Two wins in, team hungry for more
One of the things Head Coach Turner Gill said stood out about his team this week is their hunger. Not at the training table, of course, but rather the practice field.
Two games - and two wins - into the 2011 season, and it appears the Jayhawks have only grown more dedicated to keeping the ball rolling.
"I see and feel a sense that they're not satisfied," Gill said. "They want to get better and continue to try and get better as a football team. So that's good to see as a head coach."
Gill pleased with progress of team, program in Year Two
Between now and this team last season, his first at the helm on Mount Oread, Gill believes the team and the entire football program have come a long way.
"It's night and day different form last year to this year, as far as where we're at as a football team," he explained. "Where we're at as a football program."
Perhaps the biggest difference is simply an increased level of understanding. As has been frequently discussed in the media since fall camp opened, Year One was a major adjustment period.
Now, players and coaches have a much better idea of what to expect.
"We still have a long way to go, but we're definitely liking what we're seeing," Gill said.
Georgia Tech represents a whole new type of challenge
Nobody is going to mistake the Yellow Jackets' first two opponents - Western Carolina and Middle Tennessee State - as heavy hitters, but still...the offensive numbers they're putting up are ridiculous.
En route to scoring 112 total points in the two victories, Head Coach Paul Johnson's variant of the wishbone option attack has racked up 1,258 yards - 629 per game - which places them second in the country.
Everyone expects the Ramblin' Wreck to be able to run the ball effectively, and they have at 339.5 yards per game, but it's the passing attack that has observers doing a double take.
Quarterback Tevin Washington has completed 13 of 21 attempts for 473 yards - a staggering 22.52 yards per attempt - and five touchdowns, with no interceptions.
With so many young players and newcomers seeing time on the Kansas defense, Saturday's game in Atlanta represents the Jayhawks' most formidable challenge yet. But Gill likes what he's seen from his defense this week in practice.
"They're in tune to what we're trying to get accomplished," he said. "They understand their assignments and they have to be disciplined in their assignments. And then they have to be able to execute it. And then it comes to being able to tackle. You have to do that against this scheme."
"You mix it up," Gill added, of defensive looks. "You always mix up your different coverages, different fronts, different schemes. You're always doing certain things to try to give yourself the best chance to be successful."
Freshman class exceeding expectations
When the prospects at last put pen to paper on National Signing Day in February, the coaches at Kansas figured they'd landed a special haul.
With players such as Darrian Miller, Anthony Pierson and JaCorey Shepherd making such an obvious impact on offense, Tanner Gibas and Alex Mueller contributing on special teams and players such as Ben Heeney, Colin Garrett, Michael Reynolds and Victor Simmons inching ever closer to playing time on defense, it's safe to say their instincts regarding the class were correct.
"We were excited when we got them to sign the papers, when they actually did sign them on signing day," Gill said. "And now they're here, it confirms it even more they are as talented as we thought they would be when we looked at them."