2014 Kansas Jayhawks Team Preview
Head Coach: Charlie Weis
2013 record: 3-9 overall, 1-8 Big 12
2013 Bowl result: None
2014 returning starters: 8 offense, 9 defense
Odds to win 2015 College Football Championship game: N/A
Odds to win 2014 Big 12 title: 100/1
Regular season wins: N/A
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It was only in 2007 that the Kansas Jayhawks beat Virginia Tech in the Orange Bowl. That seems like it might as well have been in the leather helmet era as Kansas hasn’t made a bowl game since 2008. The Jayhawks have won 4 games in the last two years under coach Charlie Weis, and might be the worst team in the five power conferences. They won 3 games last season, with wins over South Dakota, Louisiana Tech and West Virginia.
The Jayhawks return 17 starters and Kansas fans hope Weis can turn the program around. At the very least, making the football program relevant after fall basketball practice begins in mid-October is a priority.
The offense was absolutely dreadful last year averaging just 15 points a game. The passing game was barely existent at a paltry 140 yards per game. The running game wasn’t much better at 154 yards per game. Eight starters return on offense, and the offense really can’t get much worse.
Quarterback Jake Heaps transferred to Miami-(FL). He threw for 1,414 yards with 8 touchdowns and 10 interceptions. Sophomore Montell Cozart was named the starter after spring practice. Cozart took a few snaps last season mostly in mop up duty. He threw for 227 yards with 2 interceptions. The dual threat Cozart also had 66 carries, 214 yards and a touchdown.
Kansas does lose their most reliable offensive weapon in running back James Sims. Sims had 230 carries for 1,110 yards with 7 touchdowns, along with 25 catches for 166 yards. Senior Brandon Bourbon takes over at the feature back. Last year, he had 41 carries for 191 yards and 3 touchdowns, along with 20 catches for 102 yards. Darrian miller was supposed to be the #2 running but he decided to transfer in June. Taylor Cox and JUCO transfer De’Andre Mann will both get a lot of carries.
Senior receiver Nick Harwell, a transfer from Miami-(OH) had 3 straight 800 yard receiving seasons for Miami. Tony Pierson returns and he had 24 catches for 333 yards and a touchdown, along with 163 rushing yards. Tight end Jimmay Mundine also returns after making 20 catches for 229 and 5 touchdowns.
Kansas must replace three starters on the offensive line on a unit that wasn’t very good last year at run blocking or pass protection. Senior guards Ngalu Fusimalohi and Mike Smithburg made 20 starts last season and will be the lone constants on the line.
Kansas allowed 433 yards per game on defense and 32 points a game. Nine starters return, but like the offense it doesn’t matter if they don’t show vast improvement.
Keon Stowers now a senior will anchor the defensive line at the nose tackle position. Ends Ben Goodman and Andrew Bolton have potential.
Middle linebacker Ben Heeney was second team All-Big 12 last season, and has a chance to be first team this season. Jake Love and Michael Reynolds will also make some plays for the linebackers.
The secondary might be the best unit on defense led by senior corner Dexter McDonald and safety Isaiah Johnson. Cornerback Kevin Stout redshirted in 2013, but was impressive in spring practice.
Kicker Matthew Wyman is a former walk-on. He made 5 of 10 field goals last season. Punter Trevor Pardula averaged 43.7 yards per punt. He got a lot of practice with 84 punts in 2013 because of the anemic offense.
Kansas should go at least 2-1 in non-conference play with home games against SE Missouri State and Central Michigan. The Jayhawks also travel to Duke in what would make a much better basketball game. In conference, Kansas gets Texas, Oklahoma State, Iowa State and TCU in Lawrence. The Jayhawks travel to West Virginia, Texas Tech, Baylor, Oklahoma and Kansas State. They might beat Iowa State but I just can’t see more than 3 wins for this team.
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