Originally published November 7, 2012 at 09:27p.m., updated November 7, 2012 at 11:45p.m.

Up-tempo offenses troubling for Kansas defense

Kansas linebacker Jake Love hangs his head after a Baylor touchdown during the third quarter, Saturday, Nov. 3, 2012 at Floyd Casey Stadium in Waco, Texas.

Kansas linebacker Jake Love hangs his head after a Baylor touchdown during the third quarter, Saturday, Nov. 3, 2012 at Floyd Casey Stadium in Waco, Texas.


During last week’s loss to Baylor, Kansas University's football defense was burned for 666 yards of total offense, 367 coming in the passing game and the other 299 coming on the ground.

The total was the ninth most ever surrendered by a Kansas defense and was just 12 yards fewer than Baylor recorded during its 2010 rout of the Jayhawks at the same stadium.

In both instances, the tempo of Baylor’s offense proved problematic for the KU defense, and with the Jayhawks slated to face a similar style Saturday when they travel to Texas Tech for an 11 a.m. kickoff in Lubbock, Texas, much of the focus this week has been on finding a way to slow the Red Raiders down. It’s been tough.

“No matter what you do, you still can’t create the tempo and get the same look,” KU coach Charlie Weis said. “You can do one or the other. You could either get the look or you can get tempo. You can run plays as fast as you want, but it’s not going to look anything like what you’re getting ready for. So, I think it’s a catch-22 there.”

Baylor’s offensive explosion marked the first time this season that a KU opponent had topped the 500-yard mark. Even Oklahoma, which routed the Jayhawks 52-7, finished with just 397 yards of total offense.

The outputs from TCU (487) and Kansas State (475) were the next highest totals put up against the KU defense this season, but neither played at the pace that Baylor and Texas Tech employ.

Oklahoma State, which totaled just 371 yards and nearly fell victim to a KU comeback, comes close, but weather conditions played a part in that one.

Although the Jayhawks have struggled to match-up with these types of fast-break offenses for the past couple of years, Weis said facing a near carbon-copy last week could help his struggling squad.

“Having just played against that tempo, there will be more plays where guys are more ready to go,” Weis said.

Part of the reason for the success enjoyed by these offenses is the fact that each has an experienced and talented quarterback triggering the attack. But in Texas Tech’s case, even with a veteran QB like Seth Doege (250-of-361 passing for 2,869 yards, 31 touchdowns, 8 interceptions) calling the plays, there is an element of organized chaos to the wild style.

“I don’t have the freedom to just check out of any play,” Doege said. “But we do have tags. If we have a run play called, we’ll tag it with a pass play and if the defense gives us a certain look we’ll go with whatever play’s best.”

So far this season, Doege said his checks had been a one-way street.

“I can check it to a run,” he said. “But I can’t check it to a pass.”

Regardless of how the plays are called, KU defensive coordinator Dave Campo hinted that the Jayhawks could be in for their toughest test of the season.

“(Texas Tech) is one of those teams that tries to go as fast as it can,” Campo said. “In some ways, they might go a little faster (than Baylor). But these two (teams) are warp speed.”

Here’s a week-by-week look at the total offense numbers surrendered by the KU defense this season:

• South Dakota State — 411

• Rice — 403

• TCU — 487

• Northern Illinois — 455

• Kansas State — 475

• Oklahoma State — 371

• Oklahoma — 397

• Texas — 342

• Baylor — 666

Practice moves inside

The Jayhawks practiced inside Anschutz Pavilion on Wednesday, with the heat cranked up to better simulate what they’ll encounter this weekend in Lubbock, Texas.

Saturday’s forecast is calling for sunny and 78 at kickoff.

Tech tough up the middle

Although KU’s success in the run game has come on runs of all kinds, Weis said his team should prepare for its toughest challenge yet this weekend when facing the Red Raiders’ 18th-ranked defense.

“They are as strong as any team we have played up the middle,” Weis said. “The middle linebackers are good and the safeties are really good and that is really the core of their whole defense.”

Tech ranks 28th nationally against the run (126 yards per game) and 18th against the pass. The Red Raiders have given up 10 rushing touchdowns this season.

