Monday, November 21, 2022

Leipold: KU must ‘carry our end of the rivalry’ as Jayhawks prepare to take on K-State

Kansas head coach Lance Leipold and the Jayhawks storm out of the tunnel to take the field before kickoff against Iowa State on Saturday, Oct. 1, 2022 at Memorial Stadium.

Kansas head coach Lance Leipold and the Jayhawks storm out of the tunnel to take the field before kickoff against Iowa State on Saturday, Oct. 1, 2022 at Memorial Stadium.


It was ownership day on Monday.

Kansas head football coach Lance Leipold frequently tells his players that they “have to own what’s on film.” After a 55-14 loss at the hands of Texas on Saturday — the worst of the season for the Jayhawks — there were plenty of miscues on film to own.

Leipold on Monday said he had a practice full of buyers.

“We just finished up about a half hour ago, and it was one of our best Monday practices we’ve had in a long time,” Leipold said at his weekly press conference.

The Jayhawks need a good week of practice not just to plug some defensive holes that the Longhorns exposed with a nearly 430-yard rushing attack on Saturday, but also because the Jayhawks have their biggest rivalry game of the year coming up.

KU will play Kansas State at 7 p.m. on Saturday in Manhattan in a nationally-televised game on FOX. The game will mark year No. 2 for Leipold in the rivalry. Leipold said last year’s meeting left him with a clear idea of what the Jayhawks need to own when it comes to the Sunflower Showdown.

“We need to carry our end of the rivalry,” Leipold said when asked what he learned about the showdown in Year One. “That is first and foremost. This hasn’t been much of a rivalry. We didn’t make that a competitive game last year.”

KU lost 35-10 last year in Lawrence, which marked the 13th consecutive time KU has lost to the Wildcats. The Jayhawks’ last victory in the series was a 52-21 victory in 2008.

To change that trend Saturday, KU will have to do something about its defense, which now ranks 118th in the nation in total team defense. Texas running back Bijan Robinson had 243 yards on 25 carries against the Jayhawks on Saturday.

“There were some big numbers between missed tackles, yards after contact, and part of those missed tackles came from bad angles and some things that really accounted for a major, major chunk of their yardage for the day,” Leipold said. “That is something we addressed and something I know our guys have taken to heart.”

Leipold said the team also is working on improving it offensive production on short, third-down plays to keep more drives going. Leipold said for the first time in a long time — due to injuries — KU has both of its top two quarterbacks practicing at the same time.

Leipold said starter Jalon Daniels had a “little bit of rustiness,” that he had to work through in Saturday’s game, his first back since suffering an injury against TCU on Oct. 8.

“He did not want to come out of the game,” Leipold said of possibly pulling Daniels earlier in Saturday’s blowout loss. “I talked to him in the third quarter about taking him out and he ‘said I need to work some rust off and I want to stay in.’”

Leipold said he did see signs of Daniels becoming sharper as the game progressed.

“I thought he made some throws that were very impressive as the game went on, and I think he gained more confidence,” Leipold said.

In other news and notes from Leipold’s press conference, the coach said:

— KU continues to evaluate its options when it comes to field goals. KU kicker Jacob Borcila missed a 34-yard field goal in the second quarter. It was his third miss in the last two games and for the season he’s now missed six of 13 attempts. After the miss, freshman Owen Piepergerdes came into the game to successfully kick the extra points for KU’s two touchdowns late in the game. It was Piepergerdes' first action of the year kicking extra points for the Jayhawks.

Leipold on Monday did not indicate whether Piepergerdes would continue to handle the kicking duties.

“Our field goal kicking is not very good as we all know,” Leipold said.

Leipold said the decision to bring in Piepergerdes was a combination of wanting to give a young player opportunity, but he said the change also was “strategy based.”

“Jacob Borcila, as we know, has had some good days but has had some rough days,” Leipold said. “He also has worked through some injuries, and I appreciate him trying to battle through some of those, but he knows as well that we have to be able to make those. . . Game day performance the last two games was not what we needed, and I decided to make the change.”

— KU already has secured its sixth win of the season, ensuring that it will be eligible for a postseason bowl. Leipold said when KU will be playing in a bowl is of great interest not only to fans but to everyone in the football program who is trying to plan for the extra practices and other events that come with postseason play. KU won’t know its bowl destination until the first weekend in December. Leipold on Monday said there will be plenty of time for that, but not now.

“I would rather stay focused on the one we’ve got left to play,” he said.


Lonnie Ross Dillon 1 week, 6 days ago

I posted that out earlier...Sad, used to be an award-winning website.

