It is time to put the glorious weekend of turkey and pie behind us and concentrate on catching up with some news and notes for the Kansas Jayhawks.
The 2013 season is now done and the Jayhawks made an improvement in the win/loss columns. A year after recording just one win overall, Kansas won three games in 2013, including a conference game against the West Virginia Mountaineers. It ended a three-year Big 12 win drought for the Jayhawks.
Mid-season, Head Coach Charlie Weis made a couple of major decisions. He decided to lift the red shirt from freshman quarterback Montell Cozart, and he sliced the numbers of snaps taken by his hand picked pro-style quarterback. He also stepped away from calling the plays on offense, allowing assistant Ron Powlus call the plays.
There was very little improvement to the team overall because of either move. The Jayhawks still had a stagnant offense that was successful when James Sims could find a little daylight, and awful when he could not.
The quarterbacks struggled to throw the ball accurately and the receivers seldom could catch it when the ball was in their vicinity. The offensive line continued to struggle, especially when asked to pass block.
This weekend, the Jayhawks also announced that Offensive Line Coach Tim Grunhard was stepping down to spend more time with his family. Grunhard, a former Kansas City Chief, was personal favorite, but he just wasn’t able to get the results from his behemoths up front.
In even bigger news, according to KUSports.com, it looks like John Reagan, the Offensive Coordinator at Rice, will take on a similar role for the Jayhawks next season, as well as replace Grunhard as the line coach. Reagan coached here under Mark Mangino and was the offensive line coach, as well as the running game coordinator during Kansas’ glory season when they won the 2008 Orange Bowl.
Weis seems to have finally realized the pro style type of offense is not going to be successful in the present college game without the best of the best athletes to execute it. It was a slow lesson for Weis, so now it is back to the drawing board.
Offensive line still appears to be one of the biggest areas of need for the Jayhawks, and Weis secured the commitment of a third lineman this weekend. Junior college transfer Keyon Haughton will join Jacob Bragg and Apa Visinia, both high schoolers, on the Jayhawks offensive line unit for next season.
Matt Tait, of the Lawrence Journal World, is reporting this morning, that left tackle Devon Williams also has committed to come to Kansas. Williams is Haughton’s junior college teammate at Georgia Military.
The Lady Jayhawks had a rather rough weekend themselves. Playing in the U.S. Virgin Islands Paradise Jam tournament over the holiday weekend, Kansas lost on the second day to Xavier 64-59. On Saturday, Duke University got a measure of revenge against Kansas when the women’s basketball team trounced the Jayhawks 70-43 on the final day of the tournament for the Jayhawks.
The Lady Jayhawks next game is tomorrow night at 7 p.m. CST at home against the Arkansas Razorbacks.
Despite winning two of three games in the Bahamas, the Jayhawks did not play all that well in any of the three match-ups, as a team or individually. One player did stand out for Kansas, though. Freshman center Joel Embiid stepped up his game, despite almost constant foul trouble. He was recognized as the Big 12 Newcomer of the Week by the Big 12 Conference for his efforts.
Embiid set a freshman block record for the university with 7 against UTEP.
Even though they played poorly in paradise, Kansas only dropped to number 6 in the AP poll, and they slid to 7th in the coaches’ poll, and 8th in CBSSports’ Top 25 (and 1). They remain at number two according to the RPI.
An interesting tidbit is that Wichita State is ranked 11th in the AP, 10th in the coaches’, and 19th by CBSSports. They come in at 13th in the RPI.
The young Jayhawks will experience their first true road test of the season (though many consider it a home away from home because of all the KU fans that show up) when they travel to Colorado to take on the Buffaloes (7-1) Saturday at 2:15 p.m. CST.