In the light of last Saturday’s 54-16 dismantling at the hands of Texas Tech, Kansas head coach Charlie Weis south to shake up the depth chart in hopes of turning his team’s fortunes. Weis admitted that he has never done this much shuffling in his coaching career this far into a season, but he had no choice, as the Jayhawks (2-2) head to Fort Worth to take on TCU, this Saturday.
Through the first four games, Kansas has not had nearly the same punch that was anticipated by some and especially themselves, but Weis and his coaching staff hope the shakeups will be just the spark to get things going.
“We feel as we maneuver these guys around that this will give us best opportunity to do something different,” Weis said. “One way to do it is by scheme and the other is by personnel changes.”
The biggest changes are along the offensive line, which has been where many of the issues have begun.
Against the Horned Frogs, Weis will start Pat Lewandowski at left tackle, Ngalu Fusimalohi at left guard, Gavin Howard at center, Mike Smithburg at right guard and Aslam Sterling at right tackle.
The switches move both Lewandowski and Sterling back to the position in which they played during the spring. Weis is really hoping that the center position improves, because without it, KU may have a hard time winning another game this season and it has been the spot where any negative offensive plays have originated. It’s a position that Weis recognizes is one of the toughest to play on the field in addition to being vital.
“Without a doubt, it’s snapping the ball and have a guy hit you in the mouth,” Weis said. “There’s no other position that does that, only one, center.”
Elsewhere, Josh Ford and Andrew Turzilli have emerged as first team wide receivers, with Justin McCay and Rodriguez Coleman and Tre’ Parmalee backing them up. Weis says Turzilli’s ascension has been gradual after not performing the way they would have like during the spring and summer, but as time has gone on, he’s beginning to show the raw talent and ability that he possess, including a touchdown pass late on Saturday.
At tight end, Jimmay Mundine will be the starter, but it will be redshirt freshman Jordan Shelley-Smith backing him up instead of Trent Smiley, who had those duties, and started against Louisiana Tech.
Brandon Bourbon will start in the F position with the concussion suffered by Tony Pierson against Tech. Pierson will be out for awhile, but Weis vows he will be back, as his MRI came out negative.
On defense, the injury bug has bitten linebacker Samson Faifilli and could threaten to end his season and force him into a medical redshirt like running back Taylor Cox. The loss hurts, because of leadership and energy that he brought to the unit. Jake Love will start alongside Ben Heeney this week against the Horned Frogs.
Still, Weis is staying positive and keeping things in perspective as he tries to find the right combination of things heading to a tough stretch of the schedule.
“We’re 2-2 after four games. It hasn’t been a pretty 2-2, but we’re 2-2 through four game with eight games to go,” Weis said.