2010 Record: (3-9, 1-7 in Big 12)
Head Coach: Turner Gill (2nd Yr at Kansas, 23-39 All-Time)
Last Bowl Game: 2008 Insight Bowl (beat Minnesota 42-21)
CFBZ Kansas Links
9/3: McNeese State
9/10: Northern Illinois
9/17: at Georgia Tech (2010 result: won 28-25)
10/1: Texas Tech (2009 result: lost 42-21)
10/8: at Oklahoma State (2010 result: lost 48-14)
10/15: Oklahoma (2009 result: lost 35-13)
10/22: Kansas State (2010 result: lost 59-7)
10/29: at Texas (2009 result: lost 51-20)
11/5: at Iowa State (2010 result: lost 28-16)
11/12: Baylor (2010 result: lost 55-7)
11/19: at Texas A&M (2010 result: lost 45-10)
11/26: Missouri (2010 result: lost 35-7)
2010 Offensive Statistics:
Scoring: 17.1 ppg (last in Big 12, 111th in Nation)
Rushing Yds/Game: 134.58 yds/game (last in Big 12, 87th in Nation)
Passing Yds/Game: 161.8 yds/game (11th in Big 12, 103rd in Nation)
Total Yds/Game: 296.4 yds/game (last in Big 12, 113th in Nation)
2010 Defensive Statistics:
Scoring: 34.4 ppg (last in Big 12, 103rd in Nation)
Rushing Yds/Game: 205.17 yds/game (11th in Big 12, 107th in Nation)
Passing Yds/Game: 222.5 yds/game (7th in Big 12, 65th in Nation)
Total Yds/Game: 427.7 yds/game (9th in Big 12, 98th in Nation)
2010 Misc Stats:
Turnover Margin: -0.67 per game (11th in Big 12, 105th in Nation)
Penalties: 56.8 yds/game (6th in Big 12, 82nd in Nation)
Top Returning Statistical Leaders:
Passing: QB Jordan Webb, Soph (121 of 214 for 1195 yds, 7 TD, 8 INT)
Rushing: RB James Sims, Soph (168 for 742 yds, 4.4 ypc, 9 TD)
Receiving: WR Daymond Patterson, Sr (60 rec for 487 yds, 2 TD)
Tackles: LB Steven Johnson, Sr (95)
Sacks: DT Richard Johnson, Sr (1.5)
Interceptions: CB Tyler Patmon, Soph; CB Isiah Barfield, Sr (2)
Last year was a rough year for Turner Gill in his first year as the Jayhawks Head Coach. There couldn't be a much worse way to start the season then they did with the 6-3 loss to North Dakota State. The high point of the year came in week two when the Jayhawks shocked the #15 ranked Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets and Josh Nesbitt when they upset the Jackets 28-25. After that it was almost all downhill as the Jayhawks dropped 8 of their last 10 to finish 3-9 with only one conference win. Sometimes statistics don't tell the whole story but if you look at the statistics above they paint a pretty bleak picture and in all honesty that's what 2010 was for Kansas. The good news for Kansas? Phil Steele has them as the third most experienced team in the Big 12. They also have the second most OL starts in the Big 12. And about that experience that they have coming back, they are ranked 9th in senior experience so their experience is still young. What does that mean for 2011? In my opinion, I think Gill and the Jayhawks will take more lumps this year but they could start to turn the corner as early as next season. To get an inside look at the Kansas Jayhawks we caught up with a Friend of the Blog, Jay Beck, who runs a website dedicated to the Big 12 called Turfburner.
Turner Gill went 3-9 in his debut year at Kansas with only one conference win. What do you think he needs to do better this year?
The first year for any coach is always a big adjustment and it was even more so with Gill coming into the situation at Kansas following the somewhat controversial dismissal of Mark Mangino and the turmoil that surrounded the program during that period. Not to mention, the Jayhawks had lost seven straight games to end the 2009 season and the offensive firepower that helped make Mangino so successful was lost to graduation.
Kansas simply didn't have the athletes in most areas to compete last season. But more so than Gill needing to do anything different, the three things that will help them most.
1 - Familiarity with the personnel. It took Gill and his staff nearly half of last season before they were able to learn players strengths and figure out how/where to put them to give them the best chance at success. They played much more competitively towards the end of the year as a result. That won't be an issue this season with Gill and his staff having a full off-season with the team.
2 - A full season in the new strength and conditioning program. Yes, every team talks about the gains they've made during the off-season and the proof comes on the field in the fall. But the Kansas coaches sound like they sincerely and confident they'll be a much faster team this season as a result, and a good recruiting class this past year will also help to add more depth.
3 - Continuity on offense. They return eight starters on offense and it will be the second year in Chuck Long's system. Add to that a bunch of talent at running back and experience at quarterback (assuming Webb wins the job), and Kansas figures to score much more than the disappointing 17 points they averaged in 2010.
Jordan Webb played as freshman last year but Kansas also has Brock Berglund coming in. Who is going to be the QB this year?
