Searching for an Identity

  • This KU football season is winding to a close in much the same fashion as the previous four - losses piling up, blame doled out, no answers in sight.

    I touched on this a bit in a comment last week, but I wanted to come back to the point here - KU football needs an identity.

    KU football’s identity right now is being mediocre. Even then, that’s not really the full identity, because KU football isn’t mediocre in the way that many teams are - KU has had more success than many mediocre teams. It’s not like K-State when Snyder took over, a program devoid of any high points at any time in their history. KU has been to the Orange Bowl, won a BCS bowl, had some double digit win seasons, etc. KU’s identity can’t even be that they are mediocre because they haven’t even gotten that right.

    I don’t think KU can go full out Baylor or Oregon and say their identity is going to be score a zillion points in less than 90 seconds. KU is not positioned to recruit the type of athletes that Baylor can in Texas, or draw athletes like Oregon can (a combination of Nike money and proximity to a huge population in California). I just don’t foresee KU being able to change the level of their program while getting second and third tier players from the major recruiting grounds (Texas, California, Florida, the South).

    So where can the identity come from? Well, I honestly think KU has to latch onto an identity rooted in an up tempo running attack. KU has shown an ability to get some talent at the RB position. That has been the strongest position on the depth chart the last four years, even while some other spots on the roster imploded.

    I think an uptempo game plan is a must. Players now are attracted to systems that push the pace. Granted, most push the pace through the air, but you can push the pace on the ground as well. However, pushing the pace on the ground will also keep the clock moving, which will be a huge benefit to a team that may not have the depth of its opponents.

    I also think this uptempo scheme should employ zone blocking techniques. If we don’t have linemen that can just maul guys, zone blocking can go a long way to level the playing field.

    Defensively, I think it’s time to shift away from the traditional schemes. KU has not been able to recruit the dominant interior linemen to play a 3-4 (requires a tremendous amount of the nose tackle) or 4-3 (at least 1 end must command a double team). KU should instead move to a hybrid defense of some type, either fewer down linemen, shifting LBs, a Monster, a 4-2-5, Gap or something else.

    Can Charlie Weis do this? Sadly, I don’t think so. Weis is just too established as a coach to basically throw out all of his schemes and rewrite his entire football personality. KU needs someone new, someone young, someone that isn’t established so that they can establish an identity for KU football.

  • @justanotherfan, I wish I had the answer to our football dilemma, but I come up blank every time. Honestly, I want to blame Charlie Weis for everything, but that’s not logical or right. I do agree with you that he is not the answer to our problem, but I think it’s going to take much more than just a coaching change - no matter who the coach is. I think some degree of college football success or failure is the responsibility of the fans, alumni and the actual city that is the home of that university.

    Have you ever been to Pittsburg, Kansas on the day of a football game? It seems like (literally) the whole town is flying the red/gold Pitt. State flags. The local businesses are behind them, the stadium is full and they have been highly successful over the years. Same way with K-State (sorry). Go to Manhattan on game day. Almost every single person you see will be wearing purple.

    I know it’s a vicious cycle. Fans don’t show up because the team is not winning. The team is not winning for a variety of reasons, but it’s very hard to get pumped up to play in front of a home crowd that either isn’t there, or leaves at halftime.

  • I agree with everything said here. We’ve updated our facilities for recruits & I agree that we need an identity for football. Charlie Weis is obviously not the answer but is our AD gonna be big enough to realize that he made a mistake in hiring him & can he get it right this time to hire the “right” man for KU, who can win and keep on winning. I still think he needs to pick either o coach or an assistant from a top SEC school. Their the toughest conference in the nation year in & year out & he would know how to handle the big boys in the Big 12

  • Hope is not a strategy wanting a Sunflower miracle while hoping Johnny Football has a BIG day. Perhaps if KU FB was on budget AD wouldn’t have been forced to take away 6 BB games from my house on a sell out to TW/Cox. Don’t mind donating a bit of my BB loyalty for good of program yet resent being told it is the right thing and it doesn’t harm fans. Like any failed corporate take over, when things go south, you sell the best assets. AIG, Lehman Bros. many others. Next year will it be 12 games blacked out of KC cable markets? Heck if this is the plan, to make up for lost FB revenue, then auction all BB games, your cable team gets OU Baylor and my cable company wins bid for Cowboys/Cyclones.
    Lunacy to put a price and sell fan loyalty and we will never convert cable companies, that only rewards this behavior.

  • @lighthawk. The athletic department is not hurting for money; it has the second or third largest budget in the conference, mostly thanks to Lew Perkins.

    The new contract with Time Warner was poorly designed, and I will guess it was pushed by the Chancellor to give more exposure to the academic portion of the university. If I understand correctly, KU does not actually get money but it gets $2 million worth of programming and in return KU gives a de-facto endorsement to Time Warner and Metro Sports while minor sports get national exposure. This contract did not have the best interest of the bulk of KU fans, or resident of the state of Kansas for that matter, but it was designed to counteract the Longhorn network, which has proven to be a big failure as well. On this issue, Zenger seems to be way out of touch with the fans, particularly those in the KC metro area; which has the largest alumni concentration.

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