Monday, October 19, 2009

New faces impacting Jayhawks’ defense

Kansas University defenders Chris Harris and D.J. Beshears (20) celebrate a fumble recovery against Colorado on Oct. 17, 2009, in Boulder, Colo. Harris, a senior cornerback, is hoping to use his experience, 	dependability and passion to create a memorable final year on the football field in 2010.

Kansas University defenders Chris Harris and D.J. Beshears (20) celebrate a fumble recovery against Colorado on Oct. 17, 2009, in Boulder, Colo. Harris, a senior cornerback, is hoping to use his experience, dependability and passion to create a memorable final year on the football field in 2010.


Jayhawks drop first game of season

The Jayhawks couldn't come up with enough last-minute magic to complete the comeback against the Buffaloes in Boulder on Saturday. KU suffered its first loss of the season, falling to 1-1 in conference play.

Kansas University football coach Mark Mangino didn’t need to see much from a group of defensive newcomers to know that his team would be better off with them contributing.

Six players made their first defensive appearance of the season during Saturday’s 34-30 road loss to Colorado — including first-time starters John Williams (defensive tackle) and Lubbock Smith (safety) — and afterward, the coach seemed confident that each could play a prominent role going forward.

“I think it worked out pretty well,” said Mangino, whose team dropped seven spots to No. 24 in the Associated Press poll on Sunday. “We only had a week to practice. We moved some guys from offense to defense, plus the more experience they get, they’ll make that defense better. ... I’m very encouraged.”

In addition to Williams and Smith, senior Angus Quigley saw his first action of the season at linebacker, finishing with a tackle for loss, and transfer Quintin Woods played for the first time at defensive end, as well. True freshman receiver Bradley McDougald, who played both offense and defense in high school, played sparingly at defensive back.

Perhaps the biggest surprise, however, came in the promotion of cornerback D.J. Beshears, who became the fourth true freshman to see playing time this season when his red-shirt was burned against the Buffaloes.

Beshears, who’ll battle sophomore cornerback Daymond Patterson for playing time, had impressed coaches while working with the defensive scout team this season, and Mangino figured he could help a secondary that had yet to gain its footing throughout the first five games of the season.

“He’s like any other kid — if you ask them if they want to play, they tell you yeah,” Mangino said. “And I think he ... did help us a lot last night, and he’s going to play a significant amount the rest of the way through.”

Time will tell how beneficial the changes prove to be, but Saturday’s game represented a marked improvement over the team’s previous outing.

Kansas gave up just 322 yards of total offense to Colorado — compared to 512 yards against Iowa State two weeks ago — and held the Buffaloes to a single second-half touchdown after giving up three in the second quarter alone, though two of those came following Kansas turnovers that gave Colorado the ball inside the KU 5 yard line.

The mid-season defensive restructuring, meanwhile, called to mind last year’s overhaul, when the team greatly altered its secondary unit after a sub-par first half of the season.

“I’ve got total confidence in the adjustments of our coaches,” said senior safety Darrell Stuckey, who said the abrupt changes hadn’t led to any on-field confusion. “If they put a player out there, the player has the full ability to go out there and make plays in every way. When it comes to ... whoever is out there, they’re going to have my full confidence because I know they went through the whole week just like I did.”

And heading into the second half of a schedule that will get immensely more difficult, Mangino will take all the defensive help he can get.

“I’m pleased with the direction they’re going,” he said of the defensive newcomers. “(Some) didn’t get a whole lot of reps just because they’re kind of on a speed course, but I like what they did, and they’re going to play more and more at those positions.”


JayViking 12 years, 8 months ago

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troutsee 12 years, 8 months ago

I've always been a Thornton fan but Smith played very, very well. I am in favor of the changes. We definitely played better on the defensive side of the ball. Next year we will knock the stuffing out of Hansen. He's a little full of himself.

hawkson 12 years, 8 months ago

I'm a HUGE mangino fan, but I have to wonder about the coaching staff's ability to evaluate their talent once in the program. Did Bill Young have better talent or was he better at creating schemes to take advantage of the talent he had in '07? I'm sure its some of both, but the wholesale changes to the defense this deep into the season two years in a row have to make one wonder about Bowen et al. Looking forward to seeing progress against the Sooners.

