New coach, same season outcome

Weis-coached teams don’t make halftime adjustments 

By Andrew Curtis

We’ve seen this movie before. Going into the half with all the momentum it could muster, the Kansas Jayhawks went into halftime down just one possession to their heavily favored in-state rival, the Kansas State Wildcats.

K-State played as bad as it could and Kansas brought its A-game in the first half. K-State failed to reach the endzone in the closing seconds due to poor clock management and still led the game by 7 points.

Then, the Wildcats pounced on the Jayhawks with no mercy in the 2nd half, outscoring KU 35-2. The only points Kansas was able to come up with was from a safety, which was the result of the field position Kansas State started with after a Kansas turnover. Charlie Weis’ “schematic advantage” on offense couldn’t even produce a single point in the second half.

Don’t get me wrong, Bill Snyder is the king of halftime adjustments. He and his staff said all the right things in the locker room and probably had more than enough teaching points, but Weis made no adjustments and failed to do something essential: stick with what was working.

Kansas ran the ball effectively in the first half, with Tony Pierson on the first drive, followed by James Sims. Dayne Crist made some good throws and finally seemed to have gained some confidence. Weis also pulled out his bag of tricks, with a successful fake punt and fake field goal on the same drive leading to a KU touchdown.

Then, Weis fell in love with Crist’s arm and took chances passing the ball down the field, which resulted in three Kansas turnovers in the 3rd quarter.

When it rains, it pours. Over past three seasons, K-State has outscored KU 91-16 in the 2nd half, including a 70-2 advantage in the 3rd quarter. Granted, two of those games were coached by Turner Gill, but Saturday was simply a different coach, same story. In its 8 touchdown-scoring drives Saturday, K-State needed just 30 plays.

It’s no wonder this KU football program is considered a national laughing stock, Big 12 doormat and a dumpster fire.

The 3rd quarter is where games are won and lost. It sets the tone for the rest of the game. Kansas has yet to defeat an FBS (formerly known as Division 1-A) team this season. The Jayhawks have been outscored 84-42 in the 2nd half, a major reason why this struggling football team sits at 1-4.

It’s a snowball effect. When the KU offense becomes one-dimensional and turns the ball over as if it were part of their daily afternoon routine, a downhill slide with no end in sight begins. The defense gives up big plays and the special teams unit has its usual series of blunders.

Even bulletin board material from the school newspaper can’t inspire the football team to play 60 minutes of fundamentally sound football. Perhaps Coach Weis should be more concerned about his team’s play on the field, particularly in the 2nd half, than a student reporter who is telling it like it is. The bottom line is that Weis needs to go out and win games to shut the media (and himself) up.

The next team to dominate Kansas in the 2nd half is Oklahoma State this Saturday, coached by Mike Gundy. He’s a man, he’s now older than 40 and he is known for scoring obscene amounts of points against Kansas.

Until Coach Weis and his staff can figure out the right message at the half, Kansas won’t win another game. Let’s just face it. It’s going to be a long 2012 for Kansas.

 

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