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Kansas Jayhawks 2016 College Football Preview, Schedule, Prediction, Depth Chart, Outlook

Kansas Jayhawks 2016 Preview

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The Kansas Jayhawks have nowhere to go but up after finishing last season with an 0-12 record. Kansas has now won just seven games in its last four seasons and had a defense that ranked dead last in college football last year. Needless to say the pressure is on head coach David Beaty in his second season.

Yikes.

Kansas Jayhawks 2016 College Football Preview, Schedule, Prediction, Depth Chart, Outlook

USA TODAY Sports

Here is your 2016 college football preview for the Kansas Jayhawks.

Offense: Kansas scored 20 or less points in each of its last 10 games, which simply isn’t going to cut it in the Big 12. The good news is that Kansas may have found its quarterback in Ryan Willis, who completed 52.1 percent of his passes for nine touchdowns as a freshman. Willis had at least one touchdown pass in seven of his last eight games and should be better with another season under his belt. Willis will be helped by a trio of young wide receivers in Steven Sims, Jr., Tyler Patrick and Darious Crawley that combined for six touchdown receptions and more than 800 yards. The Jayhawks also have a reliable tight end in Ben Johnson who should see more playing time. Ke'aun Kinner, who averaged 4.2 yards per carry and scored five touchdowns in the first three games, will continue to carry the load at running back. Kansas also returns four of its five experienced offensive linemen, which should help open more running lanes and lead to more overall success.

Defense: Kansas had a defense that allowed 560 yards per game last season, which was the worst in college football. Kansas also allowed 40-plus points in five of its last six games. For the positives, Fish Smithson is one of the more underrated defensive backs in the country as he led the Jayhawks with 111 tackles while coming away with two interceptions and three pass deflections. Joe Dineen, Jr. had a tackle for loss in each of the last three games and Dorance Armstrong, Jr. showed great promise as a freshman at the defensive end position. Marcquis Roberts is also a reliable tackler and a leader in the middle of the defense at linebacker who should be able to help this unit improve on last years numbers. Anything is better than what the Jayhawks showed on the defensive side of the ball last season, and there is experience and some talent for this unit to improve. It’s just about playing hard and actually caring about getting stops, as last years numbers are ridiculous.

Special Teams: Matthew Wyman returns at punter after averaging 41.4 yards per attempt on 53 punts. Nick Bartolotta returns at kicker after making four of seven field goal attempts and 17 of 18 extra points.

Outlook: Kansas just doesn’t have the size, speed, talent or depth to compete in a Big 12 conference that is extremely competitive. The Jayhawks are easily the worst team in the conference and will continue to struggle this season. It has to be baby steps for Kansas, a program that hasn’t won more than three games since 2009. Kansas may be able to scratch out two or three wins which would certainly be an improvement after last season’s failures.

Schedule:

9/3/2016 Rhode Island Lawrence, Kan. 6 p.m.  Details
9/10/2016 Ohio University Lawrence, Kan. 1:30 p.m.  Details
9/17/2016 University of Memphis Memphis, TN TBA  Details
9/29/2016 Texas Tech Lubbock, TX 7:30 p.m.  Details
10/8/2016 TCU Lawrence, Kan. TBA  Details
10/15/2016 Baylor Waco, TX TBA  Details
10/22/2016 Oklahoma State Lawrence, Kan. TBA  Details
10/29/2016 Oklahoma Norman, OK TBA  Details
11/5/2016 West Virginia Morgantown, WV TBA  Details
11/12/2016 Iowa State Lawrence, Kan. TBA  Details
11/19/2016 Texas Lawrence, Kan. TBA  Details
11/26/2016 Kansas State Manhattan, KS TBA

 

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