From the other side: Kansas
1) Kansas ended the losing streak (15 games) last week, and students rush the field. It came against Rhode Island. Did the fan base feel that was a bad look (rushing the field), or does this fall into any win is a good win category?
A couple of things on this:
It wasn’t really the traditional Reality Crazy field rush. The students who stuck around I felt went onto the field to enjoy the win with the players since it was their first win in 2014. There has been a steady but smaller group of students who have stuck with the team through coaching changes and losses. This has been blown a little out of proportion, in my opinion.
It was the team’s first win in a while. (Head coach David) Beaty took over a tough situation with scholarship numbers and a program that had been reeling since 2010. So to get that first win was somewhat of a relief because now that is just one of those things they can put behind them.
2) The Jayhawks are playing multiple quarterbacks. Who holds the upper hand, Montell Cozart, Ryan Willis, or Carter Stanley? And why?
I think deep down; it boils into a two-person race with Cozart and Willis. Interestingly they attended the same high school, so they have a lot in common. Stanley didn’t get as many snaps as the other two, and I get the feeling he is running in the third slot. But any time Beaty gets a chance to talk about quarterbacks, he mentions Stanley in the mix.
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From where I sit, I say Cozart and Willis are 1A and 1B, and Stanley is on the next level below them. Willis and Stanley both came from Bishop Miege High in Kansas City, where they ran the spread offense and were well-coached. Cozart might have the upper hand in the mobility category, and the consensus seems to be Willis holds an edge with his arm.
3) Kansas had some bad defensive numbers in 2015. Part of that is from playing in the Big 12 and all the prolific offenses present. State your case why you think the Kansas defense will be better in 2016.
One reason is the offense. While the Jayhawks defense ranked near the bottom in national stats, so did the defense. If the offense can maintain drives, move the chains, and put more points on the board, it will help the defense get a breather. In the Big 12, a lot of offenses play a fast, get-to-the-line, and snap style.
Last year Kansas played more first-year students than any team in the nation. Just a year’s experience will help the players understand how to defend and what to expect.
4) Speaking of defense, who are the players Ohio should account for on that side of the ball on Saturday?
The latest depth chart has Marquis Roberts on it, and he missed last week. It will be good news if he returns for the Jayhawks since he was third on the team in tackles. His counterpart Joe Dineen has developed into a good Big 12 caliber player at the other linebacker spot Mexico. Watch for two sophomores on the defensive line in Dorance Armstrong and Daniel Wise. Last week Wise led the team in tackles from his defensive tackle position, and Armstrong is an explosive pass rusher. In the secondary, Fish, Smithson led the nation in solo tackles last year.