Kansas faces a very important game, Saturday afternoon against Central Michigan. In many aspects, it’s a “must-win” affair. To get the job done, they’ll face a very tough and disciplined Chippewas squad that unlike many teams in toady’s college football, gets their job done the old fashioned way.
CMU (2-1) will look to play smash mouth football and run through the Jayhawks (1-1), as oppose to running around and past them, the way that is more common across the spread happy landscape of college football. In many ways, it’s as refreshing as it is challenging.
“On our side of the ball it does,” defensive coordinator Clint Bowen said. “This is a two-back, two tight end power running team. So it does go back into 1993-1995. I have a lot of respect for (offensive coordinator and quarterbacks) Coach (Morris) Watts. I have been fortunate to meet the man a few times. He is a coaching legend—51 years in the business. They have all things the modern offenses have and he has developed his identity as an offensive coordinator with this offense and they do a nice job.”
While the change up in strategy creates challenges, Bowen feels his unit has prepared some and won’t find the change too drastic because of it. Though, he’ll be the first to admit it’s unique.
“It is different. It is an offense that we see sporadically,” Bowen said. “There are a couple of teams in our conference that will use a fullback. So, we do see it at times. We actually saw it week one against SEMO (Southeast Missouri State), so we had a chance to prepare for some of the stuff that we will see this week. It changes our personnel and changes who we put on the field to match big-against-big. We get a plan together and find a way to execute it.”
If there are any worries, it’s that the defense will in a way, forget how to play against the old school style. You could even argue that the game will be won in the preparation, both physically and mentally and Bowen believes his unit is up for the challenge.
“It is a different mentality,” Bowen said. “You are faced with different types of runs. You are dealing with zone read and downhill power You have to make sure your guys are really gap sound because they will change the gaps. The level of physicality of the way the game is going to be played. It is a mindset of understanding a different type of offense and a different type of attack.”
“We can play pretty versatile with what we do in our package. Every year our conference forces us to do that. Our conference is one that you have to be prepared for each and every week for a little bit of a different offense. We have faced it before and we will get them ready.”