Les Miles and Kansas: How the Frogs Can Fight
September 27, 2019
Happy Family Weekend!
The campus is jumping as parents and family swarm into Fort Worth to see students and find out what their GPA really is! Have fun this weekend, TCU students, because mid-terms are on the way! (Just a friendly reminder from a guy for whom mid-terms always came too fast!)
The University of Kansas comes to town for the Big 12 lid-lifter (the 36th meeting in the series) and based on the vibe I get around the TCU pigskin plant, they are ready to get back on the field. It’s been a long week of reflection, learning and correcting. And the opponent should get their attention. And yours, too.
Kansas is different this year. Much like SMU, the Jayhawks have installed a new coach and culture. Les Miles (The Mad Hatter) and his national championship ring from LSU have recruits listening and current Rock-Chalkers believing.
Miles and his staff worked hard in the off-season adding depth to the KU attack and designing (and then re-designing) his offense.
KU Quarterback Carter Stanley is a senior who has gotten off to a dream start this year, as evidenced by his 72% completion rate. He throws it to #4 WR Andrew Parchment who has 24 catches on the year. Other fighters on the KU Flight Line include #5 Stephon Robinson and #8 Kwamie Lassiter II who had two huge games in the last two weeks. Also keep an eye on Alabama transfer #2 Daylon Charlot who, according to those close to the program, may go off at any moment—he’s overdue. The offensive line is solid and they block for two running backs who are good and give KU balance. #1 Pooka Williams is a speedster and #10 Khalil Herbert leads the team in rushing and his 2-iron like posture is perfect for a low angle of attack (5-9, 205). The Jayhawks are averaging 187 yards per game on the ground and 215 through the air. The offensive coordinator is former TCU assistant Les Koennig, who coached QBs at TCU under Dennis Franchione. The scheme utilizes a lot of I-formation and appears to vary week-to-week as Miles is favoring a more open attack than in his younger days. Lots to defend.
Defensively, KU runs what they call a 3-4 scheme, but it varies and there’s lots of movement. Defensive Coordinator D.J. Eliot came to KU from Colorado, where he spent the last two years building a reputation as a guru of the 3-4. Eliot travels all over the nation running clinics and extolling the principles of the 3-4 defense. The best up-front player for KU is “Jack” Linebacker (hybrid LB/DE) #5 Azur Kamara, who’s a great edge rusher. The linebackers are the soft spot in this group and they’ll likely be without their leading tackler Saturday: Junior LB Dru Prox suffered a bad shoulder injury last week in the loss to West Virginia. The secondary is a veteran group that has played a lot of snaps together and is the strength of the defense. Last year, they led the Big 12 in interceptions with 16. Cornerback Hasan Defense (yes, that’s his real name) is a great cover man who leads this group of three seniors and redshirt junior.
The kicking game is OK. The field goal department is a question as Liam Jones and Jacob Borcila are taking turns swinging at it. Punter Kyle Thompson has a big leg and was a second team All-Big 12 selection last year. In the return game, keep an eye on #88 Jamahl Horne (a 4.3 40 guy who is looking to victimize an undisciplined coverage team).
A Little History
Many have asked me about the story I told yesterday at the Frog Club Luncheon regarding the history between TCU and KU. It’s interesting.
Here it is:
The Frogs and Kansas played against each other every year from 1944 through 1964, until a rift over a player broke up the football romance. As the story goes, Bert Coan, a highly recruited running back from Pasadena, TX, had just completed his freshman season at TCU in 1958. During the offseason, he attended an all-star game, and a KU booster paid for his trip. Coan suddenly abandoned TCU and transferred to Kansas. He was a key element of the Jayhawks’ success in the early ’60s. Needless to say, this did not sit well on Stadium Drive. Once the game contracts between the two schools ran out in 1964, TCU Head Coach Abe Martin looked elsewhere for non-conference opponents. In 1965, TCU opened the season against No. 1 Nebraska. The Frogs and Kansas would not play again until 1982.
It’s an early start tomorrow for the 11 o’clock kickoff. Get there early and enjoy Breakfast at The Carter, then get in for kickoff—the Frogs need you and your noise. We’re on the air at 10 a.m. sharp on the Horned Frogs Sports Network. Join us on WBAP 820 AM, KTCU-FM 88.7, the Riff Ram App (Google Play, Apple), TuneIn App and Sirius134/XM 200.