September 29, 2011
Field General: Distributing the pigskin for the Jayhawks will be QB Jordan Webb (6-foot, 210-pounds). Webb has yet to throw an interception, has been mostly efficient, completing 66.1 percent of his passes. He threw for three touchdowns in both games against McNeese State and Northern Illinois, but was held scoreless by the Georgia Tech defense. The Kansas offense is very run centric, however, Webb is probably the least lethal runner that the Red Raider defense has faced, as he's only run for 30 yards on 22 attempts.
That will likely be a relief for the Tech defense after they've been gashed on zone-read type plays by quarterbacks so far. Seeing another run heavy team for the 4th week in a row will only help the defense continue to grow for future teams that are looking to pound the rock such as A&M, Iowa State, Texas, and Kansas State.
Toting The Rock: The Jayhawks starting back and leading rusher is 6-foot, 206-pound sophomore running back James Sims. Sims has rushed for 254 yards for three touchdowns on 56 carries for an average of 3.54 yards per carry. Behind Sims is a slew of freshman backs. Leading that group is 5-foot-10, 190 pound Darrian Miller. Miller has rushed for 173 yards and three touchdowns on 34 attempts. The other freshman back that has been a solid contributor is 5-foot-11, 175-pound tailback Tony Pierson. Pierson has run for 128 yards and one touchdown on 15 attempts.
Kansas' top three backs are all a legitimate threat in the running game and could pose problems for a Tech team that was gashed for over 300 yards by Nevada. However, Georgia Tech, the only BCS team that Nevada has faced so far, held the Jayhawks to only 150 yards and leading rusher James Sims to only 40 yards. The Jayhawk offense should be less potent than Nevada's and Coaches Tuberville and Glasgow said the Tech defensive players had a sort of light bulb moment during film session on Sunday, so the Red Raiders will likely have a better day in rush defense.
Catching the Ball: Kansas two outside starting receivers are 5-foot-9, 185-pound junior D.J. Beshears and 6-foot-1, 208-pound junior Kale Pick. Pick has four receptions for 72 yards and one touchdown while Beshears has 12 receptions for 135 yards and two touchdowns. Beshears most productive game came against Northern Illinois where he had seven receptions for 70 yards and two touchdowns. The biggest surprise, however, has been 5-foot-11, 170-pound freshman receiver JaCorey Shepherd. He had 5 receptions for 136 yards and two touchdowns in the first two games of the season, but missed the Georgia Tech game due to an undisclosed injury. He's currently listed as doubtful for the Tech game on Saturday. The final solid contributor thus far for the Jayhawks has been 6-foot-4, 250-pound senior tight end Tim Biere. Biere has had eight receptions for 94 yards.
The Big Uglies: Up front, the Jayhawks are starting a veteran offensive line. From left to right: The starting left tackle is 6-foot-6, 325-pound senior Jeff Spikes, at left guard is 6-foot-2, 293-pound junior Trevor Marrongelli, 6-foot-3, 307-pound senior Jeremiah Hatch will be calling the audibles at center, 6-foot-4, 305-pound Duane Zlatnik will be holding down right guard, and right tackle first stringer is 6-foot-6, 293-pound junior Tanner Hawkinson. The offensive line has given up five sacks thus far, with three of those coming from Northern Illinois. The hogs have also helped Kansas pave the way for 235 rushing yards per game, but only helped the running backs go for 151 yards against Georgia Tech.
It's hard to judge just how good the Kansas offense is, as they have rushed for less and less yards as the difficulty of opponent has increased. Tech's defense should have a better day against Kansas than they did against Nevada, as the Kansas offense is more traditional than any they've faced, and they most likely won't be given fits by quarterback Blake Webb in the running game like they have been by every other quarterback they've played thus far.
Famous KU Alumni: Phog Allen, Scott Bakula, Wilt Chamberlain, Jack Del Rio, Bob Dole, Don Johnson, James Naismith, Adolph Rupp, Gale Sayers, Dean Smith, Mark Turgeon