Make no mistake, Kansas' game with Louisiana Tech was already important, but after suffering a 23-14 setback at Rice, last week, the Jayhawks must have a better performance, all around and most importantly, come up with a win.
If Kansas (1-1) can get a victory against Skip Holtz's Bulldogs (1-2), they will obviously surpass last year's win total, but most importantly, gain more confidence, as they head into their bye week before opening up Big 12 play a week later.
Let's look at five things or players to watch in what boils down to an intriguing matchup between two teams needing some good things to start happening.
KU head coach Charlie Weis shuffle the depth chart a little bit, particularly on offense. The main ideas are to create playmaking and to create physicality, which he didn't see enough of last week in Houston.
Rodriguez Coleman, Tre' Parmalee and Trent Smiley replace Justin McCay, Josh Ford and Jimmay Mundine, respectively. The former will bear watching to see how they help generate a spark. The latter group will also bear watching to see how they respond. It could lead to all around good things and maybe get some points on the scoreboard.
Meanwhile, there's been some shuffling on the offensive line that will be where the physicality comes into play and could mean big things for the Kansas run game.
2. Tony Pierson
Before the season, Weis said he wanted to get Tony Pierson as many touches as possible. That also meant moving him to receiver, where they could integrate him into the offense, by getting him the ball in space. Against, Rice, he almost always drew double coverage and subsequently, didn't get nearly the amount of touches he needs to get to make the move worthwhile. So, against LA Tech, expect Pierson to see more carries out of the backfield to accompany his work as a wide receiver. The move will unleash Pierson, who can be a game changer and already commands the ultimate respect from defenses.
3. Ben Heeney
Simply put, it's fun to watch Ben Heeney play football and so far, 2013 has been a stellar season, so far. Against the Owls, Heeney recorded 18 tackles and was a beast throughout. It's no surprise, he was named one of the team captains and he leads on and off the field. Together with Samson Faifilli, they make a formidable unit. Throw in Jake Love and Schyler Miles and Kansas has a really good set of backers.
4. The Receivers
They have to play better and that came from Charlie Weis himself, who never mixes words. At some point, the players have to step up and you'd think Saturday would be the prefect time to take big steps forward. If they can become more consistent, that will open things up elsewhere.
What kind of energy will team have and what kind of energy will there be in Memorial Stadium? The team shouldn't have any problem getting up for this game, because the attitude is changing. As Weis pointed out this week, the team was deflated on the flight back from Houston, because they went down there fully expecting to win. A year ago, that wouldn't have been the case. This team is a couple of good breaks away from starting to get some good things going. To do that, however, they must get it done against the Bulldogs.
Louisiana Tech 7
At some point, you'd think it has to start clicking. I think this Saturday will tell a lot, one way or the other. I believe the team will send a message to its coach that things are starting to change and that will send into conference play in the right frame of mind.