Hageman dies at 75

Fred Hageman, a two-time all-Big Eight football center/linebacker, who went on to play in the NFL, died Sunday at the age of 75. Hageman played for KU’s 1960 Big Eight champions. For information on Hageman’s life, see obituary on page 2A.


justinryman 9 years, 6 months ago

I am guessing sometime now or by Monday that Aphersay... will say he wants a time machine so we can go back and hire Tubberville.

Wait for it...wait

ahpersecoachingexperience 9 years, 6 months ago

I wish I has a time machine so....wait a...what the...?

Screw the time machine, we should of used justinryman'a crystal ball and avoided all of this mess!

justinryman 9 years, 6 months ago

No Crystal ball, just playing the odds, and the name.

Pretty easy guess really.

ahpersecoachingexperience 9 years, 6 months ago

Side note: looks like any kind of offense is troubling for our D.

Joe Ross 9 years, 6 months ago

So I guess every time doege checks a play, the defense should play the run. Duh! Somehow I bet he wasn't supposed to say that publicly.

Matt Tait 9 years, 6 months ago

Yep. He even said that after he let the cat out of the bag... The coaches will adjust, but I bet they weren't super happy.

Dirk Medema 9 years, 6 months ago

And from a Sr no less.

That could actually work to their advantage. Sort of a pre-snap handoff fake if they can adjust their tendancies.

Jonathan Allison 9 years, 6 months ago

I'm sure that the opposing coaches had already figured it out anyway. I haven't watch Tech much the past couple years, but with Doege at QB I'm sure that you assume he'll pass on most plays. A called run play is probably less common than checked to run play. If I'm right, then he simply would have very few opportunities to check out of a run play into a pass play anyway. And if they called a run, they probably called it for a reason. Most likely being short yardage. So they would be less likely again to check into a pass in that situation unless it were a 2nd and 1 or something...

Carl Anderson 9 years, 6 months ago

All that means is that 99% of the plays are called passes to begin with, so if he checks off, it is from a pass to a run.

MoralVictory 9 years, 6 months ago

I'm with Nick Saban on this one....the fast-break offense is as boring as the NBA to me. I watched the USC vs. Oregon game and the scoring was so easy, there was no excitement at all.

Part of the greatness of football is the rhythm of the game, the adjustments and the speed. The fast-break offense actually takes the heart out of the game.

Ron Prichard 9 years, 6 months ago

I played high school football and I remember our coach telling us that every play we ran was designed to score a touchdown. If everything went perfectly, even on a dive play we should score a TD. We ran a traditional offense, but the object was always to score on every single play. Of course that doesn't happen, but if the spread or fast-break offense gives a team the best chance of scoring, why wouldn't they run it? The object is to score. If the old single-wing gave teams the best chance of winning, they would go back to that offense. Same with the triple-option or the wishbone or any other offense. The fast-break offenses are in vogue because they work. They are designed to maximize every offensive advantage possible and confuse and tire the defense.

I would ask you this, if a coach--such as Saban--was capable of winning more games with a fast-break offense but chose to run a traditional offense out of "principle," would you want him coaching your team? It's easy for Saban to say he doesn't like the fast-break offenses. He has all the defensive talent in the world, so he doesn't need to score a ton of points. Plus, his offensive players are usually bigger, stronger and faster than most other teams. He has the ability to line up with a traditional style offense and still destroy teams. Most schools aren't blessed with that much talent, so they need to do everything possible to maximize what advantages they have.

You say that part of the greatness of football is the adjustments. Well, until the defenses adjust to stop the fast-break offenses, teams will continue to use them. Personally, I think Saban complaining about them is akin to an early coach complaining about the first forward pass. There is still a place for smash-mouth football, but the fast-break offense is here to stay until someone figures out how to consistently stop it or slow it down.

Jim Stauffer 9 years, 6 months ago

Everyone has problems with up tempo offenses in the sense they run up a lot of yards. The answer most people have is to occupy the ball some on offense and then score at the end of the drive.

Listen to how crazy this sounds but recognize its truth. If we had a solid QB, our defense would rank much higher nationally because we would have the ball more and score more and take some of the starch out of these offenses.

flyingfinn 9 years, 6 months ago

Well stated, I am not saying we have a great defense but the numbers have been skewed by an offense that has no passing game at all. Yes we have run the ball well but after a while opposing teams adjust to stop that leaving us no where to go on offense.