Initially it looked like Berglund would be given every opportunity to win the starting job. He graduated from high school early and was on campus getting ready for spring football before suddenly going back to Colorado to take care of some "personal issues". The word was he was still taking his classes online and would report with the rest of the freshman this summer.
More recently, there are rumors circulating he may not make it back to campus at all. Either way, the longer he's not with his teammates this summer in Lawrence, the less likely it is he'll win the starting quarterback job, especially early in the season. If he does make it to campus and Webb struggles early, he could play later in the season but even that is looking more and more like a long shot. For better or worse, it's looking like Jordan Webb and even Quinn Mecham will be the two battling for playing time.
(CFBZ Note: On Tuesday July 20th it was reported that Brock Berglund was charged with 3rd degree assault in Colorado for coming to the aid of his girlfriend who was allegedly being harassed. There is no word as of the time of this posting how this might affect his future)
Who are some under-the-radar guys on offense that we should keep our eye on?
Freshman running back, Darrian Miller, made a strong impression on the coaches this spring after graduating early from high school. He should provide a strong one-two punch with last year's leading rusher, James Sims, in what is by far KU's strength on offense. Miller was a 4-star recruit and one of the top rated players in KU's 2011 class.
Another guy to keep an eye on is Kale Pick who opened last year as the starting quarterback, before moving to receiver towards the end of last season. He was listed as second team on the post-spring depth chart at receiver, but he made big strides during spring practice and started to draw comparisons to another Kansas quarterback-turned-receiver, Kerry Meier. Pick is still raw at the position, but with KU in need of playmakers, his speed and athleticism should pay dividends for the Jayhawks.
Defensively, Kansas gave up the most points in the Big 12 last year. Who needs to step up this year for the Jayhawks to see improvement on that side of the football?
Kansas finished with a dismal 14 sacks last year in 12 games. If they want to keep teams out of the end zone in 2011, they have to put more pressure on the quarterback. Converted running back now defensive end, Toben Opurum ,just might be the guy they're looking for. Opurum came into 2010 as the team's leading rusher but was moved to linebacker during fall camp and was never able to make an impact before giving defensive end a go. He had a great spring at the position with Gill even going so far as saying Opurum is a guy "that's going to be reckoned with in the Big 12." Gill and his staff have been trying to increase the speed on defense and a 6'1" 240 running back playing defensive end definitely fits the bill.
Another thing to keep in mind regarding KU's defense is the loss of coordinator, Carl Torbush, who decided to retire this spring while he undergoes cancer treatments. Gill stayed in-house naming cornerbacks coach, Vic Shealy, as the lead co-defensive coordinator along with line coach Buddy Wyatt. The schemes are largely expected to remain the same, although Shealy has said he'll do a few things differently including the way the pressure an offense. By no means was Torbush at fault for Kansas's failure on defense a season ago, but it'll be interesting to see how much KU improves on that side of the ball with a few more athletes on the field and some minor schematic adjustments to go along with it.
Looking at the schedule, what are the most important games this year?
The first game that stands out is the intra-state rivalry game with Kansas State. The Jayhawks were embarrassed by KSU last season, 59-7, on their home field. One of the fastest ways for a coach to get himself on the hot seat is by getting taken to town by one of the school's biggest rivals. Another repeat of last year's performance and the whispers could begin in Lawrence, depending on how the rest of the season is going, of course.
They get the Wildcats in Lawrence again this year and they need to show dramatic improvement after last year's disaster. I'm not a big fan of the term "measuring stick game" but this should be a good indicator of just how much improvement has been made from last season.
With wins likely being at a premium this year, protecting their home field is going to be a big key in KU's success this season which is why I'd put the home game with Baylor as the next most important on the schedule. Like the situation with Kansas State, Kansas was drilled by Baylor in Waco, 55-7, in 2010. Baylor is a team on the rise who went to a bowl game last year and they should have a better team this year. We've heard the improvements that have been made in the offseason and a win over a Baylor will give help give them some results to show for it.
And if you're a Jayhawk fan, you can never downplay the importance of the Missouri game. Missouri has always been one of KU's biggest rivals and with Nebraska now out of the conference, Mizzou figures to be the team most of the former Big 12 North teams will measure themselves against. And similar to Gill possibly getting himself into some hot water by losing to Kansas State again, he could cool the waters for a while with a victory of Missouri, if he indeed comes under any pressure following the season.
What is your gut feeling on the final record for the 2011 season and what makes the season successful in your eyes?
I'm going with 4-8 for their final record, with the one game improvement from last year coming in the way of a victory over McNeese State in the season opener versus losing to North Dakota State as they did a season ago. Even though the record likely won't improve much, I think they'll be a much more competitive team than what they showed in 2010.
In my opinion, anything more than four wins would make the season a success considering where they were coming from last season. A fifth or even sixth win most likely means KU upset one or two pretty good football teams on their schedule (take your pick from G-Tech, OU, OSU, A&M, Texas or Missouri). Without a doubt, I feel like Kansas is headed in the right direction under Gill, but another good recruiting class or two is needed before you start seeing the results in the win column.
Next Preview: California
Coming in August: Big 12 Preview
Coming in August: CFBZ Top 25 Countdown
2011 Team Previews