#85 Kansas Football 2014 Preview

Kansas Jayhawks

Overall Rank: #85
#10 Big 12

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Kansas did boost their win total to three last season. Compared to the one win over South Dakota State in 2012, it was a good year. And even one of those victories in 2013 came against conference foe West Virginia. KU followed up that win with two awful performances against Iowa State and Kansas State. But winning one conference game is something at least. This Jayhawks team should be better, although that should not result in more wins in the tough Big 12.

2013 Record: (3-9, 1-8)
2013 Bowl: None
Coach: Charlie Weis (4-20 at Kansas, 39-47 overall)
Offensive Coordinator: John Reagan
Defensive Coordinator: Clint Bowen

Returning Leaders:
Rushing: Darrian Miller, RB, 349 yards
Passing: Montell Cozart, QB, 227 yards
Receiving: Tony Pierson, WR, 333 yards
Tackles: Ben Heeney, LB, 88
Sacks: Michael Reynolds, DL, 6.5
Interceptions: Isaiah Johnson, S, 5

Other Key Returnees: TE Jimmay Mundine, OL Pat Lewandowski, OL Ngalu Fusimalohi, DE Ben Goodman, LB Jake Love, S Cassius Sendish, CB JaCorey Shepherd, P Trevor Pardula

Key Losses: RB James Sims, QB Jake Heaps

Coach Charlie Weis fired himself as the offensive coordinator, letting John Reagan come in and make the play calls. The result will be a run first, spread offense led by quarterback Montell Cozart. He is a much, much better fit than Jake Heaps would have been in the new offense. Cozart will have Miami (OH) transfer Nick Harwell to work with. He absolutely dominated the MAC and is more than capable of being the go-to-guy on a Big 12 team. With Tony Pierson, Rodirguez Coleman and tight end Jimmay Mundine, there is talent in the pass catching department. The question is, of course, whether or not Cozart can get them the ball. The other question is whether or not the ground game can get anything going enough to open up the passing game. James Sims is gone after rushing for 1,110 yards and seven touchdowns. Senior Brandon Bourbon is the most experienced option and Darrian Miller is the team’s top returning rusher for 322 yards. However, keep an eye out for freshman Traevohn Wrech. He comes to KU with quite a bit of hype.

The defense is much more experienced this year thanks to the return of nine starters. Will that turn into production or will it just be more of the same for the KU defense? Time will tell, but like the offense, the defense has some hope. The biggest concern is on the line where the Jayhawks will have to build around tackle Keon Stowers and pass rusher Michael Reynolds. Reynolds did tally 6.5 sacks last year and a good year from Ben Goodman would help the otherwise disappointing pass rush. Speedy linebacker Ben Heeney is the leader of the team and totaled 88 tackles, 11.5 tackles-for-loss and three interceptions last season. Speaking of interceptions, safety Isaiah Johnson led the team with five. Cassius Sendish, JaCorey Shepherd, Kevin Short and Dexter McDonald also return to the secondary, the defenses best unit a year ago. The secondary can make some plays, but they will get beat too if the pass rush does not improve.

The Bottom Line:
There should be some hope in Lawrence for Coach Weis’ third year. The offense will look a lot different and that is a good thing for a team that scored a mere 15 points per game. The defense left the 2013 season on a major down note, yet most of that group is back and the overall depth on both sides of the ball will give Kansas options. The schedule does include non-conference games against Southeast Missouri State and Central Michigan but, of course, the Big 12 slate is much tougher. They will get Iowa State and TCU at home though and those are almost winnable games.

Projected Bowl: None

2013 Team Stats:
Rushing Offense: 154.1 (77th in nation, 6th in conference)
Passing Offense: 140.4 (117, 10)
Total Offense: 294.5 (117, 10)
Scoring Offense: 15.3 (118, 10)
Rushing Defense: 190.6 (89, 7)
Pass Defense: 242.0 (78, 8)
Total Defense: 432.6 (96, 8)
Scoring Defense: 31.8 (93, 8)
Turnover Margin: 0.1 (54, 5)
Sacks:  1.75 (82, 8)
Sacks Allowed: 2.50 (93, 8)


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