This topic has been a big debate in the Kansas Universe on Twitter lately. Is the team actually worse than last year? Is there any progress? Are they capable of competing? The answer is yes.
Hear me out guys. Give this a chance, get to the bottom, and if you still don’t agree with me, or at least see where I’m coming from on certain points, that’s fine. We can agree to disagree and be best friends once basketball starts, but I can’t say all of this in one tweet.
Let’s start with the last two years. Our defense was better than this year, that’s no secret. Now let’s think of why…… ONE starter came back for the secondary this season, a guy named Mike Lee who is the age of a true freshman, either 19 or 20 years old. He is being asked to go against 23 year old receiver that are much bigger than him. Everyone else is new or inexperienced. Hasan Defense and Derrick Neal didn’t play against Tech.
Next is the D-Line. Where have they been? Until this week there’s been a noticeable lack of productivity. So let’s break this down. The linebackers spend most of their time dropping into coverage to help the secondary. That leaves 4 lineman to break through 5 experienced men. It really is the Boys against Men excuse. Other lines are bigger, older, and far more experienced. On top of that, when the QB only needs 4-5 seconds to beat the zone we’re in, it’s asking a hell of a lot to have Dorance in the backfield that quick every play.
Special teams is so much better, I shouldn’t have to explain this at all. No muffed punts, no botched extra points, and no misses on easy yet crucial field goals make for a huge upgrade from 2015-2016.
In the last two years leading up to this season, Kansas has scored 30 points twice. This season through 5 games we’re averaging 30 points. Despite losing Quiv, our receivers have showed a lot of promise despite being young. Our running backs are good, yet young. Our offensive line is miles ahead of where they were, and they’re still young. Whether playing Stanley or Bender, both are better options than Ryan Willis.
Now let’s look at the strength of schedule compared to last year. SEMO was better than Rhode Island. Ohio was better than us last year, and we had to go on the road this time. We got slapped by Memphis, and played much better this year against CMU. Both conference games so far have come against #26 WVU, and #28 Texas Tech. Both teams were ranked the next week, so you can’t pretend they weren’t GOOD teams. Our closest games last year were TCU, Iowa State, Oklahoma State, and Texas. All four of those teams are better, and road games this season. The Big 12 teams coming to Lawrence are WVU, Texas Tech, K-State, Baylor, and Oklahoma. How many of those haven’t been ranked yet this season? One. It’s Baylor.
Don’t forget I’m still with the majority, I’m not happy with the way things are. I’m not sure how many times that can be stated. I want wins just like every other fan out there. However, it’s insane to think that there’s zero progress in the program. It’s there, it just takes time. As fans, we can’t keep trying to rush a process that’s this big.