As tends to happen on Sundays, I spent a vast majority of my day on the couch. As is also typical, the football was much less interesting so I decided to watch the recording of yesterday’s game. And of course there were some observations to be made.
Much to my surprise, the first thing that caught my attention had to do with the worldwide leader. A stat I was previously unaware of; ESPN had not broadcast a game from Lawrence since 1995. So despite covering them quite a bit on the road, they’re apparently a little unfamiliar with the team. If you saw the broadcast, you probably know where I am going with this.
Now, you all know that we here at KJ-IBT are big fans of Darrell Stuckey. And we, like ESPN, would consider him an impact player.
Only that is not Darrell Stuckey. This young man on the right, however, is. OK, so mistakes happen. It’s understandable. But the next impact player they would like you to meet is Jake Laptad.
Maybe some people think that’s Jake Laptad. But I’ve always thought he looked a little more like this. It’s your call.
My parting thoughts on ESPN…
- Rod Gilmore (as commenter Big Head pointed out) just might be in love with Kerry Meier. And how can you blame him?
- A big thank you to the producers that decided to interview Coach Self and give me a few championship trophy/AllenFieldhouse shots. Nothing quite like getting reminded that you’re national champions.
- And lastly, while it was nice to have ESPN on campus Saturday what we’d really like is a visit from the Gameday crew. I may have to get divorced for a day so my wife can cheat on me with Kirk Hebrstreit, but if that’s what it takes to have Gameday on the hill I’m all in. Now, obviously this is looking WAY ahead, but I think it just might happen on November 15th. A lot could change between now and then, but per today’s rankings there is only one game scheduled that matches up two ranked teams. Those two ranked teams are the newly anointed #1 Texas Longhorns and your Kansas Jayhawks.
As for the actual game…
1. I really liked what I saw from the defense. This isn’t really a new observation, but it was definitely verified. Colorado’s first score was entirely on Kendrick Harper; letting them down close on a 17 yard slant and then burned on the touchdown. And I’d say the responsibility of their second score is split between the kick coverage unit (Smith’s 59 yard return) and Clint Bowen for calling a safety blitz on third and long allowing for a 39 yard completion down to the 1. As I mentioned earlier, I didn’t care for the amount of room Stewart had up the middle. But upon further review, he just made a few people miss. I’m not saying it’s not a concern, but at least for the time being, I’m inclined to just give credit where it’s due.
2. Again, this isn’t a new observation. But what in the hell were they doing at the end of the first half with the play clock? They had every opportunity to run it down to 0 and the game clock down to 4 seconds and basically ending the half. For the life of me I have no idea why they instead stopped it at 12 seconds. If anyone can explain this please clue me in.
3. You have to love the second half adjustments. At halftime, I was extremely critical of the play calling. But in watching how they opened it up the second half, it looks to me like they truly were just playing it safe on account of field position and in an attempt to get a few reads from Colorado on how they wanted to defend certain sets.
4. I’m not sure I completely agree with giving Jake every single carry from the running back position. But it is pretty apparent that he does play a lot better as he gets into a rhythm. He just looks a lot more patient, while also decisive. Earlier in the year, he was neither.
5. Speaking of running backs, as bad as the coverage was yesterday, Jocques Crawford had himself a hell of a day there. He made a great tackle early in the game and he was the one who ran down Josh Smith from the opposite side of the field on his 59 yard return.
6. After the first TD, Kendrick never really got hurt and actually made several good breaks on passes. But they better find a way to help him deep next week or he’s going to get burned badly all game long.
In closing, I don't think I saw anything incredible from the Hawks yesterday. And I'm not sure if I'm excited for the game next week or not. But watching that game, especially the second half, they really reminded me a lot of Kansas last year. Balanced, creative and explosive offense. Disciplined, assignment sound defense. And for what it's worth, opportunistic on both ends. I obviously wasn't able to see the UT/OU game, but I'm well aware of how many points OU is capable of putting up. And I don't think it's a stretch to say that one of the biggest reasons Texas won that game was the huge disparity in the running game. Now, I haven't seen near enough from KU to think that's possible. But I'm much more optimistic now knowing that the chance at least exists to keep it somewhat close. A week ago that was not the case. Hope is a good thing and for the time being, I have some.