2009 CFN Kansas Preview
Kansas WR Kerry Meier
Kansas WR Kerry Meier
Posted Jul 3, 2009

The CFN 2009 Kansas Jayhawk Preview, Breakdown, and Analysis.

Kansas Jayhawks

Preview 2009

By Pete Fiutak

- 2009 CFN Kansas Preview | 2009 Kansas Offense
- 2009 CFN Kansas Defense | 2009 Kansas Depth Chart
- 2008 Kansas Preview | 2007 Kansas Preview | 2006 Kansas Preview 

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Head coach: Mark Mangino
7th year: 45-41
Returning Lettermen:
Off. 18, Def. 21 ST 3
Lettermen Lost: 18
Ten Best KU Players
1. QB Todd Reesing, Sr.
2. WR Dezmon Briscoe, Jr.
3. WR Kerry Meier, Sr.
4. SS Darrell Stuckey, Sr.
5. DE Jake Laptad, Jr.
6. DT Caleb Blakesley, Sr.
7. CB Daymond Patterson, So.
8. OT Jeff Spikes, Soph.
9. OT Jeremiah Hatch, So.
10. DB Chris Harris, Jr.

2009 Schedule
CFN Prediction:
2009 Record: 0-0

9/5 Northern Colorado
9/12 at UTEP
9/19 Duke
9/26 Southern Miss
10/10 Iowa State
10/17 at Colorado
10/24 Oklahoma
10/31 at Texas Tech
11/7 at Kansas State
11/14 Nebraska
11/21 at Texas
11/28 Missouri (in KC)

2008 Schedule
CFN Prediction: 9-3
2008 Record: 8-5

8/30 Florida Int'l W 40-10
9/6 Louisiana Tech W 29-0
9/12 at South Florida L 37-34
9/20 S Houston St W 38-14
Oct. 4 at Iowa State W 35-33
10/11 Colorado  W 30-14
10/18 at Oklahoma L 45-31
10/25 Texas Tech L 63-21
11/1 Kansas State W 52-31
11/8 at Nebraska L 45-35
11/15 Texas  L 35-7
11/29 Missouri (KC) W 40-37
Insight Bowl
12/31 Minnesota W 42-21

Does Kansas have staying power?

After bursting onto the national scene in 2007 with an ultra-efficient offense that answered every challenge, and a defense that was just good enough to stop all the mediocre teams on the schedule, Kansas had to answer questions about being a possible one-year wonder. Beating Virginia Tech in the Orange Bowl was nice, but beating the better teams in the Big 12 would be a different story.

It’s not fair to call the 2007 season a fluke or a mirage, the team really was good on the way to a 12-1 record, but it didn’t get any of the big boys from the South, Nebraska was still down, the toughest non-conference game was against Central Michigan, and the one strong team on the slate, Missouri, was a loss. The scheduling gods had their moment of payback last year.

In the best year in the history of the Big 12, Kansas had to face the three killers from the South, Oklahoma, Texas, and Texas Tech, had to go to Lincoln to face a revamped Nebraska, and travelled to South Florida. A tremendous gut-check win over Missouri led to an Insight Bowl invite and a win over Minnesota, but the end of the year still didn’t prove that Kansas had the potential to continue the recent run of success.

This year, even with another brutal schedule, should be a better indicator than last year, and it’ll need to be a big season before the program undergoes some mega-personnel changes in 2010. Todd Reesing came up with the best passing season in school history last year, and he should be even better this season with Kerry Meier and Dezmon Briscoe returning to likely combine for close to 200 catches. The backfield gets back Jake Sharp and Jocques Crawford, the line has promise, even if some replacements are needed inside, and the defense is going to be aggressive and very, very quick and athletic.

This will be a good enough team to be in the hunt for the Big 12 North title all season long, but it’ll have to show it can produce when the spotlight is on in the biggest games with Oklahoma, Texas Tech, and Texas back on the slate to make this a tough year to get over the hump to play for the championship. Last year, KU showed that its talent level was still a few steps below the top teams, and while the try-hard, good-effort teams of the past few years have produced decent results, this will be the year to see just how far the program has to go.

