Big 12 Preview: Kansas Jayhawks
Head Coach: David Beaty 2nd season-0-12 career
The most important game for Kansas this season will not be their visit to Manhattan in game twelve to play instate rival Kansas State. They do not have much of a chance to win that one, and will not be favored to win any other game in 2016 except their season opener with lowly Rhode Island, a FCS member. The Rams did the Jayhawks one better in 2015. They won a game, something that Kansas did not do in Head Coach David Beaty’s inaugural season in Lawrence. Thus, when the fresh Jayhawks come onto the turf at Memorial Stadium on September 3rd, they better get it on or we will see, in all probability, back-to-back winless seasons. Some Kansas fans will jump me and say that a home game with Ohio is winnable, which it just might be. But don’t think Frank Solich’s Bobcats won’t be a tough out. Ohio is a better football program right now. Put your money down at your own risk Hawk fans . Ohio will beat Kansas a week later. For Kansas to win (Memphis is the other non-conference game on the road) any other game would be more than a mild upset. This team is that bad.
Offense: With deficiencies at many positions, scoring will be a chore. Sophomore quarterback Ryan Willis will get the start and will be directed by Head Coach David Beaty who will be calling the plays. Willis threw nine scores last year and had one nice game with a 330 yard performance against Texas Tech. But then again, it was against the Red Raiders.. He suffered a wrist injury in spring ball. His back-up will be redshirt sophomore Montell Cozart. Neither signal caller can be considered upper echelon even with the positive spin by the Kansas coaching staff, Kansas will suffer at this most important position. As for the offensive line, mediocre at best. Texas A&M transfer LaQuvionte Gonzalez had 26 catches the past two seasons for the Aggies and will be the best receiver Kansas can offer. At 5’10 and 170, he is average at best. Running backs currently show no big time talent. Kansas will not be able to score enough to keep pace in most games. Grade: D
Defense: South Carolina transfer linebacker Marcquis Roberts will lead the Hawks as he is the best player on this side of the ball. He played all twelve games for the Gamcocks in 2012, starting in eleven. Solid linebacker Joe Dineen Jr, a 6’2 225 junior will again make a presence. Fish Smithson, a 5’11 201 senior averaged ten tackles a game last year. He is a nice stopper and again will be looked upon making touchdown saving from his roaming safety position. Junior College transfers Isi Holani at defensive tackle (6’3 325) will start. Defensive end Dorance Armstrong Jr, at 6’4, 241 will be counted on as its new anchor on the defensive line. His play last year was just so so. As a group, this defensive unit is not going to stop many people and will be on the field more than off. Holding the score down will be difficult, especially against average to better offensive elevens. Look for the scoreboard to ring up like a slot machine on most Saturday afternoons. Grade: D
Special Teams: Nothing to write home about. Grade: D
In total: Head Coach Beaty has bit off more than he can swallow. His recruiting into the Texas high schools should lend to wins in seasons three and four, but conference wins sooner than later are just not happening. Five new assistant coaches tell that the direction upward is going to be slow. I will repeat, this Jayhawk team is bad. The coaching is good but the recruiting has been disappointing, losing a hometown recruit, Amani Bledsoe Jr, a four-star high school defender to Oklahoma. With respect to this Power Five bottom feeder, Kansas should beat the Rams of Rhode Island and finish their 2016 season at 1-11 without a conference win.
Can win: Rhode Island, Ohio
Prediction: 1-11 and 0-9 in conference. 10th place in the Big 12
Featured photo found at: http://kckingdom.com/2015/10/06/jayhawks-football-ryan-willis-to-start-against-baylor/