Matt Tait 1 week, 6 days ago

Got 'em all fixed. Appreciate the patience. Stepped away for a few days to welcome my second child into the world. A beautiful, healthy baby girl. Mom and baby are doing amazing and I'm on Cloud 9!

Joey Meyer 1 week, 6 days ago

Woah! Congraulations Matt!! That's an exciting time for sure. Congratulations to you and the family!

Matt Tait 1 week, 6 days ago

Thanks so much, Joey! Welcoming a child is always amazing, but doing it just before the holidays is pretty magical.

Dale Rogers 1 week, 6 days ago

And while you are at it fixing the time of the game, how about either updating the "Active Discussions" box or eliminating it. It has not been updated since 2018 and talks about Long being hired as AD in the topmost item.

Matt Tait 1 week, 6 days ago

Those are still tied to the old message boards we ran. When the decision was made to kill the message boards (because they had become a wasteland of toxic conversation) the active discussions were stuck with what was "popular" at that moment.

They'll be gone when we launch the new and improved version of the site, which I'm still hoping will be any day.

Dirk Medema 1 week, 6 days ago

Congratulations Matt and thank you for almost single-handedly managing the site. Any news on more personnel support? Hope your first is adjusting as well as also, and that you’re all getting rest.

Matt Tait 1 week, 6 days ago

Thanks, Dirk. We've been on the hunt for someone to fill the role and will continue looking. We also have some creative, out-of-the-box ideas that might help add content and variety to the site. Fingers crossed!

Ashwin Rao 1 week, 6 days ago

Congratulations, Matt! I agree with Dirk, that you have done a good job keeping the boat afloat! This is my go-to website for KU sports news, so I do appreciate all that you do. BTW, You can show this comment to your superiors so they can provide you with the well-needed assistance!

Matt Tait 1 week, 6 days ago

Thanks, Ashwin! I've been with the site/paper A LONG TIME and have a great deal of pride for what the site is and what it means to its loyal readers and thousands of KU fans. Staffing changes and a lack of resources have made that more challenging in the past couple of years, but I'm doing everything I can to keep the standard as high as it's always been and appreciate you recognizing that effort. Here's to many more good days ahead for all of us!

Brett McCabe 1 week, 6 days ago

Congratulations Matt! Best to you and your family during the holidays.

Regarding the KSU game, the defense is what it is. The bigger problem Saturday was zero points scored until the shorthorns were up 41-0. Had we at least counter-punched, even a little bit, the game at least looks a little better. The kitties will be looking to lay it on thick come Saturday so The Jayhawks better find a very quick answer for improvement to that debacle on Senior Day.

There is not excuse for the slow starts, and the staff needs to figure it out or it will be another epic rout. It is far past time to get this problem solved.

John Strayer 1 week, 6 days ago

I think the "phantom" man down field penalty was deflating and took a good touchdown off the board...and then KU followed that with a missed FG. The lineman was clearly only two yards past the line of scrimmage...line of scrimmage was the 12 I believe and the lineman as running parallel along the 10...well within the allowed three yards. This play/call needs to be reviewable. I don't think I've seen so many of those calls in KU games. Was this a point of emphasis this year?

Benny Armstrong 1 week, 6 days ago

That call was pretty awful and maybe helps us build some confidence to hang closer to Texas. It's bad enough when you watch the replay and see the penalty is wrong, but worse when the rules analyst comes in and calls it out for being a garbage penalty. Hearing that it was a blown call rubs salt in it, especially since we can't undo it at that point and the empty possession seemed to really take the wind out of our sails.

W Keith Swinehart II 1 week, 6 days ago

How about the first kick-off that died on the three. Demoralizing start gave Texas great momentum.

Matt Tait 1 week, 6 days ago

Thanks, Brett. Been an amazing few days. Most years, my wife would've joined me on the basketball trip and we'd be in the Bahamas right now. As cool as that would've been, bringing our new daughter home makes our house the greatest place on Earth today as far as we're concerned ;-)

Robert Brock 1 week, 6 days ago

This is just the latest installment of Weak KU Football. K-State will slap around their “rival” once again.

I look forward to the day when the Jayhawks can put up a fight - at least make the Wildcats sweat!

Benny Armstrong 1 week, 6 days ago

I'll be most interested to see what the offense changes up on those short yardage plays. It seemed like we reverted back to our old coaching staffs running it up the gut and trying to overpower the opponent for a few yards. I know we're improving and our line is getting bigger, but that's a losing battle 9 times out of 10, especially against the beef on Texas' dline stacking the box.

Hopefully we remember what worked early in the Tech game where Casey was able to leak out of the backfield completely open for an easy 4th down conversion and score. Getting teams second guessing on the play and using misdirection has been key to our offensive success this season, so no reason to go away from that now.

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