Tuesday, October 12, 2010
Midseason review: Kansas
By ESPN.com staff
Record: 2-3 (0-1 Big 12)
The loss to North Dakota State prompted an "Oh, no" reaction from fans, which was quickly replaced by "But wait!" after the Jayhawks upset the defending ACC champions, Georgia Tech, in Lawrence. Those have since been replaced by "Nevermind" after convincing losses to Southern Miss and Baylor -- the Bears won by a school-record in conference play 48 points -- and Georgia Tech's fall out of the top 25. It's going to be a long season in Lawrence, but Turner Gill's rebuilding effort begins here, as the only team in the Big 12 with a losing record. Kansas was in the Orange Bowl and won three years ago. Winning big isn't impossible there. Gill has been decisive, moving top recruits and past contributors like Toben Opurum and Keeston Terry to defense, while handing his offense to a pair of freshmen and a converted cornerback in quarterback Jordan Webb, running back James Sims and receiver Daymond Patterson. The good news for Kansas is that most of its top talent is young, along with players like left tackle Tanner Hawkinson, injured linebacker Huldon Tharp. If Gill can recruit well and surround those guys with more talent, the rebuilding job might get off the ground fast.
Offensive MVP: WR Daymond Patterson – Patterson provided the defining play of Kansas' season, a short pass he turned into a 32-yard touchdown that put Kansas up by 11 in the fourth quarter by breaking a handful of Georgia Tech tackles. He's also provided Kansas with its most consistent target and playmaker in the passing game, recording 28 receptions for 259 yards and a pair of touchdowns. You could make a strong case here for James Sims as well, who topped 100 yards against Georgia Tech and added 115 more with a pair of scores in Kansas' other win against New Mexico State.
Defensive MVP: LB Justin Springer – Springer had his best game of the year in the win over Georgia Tech, making 15 stops with three tackles for loss and a sack, one of just three for the Jayhawks this season. He's second on the team with 38 tackles, but leads with five tackles for loss. The 6-foot-4, 242-pounder has helped the Jayhawks with some senior leadership as well.