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The Leavenworth Times - Leavenworth, KS
  • Sports Potpourri: KU, K-State and Chiefs

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  • Kansas used a whole season’s worth of luck in their 13-10 win over Louisiana Tech to move its record to 2-1. Regardless, all that’s going to be remembered is that KU won. If the Jayhawks had lost, their season would have likely collapsed. But they got the win. Now coach Charlie Weis has two weeks to iron out the wrinkles and get ready for Homecoming and the Big 12 opener against Texas Tech on October 5. After the win, Weis said, “I'm kind of counting on us being able to look back at this game and saying, 'That was the game where they turned the corner.' We've been waiting for one of those times, and I'm hoping that maybe today was the day.” KU’s win left the Jayhawks with a very real chance to qualify for a bowl game in Weis’ second season. They will have to win four of their nine conference games to accomplish that goal. It could happen because the conference isn’t as formidable as normal. Texas Tech is one of the Big 12 games that Kansas has a chance to win. To do so, the Jayhawks will have to show substantial improvement with their two weeks of practice. KU’s off week couldn’t have come at a better time. Kansas State’s football team has to win five of their remaining eight Big 12 games to earn a bowl game. It won’t be easy. Wildcat fans have become so accustomed to extraordinary success during the Bill Snyder era, that going to bowl games has become ho-hum. Three of the teams remaining on the schedule are Oklahoma, Oklahoma State and Baylor. They are clearly the class of the Big 12 this time around and appear to be out of reach for K-State. If that proves to be true, the Wildcats would have to win all five of their other Big 12 games to make it to another bowl game. So far the biggest disappointment in K-State’s season is the lack of what was expected to be a dominating offense. Coach Snyder evidently has no confidence in quarterback Daniel Sams’ ability to pass because he almost never calls a pass play while Sams is in the game. Sams is a dynamic runner, but his passing ability is unknown. And passing quarterback Jake Waters is no more than a mediocre runner, so that puts a crimp in K-State’s offense. Considering the schedule ahead, the loss to Texas was costly indeed. Snyder is well aware of the problems and said, "Execution was not good. We got penalized when we shouldn't. You can’t beat good football teams turning the ball over and getting penalized. It's not more complex than that." Next up for the Wildcats is Oklahoma State in Stillwater on October 5, following their bye week. That gives Snyder two weeks to try and shore up the obvious weaknesses that have shown up in the early going. The talent level is down from last season, particularly on defense. But look for big improvement with K-State’s offense because it has the ability to be much better than it’s shown so far. Sams is the answer. If he can pass effectively, his running could carry the offense just like Collin Klein did last season. The next two weeks of practice will tell the tale. President Clark Hunt is entitled to take a bow while basking in the glow of the Kansas City Chiefs’ 3-0 start in the NFL. Many of Hunt’s decisions have been the cause of past failures, but he sure got it right this time. When Hunt hired Andy Reid as head coach and John Dorsey as general manager, it transformed KC’s franchise almost overnight. The Chiefs face the New York Giants on Sunday at Arrowhead Stadium. Kansas City could improve their record to 4-0. The offense and defense are becoming better acclimated to their new systems with every passing week. Quarterback Alex Smith is playing big time football and he’s the most important player change that management made in the offseason. Smith is a composed veteran who doesn’t rattle and refuses to throw passes to receivers who are covered. And he has game changing running ability. Defensive coordinator Bob Sutton’s unit is playing winning football. Nose tackle Dontari Poe’s improvement is obvious and he’s solidified the middle of the line. The Chiefs’ new defensive backs have eliminated a major weakness from last season. And the linebackers are off to a superb start. NFL seasons are long and demanding. Even though KC is off to an encouraging start—it’s nothing more. But there is one certainty: Kansas City is a much better football team than the 2012 ball club. -Mac Stevenson is a longtime columnist on collegiate and professional sports in Eastern Kansas.
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