The last time these two teams met was 113 years ago in the year 1900. Only back then, the game was played up in Vermillion, South Dakota, on the Coyotes home turf. Head coach Charlie Weis brought copies of the post-game article to the media presser on Tuesday. Could the past predict the future? It’s possible. The Jayhawks beat the Coyotes 36-0.
Fast-forward 113 years. Setting: Lawrence, Kansas. It’s week two of college football. The visiting South Dakota Coyotes (Missouri Valley Conference) has a record of 1-0, beating UC Davis 10-7. The Jayhawks had a bye the first week of the season, making this game their season opener.
“What was it like to sit and watch football games on Saturday? Saturday was just awful. Sitting there watching these games. Put a capital L on your forehead sitting here watching these games,” Weis joked.
Weis had nothing but positive things to say about the Coyotes at the media presser.
“They do a very good job at taking care of the football.”
He also commented on the strengths of their team, one those being the offensive line. “If you’re looking for a small offensive line, you can forget it,” he added. For example: South Dakota’s starting left tackle, Matt Huffer, is 6’7”, 300 pounds. Their starting left guard, Marc Murtha, is 6’6”, 310 pounds. Cody O’Neill, their center, is 6’3”, 305 pounds. Their right guard, Andrew Schofield, is 6’5”. 290 pounds. Starting at right tackle, Derek Chancellor, is 6’5”, and is 295 pounds.
Kansas doesn’t have a small offensive line either. On the depth chart released September 3rd, Aslam Sterling has the starting left tackle position, standing 6’5”, 315 pounds. Ngalu Fusimalohi is starting at left guard, standing 6’2”, weighing 310 pounds. Pat Lewandowski is starting at center, standing at 6’5.5”, weighing 295 pounds. At right guard, Mike Smithburg, stands at 6’3” and weighs 300 pounds. Zach Fondal has the starting position at right tackle, standing at 6’5” and weighs 295 pounds.
“Fondal is the best pass blocker we have,” said Weis. “He can pass block on both sides.”
Weis forewarned to watch out for South Dakota’s halfbacks. “[Trevor] Bouma and [Jordan] Roberts (both redshirt freshmen) are like clones.” Both Bouma and Roberts stand at 5’11”. Roberts weighs just five more pounds than Bouma, weighing in at 215 to Bouma’s 210. In their game last week, the two combined for 27 carries for 162 yards.
James Sims and Taylor Cox are the go to halfbacks for Kansas. Sims stands at 6’0” and weighs 200 pounds. Cox is 5’11” and weighs 212 pounds.
One major change on the opposite side of the ball on the depth chart is Cassius Sendish going back to free safety, instead of leading the charge at nickel. “Cassius is capable of playing two positions,” said defensive coach Dave Campo. “He has the skills to play both the nickel and safety position.” Weis talked about how the coaching staff was concerned about the depth at safety more than the depth at nickel. “[Victor] Simmons and [Courtney] Arnick developed at nickel,” he added. “Cassius is unique. He can play a number of different positions. Victor’s a different guy. He went from safety to a linebacker. Now he’s kind of a hybrid,” added Campo.
For team goals, Weis went off on a tangent. “Let’s look at this realistically. Every time we go into a game, we better be counting on winning. If you go into a game and look at the record or schedule and think “we could win five”, if you look at that, you should be fired or you should quit.”
Weis also added, “From 1-11 last year, we’re 0-0 right now. We’re psychologically working in that direction. There’s only one way to change it. Winning,” “…it’s been a while since Kansas has won,” added Campo. Weis explained, “They need to get a taste of something good.”