This Saturday, Oklahoma State will try to rebound from their first loss of the season by ruining Kansas’ Homecoming. The Cowboys are looking to win their ninth straight in the series with the Jayhawks, and eighth straight in Lawrence Kansas.
I reached out to Andy Mitts, the Managing Editor of the KU SBNation site Rock Chalk Talk and host of the Rock Chalk Pod, to find out a little more about this Kansas squad. That includes just who is this 2-2 KU team, how to stop Pooka Williams, and what defensive players to know.
Phillip Slavin: I want to know, will the real Kansas team please stand up? Who is the real Kansas; the one who slaughtered Rutgers and Central Michigan, or the one who lost to an FCS team and looked bad against Baylor?
Andy Mitts: “This is the real Kansas team. One that is entirely inconsistent, dependent on matchups, and coached by a staff way over its head. Kansas still has Big 12 caliber athletes, but the coaches are not able to put them in positions to succeed regularly. The inability to evaluate a QB well is not even the most frustrating aspect of the staff. There are inexplicable timeouts, bad decisions on 4th down, completely transparent gameplans, and so much more.”
PS: Pooka Williams is a legit Big 12 running back. What are his strengths, and what is the best way to slow him down?
AM: “His stats this year seem even more impressive when you think about the fact that he didn’t play in the first game for the Jayhawks. If he had played against Nicholls State, he probably would be the Big 12 rushing leader, and Kansas would likely only have 1 loss on the year. He is very fast, and if he can get a full head of steam he can easily pull away from even the fastest defenders. He is the most dangerous when they throw out to him in the flat. The best way to stop him is to force Kansas to run inside the tackles with him. Baylor had some success there.”
PS: Kansas is averaging 158 passing yards a game right now. Why should OSU not just sell out to stop the run in this game?
AM: “Honestly, they should. Kansas QB Peyton Bender is inaccurate at best, and while the offense seems to run better with Miles Kendrick (who seems to be out with a shoulder injury), David Beaty can’t get out of his own way and just stick with a QB. Not to mention that when Kansas does through the ball, it is usually short or medium passes. KU can occasionally beat you over the top, but a good jam on Steven Sims should neutralize about 75% of the deep threat.”
PS: There are a couple of talented defensive players on this team, specifically Joe Dineen Jr. Who else should OSU fans know about?
AM: “There is actually some impressive talent throughout the defense, and Dineen is just the most well known. Up front you have Daniel Wise, who has been phenomenal for the Jayhawks in all of his years. Despite the lack of sacks, he has been able to get consistent pressure on the QB, and has really clogged up running lanes too. In the middle, Keith Loneker has been fairly disruptive in the running game especially. The defensive secondary is talented, with Mike Lee and Bryce Torneden at Safety, both of whom have been recognized for their performances by Pro Football Focus, and then Corione Harris at CB, who has played outstanding so far, with the exception of a few true freshman-type mistakes.”
AM: “I can’t honestly see how Kansas comes away with this win. They have some defensive talent, but Oklahoma State is much more talented at nearly every position. Kansas can keep it close through the first half, but ultimately I think OSU pulls away for a 31-17 win.”