It would be really easy for the Kansas staff and players to feel overwhelmed heading into their game with Baylor. After a much needed bye week, the Jayhawks will face one of the nation’s most potent offensive attacks, complete with a roster that has the talent to match it.
However, Kansas interim coach Clint Bowen has done a good job keeping things in perspective, as his team readies itself for Saturday’s task. The philosophy is actually as simplistic as it can get.
“Every game it comes down to individual battles,” Bowen said. “This obviously is the greatest team game in the world, but every play comes down to winning a personal battle. If you're a corner, you've got to win your battle against the wide-out; if you're a D-tackle, you're the nose, you've got to win your battle against the center.”
Saturday will provide an opportunity to show how much further they’ve come, as well as show how much the break helped. Baylor (6-1, 3-1) will test the Kansas defense with their abilities to run the ball as well if not better than they pass it. One facet that may not phase Kansas as much will be the high paced tempo the Bears play at. Still, the combination will be a challenge.
“Yeah, the tempo is something that has taken over this league and been a big part of it. The challenge is always what we talk about, you have to play with urgency, and you have to match their urgency,” Bowen said. “The bottom line is their players have to get back to the line of scrimmage, as well, to run the next play, and if their players are doing it quickly enough, you have to match their urgency and their tempo. I think we've developed a system where the tempo stuff hasn't really been an issue for us.”
At 2-5 (0-4 Big 12), Kansas has looked much improved under Bowen, even if the record doesn’t say so, but the schedule is doing them no favors as November begins. Following Saturday’s game, the Jayhawks will face three of the Big 12’s best over the final four games, with matchups against TCU, Oklahoma and Kansas State making for the last three affairs.
Despite the tough schedule, the bye week came at a perfect time, as Kansas hopes to settle things down and see if they can pull off an upset or two along the way.
“You hit the midpoint of the season, and everyone gets a little bit tired of each other at times, so I think it's good for them to get away from us as coaches and to be honest, kind of good for us to get away from them a little bit,” Bowen said.