Sunday Thoughts: Offense, special teams showing progress

Jon Kirby, Publisher- Football Editor
Jayhawk Slant

Here is the lead-in to some thoughts on Sunday morning posted on the football board The Memorial Stadium Suite

Right now the Jayhawks are scoring 32 points a game compared to 20 in 2016. So that is progress right there with the offense.

I spent some time re-watching the game and then doing a stat analysis to see where progress is and is not.

Going over the conference stats the Big 12 really presents a problem for KU and it always has with the recent explosion of offenses with all of the great offensive-minded coaches. It started with Leach and slowly grew from there. But the conference is built on scoring and trying to get 2-3 more stops than whoever you are playing.

The 12 point jump per game by the offense has been a great improvement and they are showing progress. The bad news is seven teams in the Big 12 averaging over 40 points a game. It is border-line ridiculous and I see where the conference gets a bad rap at time from national football analysts who say the conference doesn't play defense.

I think there are some good defenses in the Big 12, but the offenses mask that.

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Look at yesterday's games. Oklahoma State scores 31 points and has 500 yards offense and loses by 13 at home. Baylor has 510 yards of offense and scores 41 points at home and loses to OU.

Last year there were six teams who averaged over 460 yards a game. This year there are eight accomplishing those numbers. The Jayhawks have shown a leap in offensive production and the scary thing is they rank ninth in scoring offense averaging 12 points a game more than last year.

The biggest thing that jumps out defensively is pass defense. Last year Kansas was #1 in the Big 12 in that category and this year they are last. The two factors that have played the biggest role in that is lack of pressure on the quarterback and the loss of four defensive starters in the secondary.

Last year the Jayhawks finished sixth in sacks and this year they are at the bottom of the conference. They had 28 sacks last year and only three so far through four games. When they got more pressure on the quarterback with a seasoned secondary it made for a much better pass defense.

Last year the defense gave up 37 points and 456 yards a game. This year they have taken a small step back giving up 39 points and 482 yards a game. Last year in the Big 12 there were nine defenses that gave up more than 425 yards a game with five of them giving up more than 450.

The offense isn't the only unit with improvement. The special teams has seen an upgrade since the arrival of Joe DeForest. He told Jayhawk Slant some of that has to do with more depth and having extra bodies to choose from. But DeForest also gets a lot of credit because of Gabe Rui and Cole Moos. DeForest found both players at NEO Junior College and convinced them to walk on.

Rui is six-of-seven on field goals and perfect on extra points. Moos is one of six punters averaging over 40 punts a game in the Big 12.

To see more thoughts and analysis from the Sunday post read here

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