I watched the game and learned a decent amount about this defense. Here are my notes:
On the first drive of the game, the defense looks like it hadn't fallen off at all since the performance at Army. Huh. That was about to change.
Defensive player of the game?
It seemed like all game long the one bright spot of the defense was S Jimmie Ward. The stats give him 10 tackles and one breakup, but he broke up more plays than the stats counted. With Rashaan Melvin out, Ward was about the only sure thing in the secondary which is troubling.
The Front Seven Breakdown.
The interior guys (Ron Newcomb, Anthony Wells, etc) are going to have to improve the OL was owning them and the LBs all day long. At DE, Alan Baxter's aggressiveness let him make some plays (4 tkl, 2.5 TFL, 1.5 sck), but sometimes his aggressiveness would get the best of him and he'd miss the play. Sean Progar didn't look like an all-league player in this one, especially late in the game.
Pat Schiller got a lot of crap after this one. I think he's improved a lot since Devon Butler overtook him as the starter a couple years ago. He's not as fast as you would like, but he made some plays. He just needs to make better angles when he pursues defenders.
2nd Half Fading
Demetrius Stone didn't look that great down the stretch. He was probably out there on the field more than anybody else today. Jamal Bass was another guy that just looked pooped as the game went on. I remember a 2nd and 21 in the 3rd that these guys couldn't cover despite we weren't even blitzing and in zone coverage.
I didn't even have much to comment on the second half. KU just grinded it out. This game was lost earlier than that.
Tim Biere, that big ass TE for Kansas.
Who the hell on our defense is supposed to cover this guy? He makes our safeties look like midgets. I knew something like this was going to happen before the game.
Kansas has a white RB who's last name is Bourbon
3rd Down Alert
KU was 13 of 18 on 3rd downs. Not good. Here are some of the worst plays given up for firsts:
1Q, 3rd and 7: Kansas ran a screen while both Pat Schiller AND Tommy Davis were blitzing on a play.
1Q, 3rd and goal: Kansas' first TD was over the heads of Jamal Bass & Demetrius Stone. Why was Bass closer to him than Stone? The loss of Melvin is starting to show. Considering everybody was in zone coverage I'm going to put the blame on Stone for this play. There weren't any other receivers anywhere close to Stone. Both players were pointing at each other before the play started.
2Q, 3rd and 4: Missed tackle by S Demetrius Stone on the sideline. DT Ron Newcomb would recover a fumble on the next play.
2Q, 3rd and 9: Kansas gets yet another first down on a screen pass. NIU is very clearly in zone coverage (don't listen to the announcers) and I don't know what the heck the safeties are doing back so far behind the first down marker, especially Tommy Davis who gives up way too many yds before he makes a tackle.
2Q, 3rd and 8. Huh, a long 3rd down play for the Jayhawks. They couldn't run another screen, could they? Yup, they did. This time, they fired up a Schiller/Stone blitz which was pointless. However, it WAS a zone blitz, but apparently putting Progar/Wells into coverage was a MISTAKE. Too much aggressiveness at this point in the game (less than a min left in the 1st half)
2Q, 3rd and 17: Neither Jimmie Ward nor Sean Evans nor Demetrius Stone wanted to cover Kansas WR Kale Pick? Ridiculous.
Plays that weren't plays:
KU had a couple TDs recalled because of holding calls. Here is what happened on both of those plays:
2Q: It's 4th down and 1 for KU. Tommy Davis is in tight to the right side, but Kansas runs left for a touchdown. Pat Schiller should have made the play but he got faked out worse than Jordan Delegal who was even further away from the ball than he was. Oh well this TD didn't count because of a dumb WR holding call on Jimmie Ward. KU then misses a FG.
2Q: 2nd and 8, Kansas gets a first down after a bad missed tackle by Pat Schiller. Players around the WR that got up again B.J. Daniels-style (remember the International Bowl?): All four DBs: Stone, Ward, Davis & Ware. Ware just stands over and watches the whole thing unfold. It was a holding call and the TD got called back.