hasn't been able to bring consistent pressure this season, but had its way Saturday, sacking Reesing five times.

"We thought we could get after him up front," Pelini said. "They got after him and made him uncomfortable from start to finish."

The physical advantage was as obvious when Nebraska had the ball.

"They played awesome, awesome, awesome," Ganz said of his offensive line. "I'm going to have to take those guys out to dinner tomorrow night if my dad gives me the credit card tonight."

That will be a big bill. Nebraska has linemen with healthy appetites. Kansas needs more of those, but it's the toughest area for a program to upgrade its recruiting because unlike in the case of skill positions, instant playing time generally isn't realistic, so the recruits opt to build their big bodies and wait their turns at traditional powerhouses.

Comments

beebe1 13 years, 9 months ago

Nope. They won on our Defensive backs. Yeah, the line could do a little better. They probably would have, if the backs were playing their part. But they didn't score on every possession (but one?), on line play. If you look down and the receiver is past the 10 yd marker, they would try to tackle. Won't work. You have to account for all the eligible receivers. Our Defensive coordinator doesn't!

patton6 13 years, 9 months ago

You know less than nothing about football if you don't think Bowen "accounts for all eligible receivers." And I'll just leave it at that.

kranny 13 years, 9 months ago

Football games are won in the trenches. People can blame the coaches all they want but if you don't have talent or experience up front on the O-line and the D-line, you're not going to win games. With that said, KU is going to go through some interesting seasons this year and next year. They've got two freshman tackles and three senior interior lineman with a sophomore (Capra) gettin' playing time. Next year we'll have two experienced tackles but inexperienced interiors. A lot of our success will depend on everybody else's graduations. Anthony Collins' leaving early looms larger than we expected. I think you'll see Mangino and company hitting Texas very hard for those big linemen instead of recruiting guys who end up being conversions from one position to another.

KGphoto 13 years, 9 months ago

Keep in mind while you're wallowing. If Kansas turns out an incredible upset at home against a team they still want revenge on, and Nebraska loses one of it's last two games, KU will be playing Missouri at Arrowhead for the right to play in the Big XII championship. And a chance to go to a BCS bowl game. Those are the facts.I know the odds. But this is where the team stands statistically. They still have a chance at a BCS bowl game. And imagine if they caught fire and accomplished this. It would be an even greater story than last year.Keep hope alive. Beat Texas.

FlaHawk 13 years, 9 months ago

No matter how you place the blame 6-6 is the Hawks curse this year. Hopefully they can hold UT and MU below 120 (combied) in the last two games.

DerekR25 13 years, 9 months ago

No offense, but I really don't like the poll for this article. We can't control who we don't have on the team anymore. Our outlook for this season may not look too promising, but you never know. Like they say...That's why they play the game. I'd rather look forward, not back. I'm excited about our team going forward. We have a lot of talented kids on RS who can make an impact next season, and with all the freshmen getting playing time this year we'll be more experienced. This year has been kind of a trial by fire for a lot of our guys. I think we're also a lot better than we played Saturday. I think too many of our young guys played to their age against Nebraska. I'm ready to move on and get working on a way to get after the Longhorns.

JBurtin 13 years, 9 months ago

On the poll.It's a tough call, but Anthony Collins would make a ton of difference to this team.-Reesing's blindside would be better protected-Bigger holes for the run game-Tight end would be free to catch passes instead of helping with blocking-We could win the time of possession and limit the other team's number of possessions.-And most importantly. . . ENERGYThis team needs to stop worrying about winning or losing and start having fun out there. Work hard on every down and have some fun making big plays and the W's take care of themselves.Between having class clowns like Talib on defense and Collins on offense last year's team was always pumped up and having a good time on the field. Only when it came to the Missouri game did they start taking the game too seriously and they ended up playing like crap as a result. It's okay with me if we have some young guys that make mistakes, I just wish that we had somebody on this team that would remind them that this is a game.Come to think of it, our fanbase would do well to remember that as well.

Code_2008 13 years, 9 months ago

Actually, there's an article about a 3-way tie being possible if KU beats Texas...And if KU would happen to upset both Texas and Mizzou, they'd would jump high into the polls (sound familiar? - East Carolina) and over Mizzou as the 3-way tie would end up coming down to the BCS standings.Although, if that did happen... we would have to pray that Iowa wouldn't upset Mizzou or the North Title would go to Nebraska... Always fun to think of the scenarios like that. GO KU! Its time for a Kansas team to beat Texas once again (KSU simply passed the reins to us)

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