Kansas’ Woes Over the Years
Ever since Kansas’ stretch of winning seasons in between 2003 and 2009 where they made a postseason bowl game four times in 6 years (including 2007-08’s 12-1 Orange Bowl season), Kansas has hit one of the worst droughts we have ever seen in Division I football.
Dire change is imminent. In the 12 years since the 2009-10 season, the Kansas Jayhawks have gone 26-106.
No, that was not a typo.
While watching Kansas take a shellacking against Oklahoma on November 7th, where they were utterly dominated 62-9, a question came to my mind.
“Can Anyone Save Kansas Football?”
The allure of hiring former national champion head coach Les Miles has died down, and Kansas football fans have woken up to the same nightmare they have been in for the last decade.
After signing a five-year contract in 2018 that made him the fifth head coach of the Jayhawks since 2009, Les Miles knew that their journey to success would have its roadblocks. With wins over Boston College and Texas Tech and in some other very competitive games in 2019, many saw the fight and wherewithal building within the Kansas program.
Year two of Miles’ tenure, however, has not looked as promising as his first.
2020: Year in Review
The Jayhawks are currently 0-7 this year since their most recent game against Texas has been postponed until December 12th.
Year in and year out, Kansas plays one of the hardest schedules in Division I football. This year alone, they will have played six teams ranked in the top 25. And unfortunately, year in and year out, Kansas consistently ranks in the bottom of DI football in nearly all team statistics.
Many of the woes this Kansas team can attribute their mistakes to are being young and inexperienced. Their offensive skill positions are loaded by underclassmen, aside from their senior wide receivers.
The two-headed monster consisting of Junior RB Pooka Williams Jr. (New Orleans, LA) and Sophomore Velton Gardner (Dallas, TX) control the Kansas running game.
Pooka Williams Jr. has shown to be one of the most prolific running backs ever to play football at Kansas.
He is the second running back in Kansas’ history to have back-to-back 1,000+ yard seasons in their career, and Pooka did it in his first two years. Unfortunately, due to the shortened season and Williams only playing four games, this streak will most likely end this year.
While Williams has been out, Dallas, Texas native Velton Gardner has been filling in. Gardner offers big playmaking ability, which he put on display in Kansas’ season opener against Coastal Carolina where he broke off a career-long 61-yard touchdown.
For Kansas, the quarterback position has really been a revolving door. However, Les Miles has finally found his quarterback of the future. True freshman Jalon Daniels out of Lawndale, CA, has taken the quarterback committee’s reins and started to make this offense his.
They Are Who We Thought They Were
The main issues that have plagued Kansas this year have been their first-half performance and unforced mistakes.
In the first half, opponents are outscoring Kansas 178-37.
Kansas’ total offense ranks 122nd out of 126 teams in Division I football. They have given up 38 sacks, are only converting 24% of their third-down plays (25/106), are averaging 3.8 yards per play, and are 124th in the nation in points per game (15.1).
Kansas’ defense ranks 108th out of 126 teams.
They allow almost 470 yards per game, and opposing offenses average a whopping 48.4 points per game.
In most of their games, Kansas starts with terrible field position, and their opponents greatly benefit from it. And in their closer losses, the narrative for all of these games has basically been the same. Their defense tends to be on the field a lot in the first half, and they cannot protect the quarterback from finding an early rhythm within the offense.
Kansas can still do several things to stay in games they did last year, such as controlling the time of possession and minimizing big plays, turnovers, and penalties. Kansas did exactly that in their best game last year against Boston College. Doing so opened up the passing game, and their wide receivers benefited.
Kansas has the blueprint for winning and staying in games, but they still have to execute. And that is still an issue for this young team.
Kansas will host the streaky TCU Horned Frogs (3-4) on November 28th at 7 p.m.
This game shows us where the team’s mindset is at right now as the season unwinds.