The Kansas football program has been on the wrong side of many statistical categories the last ten years, leading in categories they aren’t proud of and falling behind in others they would like to improve on.
With new head coach Lance Leipold the Jayhawks look to improve these statistical numbers and look like a program that’s on its way to rebuilding and not regressing. So far, things are trending towards progress only two games into the season.
The Jayhawks are one of nine teams that have yet to record a turnover this season. Leipold has stated on many occasions that reducing the number of turnovers is key to success for this program. He’s also said the margin for error with this Kansas team is low, meaning they can’t afford turnovers and still expect to compete in their games.
While on the Hawk Talk show with Brian Hanni last Tuesday, Leipold talked a little more in-depth about how the staff, specifically offensive coordinator Andy Kotelnicki, goes about preventing turnovers. He said the new offensive coordinator emphasizes the turnover margin every day and will put the team through a number of different circuits to address the importance of ball security.
Clearly, the emphasis has paid off and will continue to as the Jayhawks progress throughout the year. And eventually, the lack of turnovers will allow Kansas to compete in more games and potentially even assist them in stealing a few victories this year.
Kick Return Specialist
It’s no surprise that junior safety Kenny Logan Jr. has had a great start this year, leading the team in total tackles and pass deflections. But he’s also had a great start to the year when it comes to returning kickoffs.
Currently, Logan ranks 9th in total yards when returning kickoffs and 5th in average yards per return. This is a huge help to the team because it starts the Jayhawks off with good field position, making it easier for the offense to score points.
Not only does a good return result in fewer yards for the offense to score, but it also gives the offense momentum going into their drive. There are not many things more exciting for an offense than a big kick-off return that puts them in a better position to score.
Big Play Potential
The Jayhawks had four plays over 34 yards against a solid Coastal Carolina defense. This was a huge step in the right direction as Kansas could only put up 245 yards of total offense against a mid to low-level FCS South Dakota defense.
The Kansas football program has struggled year in and year out on offense, ranking in the lower half of the FBS, oftentimes in the 100’s, but this type of drastic progress on offense shows the staff really has a good eye on how to focus and improve.
These types of big plays will take the stress off the offense as it’s easier to score on a few plays than it is to score on 12-14 plays. It also opens up the offense when the Jayhawks can throw for big yardage plays, aiding the already struggling run game.