On Saturday, Duke welcomes Kansas to Wallace Wade. It's an interesting meeting. We don't know a whole lot about Kansas, so we agreed to exchange info with Andy Mitts at rockchalktalk.com. Here's his take on Kansas:
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Kansas came into this year looking to build off of the strength from last year, namely Ben Heeney and the Defense. Featuring a multitude of juniors and seniors, the defense is loaded this year with several players who received honorable mention for all-conference honors last year. With Isaiah Johnson at safety and JaCorey Shepherd and Dexter McDonald at cornerback, the secondary anchors the defense, leaving Heeney, Keon Stowers and company free to terrorize the middle of the field.
The offense struggled mightily last year, failing to consistently work the ball down the field. They really had no passing game at all, and relied heavily on James Sims at Running Back to carry them through the season. Unfortunately, Sims is gone, and the top two returning options, Brandon Bourbon and Taylor Cox, suffered season ending injuries late in the preseason. This has forced newcomers De'Andre Mann and Corey Avery to take over the lion's share of the carries on short notice. Luckily, the WR corps has improved greatly. With a trio of transfers now all fully eligible, QB Montell Cozart finally appears to have a reliable stable of targets. Tony Pierson made his name in the "offensive weapon" role, and looks to continue that success this year.
The special teams are highlighted by Ray Guy Award Watch list candidate Trevor Pardula, who was about the only bright spot for that unit last year. The returners didn't really get enough reps to know how well, but they all return, and while newcomer John Duvic appeared to win the kicking job out of camp, he apparently didn't handle it too well and Matthew Wyman (who was replaced after being extremely inconsistent last year) is back in the starting role.
Overall, it appears that KU is poised to make significant steps this year, but will likely hang around in the bottom of the Big 12 this year. In fact, the prognosis seems similar to how Duke was viewed last year before they greatly exceeded expectations. Unfortunately, the overall strength of the Big 12 should prevent them from jumping to the top like Duke did last year.
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