Kevin Holt 12 years, 8 months ago

07 was better talent. Young was not necessarily a better schemer. Want proof? Look at 2003-2006.

63Jayhawk 12 years, 8 months ago

hawkson, Consider that Mangino has had a little more time to evaluate the players he moved into the defense since the season began. Additionally, all of the players have had a little more time to learn-particularly the freshman and offense to defense swaps.

Fred Davis 12 years, 8 months ago

The linebackers still aren't any good and this defense as a whole outside of Stuckey can't tackle. The defense improved some, and given that Hansen is light years better than Hawkins will ever be, KU hadn't seen any real film on this kid to know that he makes Colorado a much better team. CU has a stout defense and a solid running game, but their WRs are garbage, which won't be the case Saturday with OU. I still think the lack of speed at linbacker is killing this team. Until they stop rushing 3 and dropping the rest of Lawrence into coverage, we'll see more of what happened against CU. The defense is not totally to blame for Saturday's loss. Reesing looked awful until the last drive of the first half, the offensive line looked worse and I would've liked to have seen Opurum get more carries in the first half. I didn't see enough out of KU's makeshift defense to feel good about going against OU and slowing them down, regardless of who is at QB. Landry Jones can throw the football, and should have no problem doing so against KU. If the Hawks are going to pull off the upset Saturday, the offense will have to play the game of its life and the defense will need to create at least two turnovers and score points off both. It's time for Bowen to go the way of Nick Quartarro and take Bill Miller with him.

Beak 12 years, 8 months ago

CB Prinz Kande. Anyone know if he is redshirting... why no mention? I recall him being one of our top recruits.

Joe Baker 12 years, 8 months ago

I agree w/ FreddyD for the most part. I do believe the D will take some time to get even better. The linebackers really took a hit with the loss of key leaders in that group. But I still place much of the responsibility on Reesing and the O for most of the loss against CU.

I want way more Opurum, always have and always will!!! This will only make him better as he develops into his Soph and Junior seasons. I don't understand why ManG fails to utilize him. Sharp is good but obviously limited on certain plays. I agree with the last part. They better have a great plan and create some major turnovers.


NebraskaJayhawk 12 years, 8 months ago

Two things to win football games. Run the ball successfully and play good defense. We can't do either. Sure, you can win some games by throwing the ball for 450 yards, but you won't compete with the big boys until you can carry the rock and have a lot of speed on defense.

number1jayhawker 12 years, 8 months ago

Beak, Kande is a saftey. He will likely take Stuckey's place next year.

It's hard to give too much credit to the defense and it's changes, because CU only had to travel 4 yards to get 14 points. How many more yards would we have given up if we had punted or kicked off to CU on both of those occasions?

Larry Smith 12 years, 8 months ago


I think its easy to give credit to the defense. Colorado had 14 possesions. only 2 long sustained drives. 325 total yds. I think if we dont give them those short TD's. Our defense stops them on those drives as well.

Clarence Haynes 12 years, 8 months ago

What about freshmen Sellers and Young? They apparently have pretty good motors and I wonder if they can be utilized at linebacker and DE as KU did with Holt last year. Also, in both the ISU and CU games, no one shadowed the QB and they were able to gain yardage up the middle.

Christopher Hauser 12 years, 8 months ago

Statement: Colorado does not run a "spread offense." Opinion: Our defense looked better against Colorado. Question: What team does do a good job at stopping the spread offense? Question: Who is going to find a fool proof way to stop the spread offense?