What to look for on offense: A monster year from Reesing. The senior is already coming off a record-setting passing season, but this year could be even more amazing. Dezmon Briscoe and Kerry Meier return after combining for 189 catches for 2,452 yards and 22 touchdowns, while Johnathan Wilson is a nice No. 3 target and Jake Sharp is a good receiving threat out of the backfield. And then there’s the need to throw just to stay alive. If the secondary isn’t appreciably better, Reesing will have to throw to keep the team in most games.

What to expect look for defense: More quickness and athleticism in a 4-2-5 alignment. The KU linebacking corps was fantastic last season, but now it’s undergoing a wholesale change. The replacements aren’t nearly as big, but they’re very quick, almost like beefed up safeties, and they can all run. The secondary has good speed, and the defensive front should be excellent off the ball and into the backfield. There might be problems against more physical teams, but the D should handle itself well against most spread attacks.

This team will be much better if … the offensive line dominates. This was a problem last year as tackles Jeremiah Hatch and Jeff Spikes were thrown to the wolves as freshmen. The have big-time upside, while the interior has options to work with to come up with a few replacements. Now the line has to work after struggling in the running game and not doing much to keep Todd Reesing from getting popped.

The Schedule:
It’s tough enough that there’s no room to give away a Big 12 upset. The non-conference schedule is light and fluffy with home games against Duke and Southern Miss the only two to break a sweat over, but the payment comes in conference play getting tagged with Oklahoma, at Texas Tech, and at Texas. On the plus side, Nebraska has to come to Lawrence and the Missouri game will be played in Kansas City. If KU has any dreams of playing for the Big 12 title, it’ll need to win games at Colorado and at Kansas State as part of a tough stretch of three road games in four weeks. The one home game in the mix there is against OU. The back part of that four game run, at Texas Tech and at Kansas State, starts another run of three road games in four weeks with the home game against Nebraska.

Best Offensive Player: Senior QB Todd Reesing. The pro scouts are going to be far more interested in Briscoe and Meier, but Reesing is the tough, heart-and-soul of the offense. He was too hurt to play at the end of the year, but he played anyway throwing for 375 yards and four touchdowns showing the type of gamer he is. On the year he threw for 3,888 yards and 32 scores, and while he wasn’t quite as efficient as he was in 2007, he kept the offense moving. Now he has to cut down on his interceptions, lead the way to wins over more strong teams, and above all, stay healthy.

Best Defensive Player: Senior SS Darrell Stuckey. He can do it all. At 6-1 and 205 pounds, he has the size to be able to be the intimidating force in the secondary and the speed to be thrown at corner if desperately needed. He’s a sure tackler and is solid in pass coverage, though he could be more consistent. He came up with two key interceptions in last year’s win over Missouri and made 14 solo stops in the lloss to Nebraska.

Key player to a successful season: The entire linebacking corps. You don’t get better by losing James Holt, Joe Mortensen and Mike Rivera, but there are some quick options who’ll be ready to step in and provide some more athleticism. The line should be fine and the secondary will be better, but if the linebacking corps doesn’t pull its weight against all the high octane Big 12 offenses, it’ll be tough for the Jayhawks to come up with a better record.

The season will be a success if ... a Big 12 North title. It’s a tall order with Texas, Oklahoma and Texas Tech on the schedule, but with a key home game against Nebraska, with Missouri rebuilding, and Colorado still trying to find its way, the Jayhawks have to take advantage of the every chance this year or the window of opportunity on winning a division championship could quickly close. Nebraska is on the verge of being excellent and the rest of the league appears a year away from being better.

Key game: Nov. 14 vs. Nebraska. It’ll be tough for a three-loss team to get to the Big 12 title game, but KU could still be in the mix even with assumed losses to Oklahoma and Texas in the equation. However, it’ll be next to impossible to play for the championship if KU can’t get by the Huskers at home. Considering a trip to Texas is up next followed up by the neutral site game against Mizzou, KU can’t afford to lose its final home game.

2008 Fun Stats: 
 - Passing touchdowns: Kansas 33 – Opponents 27
 - Third down conversions: Kansas 51% - Opponents 40%
 - Kickoff return average: Opponents 21.4 – Kansas 17.5

- 2009 CFN Kansas Preview | 2009 Kansas Offense
- 2009 CFN Kansas Defense | 2009 Kansas Depth Chart
- 2008 Kansas Preview | 2007 Kansas Preview | 2006 Kansas Preview