Matson: Spring game offers glimmer of hope for Kansas football fans
- Apr. 29, 2012
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On a day when the University honored one of its football program’s most significant figures, former coach Don Fambrough, it embarked on a new era.
An estimated 15,000 Jayhawk fans caught a glimpse of the new Kansas football team under the leadership of new coach Charlie Weis during the spring game Saturday.
New quarterbacks Dayne Crist and Jake Heaps showed off their extraordinary passing ability that Kansas fans haven’t seen since Todd Reesing, and relatively unknown linebacker Michael Reynolds displayed his defensive prowess on the field by recording four tackles for a loss and three sacks. Running back Tony Pierson ran for 141 yards and scored a 88-yard touchdown that would have made NFL scouts drool over his incendiary speed.
But the game was what it was; a spring game. Let’s remember that last season this team didn’t even win a conference game, and it has lost 26 of the last 31 games for numerous reasons. Realism must set in. This team has a long way to go to being at par with the Big 12′s contending teams.
New, experienced quarterbacks can go a long way in improving a team, but they can’t solve all of the team’s problems, especially on the defensive side of the ball. Last season, the Kansas was ranked dead last in total defense, yielding 516.42 yards-per-game.
Weis said the offense is ahead of defense in terms of progress, but he believed the defense would improve by September because of the new players inserted into the lineup as well as the new defensive philosophy.
“We’ve taken a bunch of steps, but we have a bunch of steps to go,” Weis said of his team. “For us to be competitive on a weekly basis, we have a lot of work to do.”
All the success and relevance that Mark Mangino brought to the football team through his mentality and football philosophy quick evaporated when he was dismissed and Turner Gill succeeded him. As abysmal or disappointing as the Kansas football team has been for most its history, the Turner Gill era might have been one of the lowest, if not, the lowest point because of its excellence in futility. The players’ effort and execution were questioned during the Gill era, and Gill, along with his assistant coaches, were criticized for not preparing his team.
We live in an instant gratification-oriented society. When teams aren’t winning games, we at least expect a coaching change.
Give Weis and his team time. As Weis said in his introductory press conference in December, he doesn’t have a magic wand.
The spring football game was a sneak peak. I wouldn’t say it doesn’t tell us anything, but I would say it doesn’t tell us much. It’s a practice session essentially. We can only know if the team has improved or not when it plays games that count against actual opponents.
Edited by Tanvi Nimkar