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Kansas Jayhawks Preview 2022: Previewing, predicting, and looking ahead to the Kansas season with what you need to know and keys to the season.
Kansas Jayhawks Preview
Head Coach: Lance Leipold, 2nd year at Kansas, 2-10
16th year overall, 148-49: 2021 Preview
2021 Record: Overall: 2-10, Conference: 1-8
Keys To The Season | Season Prediction, What Will Happen
Kansas Top 10 Players | Kansas Schedule & Analysis
Kansas Jayhawks Preview 2022
If it’s possible for a two-win season to be fun and promising, 2021 was it for Kansas.
Of course the football season was a way to kill time before the basketball side rolled on the way to a national championship, but it really is possible to win football games at Kansas – it’s been done before.
Head coach Lance Leipold was a Division III legend at UW Whitewater – 109-6 in eight seasons with six national titles – before turning Buffalo around into a winner in his five years.
Oh sure, it was rough last year for the Jayhawks – there were times when the team didn’t even belong on the field – but it gave Oklahoma a mega-scare, shocked Texas, and pushed TCU and West Virginia in losses to close the season.
And now there’s hope.
No one is thinking Big 12 title, and even going to a bowl game this season is a bit much, but as long as Kansas is more competitive and can get to at least four wins for the first time since 2009, it’ll be time to get truly interested and excited before the new world of the Big 12 kicks in next year.
Kansas Jayhawks Preview 2022: Offense
It was the worst offense in the Big 12 in yards, scoring, passing, thing down conversions … and there’s reason to get fired up. Nine starters are expected back, there are real playmakers to build around, and the transfer portal is providing a whole lot of depth and options. Everything is going to revolve around …
The quarterback – Kansas has one. Miles Kendrick transferred to New Mexico, and Jason Bean is still around, but this is going to be the Jalon Daniels show after he took over late in the season and became a real, live consistent passer for a Kansas attack that hasn’t known a whole lot of steadiness at the position.
He won’t have leading receiver Kwamie Lassiter to throw to, but there’s experience and production in the corps – Luke Grimm, Lawrence Arnold, and Trevor Wilson are key parts of the promising group – to grow into their roles even more.
For all of the Kansas problems on offense, pass protection wasn’t one of them. The line wasn’t great at cranking up the ground game, but it didn’t allow a whole lot to happen behind the line. Four starters are expected back up front with options coming in from the transfer portal to mix in.
The running game will be a plus. Devin Neal led the team with 707 yards and eight scores, and on the way is Ky Thomas from Minnesota and Sevion Morrison from Nebraska to rotate in. Daniels can run, too.
Kansas Jayhawks Preview 2022: Defense
The offense was the worst in the Big 12 in a whole slew of ways. The defense was worst than that. It was the second-worst in college football in tackles for loss – yay Akron! – was second-worst in scoring D allowing 42 points per game – yay UMass! – and was second-worst in third down conversion defense – again, yay Akron!
Seven starters are expected back and the transfer portal is loaded with parts about to play a huge impact, especially at …
Linebacker. Rich Miller and Gavin Potter are back after finishing second and third, respectively, in tackles and with Taiwan Berryhill back after making plenty of plays. UCF transfer Eriq Gilyard is coming in after making close to 200 tackles for the Knights along with Ohio State transfer Craig Young.
The transfer portal is helping the line and secondary, too. Miami University’s Lonnie Phelps will instantly be the team’s top pass rusher – he made 8.5 sacks for the RedHawks last year – and Jarrett Paul is a former Rutgers and Eastern Michigan playmaker who could start at safety right away.
Throw in Marvin Grant – who made 76 tackles for Purdue last year – and there’s a big upgrade happening for a group of defensive backs that gets back 111-tackler safety Kenny Logan.
Up front, the D that was so awful against the run needs the big combination of Kenean Caldwell and Caleb Sampson to be a whole lot stronger.
