Rebounding For Basketball Only?

Kansas has been destroyed the last two games against Baylor and K-State, losing by a combined score of 114-14.

However, with Texas A&M (3-3) coming to Lawrence on Saturday for Homecoming, the Jayhawks (2-4) are convinced they can turn the season around.

Kickoff is 6 p.m. (CT) at Memorial Stadium with the game televised on Fox Sports Net.

"I still believe in this team," KU senior cornerback Chris Harris said. "I know we can still bounce back. We just got to get a sense of urgency and find out what we're good at and stick with that."

Kansas certainly wasn't very good against Baylor on Oct. 2 and then K-State last Thursday. The Jayhawks allowed 460 total yards against the Wildcats, while throwing one interception, losing two fumbles, and committing seven penalties for 76 yards. KSU quarterback Carson Coffman shredded KU's defense with 15 of 16 through the air for 184 yards and two touchdowns in the Wildcats' 59-7 victory.

But after a week of practice, Kansas hopes for a fresh start and to get back on track versus the Aggies. KU head coach Turner Gill said his team has been "very resilient" in practice while aiming to "get a win" Saturday and "finish strong" in the remaining six games.

The Jayhawks will be facing a team which has also suffered its own setbacks. After starting the season winning its first three games over Stephen F. Austin, Louisiana Tech, and Florida International, A&M has lost its last three contests against Oklahoma State, Arkansas, and Missouri. The Aggies fell, 30-9, to the No. 21 Tigers last Saturday at home. A&M, which didn't turn the ball over against MU, has 18 turnovers on the season (No. 3 in nation), including nine versus OSU and Arkansas.

Still, Gill has great respect for the Aggies and head coach Mike Sherman. The two were on the same staff together in Green Bay in 2005, when Sherman was head coach of the Packers and Gill worked as director of player development/offensive assistant.

"I know he's very detailed," Gill said. "I know he's very, very strong offensive-minded, he's very strong at putting together game plans to get his team ready to play. You talk about their team offensively you start with their quarterback Jerrod Johnson. He's a very talented young man. I know he's kind of been playing up and down this season, but he has tremendous skills as a quarterback."

A senior, Johnson has completed 146 of 259 passes for 14 touchdowns and 1,808 yards (301.3 yards per game) this year. However, he's also thrown nine interceptions. His two main receiving targets are junior Jeff Fuller (39 catches for seven TDs and 94.3 yards per game) and sophomore Ryan Swope (33 catches for 57.3 yards per game), while sophomore Christine Michael carries the rushing load. Michael has rushed for 559 yards on 113 carries this season.

On defense, the Aggies are led in tackles by junior linebacker Garrick Williams (48 stops), while freshman linebacker Damontre Moore has also come up big with a team-leading four sacks and team-high three forced fumbles.

Gill is impressed with A&M's 3-4 defense run by defensive coordinator Tim DeRuyter.

"They definitely have improved from last year, from what I saw a little bit this season," Gill said. "They've been able to do a lot more things with the talented linebacker crew. ... Particularly from a passing standpoint, with that 3-4 you can come from all different directions so we need to make sure that our guys are in tune with making sure we know what they have, and who they have and how they're going to go about doing it."

The Aggies' coaching staff also has great respect for Kansas, and is expecting a hungry Jayhawk team on Saturday.

"They're a team a little like us, with their backs against the wall," DeRuyter said. "They struggled the last couple of weeks. They are back home looking at us for an opportunity for them to win. I told our defense that we'll be playing a team that's like a (cornered) animal, ready to come out and fight. We better be ready for their best game of the year. We expect a great game from them. They have a freshman quarterback (Jordan Webb) who's talented. Their freshman running back (James Sims) has done good things for them. Their receiver (Daymond) Patterson is a good receiver that has made a lot of big plays. They've got some tools there. They can be explosive at times. We'll have our hands full."

Gill is aiming for a good start from his team and much more offensive production. The Jayhawks, who have managed just two touchdowns in the last two games, must cash in on scoring opportunities.

"We need to put points on the board," Gill said. "Unfortunately, I think some of the issues with the last two ballgames we have not been able to put points on the board. We've been pretty good from the 30-yard-line to the 30-yard-line offensively, but in putting points on the board we have not been effective in doing that to the best of our ability. Which comes down to the word you hear every week from every coach: execute. We have to execute and do it a lot better than what we have been doing."

The Jayhawks are hoping the Texas A&M game is a new start to the rest of the season. KU needs to win four of its last six games to become bowl eligible.

"I still have faith that this team is going to go to a bowl game this year," junior linebacker Steven Johnson said. "I think we can do that. As hard as we worked offseason and in training camp, and as hard as we've worked these last two weeks, even though we haven't ended up winning a game, I feel like we're right there. We're right on the brink of winning a game and everything clicking and we're going to go out there and win some games." Top Stories