A Fresh Start

Dayne Crist arrived at KU this season as a highly celebrated senior quarterback — the former Notre Dame player and five-star high school phenom from Canoga, Calif., who seemed poised to make his mark and spearhead the Jayhawk offense to new heights that KU hadn't seen since Todd Reesing left Kansas in 2009.

After four games, Crist hasn't yet delivered. He's had just one impressive game in Week Three against TCU on Sept. 15, when he threw for a season-high 303 yards. Crist has completed just 48.1 percent of his passes this season for 763 yards and two touchdowns with four interceptions. He ranks just 98th nationally in total offense (191.25 yards per game), while his pass efficiency is a dismal 96.66. KU's pass efficiency ranks just 115th out of 120 FBS teams.

Now, after suffering his worst game of the season against Northern Illinois on Sept. 22 (he completed just 10 of 26 passes) and having a bye week to review film and spend extra time practicing, Crist is hoping for a fresh start and renewed focus as the Jayhawks prepare to face Sunflower Showdown rival K-State in Manhattan on Saturday at 11 a.m.

"I tried to go back and revisit everything and figure out how I can get back to being more confident," Crist said. "I am trying to go back to times where I was at my absolute best and what I did to get there. I'd like to implement some of those ideas again.

"I think it is (confidence) coming back. I think that (the bye) week was great for me as a player and as a person. I think the bye week came at a perfect time before the biggest rivalry game, the most important game of the season. I think it was perfect timing and I think myself as well as others are very excited that we are able to come back refreshed and for the opportunity that we get this week."

Perhaps most important, Crist had a great talk with head coach Charlie Weis on Sunday night about forgetting his past mistakes and "playing in the present."

"That's what I plan on doing," Crist said.

"The bottom line is I think that all he's got to worry about is doing the best he can to put us in the position to try to beat K-State," Weis said. "He can't worry about the games we've played already. They are past tense. All he can do is try to put us in the best position to (win our next game). That's all he can do. Don't be thinking about the past. Be thinking about the present and that's the only thing that matters."

Crist hopes fans will see a new and improved quarterback on Saturday as he becomes more sound in his footwork.

"I think I will continue to work on my feet and getting my feet in-tune with my throws," Crist said. "Really, I think the accuracy part comes from your feet not being there and not really your arm or anything like that. So (I will) just continue to make that a point of emphasis all week in practice and try to get better."

Crist is excited about playing K-State, and said he remembers watching former star running back Darren Sproles playing for the Wildcats when he was growing up in California. He expects a huge challenge from the KSU defense.

"They are a very talented defense," Crist said. "I think that studying their personnel and having a little bit more time to do that, you get a better feel for their players. You really do not look at them and see a ton of flaws. They play very well together and they are a very cohesive unit. They really play well and do not make very many mistakes. So you really have to be patient with a defense like that. I think on all facets on offense, you have to elevate your game and play your best."

With Crist four games into his senior season, he knows the clock is ticking on his collegiate career. He has to get better fast if KU hopes to rebound after its 1-3 start and start turning the program around.

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