#99 Kansas Football 2016 Preview

Kansas Jayhawks
Overall Rank: #99
#10 Big 12

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Well Kansas’ 2015 campaign went just about as expected. Once the Jayhawks lost to South Dakota State 38-41 in the season opener, it was going to be a tall task for Coach David Beaty to win a game during his first season as the head coach of the Jayhawks. This year Kansas has an easier FCS opponent in Rhode Island and they get Iowa State at home later in the season, so by then this team could be playing Coach Beaty’s style of ball and potentially pick up two wins.
2015 Record: 0-12, 0-9
2015 Bowl: None
Coach: David Beaty (0-12 at Kansas, 0-12 overall)
Offensive Coordinator: Rob Likens
Defensive Coordinator: Clint Bowen
Returning Leaders:
Rushing: Ke’aun Kinner, RB, 566 yards
Passing: Ryan Willis, QB, 1,719 yards
Receiving: Steven Sims, Jr., WR, 349 yards
Tackles: Fish Smithson, S, 111
Sacks: Dorance Armstrong, Jr., DE, 3.5; Daniel Wise, DT, 3.5
Interceptions: Greg Allen, S, 2; Fish Smithson, S, 2
Other Key Returnees: QB Montell Cozart, WR Tyler Patrick, RB Ryan Schadler, TE Ben Johnson, LB Joe Dineen, LB Marcquis Roberts, S Tevin Shaw
Key Losses: RB De’Andre Mann, WR Tre’ Parmalee, DL Ben Goodman
The massive problems at quarterback that Kansas had last year appear to be over. Ryan Willis stepped in as a freshman and ended up playing in ten games and throwing for 1,719 yards and nine touchdowns. Willis has a lot of work to do still and his 52.1 percent completion percentage needs to improve. But at least Kansas has some offensive hope with Willis leading the way. Willis needs help though and the rest of the offense has to step up. Senior receiver Tre’ Parmalee is gone, but Steven Sims and Tyler Patrick are promising sophomores who caught 30 passes each in 2015. The running game might be a bigger problem. Ke’aun Kinner is back after rushing for a team high 566 yards and five touchdowns, but there were rarely any holes for him to work with and there is no longer any proven depth at the position either.
Like on offense, the defense does return plenty of depth and that should help with consistency. However, there is still a long, long way to go before KU starts thinking about winning more than a game or two. The front seven did get some pressure last year, but there was not much else to get excited about. And now Ben Goodman is gone, the team’s leading sack specialist. Dorance Armstrong is just a sophomore and he will carry much of the burden of the pass rush. Linebackers Joe Dineen and Marcquis Roberts are a solid duo to build around, but did not make many big plays last year. Still, there is something to be said for making the small plays. Kansas played a slew of guys in the secondary last year and nearly all of them are back. We will find out if Coach Beaty can find any reliable players in the secondary this year after the unit got torched for nearly 294 yards through the air per game. Experience is nice, but this is the same group that was terrible in 2015. Safety Fish Smithson was one of the few bright spots on defense and led the team with 111 tackles.
The Bottom Line:
With the continuity that Kansas has going into the 2016 campaign, there is certainly reason to be optimistic. Yet, optimistic could mean beating Rhode Island and finishing 1-11. In the bigger picture, the Jayhawks should start looking better even if they lose 11 straight to end the year. Maybe a few of those games will be close and maybe the numbers will not be quite as terrible as they were in 2015 and that is a step in the right direction for this program.
Projected Bowl: None
2015 Team Stats:
Rushing Offense: 112.9 (120th in nation, 10th in conference)
Passing Offense: 218.6 (69, 8)
Total Offense: 331.5 (114, 10)
Scoring Offense: 15.3 (122, 10)
Rushing Defense: 267.2 (124, 9)
Pass Defense: 293.7 (123, 10)
Total Defense: 560.8 (127, 10)
Scoring Defense: 46.1 (127, 10)
Turnover Margin: -0.58 (105, 9)
Sacks: 2.17 (56, 9)
Sacks Allowed: 3.33 (122, 9)