Saturday, September 11, 2010

How did Kansas win today?

Ah, the unpredictability of college sports. How in the world did the Kansas Jayhawks win today versus the #15 Georgia Tech Yellowjackets after losing last week to Division 1AA North Dakota State?

Here are some thought starters:

- Justin Springer. Springer had 15 tackles but appeared to be involved with every defensive play Kansas made. Springer cemented his role today as the leader of this KU defense.

- James Sims. The true freshman became the first frosh ever to run for 100+ yards in his debut at Kansas. Sims demonstrated quick feet, eyes always looking for the hole, and the ability that great runners have to fall/move forward and rarely lose yards.

- Jeremiah Hatch being reinserted at center with Sal Capra moving to guard. Hatch is too good to sit on the bench, and Capra's natural position is guard. The O-line had a stellar day.

- Consistency at QB. Jordan Webb has won the job--let him stay in the role. While Kale Pick made appearances to run the ball, Webb is the better passer. And, the emergence of Sims, coupled with Angus Quigley and D.J. Beshears as backfield mates, equates to a more balanced Kansas attack.

- Carl Torbush. Kansas' defensive coordinator has coached against this Georgia Tech offense before, during this stint at Mississippi State, and it showed today. The defense always seemed to blitz at the right time, and was fundamentally sound in defending the option.

- The coaching staff. It had to be a very difficult week for the coaches to keep the players believing in themselves. Confidence now is running high and an argument could be made that losing to NDSU and beating Georgia Tech will mean more for this team's psyche than vice versa.

So, if you're Turner Gill, what's next--what do you need to worry about and/or consider?

- A five-day prep process for the next game on Friday at Southern Mississippi.

- How to get your team believing in "one game at a time?" There is the obvious danger of being too high after today's upset win.

- How do you continue to get Kale Pick on the field without harming offensive consistency? Pick is obviously shifty and fast--could he be KU's next Kerry Meier, i.e., a quality QB who is good enough and athletic enough to develop into a running back or receiver?

Kansas' performance today was far from flawless. There were two huge drops by receivers, the most damaging being Daymond Patterson's on a key second half third down play. The special teams have been average. And, there was questionable play calling when KU was up by 11 and trying to maintain possession of the ball in the fourth quarter.

In sum, KU is 1-1 after their first two games--exactly where most thought the Jayhawks would be. It's the journey which got them to this place which has been anything but predictable.

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