Gill sees steps forward on defense
The final stat line may not reflect it, but Saturday's 47-17 loss to the No. 3 Oklahoma Sooners was probably the Kansas defense's finest performance of the season.
The Jayhawks allowed the Sooners 27 first half points, but forced multiple turnovers and several punts. Perhaps most impressive, though the offense was never able to capitalize, the defense gave up just three points in the third quarter, keeping the team within two scores of arguably the nation's best team until the final stanza of play.
Tuesday, during his weekly press conference, Head Coach Turner Gill said he was pleased with his team's determination and confident, as well as one additional factor above all else.
"I think the big thing though, we played with great physicality," he explained. "That's what we had talked about on offense and defense, particularly in the first half, and I thought that was good to see. I think we can build on this last week's game, and continue to have confidence and belief in what we can get accomplished for this last half of the season."
Redshirt freshman safety Keeston Terry, who was held out of last week's contest, remains officially questionable, as does center Jeremiah Hatch. The big senior went down with an apparent neck or back injury late in the first quarter versus Oklahoma, but - thankfully - appears to be in good shape and may play this weekend.
Senior running back Rell Lewis, injured in the second quarter, is officially out, and redshirt freshman running back Brandon Bourbon - who missed Saturday's game - is once again healthy and ready to play.
Jayhawks wary of K-State QB
A quick look at the offensive statistics may leave one puzzled by Kansas State's flawless start, as the Wildcats rank 94th in the country in yards per game (336.2).
What they do well, however, is run the football - ranking 25th in rushing yards per game - and a big reason for their success on the ground has been the play of junior quarterback Collin Klein.
A 6-foot-5, 226-pound signal caller, Klein is a bruising runner currently averaging 4.2 yards for carry en route to an impressive - and team-leading - 578 yards and 10 touchdowns.
"You don't think he's moving, but he's moving," Gill said. "He also is powerful and can run over you. He can really do a lot of good things, so you've got to stop the run first."
Wildcats represent another golden opportunity
During media sessions last week, Kansas players spoke frequently of the opportunity Oklahoma represented - a chance to stop three-game losing skid and get the season back on track.
This weekend, they see a similar opportunity in No. 11 Kansas state.
"The teams that are ranked, it becomes a little bit more visible," Gill said. "I think our guys are ready to play a great ball game. You've got the rivalry obviously involved in it, too, so our guys will be ready to play as far as that goes. It's a great opportunity for us, and our guys will be ready for the challenge."
Hatch on the road to recovery
The Jayhawks suffered a scary moment Saturday when center Jeremiah Hatch suffered an injury during the first quarter of play Saturday that left him unable to move his extremities in the immediate aftermath.
Fortunately, the road-paving lineman appears to be well on the way to a clean bill of health.
"But it was a little scare, no doubt he was nervous about what was taking place when you can't even move your arms," Gill said. "He's ready to go and I'm glad he's going to be physically all right - nothing as far as that goes, no danger from that."