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Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Keegan

Tom Keegan: Giving it to Kinner key to coming out of Memphis a winner

Kansas running back Ke'aun Kinner (22) breezes past Memphis linebacker Hayden Ferrari (30) during the second quarter on Saturday, Sept. 12, 2015 at Memorial Stadium.

Kansas running back Ke'aun Kinner (22) breezes past Memphis linebacker Hayden Ferrari (30) during the second quarter on Saturday, Sept. 12, 2015 at Memorial Stadium.

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College football coaches forever put a premium on secrecy when formulating just the right game plan to crush the enemy. They love surprise attacks.

Sometimes, they overthink it and avoid the obvious out of fear that a lack of deception would be equivalent to walking blindly into a trap. Rare is the college coach who would go into a game thinking, “Last time we played them this seemed to work pretty well, so why not do it again?”

Now seems like a nice time for a Kansas football team that had its confidence rocked in a sloppy, 37-21 home loss Saturday to Ohio to do just that.

As in, Ke’aun Kinner had a nice game last season in a 55-23 loss to Memphis, so make him the center piece of the offensive game plan going into Saturday’s 11 a.m. kickoff in the home of the blues.

Kinner carried the ball 16 times and gained 113 yards vs. Memphis. If he did it then, he can do it again.

Most of the memories from an 0-12 squad aren’t pleasant, but the best moment of the season came against the Tigers in Memorial Stadium, when the scoreboard never looked better for the Jayhawks.

“I remember scoring that one touchdown and just the celebration because we were up 10-0 at the time,” Kinner said. “It was just a good feeling. We beat ourselves that day, but we’re ready to return the favor.”

Kinner’s five-yard touchdown run came at the 9:48 mark of the first quarter of the season’s second game. Seven minutes and 20 seconds later, Memphis caught up. Kansas never held another lead for the rest of the season. It also never led in the 2015 season-opening loss to South Dakota State, so it's indisputable that Kinner was the central figure in the high point of a schedule packed with lows.

In Saturday's slow-start loss, Kinner carried the ball five times for 16 yards. Overall, the Jayhawks gained just 26 yards on 15 rushes. The middle of the offensive line didn't create any surge and scripted quarterback runs ought to become a bigger part of the plan.

Head coach David Beaty talked about the need to play a more physical game in Memphis. Nothing sets that tone offensively quite like featuring the running game. Sure, 8 of 11 offensive linemen listed on this week's depth chart are freshmen or sophomores, but game-planning around youth isn't an aggressive way to go.

Southeast Missouri senior running back Will Young out of Wichita Southeast and Highland Community College rushed for 114 yards in a 35-17 loss to Memphis two weeks ago. Whatever SEMO does, KU should do better.



Comments

Edward Daub 5 years, 11 months ago

Tom Keegan makes a good point. College football has fallen in love with the "spread" offenses. However, you still need to run the football successfully (and more importantly stop the opposition from running). Ohio controlled both lines of scrimmage!

My Motto for this week's game is "Running in Memphis"! Gosh, that almost sounds like a song. We need a balanced attack to win this game and a reasonable share of the time of possession. Let the defense get some more rest.

Doug Cramer 5 years, 11 months ago

Air raid offense - we attack by passing the ball.

There are plenty of offenses that are highly successful with very little run game.

Jim Stauffer 5 years, 11 months ago

Kinda hard to give the ball to Kinner when a frosh is in the game in his place. He hasn't started a game yet and everyone talks like he is our premier RB. If you are a premier RB you start the game and get the most carries. Just sayin......

John Strayer 5 years, 11 months ago

Kinner won't be able to run much unless the offensive line figures out how to develop a push against the defense. Ohio defense spent a bit of time in KU's backfield...so that's why the rushing numbers were low.

Micky Baker 5 years, 11 months ago

The key isn't just giving the ball to Kinner. We have guys available we didn't have last year. Taylor Martin needs to get some touches, but these touches don't have to come from only hand offs or pitches. How about some shovel passe? If our offensive line isn't getting it done and the other team get's penetration, a shovel pass will get the ball to a running back already past the first level, and maybe with the linebackers back pedaling on their heals.

Sims Jr., Gonzales, Patrick, Booker, etc. need to see a lot of the ball too, but not just the wide receiver screens. Way too many of those early on Saturday. When KU went down the field, Ohio could not defend us. It doesn't have to be bombs down the field, but passes over the middle for 5 to 7 yards or medium routes up to 15 yards. Doing that successfully early will force the second level of the run defense to defend the pass first, as long as we don't become so predictable.

If Sims and Gonzales combine for 200 plus and 3 plus TDs, the running game musters 150 yards, and the rest of the receivers combine for 150 yards, KU will have a chance to win. But we will have to play with intensity from the first minute through the 60th minute. This does not mean being overly aggressive on defense, but everyone focusing on their assignments and playing as a unit. When we played as a unit during the 3rd quarter last Saturday, at least a good part of the 3rd quarter, we were the better team.

Michael Lorraine 5 years, 11 months ago

Two costly turnovers, 26 yards rushing and only 15 minutes of offense. How did we lose by only 16?

Randy Bombardier 5 years, 11 months ago

Yes and no. Do what we do well, then throw curves. I think utilizing running backs coming out of the backfield as receivers would be more productive. Shuttle pass, screen pass right, screen pass left, quick screen, screen in the middle, wheel route, then occasional draw plays. If we are to use designed run plays I would like to see an option, misdirection. In other words I think we should avoid straight up the gut, smash mouth football. I doubt we have time for play action, so do the other then down the field.

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