Kansas Jayhawks: Keys To The Season, Top Game, Top Transfer, Fun Stats NEXT
Kansas Jayhawks: Keys To The Season, Top Game, Top Transfer, Fun Stats
Kansas Jayhawks: Key To The 2022 Offense
Establish the running game as soon as possible.
There’s been one giant problem with Kansas trying to run the ball – it has to throw to get back in games. The team was down 101-49 after first quarters of games last year and the ground attack and control were gone.
This isn’t going to be Wisconsin on the ground, but as long as it’s able to start averaging well over four yards per carry – it hasn’t done that for a few years – and start threatening to push close to 200 yards on a regular basis, everything starts to change.
For this year, just being over 150 yards every week would be a plus.
And on the other side …
Kansas Jayhawks: Key To The 2022 Defense
Stop … the … run.
The Jayhawks were hammered time and again last year, allowing over 210 yards in ten of the last 11 games – the win over Texas being the lone exception.
There should be a decent pass rush., there’s size up front, and Kansas really and truly has enough depth to matter at linebacker. Now the run D that’s been progressively worse in yards per carry allowed over the last five years has to start allowing closer to four yards per carry.
Last year the Jayhawks were gouged for over six yards per pop, close to 3,000 yards, and 40 touchdowns. Reducing that by half is asking for a lot, but it has to start improving.
And that’s why …
Kansas Jayhawks: Key Player To The 2022 Season
DT Kenean Caldwell, Jr.
A good recruit for the program, Caldwell hasn’t done a whole lot so far in his first two seasons with 13 tackles all coming last year. However, he’s got the 6-2, 325-pound size – he slimmed down a bit – has two years in the mix, and he needs to be more of an anchor for a team that desperately needs to be stronger in the interior.
Kansas Jayhawks: Key Transfer
DE Lonnie Phelps, Jr.
Pick any one of about ten different transfers who could and should make a massive impact. However, the Jayhawks needed a pass rusher with Kyron Johnson done, and it got one.
The 6-3, 242-pound Phelps was an All-MAC performer for Miami University with 9.5 sacks and 13.5 tackles for loss last season. He won’t be a volume tackler, but he’ll get behind the line.
Kansas Key Game To The 2022 Season
Duke, Sept. 24
It’s one of those games that shows where things are at.
Take nothing for granted at Kansas, but Tennessee Tech should be a win, and the road games at West Virginia and Houston will be likely losses. And then Duke comes to town in what needs to be a must win.
Last year the Jayhawks got rocked by a bad Blue Devil team 52-33. Win this time around, and all of a sudden there might be a little bit of hope.
Kansas Jayhawks: 2021 Fun Stats
– Rushing Yards: Opponents 2,999 – Kansas 1,672
– Fumbles: Opponents 15 (lost 8) – Kansas 15 (lost 3)
– Red Zone Scores: Opponents 53-of-58 (91%) – Kansas 29-of-40 (73%)
Kansas Jayhawks Season Prediction, What Will Happen NEXT
Kansas Jayhawks Season Prediction, What Will Happen
There’s experience, depth, and players who should be good enough to be factors at a Big 12 level.
It’s been a long, long, long time since Kansas mattered football-wise in any way to anyone who doesn’t invest – the Jayhawks not covering has been among the surest things in sports – but there might be a few more wins than you might think.
It’s not fair to call the Texas win a fluke, but that was obviously out of the blue – there might be a few more like that. At the very least the team should be more competitive.
Set The Kansas Jayhawks Regular Season Win Total At … 3.5
It seems insulting to anyone to think the bar being set at 3.5 wins is too high, but if this really is going to be a step-forward season under Lance Leipold, beating Tennessee Tech and Duke at home in September is a must.
There will be a Big 12 win somewhere in there, but will there be a second? It’s going to take two upsets to do it, and it would’ve been nice to have another layup non-conference date, but assume three wins somehow and expect a fourth.