As always, these questions went out to the contributors at Rock Chalk Talk, as well as DJ from Hawk Digest. However, since young GingerBalls also partook in the action this week, we were looking at a rather enormous post. In the interest of spacing saving, we'll be splitting it up. First for the IBT answers and later in the week, we'll disseminate the others as well.
**Edit** TG has a story about Dez up on his blog. It's pretty much the same thing you read in the LJW today, except that it has a few facts incorrect and still makes no mention of him being snubbed out of the coveted TG helmet sticker despite having the biggest day receiving in the nation this year and second biggest in conference history. But worth a read nonetheless.
1. What, if anything, can KU take from the loss in Norman?
GingerBalls: Our offense was far from perfect and left points on the field. Yet, even when it isn't quite at its best, it's still pretty damn good....defense on the other hand, not so much.
Hiphopopotamus: A lot. For one thing, they proved that they can stay on the field with a legitimate top 5 team, on the road. Not that I ever want to be lumped in with them, but if you'll recall a year ago; the legitimacy of a certain team was entirely validated by doing the exact same thing (against an OU team that wasn't nearly as good). OU and UT are on another level (as they should be), but at this point we have reason to believe Kansas isn't the equal or better than anyone else (as they'll have a chance to prove shortly).
2. What do you think about Dezmon Briscoe's breakout day - Is it just a case of a guy being fired up for playing OU or is this a sign of things to come?
GB: Things to come I would expect. We have seen flashes of brilliance from this kid, but the amazing thing is how open he was getting when our other receivers couldn't get a yard of spacing.
HH: I'm thinking a little of both. It's obvious from their play calling that the coaching staff thought that this game needed to be a shoot-out. In thinking that, they called a lot of plays that sent him down the field quite a bit more than we're used to seeing. On the one hand, I'd expect them to build off that success and look to do so more often. On the other, that kind of play-calling doesn't exactly promote ball security, something very important to this coaching staff and this team's success.
3. If you could fix one thing with our defense what would it be? Also, if that one thing is unlikely to be fixed, what one thing do you think we have a chance of fixing to improve from here on out?
GB: Obvious answer is pass rush and that won't be rectified anytime before next year most likely. So I am gonna go with more press coverage on our corners against the spread. Why not try and bump them off the snap, worked for that little that we did it against USF and then I haven't seen it since.
HH: I think we're on the same page here, because I think it's just about an overall physicality. And more than anything, I really want to see us try and mix things up some. We've proven before (2005 most notably) that this system does work and I can appreciate sticking with it, especially during the season. But it's pretty obvious that offenses have evolved since then and that right now we don't have the players to make it work as we're trying to do. That being the case and timing being as important a factor as any in most of these offenses, why wouldn't we want to try and confuse as much as possible before the snap?
4. On a scale of 1 to 10, how would you rate the importance of Saturday's game?
GB: For the season to be the type of success that most expect, we need this pretty badly to keep rolling into that UT buzzsaw. 8
HH: I'll go with a 9. It's not must win by any standard so I won't put it at 10. But if this team is to truly believe in itself and get the recognition it deserves, it needs to take down one of the South "powers." With Texas looking less likely by the week, this is their best chance.
5. Being a bit more specific than "stop the pass" (because that won't happen), what one thing does KU need to do to win this game?
GB: Control the ball and the clock by giving them a good dose of Jake and Jocques opening up down field even more than it already will be. 50/50 run/pass will be key.
HH: Agreed, they need to control the game. But in the interest of diversity, I'll be generic and repeat what I told Double T Nation, "they [need to make the] plays when they count. Both of these teams are going to do some scoring, so it will come down to who makes less mistakes and who capitalizes on thier opportunities. If Kansas can win the turnover battle and not settle for field goals, I think they'll come out of Saturday with a well earned win and a newfound national respect."
6. And finally, Big XII picks...
Oklahoma 45 @ KSU 10
Colorado 10@ MU 59
A&M 20@ ISU 9
Baylor 24@ Nebraska 31
OSU 38@ Texas 42
Hiphopopotamus: I'll keep things short since we're at the end of a long post, but consider these the abridged picks for the week.
OU (-19.5) @ KSU : My fear here is that Stoops opts for the Milton Berle approach. But since he's trying to get back in the MNC picture, I betting he won't. OU 56 KSU 21
CU @ MU (-22.5): Unless the Tigers are feeling sorry for themselves, this shouldn't be much of a game. Evidence mostly by the destruction in Boulder a year ago and Colorado not yet passing 14 points in a conference game. MU 45 CU 14
A&M @ ISU (-3): I don't have a clue, mostly because this is the only chance either has to get a league win. After watching each last week, I'd be crazy to go against A&M. But I'm giving the Cyclones one last shot. ISU 24 A&M 20
Baylor (+11) @ Nebraska: Robert Griffin would scare me if I was Nebraska. But I really like what the Huskers have done on the road the last two weeks, especially on offense. NU 30 Baylor 21
OSU @ UT (-12.5): I'll be the first to admit that I'm probably just being stubborn with OSU, but I've yet to fully come around on them. Texas, on the other hand, I've been high on since the day they hired Will Muschamp. Can you imagine if Jamaal Charles had come back? Texas 41 OSU 28