2008 Kansas Jayhawks Football Preview
Kansas 2007 Record: (12-1, 7-1 Big 12)
2007 Bowl: Orange Bowl vs. Virginia Tech (W 24-21)
Kansas Head Coach: Mark Mangino (37-36 at Kansas, 37-36 overall)
Offensive Coordinator: Ed Warinner
Defensive Coordinator: Clint Bowen
Returning Jayhwak Leaders:
Other Key Returnees: WR Dezmon Briscoe, C Ryan Cantrell, WR Dexton Fields, CB Chris Harris, LB James Holt, LB Mark Rivera, S Darrell Stuckey
Key Losses: OT Anthony Collins, TE Derek Fine, WR Marcus Henry, RB Brandon McAnderson, DT James McClinton, OT Cesar Rodriguez, CB Aqib Talib
After an amazing 2007 season that culminated with a victory over Virginia Tech in the Orange Bowl, Coach Mark Mangino and Kansas are ready to take the next step and prove that the last year was not a fluke. The Jayhawks have some holes to fill if they want to repeat last season’s success, but the cupboard is certainly not bare and if they could do it last year, they can do it this year.
Quarterback Todd Reesing threw for 3,486 yards and 33 touchdowns as a sophomore. And despite those gaudy numbers and just seven interceptions, the 5-11 Reesing is perceived as nothing more than a quarterback who keeps his team in the game by not making mistakes. Certainly he does not make mistakes, but he can make plays as well as most of the Big XII knows by now. Another year with wide receivers Dexton Fields and Dezmon Briscoe catching his passes and that label should be completely erased. Briscoe had a superb freshman campaign and his development should help relieve the pain of losing leading receiver Marcus Henry.
But will Reesing have enough time to find his receivers? Underappreciated tackles Anthony Collins and Cesar Rodriguez are gone. The middle of the line returns with Ryan Cantrell, Chet Hartley and Adrian Mayes, but Collins and Rodriguez anchored the unit. Matt Darton and Ian Wolfe started one game each at tackle last season, but they might not be quite ready to fill the big shoes of Collins. Junior college transfer Nathan D’Cunha and redshirt Jeff Spikes figure to be in the mix. The other huge loss for the Jayhawks was the early departure of cornerback Aqib Talib. Chris Harris and Kendrick Harper shared corner duties opposite Talib in 2007 and are the expected starters this season.
The Bottom Line for the Jayhawks:
Even without Talib, the Kansas defense could be even better. They ranked first in the conference in total defense and second in rushing and passing defense last year. In all, nine starters return to the unit and there is plenty of depth and experience around to handle just about any situation. Of course having a shutdown corner like Talib is nice, but Harris has shown plenty of potential as a freshman to be that guy and Harper has more than enough experience to be an adequate second corner. If the defense can shutdown the dynamic offenses in the Big XII again, Reesing will not have to make big plays to win games. But when he needs to make those plays, he will.
2007 Kansas Jayhawks Team Stats:
Rushing Offense: 188.77 (31st in nation, 5th in conference)
Passing Offense: 291.00 (17, 4)
Total Offense: 479.77 (8, 4)
Scoring Offense: 42.77 (2, 1)
Rushing Defense: 94.77 (8, 2)
Pass Defense: 222.54 (49, 2)
Total Defense: 317.31 (12, 1)
Scoring Defense: 16.38 (4, 1)
Turnover Margin: 1.62 (1, 1)
Sacks: 2.00 (64, 5)
Sacks Allowed: 2.00 (58, 12)
By Joel Welser
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