Jeff Smith 9 years, 6 months ago

Glad you said that cause i was going to. Take the Texas game for instance. We controlled TOP and our defense played great outside of the last minute. If we would have moved the chains on a couple of those drives at the end we get the W. Nobody can stop a high pace offense when your O goes 3 and out repeatedly

Jayhawker111 9 years, 6 months ago

This years defense is legit. Last year it seemed that nobody wanted to hit.

I see a lot of hitting all over the field at every position.

The problem for the KU defense is the lack of a KU offense.The defense always seems to have their back to the wall because the offense is usually 3 and out.

KU defense can play with anyone! I am especially impressed with the quality linebackers - starters and backups --they have played with heart.

vd 9 years, 6 months ago

Last years offense was so much better then this years. Good thing we hired an offensive genius. Losing 3 starters was a killer also.

rockchalk_dpu 9 years, 6 months ago

You must not have watched a lot of games last year if you think that team's offense was better than this year. Gill's entire offense was predicated on two short runs and then being forced into a long passing situation on third down where the defense could just sit back with 7 or 8 in coverage. The offensive line got no push and created no holes for Sims or the other backs.

To further illustrate this point, here are James Sims' stats from last year v. this year; 2011: 182 rush attempts, 727 yards 2012: 150 rush attempts, 748 yards (with a 3 game suspension)

Sims also only rushed for 2 100 yard games in 2011 (the first two games), but currently has rushed for 100+ yards in 5 straight games.

The lines are getting a push and creating holes even when teams know that we are going to try and run the ball on them. To me that signals the offense is much better this year than last.

Nic Andrews 9 years, 6 months ago

this year's 1st half offense is awesome and way better than last year. This year's 2nd half offense is awful almost nonexistent. look at the stats, we get outcoached, outadjusted, etc. at the half. ridiculous

Jonathan Allison 9 years, 6 months ago

if you can score quickly, using fewer offensive plays from scrimmage, then why wouldn't you. Let's say that every time you snap the ball you risk a turnover. If it takes you 12 offensive plays per drive to score then that's 12 more opportunities to fail. If it takes you 4 plays from scrimmage to score than you decrease your risk of turnovers by 67%.

I know that I am oversimplifying things because quick-strike offenses usually run more risky plays because you are throwing the ball downfield rather than handing it off, etc. But depending on your personnel it could be safer to score quickly than to sustain a long drive.

It's the old adage, "a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush". A touchdown on the scoreboard is always 6 points, whether it took 3 plays or 15. Time of possession doesn't always win.

It is however an effective strategy many times against teams who tend to run the score up quickly, because it allows the less high powered offense to keep the score close, and potentially pull out a victory in the end.

NebraskaJayhawk 9 years, 6 months ago

This could be our most lopsided loss of the season if we aren't careful. The fact that they are able to stop the run up the middle poses a HUGE problem to our already lethargic offense. Cummings better be ready to throw the ball Saturday because a few three and outs and this game gets out of hand early. I don't see this shaping up well for us unless we're able to keep their offensive output low...which is highly unlikely. Doege needs to eat some turf. Period. And we need about 5 turnovers.

Tony Bandle 9 years, 6 months ago

Simple solution to up defend an tempo offense..designate your biggest, meanest reserve lineman to take a 15 yard penalty and blast the opposing QB after he throws the ball and knock him out of the game.

Posted with no malice >:- ( grrrrrr

justinryman 9 years, 6 months ago

Thats how Nebraska beat Michigan this year and Ohio St last year.

NebraskaJayhawk 9 years, 6 months ago

How about a little "throw-back" football. Anyone remember Christian Okoye up the gut 25 times a game when he was with the Chiefs? Let's put Toben back where he belongs for this game and pound it right at their strength. I think 250 lbs of muscle and high knees might soften those linemen and linebackers up a little bit. Then when they can't hardly walk after taking a bruising from Toben, we throw in some Sims and finally some Pierson. Then throw in a little play action pass as well. Nobody was better at it than Steve DeBerg. Watch some film of him, Michael. Kansas 28 TT 21.

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