College Football Preview: The 2014 Kansas Jayhawks
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2014 College Football Preview
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Overview: Although the Kansas Jayhawks finished with a 3-9 record, it was actual progress considering it was the best record they’ve had since 2010. The Jayhawks did have a scoring offense that ranked 121st in the country and a scoring defense that ranked 94th in the country. However, even with that being the case, Kansas was able to upset West Virginia. It’s certainly not the type of season you run and tell your friends about, but Charlie Weis made clear progress with this program, even if it was by slim margins. Now the next step is winning four games and inching that much closer to clinching a bowl game.
Offense: Kansas has already named Montell Cozart the starting quarterback for the upcoming season after he had an impressive showing in the spring game. Last season as a freshman, Cozart completed 36.5 percent of his passes for 227 yards and two interceptions in limited action. While the numbers aren’t great, Cozart is a dual threat quarterback who can make things happen for Kansas. After losing 1,000-yard rusher James Sims, senior Brandon Bourbon will likely finally get his chance to carry the backfield, and the bruising running back has great potential. Kansas will be counting heavily on transfer wide receiver Nick Harwell, who was wildly consistent in his three seasons with Miami of Ohio. Rodriguez Coleman is another player who is capable of so much more. Kansas should have no problem improving last year’s god awful offensive numbers.
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Defense: Kansas should also have little trouble improving its defense with much of the starters coming back on this side of the ball as well. Linebacker Ben Heeney is capable of being an all-conference player if he can build on last season’s 11.5 tackles for loss. Heeney and Michael Reynolds, who led the team with 6.5 sacks, form a nice linebacker duo. Kansas also has some much needed experience along the defensive line with Keon Stowers and Ben Goodman holding down the fort. The secondary is where Kansas shows the most promise, as Isaiah Johnson returns after intercepting five passes from the safety spot, while Dexter McDonald is a lengthy corner who is certainly going to turn some heads this season. Like the offense, Kansas should be a lot better defensively and could surprise some folks with how well it plays overall.
Special Teams: Trevor Pardula returns at punter after averaging more than 43 yards per punt last season. Matthew Wyman likely returns at kicker despite making just five of his 10 field goal attempts.
Overall: We all know Kansas is a basketball program and isn’t going to do much on the football side of things in a Big 12 that continues to improve year after year. However, these Jayhawks may be the best team Weis has had since taking over this job. While that’s not saying much, Kansas has the ability to pull off a couple of upsets and win four or so games. As mentioned earlier, it’s baby steps with the Jayhawks.