Our SB brother Owen from Rock Chalk Talk participated in a Q&A with CRFF regarding the game this weekend in Lawrence.
You can see my responses to his questions here.
Here are his responses to my questions...
I'm curious how KU fans are dealing with the rapid decline from the BCS bowl win in 2007? This has to be a tough time for Jayhawk football folks. Obviously it takes time to turn things around, but are there signs that Weis is altering the course?
The fall from grace has been swift and stunning, but honestly it's almost par for the course historically. Unfortunately continuity has always been an issue for our program and every time we seem to turn a corner we lose a coach, or something happens where we fall on our face. I think the frustrating thing about this one is that we were sold a bad bill of goods by Lew Perkins and we fired the guy that had turned the program around leading to a lack of continuity by our own doing. Perkins had some clout at Kansas because of the Orange Bowl and NC, we all should have been a little more cautious because now he isn't viewed in a very positive light.
As far as Weis altering the course, I'd say the signs are definitely there. The only problem is that Turner Gill was SO bad we kind of have to wait to measure this against the longterm goals instead of short term gains. The team is competing, they are physically in a much better place and there are signs of improvement in the mentality. Now is that because Gill set the bar so low? Or does Charlie Weis have it in him to do at Kansas what he couldn't at Notre Dame? That's the biggest question.
Kansas seems to have 3 pretty good running backs, who have all split time due to injuries. Is there a hope that Weis can bring in a QB to compliment the the running game?
Well we were optimistic that Dayne Crist could be the start of that but obviously that isn't panning out. Now Jake Heaps who is another transfer and a former top quarterback prospect is sitting this year where he'll be taking a redshirt. He was the best quarterback on the field during the spring game and I think he probably wins us two of the games we've lost to date. We desperately need that to work out next year and then Weis will have time to integrate his QB of the future while using these transfers as a stop gap. If Weis can win some games with Heaps, have the next guy in place and ready to go, he might just be the perfect stop gap or bridge to the next coaching staff. Weis has hinted that this won't be a long run, that obviously presents another concern going back to my continuity comment. In a perfect world, it goes well and someone from his staff can step into the role. Obviously that's a PERFECT world and Kansas football has never been perfect.
I'm aware of Pierson, Cox, and Sims. Is there other young talent to take note of for KU?
Andrew Turzilli is a big wideout that is starting to develop nicely under Weis. He is a redshirt sophomore and presents a deep threat as well as a big body receiver in traffic. If his trajectory continues he can be good for Kansas over the next two and a half years.
Ben Heeney is a linebacker from Hutchinson Kansas who has stepped into the mike role and really settled in over the last two games. He's exactly the type of player that Kansas State has built a successful program on and he's exactly the type of player that Kansas has been most successful with over the years.
The Jayhawks' secondary seems to be a positive, but KU gave up some big plays on the ground against Kansas State. What's the biggest concern for Kansas if they hope to keep this game close?
EVERYTHING. Honestly I think the Cowboy offense and the rest of the Big 12 is going to test our secondary in ways that they weren't tested in the non-conference and the running attack of Kansas State certainly raised some concerns. In short it felt a lot like last year. Now coaching wise we are better schematically and our players aren't laying down which is improvement, but it's going to be tough. Kansas will need to force the Cowboys into some mistakes and find a way to keep the pressure on if they can do so. That will require the Kansas offense to do their part, so really we have a lot of things that need to go right and they haven't all been going right at the same time this year.
Kansas is known for it's basketball, and except for the days of Nolan Cromwell (yes, I'm dating myself) and Todd Reesing, football has been second fiddle. Is there a desire for football to compete for attention with hoops?
This probably depends on who you talk to. If you ask me, 100% yes. That said there are plenty of Kansas basketball fans who are apathetic as it relates to football. There is a "hey if we're good I'll watch" mentality at times. It's a bit of a chicken and the egg deal going on. Some fans want a good product to support, other fans believe the support could drive the product.
Financially speaking the backing is there. I think realignment might have been a wake up call for some of the larger donors and our current AD clearly realizes that and AD can make his name at Kansas through football and football alone. Bill Self is Kansas basketball, the Kansas coach is Kansas basketball and no AD is going to walk in and take that spotlight. Now if an AD can move the needle in football, that's a legacy builder.
Bottom line we have to keep trying, Kansas will continue to try and while the product definitely drives the fanbase, I think the money has an understanding that there has to be commitment. I will say that 2007 and 2008 were both great years and the stadium was full, Saturday's were on a whole new level and the support was great, consistency and sustainability is the frustrating piece.
I would think that the Kansas faithful are looking for a closer game than anticipated as the positive outcome. Would Jayhawks' fans be accepting of a 3 TD or less loss? Are there any fans who are truly crossing their fingers for an unlikely upset, in the same vein as Iowa State from 2011?
I think you'll find very few that are viewing this as an upset possibility. I would honestly be pretty happy with a 2 TD loss or less. 3 feels like I'm getting on the fringe and just letting the team off the hook but 2 or less and I'm definitely viewing that as a positive because we have either slowed you down or scored a bunch ourselves, either would be improvement. Honestly though, I'm not sure I see that happening. I guess you never know though.