Thursday, October 17, 2019

Inconsistency at root of KU offense’s issues before OC shakeup

Kansas running back Pooka Williams Jr. (1) is put on the turf by the Oklahoma defense on a run in the first quarter on Saturday, Oct. 5, 2019 at Memorial Stadium.

Kansas running back Pooka Williams Jr. (1) is put on the turf by the Oklahoma defense on a run in the first quarter on Saturday, Oct. 5, 2019 at Memorial Stadium.


Les Miles would like for you to believe that the offense his Kansas football team will run after its midseason bye week won’t be all that different from the one it used during the first six games of the season.

Miles even made that claim after firing offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach Les Koenning and handing the offense over to Brent Dearmon.


“I think there's some similarities and some dissimilarities,” Miles said earlier this week when asked if the changes would be noticeable to fans when KU returns to action Saturday night at No. 15 Texas. “I don't know if they'll find it unusually different. Yeah, I don't think that they'll — I think it'll look hopefully more successful.”

Translation: The offense needs to improve significantly, but KU’s head coach isn’t interested in broadcasting how Dearmon plans to make that happen.

Podcast episode

The KU Sports Hour

Benton's back, Dearmon's debut and Azubuike above all

On this week's KU Sports Hour we discuss the return of Benton Smith, Brent Dearmon's debut as O.C. at Kansas and senior center Udoka Azubuike standing out above all Big 12 basketball players. Follow the KU Sports Hour on: iTune/Apple Podcasts | Spotify | Google Play | ...

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A head coach doesn’t fire an O.C. six games into his tenure if the offense is humming along. Examine the statistical output from KU’s first six games and it’s easy to spot warts.

For one, the Jayhawks (2-4 overall, 0-3 Big 12) didn’t score nearly enough under Koenning. They enter this week’s game at UT (4-2, 2-1) tied for 102nd out of 130 FBS teams in scoring (22.8 points per game).

And while their yards-per-play numbers land closer to average than awful — 4.86 yards per rush (44th), 7.4 yards per pass (tied for 63rd) and 6.01 yards per play (57th) — their per-game statistics look drastically worse, because too many drives went nowhere fast.

KU, which is 95th in offensive efficiency according to ESPN’s analytics, averaged 158.7 rushing yards (74th), 195.8 passing yards (100th) and 354.5 total yards (103rd) per game with Koenning in control.

The offense’s lack of successful drives is further illustrated in KU’s third-down conversion numbers: 27 for 72 (37.5%, tied for 83rd).

Much like their counterparts on KU’s defense, the offensive players hope the final six games of the season include more improvements than recurring issues.

The handful of offensive starters who spoke to media members this week followed marching orders and professed that KU’s plays will be similar moving forward. But Jayhawks such as junior receiver Andrew Parchment didn’t mind admitting to the unit’s shortcomings in the first half of the season.

“At the end of the day, it’s our job to execute, no matter which plays are being called,” Parchment said. “The previous six games, we just didn’t do a good job in all phases of the game, starting from quarter one to four. So we’ve just got to do a better job, hold everybody accountable. And I feel like everybody will do a great job.”

Parchment, quarterback Carter Stanley, running back Pooka Williams Jr. and receiver Stephon Robinson Jr. all said the tempo has increased at practice since Dearmon took over. Some players noted there was less huddling in scrimmage situations.

If that approach is a part of the game plan this week against Texas, the Jayhawks could play with confidence on offense.

“I just felt like our strength,” Parchment said of the first six games, “was whenever we were playing with tempo, and using our skill players and stuff like that in space.”

On the other hand, Parchment and Williams both said the offense was plagued by miscommunications in the first half of the season.

Williams, KU’s leading rusher, said sometimes one player would be carrying out run play responsibilities while everyone else was trying to execute a passing play.

He also thinks such cases can be fixed through practice.

“That’s what RPO takes,” Williams said of Dearmon’s area of offensive expertise. “A lot of communication.”

And Robinson couldn’t bring up what he considered one of the virtues of the offense without also mentioning the inconsistency at the root of the Jayhawks’ problems.

“Strengths, I’d say the big-play ability,” Robinson said. “We’d have tremendous plays. And then we’ll, like, go on a decline. We’ll have a hot streak, and then we’ll go cold. That’s the biggest thing I’ve noticed so far this season.”

KU-UT on Longhorn Network

The video broadcast of Saturday night’s KU football game at Texas (6 p.m. kickoff) will air exclusively on The Longhorn Network, a UT-focused channel owned by ESPN.

KU spokesman Dan Beckler told the Journal-World the game would not be available through the ESPN+ subscription streaming service.

The Longhorn Network can only be viewed — streamed online or on television — with a subscription package to a TV provider that includes the channel.

