Saturday, October 28, 2017


Tom Keegan: Kansas football defense better, still not good

Texas Tech running back Justin Stockton (4) is tackled by Kansas safety Mike Lee (11) during the half on Saturday, Oct. 7, 2017 at Memorial Stadium.

Texas Tech running back Justin Stockton (4) is tackled by Kansas safety Mike Lee (11) during the half on Saturday, Oct. 7, 2017 at Memorial Stadium.


The center of the ineptitude of the Kansas football team has shifted from a disappointing defense to an offense that hasn’t scored in nine-plus quarters.

Injuries to center Mesa Ribordy and running back Khalil Herbert have exposed the lack of depth on an offense that repeatedly has put the defense in bad spots.

Kansas has been outscored 118-0 in the past 9 1/2 quarters. That’s a ton of points to surrender, although punt returns and turnovers share the blame.

So is the defense improving?

“There’s no doubt,” defensive coordinator Clint Bowen said. “It’s not near as fast as anyone wants it. I’m not saying we’re any good because we’re not. We still have our struggles.”

Then Bowen spoke to examples of young players learning.

“If you would hear our kids Central Michigan week and Ohio week coming off the field: ‘Osaze, how’d they block you on that lead play?’ ‘Oh, the guard climbed and the center hit me and I think the fullback did.’ No, Osaze, three guys didn’t block you. One guy climbed up and blocked you and obviously you don’t know who that is. And that’s what happens to inexperienced players,” Bowen said.

And now?

Bowen: “Now they come to the sideline and it’s, ‘Hey guys, they ran the power. What happened?’ And Osaze will say, ‘They comboed the three and got me, coach.’ And it’s across the board. ‘Hey, what route did they run there, Mike (Lee)?’ Early in the year he’d say, ‘Coach, I don’t know. I don’t know. I saw the QB.’ ‘Mike, we’re supposed to be looking at a guy here.’”

And now?

Bowen: “Now he comes off and says, ‘Oh, coach, they did a smash concept on my side.’ So nobody sees those things, but for me, and where we are, I mean, there are huge signs of progress that we see on a day-to-day basis.”

It will be interesting to see how much of that progress shows today against a Kansas State offense that doesn't resemble typical Big 12 Air Raid attacks.

"They’re kind of the Georgia Tech of the Big 12 in that they’re the offense that does things different than just about anyone else," Bowen said. "It’s the game that you see less looks of that during the course of the year.”

He called it "old-school option principles in terms of making you be assignment-sound in all facets of the game. They’ve twisted it and done it their own way. ... There’s a lot of little magic in their sauce. It appears to be very simple, but there’s really some kind of hidden genius in the way they do it."

It's Bill Snyder, the Sunday New York Times crossword puzzle of college football coaches, to try to solve.


Doug Cramer 4 years, 11 months ago

Both TCU and Iowa State took it easy on our defense. The defense is still bad, and this would be more visible if the offense was still putting up points.

Casey Jaimes 4 years, 11 months ago

At the end of the day these guys are Jayhawks. I understand the stress and embarrassment of always losing but to continue to trash this team by fellow "Jayhawks" gets old. We're playing kstate and past games suggest we will lose. But I'm going to watch with the mindset that we will win. Coaching may be the issue, the players just may not be good enough but the bashing of this program won't fix it but only hurt it. I'm a student that attends games still cause I support Kansas football. The right thing to do by us "Jayhawk" fans is to fill the stadium to encourage the guys who wear that Jayhawk. What message does it send to recruits if fans reply to KU twitter posts talking sh*t and making fun of it?

Cora Smith 4 years, 11 months ago

I agree! Keegan seems to relish the beating he is giving the program.

Doug Cramer 4 years, 11 months ago

Keegan is doing his job and reporting the news.

Brad Watson 4 years, 11 months ago

Keep working hard kids...we believe in you....but you got to bring it everyday and bring it with big time got to want to be the best at what you do...Good Luck against K-State!

Richard Hernandez 4 years, 11 months ago

I'm with you all the way Casey. But...... I'm just hoping they SCORE today!

Brett McCabe 4 years, 11 months ago

Prior to the season, I set parameters for myself in terms of what could be used to define improvement this year. One was 3 wins. One was a roughly 20-spot jump by both the offense and defense in national rankings. This would have taken us from roughly the 115 spot to the 95 spot. Not great, but a clear sign of improvement.

Obviously, none of that has happened. The offense is in a nosedive and we'll see today if we have a defense who can compete against a mid-level Big 12 team. It will be a challenge for the kids because it's a whole different approach from Snyder, but improvement should still be visible on the field.

Next year, if we can bring in a proven coach, we could see the 20-spot leaps because these kids will have had experience, they will be able to play more freely because they'll recognize things more quickly. Ask yourself this question: anytime you do something new, are you fast at it? Do you get faster as you repeat it? Of course.

We have the vast majority of our two-deep returning next year, which means a good amount of game experience. Let's get them a head coach who knows what to do with it and use next next year as a springboard for better things.

Robert Brock 4 years, 11 months ago

Keegan hasn't harmed KU football. He is a reporter. Sheahon Zenger, on the other hand, has absolutely TRASHED Kansas football.

John Brazelton 4 years, 11 months ago

Brett, If you can see improvement next year based on an improved roster and experienced players why wouldn't you give the coaches who recruited and developed the players to opportunity to experience success? Sure a new coach would take advantage the situation and look like a hero based upon previous coaches recruiting and hard work. I'd hate to work for a boss like you who doesn't want to reward employees who do the hard work.

Doug Cramer 4 years, 11 months ago

KU defense is 129 of 130 if you look at points allowed per game.

KU offense is 109 of 130...points scored per game.

All I'm saying is, lets not kid ourselves, the defense ranks worse than our offense.

Dirk Medema 4 years, 11 months ago

The article is not a comparison of our O & D.

It is a comparison of the D at the beginning of the year to now.

Doug Cramer 4 years, 11 months ago

Agree - although we've already seen an article or two in the past three weeks somewhat excusing the performance of the defense because the offense is also bad.

Bowen's performance as a D.C. has been excused long enough, and masked long enough behind the lack of offense over the past few years.

Just want to make it clear that the defense is not OK.

Brad Watson 4 years, 11 months ago

The headline could have been tweaked a little..but it is what it is

Casey Jaimes 4 years, 11 months ago

By the way, my comment was not intended towards Mr. Keegan's article.

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