I dont think anyone scheme wise has found a way to stop the spread offense. However, if you have top notch athletes that are able to tackle in space than you can contain the spread. When the top notch SEC teams have played top notch Big 12 teams, the SEC teams have for the most part been able to contain the spread (Ole Miss vs Tech). Do the SEC teams have better schemes than us, no. Do they have better athletes than us, could be. Are we ever going to compete with teams like Alabama for athletes, who knows. Opinion: I think we are in for a tough remainder of the season regardless of what changes we make because of facing the spread offense. Just throwing it out there, feal free to completely disagree, I know you guys are not shy about that!

Tony Bandle 12 years, 8 months ago

The only way to beat the spread is with SPEED...Cover, Contain and Crush.

Make every catch a crushing body blow. Keep the QB behind the line of scrimmage and keep him under pressure. Sooner or later, the receivers will start hearing footsteps and bad things will happen to their focus.

Who ever is holding the ball on Offense must be made to pay a high price by the Defense. I am afraid that KU has not yet to develope the "Three C's" in order to score an "A".

Geekinout 12 years, 8 months ago

I like Clint Bowen being part of the coaching staff, but he's in way over his head calling plays on defense! All I see is our defense running the same scheme and not adjusting during the game for the past 2 years. Imagine this team without the consistent offense.

mr_jhawk4477 12 years, 8 months ago

Didn't Bowen coach the special teams before he became defensive coordinator? I have noticed a big fall off in our special teams since then as they used to be a big strength of Mangino's early teams whereas now they are very average. Best example could be Herford being the best returner in the Big XII in 07 and falling off the face of the earth last season. I may be wrong about Bowen being in charge of special teams but if he was it seems that his move to D coordinator made both the defense and the special teams worse. Obviously nothing we can do about it this year and hopefully the defense will improve and we won't have anything to worry about at season's end, but it seems that an offseason task could be to get Bowen back on the special teams and find someone capable of coaching the defense.

cozmo 12 years, 8 months ago

Our head coach should be held accountable for the defense. How can our program not have players ready to play this year? We are not a program in transition where a suspect defense would be understandable. I would like to know how our coach can allow our defense not to have the athletes on the field to be respectful on defense. I am not ready to embrace Coach Bowen, but it is difficult to have a good defense when you do not have athletes on the field. Coach M has been at KU too long for our defense to not to have some excellent players on their side of the field.

KGphoto 12 years, 8 months ago

Blitz a LOT!!!

JayViking: Too bad they removed that. It was a good one. I'm tired of the FCC. Just how free are we, if we regulate speech? When we were kids we said, "Stick and stones can break my bones but words will never hurt me". What happened to that angle? Now we can't post a phrase that kids hear everyday anyway? It's ridiculous!

Most of the kids you're afraid of damaging don't go anywhere near this site, and if they do, they probably know everything there is to know about Paris Hilton's underwear situation anyway. I mean how much damage could really be done by a "G-damn"? Ridiculous! Ridiculous! Ridiculous!

beebe1b 12 years, 8 months ago

There is nothing wrong with the talent on our Defensive team. How often do you have to see 'failure' to understand the problem is with our Defensive Coordinators? Invalid scheme of Defense; players out of position; inadequate instruction on alternatives; and NO ONE, especially Coordinators, is checking out the eligible receivers, and particularly not the QB.

There are some outstanding Defensive people out there --especially Cinti College. Or maybe USC. Get a Defensive Coordinator who knows what he's doing.

rasta-vesta stated last year that he played with Bowen. The Defensive Coordinator at that time was incompetent. Bowen hasn't learned from anyone else. Hey, keep him he's a nice guy. Let him recruit. But get SOMEONE who knows the top echelon of defense. It is a shame to waste all our marvelous Offensive talent with an inadequate Defense.

Andy Tweedy 12 years, 8 months ago

Maybe someone smarter than me can tell me why Patterson's playing time was reduced, I thought he was one of the few bright spots. I have thought since the first game that Thornton was playing his worst football, so that move didn't surprise me, and God knows our defense can't tackle, so some of the other moves didn't surprise me either. If they had replaced Patterson with a 6'2" corner, I guess I could see it, but isn't Brashear the same size as Patterson? I don't get it! I'm not saying I'm right, but I'd like to understand the move.

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