Despite what many think, the Kansas Jayhawks are still 2-3. Some might think it's 0-5 based on who you talk to, but at 2-3, they'll face Oklahoma today at Memorial Stadium looking to pull off a major upset that would be a signature win under coach Charlie Weis. Here are five things to watch for, as the Jayhawks hope to do the unthinkable.
1. The Offense
has changed the way the offense operates, coordinating it through committee, essentially. It's a similar setup to the Kansas defense, which is overseen by several coaches, led by coordinator Dave Campo. With the offense, quarterbacks coach Ron Powlus will oversee the passing game, while tight ends coach Jeff Blasko will coordinate the running game. Weis will work with the position players and focus more on quarterback Jake Heaps. The idea is to generate any offense, which would aid a defense that is growing into a salty unit, a thought that was unimaginable at this time last year.
2. Will Montell Cozart play?
The true freshman was listed on the two deep for the first time this week. He's listed as the "OR" at backup QB with Michael Cummings. It's hard to imagine a true freshman being thrown into the fire against one of the best defenses in the country and a pass defense that ranks 12th nationally. Still, perhaps he really is that good and after all, Weis doesn't hide too much. If he's on there, he very well might play.
3. The Injuries
Several players are listed as day-to-day, including Tony Pierson and team captain Ben Heeney. If Pierson plays, that will be a huge plus for the offense. If Heeney is out, that just sucks, because he's as good as it gets and may very well be the heart and soul of this team. Still, you have to think that only broken bone would keep the junior linebacker out, then again…
4. Oklahoma's Bounceback
Unfortunately for Kansas, they get the Sooners a week after they were hammered by Texas in the annual Red River Rivalry. They will most likely get a very angry OU squad. The key will be to prevent response and match them from a physicality standpoint. Expect Oklahoma to pound the ball behind quarterback Blake Bell who didn't do the things that he's accustomed to last week. You know Sooners offensive coordinator Josh Heupel will want to quickly establish the Belldozer early and often. If the Jayhawks can be ready and combat them, you never know.
5. The Offensive Line
The new look offense will only work if the offensive line continues to improve. Otherwise, none of it really matters. If the line can improve and the run game can be established, Kansas will hang around for awhile.
Keys To Victory
It's really pretty simple. To have any hopes at pulling off the upset and ending the 23-game conference losing streak, KU must establish the line of scrimmage, protect the football, gets some guys to step up and don't make the terrible mental mistakes that plagued the team against Texas Tech. On defense, make plays and force turnovers. Then, Kansas must capitalize on them. Do those things and you never know.