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Offseason to-do list: Kansas Jayhawks

2/5/2013

Each season, there's lots of turnover and change for every college program. What do the Big 12 teams need to do before next fall? Let's continue our look with the Jayhawks in Lawrence.

1. Sort out who's who among the new faces. Kansas is bringing in almost 20 junior college transfers, and many of them will be enrolling early. KU needs those guys to contribute early, but who's it going to be? Some will meet expectations. Some will fall short. Some will exceed them. That last group is the most important, and KU needs to exercise a keen eye in evaluation this spring and get a feel for how its depth chart will look in the fall and who needs a high percentage of reps late in spring and heading into fall camp. This team is going to look a lot different, but assessing this talent once it joins the team will be huge for the Jayhawks this offseason.

2. Find some playmakers for Jake Heaps. I wouldn't completely rule out Michael Cummings, but KU has already invested in the former superstar recruit and BYU transfer. Heaps is KU's guy heading into this season, but KU loses its leading receiver, Kale Pick, and its next-most productive receiver is a running back, Tony Pierson, who didn't top 200 yards rushing. Kansas' receivers caught a grand total of zero touchdown passes a year ago. Running backs caught four and tight ends caught three. That cannot fly in 2013. You can't win in the Big 12 like that. Dayne Crist didn't have the best year, but for Heaps to succeed, KU has got to find some serviceable receivers.

3. Fix up the offensive line and keep the running game rolling. Kansas has quietly had a really strong offensive line, even throughout these lean years under Turner Gill and Charlie Weis thus far. Three starters from last year's line, though, are gone. Left tackle and four-year starter Tanner Hawkinson is gone, along with guard Duane Zlatnik and center Trevor Marrongelli. If KU can keep this running game productive, the passing game will have a chance to blossom and the road to Big 12 relevance will be a whole lot easier. If the running game slows and James Sims and Pierson can't help balance the offense, don't expect Heaps to do much better next year than Crist.

More offseason to-do lists: