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Saturday, November 12, 2011

Three-and-outs have been killers for KU football

Kansas quarterback Jordan Webb is sacked on a crucial third down by Iowa State defensive lineman Stephen Ruempolhamer forcing the Jayhawks to punt late in the fourth quarter on Saturday, Nov. 5, 2011 at Jack Trice Stadium in Ames, Iowa. The Jayhawks lost to the Cyclones 13-10.

Kansas quarterback Jordan Webb is sacked on a crucial third down by Iowa State defensive lineman Stephen Ruempolhamer forcing the Jayhawks to punt late in the fourth quarter on Saturday, Nov. 5, 2011 at Jack Trice Stadium in Ames, Iowa. The Jayhawks lost to the Cyclones 13-10.

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Kansas right tackle Tanner Hawkinson knows that his team’s offense hasn’t always been able to help out its defense this season.

“They’re out there playing well, and (our) going out there and getting a quick three-and-out is obviously not the ideal situation,” the junior said. “You want to extend those drives and get those guys some more rest.”

Unfortunately for KU this season, neither the offense nor the defense has been able to do many favors for the other side of the ball.

According to statistics from Brian Fremeau of Footballoutsiders.com, heading into today’s 1 p.m. game at Memorial Stadium against Baylor, KU ranks last in the Big 12 both offensively and defensively when it comes to three-and-outs.

The average NCAA team goes three-and-out on 33 percent of its possessions (this includes possessions where a team turns it over before getting a first down). This year, KU’s offense has gone three-and-out on 45 percent of its possessions, which is 111th nationally out of 120 teams.

KU’s defense, meanwhile, has forced three-and-outs on 17.7 percent of its possessions, which is 117th nationally and the worst of any BCS conference team.

So what are the potential reasons for KU’s struggles with short drives?

Offensively, KU appears to not be getting enough production on first downs.

According to CFBstats.com, KU has rushed 72.2 percent of the time on first downs this season (184 rushes, 71 passes). That’s the third-highest percentage of first-down runs in the Big 12, behind only Texas (79.1 percent) and Kansas State (75.4 percent).

The Jayhawks haven’t had much success with those first-down rushes, averaging just 3.8 yards per carry, which ranks 90th nationally.

On KU’s 71 first-down passing attempts, it has averaged 7.4 yards per attempt.

“That’s obviously one of those things we’ve got to improve on ... those first downs,” Hawkinson said, “to keep those third downs nice and short for us.”

Defensively, KU has had troubles on first down as well, especially against the run.

The Jayhawks are allowing 6.9 yards per rush to opponents on first down — the worst mark in the country.

KU also has allowed opponents to convert 53.7 percent of their third downs this season, which ranks 117th nationally and worst in the BCS.

“Lately, we’ve been having a difficult time just getting the job done in that situation,” KU linebacker Darius Willis said of his team’s third downs. “A lot of times it’s just us being a split-second away from making a play, and (we) end up not making a play. Just the little things that you can tighten up and tune in on that will make you better.”

KU’s offense has struggled the last two years with three-and-outs. Last season, KU had three-and-outs on 42 percent of their drives, which ranked 106th nationally and last in the Big 12.

The defense, meanwhile, forced three-and-outs on 28.7 percent of its possessions last year. That ranked 89th nationally and 10th of the dozen Big 12 schools.

Comments

johnnyhrdwd 10 years, 7 months ago

3 and outs haven't been the only killers, lack of coaching has been a killer also.

ahpersecoachingexperience 10 years, 7 months ago

Whats the point of even posting anymore? Nobody is here to read it.

Dyrk Dugan 10 years, 7 months ago

three and outs are a good stat...and shows you the overall skill of the offense and defense.

Our offense, with the lack of an effective downfield passing game, is quite vulnerable to these quick possessions. We can't make teams play honest football....they cheat their way to stuff the run, and then they can cover us man to man on the slot and on the outside.

i would say to win today's game...we can't have three and outs...and this would mean one or two at the most. we must move the football with our full playbook in hand. what have we got to lose?

defensively, it will be about TOs. because this offense could get 700 yards today....and a big part of that will be how our offense plays.

it's a dangerous catch 22....so it is, the state of Kansas football right now.

ahpersecoachingexperience 10 years, 7 months ago

Of course you didn't mention that most of the time idiot boy has us in the hurry up offense on those 3 n outs. Giving our d even less rest during the game.

Favorite coaching errors of 2011: 3) timeout, penalty, timeout 2) going for it on 4th n 1 on the 5, but kicking the fg on 4th and 1 on the 1 1) running the "hurry up" against OSU.

classclown 10 years, 7 months ago

Jesse, do you get paid by the word? Because you actually could have saved yourself a lot of time and conveyed everything you wrote simply by saying "They suck".

Lloyd Kinnison 10 years, 7 months ago

These statistics indicate that any team can readily determine what the Jayhawks will attempt--thus 3 and out. Again, coaching is the major issue. When will change come?

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