KU football’s midseason offensive stats

— FBS ranking in category listed in parentheses

Scoring offense: 22.8 points per game (tied for 102nd)

Rushing offense: 158.7 yards per game (74th); 4.86 yards per rush (44th)

Passing offense: 195.8 yards per game (100th); 7.4 yards per pass (tied for 63rd); 147.03 passing efficiency rating (44th)

Total offense: 354.5 yards per game (103rd); 6.01 yards per play (57th)

Sacks allowed: 1.83 per game (53rd)

• Tackles for loss allowed: 6.67 per game (93rd)

Turnovers lost: 8 total (tied for 43rd)

Fumbles lost: 4 total (tied for 49th)

Interceptions lost: 4 total (tied for 39th)

Third downs: Converting on 37.5% of chances (tied for 83rd)

Fourth downs: Converging on 0% (0 for 7) of chances (130th)

Red zone offense: Scoring on 92.96% (13 of 14; 9 TDs, 4 FGs) of red zone trips (tied for 20th)

Long scrimmage plays: 83 plays of 10-plus yards (tied for 84th); 32 plays of 20-plus yards (tied for 43rd); 12 plays of 30-plus yards (tied for 73rd)

Long rushing plays: 31 plays of 10-plus yards (tied for 58th); 12 plays of 20-plus yards (tied for 27th); 6 plays of 3-plus yards (tied for 27th)

Long passing plays: 52 plays of 10-plus yards (tied for 79th); 20 plays of 20-plus yards (tied for 68th); 6 plays of 30-plus yards (tied for 97th)

— Statistics from


Michael Maris 2 years, 8 months ago

Ahhhhh the LHN, the demise of the Big XII Conference. U. of Texas Athletic Department, the gift that seeks to destroy Collegiate Athletic Conferences.

Doug Wallace 2 years, 8 months ago

You got it!I wish Pac 12 would take 5 Big 12 teams.Kansas, Oklahoma,Kansas State, Oklahoma Stte and Texas Tech.All 5 of us would be a great add I want out let the Shorthorns just destroy some other conference somewhere else!

Dane Pratt 2 years, 8 months ago

If Pac 12 invites any B12 teams Texas would be on the top of their wish list.

Michael Maris 2 years, 8 months ago

That's exactly right. Just like the PAC was doing their best to lure Texas & OU a few years ago. It really looked like it was close to happening. Texas destroyed the SWC. Then when the Big XII was in developing stages, evidently the heads that be decided that it would be best if Texas was invited to the table. And, all they (Texas) did was say "if you want us, this is how it's going to be". And now, we see exactly what transpired in the later years. Colorado & Nebraska (after Nebraska convinced B1G Officials that they were the better draw than Missouri). Then, aTm got tired of being 2nd fiddle to Texas. And, they convinced SEC Officials to take Missouri along with them to the SEC. Now, when this ESPN+ gig doesn't generate the income revenue stream that the remaining 9 schools are hoping for. When 2025 rolls even closer (and the current TV Contract deal is about to expire (and the granting of rights will be down to 1 or 2 years), Texas, OU will start flirting again with their future Conferences. It's a damn joke how this all was played out.

Dane Pratt 2 years, 8 months ago

@ Michael, seems like Texas is holding the best hand but wouldn't it be in their best interest to keep the B12 intact? Who else will give them the kind of deal they currently have. I get the feeling they are using the threat of leaving as leverage to maintain the status quo.

John Strayer 2 years, 8 months ago

I get the individual university networks...and I understand KU has one too...but how in the hell does the conference allow conference games to be solely available on these individual university networks? Just more "cowtowing" to Bevo U! I don't ever recall seeing a KU Big XII conference basketball matchup on the Jayhawk Network...they were always on the Big XII Network. The Jayhawk Network only seemed to show non-conference matchups that weren't ESPN or network worthy.

Dale Rogers 2 years, 8 months ago

Longhorn Network availability sucks. Apparently Cox, my provider, only has the LHN in certain midwest markets. And we're on the west coast. Cox does not carry LHN here. I cannot subscribe to LHN privately. I'm relegated to trying to find online radio to listen to the game.

Andy Godwin 2 years, 8 months ago

KU athletics. Great way to develop and engage a fan base. My very expensive Spectrum cable package does not include the “Longhorn Network”. So short sighted of KU athletics and the Big 12 to punish their fan base who are loyal. You have problems getting people excited about a struggling football program and now fans expressing interest are precluded from watching. Fans in Lawrence with MIDCO couldn’t watch the BC game since on the ACC channel, now this. I guess the only good that comes out of this is nobody in the country except truly annoying UT fans will watch this expected mismatch. On the bright side maybe an upset, like BC, when only a limited number of KU fans can watch. Shame on those making decision based on finances which impede loyal fans from watching. Pretty soon everyone will turn their backs on KU football (athletics in general) because of those administrators only worried about emptying the pockets of loyal alumni. Could bite you in the end.

Michael Maris 2 years, 8 months ago

When the ESPN+ deal was negotiated by the remaining 9 schools, the 9 AD's should've demanded that any Conference games allowed on LHN also be allowed access via the ESPN+ outlets as well. But, I'm sure that Texas pulled their card out and said "Hell NO!". Like I have said in the past, Texas should've NEVER been invited to the early stages of the Big XII negotiation table and made to go as an Independent (then they could've played Notre Dame, BYU, and other Independent teams every year).

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