Being a Kansas fan is tough. Rooting for this football team is an exercise in pain and humility. Every step forward seems to be followed by three steps back. Saturday’s performance against Coastal Carolina was a gut punch. Kansas got out-coached and out-executed by a school that had never defeated a Power 5 opponent before. Coastal Carolina was limited in practice this week and still looked more prepared on the field. For Kansas to save the season they need to find their focus and toughness.
Defense played hard. While the front seven struggled at times to get pressure, Dru Prox continued to shine in run defense. Khalil Herbert showed some burst and Pooka Williams put up good numbers.
I am going to be one hundred percent honest with you: this was as ugly as any loss under Beaty. Les Miles and company made baffling decisions. The back to back timeouts on fourth down resembled a position coach’s handling of the head coaching duties and not a national championship head coach. Play calling was mind numbing. KU continued to run the ball into stacked boxes despite not having success in doing so (spoiler alert: the Dallas Cowboys don’t even have success running into stacked boxes). I was surprised that KU didn’t run more misdirection out of shotgun which they had success doing against Indiana State. When you have weapons like Pooka, you have to get them into space and around the edge.
More than anything, Kansas struggled to get any push on either side of the line against Coastal Carolina. That is a horrible omen for the rest of the year. Big 12 teams are much bigger and more physical than the Chanticleers. AJ Dillon might be the latest Kansas opponent to set a rushing record if Kansas doesn’t shore up their front. Carter Stanley struggled immensely to read the defense and it showed on his two interceptions.
I think the scariest takeaway from the performance on Saturday is that Les Miles is still Les Miles. The offense ran the same looks that got him ran out of town at LSU. Yes, this was always going to be a rough year, but Kansas fans expect a team that wins winnable games. They expect to improve as the year goes on. They expect a team that doesn’t constantly beat themselves. Finally, they expect the coaches to give the team a shot to win the football game. From a fan’s perspective those expectations weren’t met on Saturday. On to Boston College.