Jayhawks close to winning first conference game
- Nov. 12, 2012
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This Kansas team is getting close — really close.
The Big 12 win that has evaded the Jayhawks for more than two seasons has never looked more attainable. The coaches know it, the players can feel it and now other teams are beginning to worry about it.
After defeating Kansas in double overtime, Texas Tech defensive end Kerry Hyder said it would have been a “big deal” if the Red Raiders would have lost to the Jayhawks, but it may be time to abandon that sentiment.
“Yesterday’s practice was as spirited a Sunday practice that we’ve had in quite some time,” Kansas coach Charlie Weis said on Monday’s teleconference call. “They can see the light at the end of the tunnel.”
That’s not to say the Jayhawks don’t have a long way to go, but that light continues to get brighter.
Consider the fact that virtually every college football enthusiast knows that Kansas is going to have to run the ball to be successful, and yet no one can stop it.
In the last three games, Kansas is averaging 290 yards rushing. Eventually, Weis says, the passing game will evolve. When it does, the Jayhawks’ backfield will only become more deadly, which is why Weis told his offensive staff that this year will pay dividends.
“You get into an offseason where you develop your passing game to complement this running game that you’ve been progressing all year long,” Weis said. “That investment in the running game will just make you that much better once your passing game becomes more efficient.”
The impending eligibility of wide receiver Justin McCay and quarterback Jake Heaps will certainly help. But that doesn’t mean Weis is going to sit back and wait for the reinforcements to come.
As he has maintained all year, Weis will not stay status quo with a losing team.
“Every week you do something a little bit different,” Weis said. “When a team gets into that rut where they get used to losing you have to make sure you have fresh ideas every week so that the team doesn’t get stale.”
There was nothing stale about Kansas last Saturday. Weis even said it was the first time since playing Texas that the Jayhawks’ “Woe is me” attitude seemed non-existent. Instead of waiting for something bad to happen, Weis said the players were trying to make something good occur.
It has been a heartbreaking season for the Jayhawks. Looking back at games against Rice, Northern Illinois, Oklahoma State, Texas and now Texas Tech, not much separated Kansas from a win in all of those matchups.
“For a team to be 1-9, I don’t think the team could be much more confident that they’re going to turn the corner than they are,” Weis said.
This team is close, very close, and they know it.
Blake is a senior from Chicago, Ill., studying journalism on the news and information track. Read more from Blake Schuster.