At halftime Saturday, things still looked pretty good for the Kansas Jayhawks.
Down by just a touchdown, 17-24 on the road in Atlanta versus Georgia Tech, the offense was proving nearly as effective as it had in the first two games of 2011. And while the defense was struggling - really struggling - a productive halftime and the ignition of a few light bulbs on defense would have had the Jayhawks in great position to play for their third win in a row.
But things didn't really work out that way. The Georgia Tech offense only picked up steam, en route to a record-setting day, and the wheels fell off the Kansas bus. The offense mustered just one more touchdown late, and ultimately the Jayhawks fell by the lopsided score of 24-66.
"I just think we weren't able to slow those guys down or stop them," said Head Coach Turner Gill during Monday's weekly Big 12 coaches teleconference. "They made a good game plan and we thought we made some adjustments at half time, and they just did a better job executing their adjustments than we did."
While it's difficult to find any positives in the performance of the defense Saturday, the second-year head coach did point to one small bright spot.
"They played hard," he said simply, of his team. "I didn't see anybody quit out there on our whole football team - special teams, defense or offense. That's a good thing as far as that goes. Again, we're 2-1 and we're moving forward."
Fortunately for the Jayhawks, what they're moving forward into is a bye week. The week off should prove invaluable by allowing several ailing Jayhawks to heal, and give the team to address issues internally before focusing on their Oct. 1 opponent - Texas Tech.
Of particular important is the continued improvement of the offense. So impressive in Week One, the unit appears to be - at this point - substantially ahead of its defensive counterpart. If the Jayhawks are to continue to succeed, the revamped running game that showed itself in the season's first two contests will need to re-emerge and take steps forward.
"Our first down was not as good as it had been in the past as far as yardage," Gill said, of the Georgia Tech game. As far as on first down, on every series being able to get at least four-plus yards. And we were in a lot of third downs. I think we need to get better on first down and we'll be better off with our offense."
After a light workout Sunday found the team energetic and ready to get back to work, he doesn't anticipate a hangover from Saturday's loss proving problematic as the team moves forward.
"The thing about it is, you focus on a different opponent, you focus on yourself as far as what we need to do to improve on," Gill said. "So I think it's not going to be a problem."
The Jayhawks will have Monday off, before heading back to the practice fields Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday.