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Kansas Preview 2006 - Further Analysis
Kansas Jayhawks
CollegeFootballNews.com
Posted Jul 31, 2006


Kansas Jayhawks Preview 2006 - KU Further Analysis

1st and Ten – “This team is better than you acted” – The late, great stand-up comedian Mitch Hedberg’s used to tell his audience when they responded lukewarmly to one of his bits “that joke was better than you acted”.  Well, the Jayhawks might’ve been “better than we all acted” last season.  Sure, they had to knock off Iowa State at home to be bowl eligible.  Shoot, they had to win three of the last four to be bowl eligible (partly because they couldn’t put the ball in the end zone in the middle of the season).  But, they did it.  They knocked Iowa State out of the Big XII championship game with a comeback in the fourth quarter.  Then, they went to the Fort Worth Bowl and put a hurting on the Houston Cougars 42 – 13.  For a year that started with Mark Mangino sitting on the proverbial hot seat, the close of the season seemed to show everyone that the former Oklahoma offensive coordinator is starting to build something legitimate.  Do the math, Mangino has taken the Jayhawks to two bowl games in three years for the first time since the 1973 - 1975 seasons.  With now having a little more solid footing after the strong finish to the season, Mangino can utilize that in recruiting and continue to comb the Midwest for players who will help turn KU into what Bill Snyder had at KSU.  Wait, it’s not really acceptable to mention KSU in a KU article, is it?  Well, in this case, it’s a compliment, take it as one.  In the game against Houston, the Jayhawks were dominant in every phase of the game, and quite frankly, it’s been a long time since ‘dominant’ and ‘Jayhawks’ were in the same sentence that didn’t include the word basketball.  KU might’ve snuck up on you, the college football fan, but they were much better than you acted.

2nd and Seven – Replacing a legend – Okay, so Jason Swanson wasn’t quite a legend for his whole career, but what he did against Houston really propelled this offense to a level that they struggled to approach all season long.  Without that game against Houston, the Kansas QBs, Brian Luke and Swanson, had a difficult time staying consistent and getting this team in the end zone, especially in the first half of the Big XII schedule.  Now, Swanson did leave a blueprint for success in this Jayhawk offense, but who is going to be the lucky architect to follow through on the plan?  Redshirt freshman Kerry Meier is the consensus at this point, but Adam Barmann has started 13 games in his career.  Although Barmann’s experience would be the perfect tonic for an offense that might need a conductor, more than it needs a star oboe player, if you catch my drift, Meier is a versatile talent who best fits this offense.  The offense returns 7 starters who can help Meier through his rough spots, and having Barmann in relief might make the most sense.  It is tough to replace a legend, so the freshman will have some work to do.

3rd and Three – Good news, bad news – Division 1A national champions Texas ran for 336 yards against KU last fall.  Division 1AA national champs Appalachian State ran for 133 yards.  Not one other team ran for over 100 yards against KU last year, with the exception of Colorado who ran for a paltry 104 yards.  The Jayhawks didn’t even give up 1,000 yards rushing for the entire season.  The run defense was third ranked in the nation, and it’s not hard to see why with those numbers.  The good news?  Yes, that was the good news.  The bad news?  Well, only one of the defensive front seven returns to the lineup in 2006 – DT James McClinton.  The playmakers, Nick Reid and Charlton Keith in particular, are out of eligibility, so the pressure of stopping the run schemes in the Big XII will be in the hand of some ‘green’ rookies, so to speak.  Strong safety Jerome Kemp might need to be more of an ‘in the box’ player, until the linebackers get comfortable in their roles.

4th and One – Cornish game hen – Jon Cornish isn’t as well known as other RB in the Big XII, but he might just carry more pressure on his shoulders than any other back in the conference.  Adrian Peterson has Rhett Bomar to take some pressure off of him.  Selvin Young and Jamaal Charles have one another.  Cornish loses his running mate, Clark Green, and his two QBs, so the Canadian back will probably see his carries go up 25% to 30%, especially with four returning starters on the offensive line.  Until the Missouri game last year, the running game was up and down like a roller coaster, but the finish to the year was much better with Cornish leading the way with two hundred yard games and 9.5 yards per carry against Texas.  With experience in the line, the 6’, 205 senior will have to amp up his carries.  If Cornish doesn’t produce, then the Jayhawks are going to have to rely on a redshirt freshman or a sophomore to rack up quality carries.  But, don’t expect that to happen in Cornish’s final season.

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Kansas Preview 2006 - Offense
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Kansas Preview 2006 - Defense
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