Owen Kemp from over at Rock Chalk Talk was kind enough to exchange questions with me about this weekend's upcoming game. He provides some great insight into the Kansas Jayhawks football team.
<Edit: Owen has posted my answers to his questions at http://www.rockchalktalk.com/2010/10/28/1778834/opposing-viewpoints-iowa-state-with-the-clone-chronicles >
Owen Kemp: JUCO QB Quin Meecham will get the start. Quite frankly we have no clue what he brings to the table. The fact is he was never even mentioned during the preseason as an option in what was considered a wide open QB competition so that certainly doesn't sound like a player that we should be expecting much from. Another indication might be the fact that Kansas readily implemented the wildcat last week with a receiver taking the snap rather than put Meecham in the game when the second QB initially went down. Not a good sign if you ask me. Maybe he'll surprise us but for me this just means a bad offense got a whole lot worse.
PC: Kansas had a bit of a roller coaster ride at the beginning of the season, losing to North Dakota State and then turning around and winning to Ga Tech. After that the season has nose-dived some. I hear a lot of rumblings from Kansas fans about Turner Gill. Where do you think the fan base is with him and what do you think is the answer to the problems revealed this year?
OK: Most are definitely questioning whether he is the guy for the job because of how dramatic the dropoff has been this year. There are a lot of questionable calls, questionable philosophy's and nothing to indicate that he's building. About the only thing that anyone can continue to say is that the players like him as an individual. Problem is that doesn't mean you win a football game.
Still we all realize that he's probably not going anywhere right away and continuity can mean a lot in college football so we're prepared to give him some time. The best early positive has been his early recruiting. Hopefully as he get's more of "his" guys in something starts to click, but I'd say this season's disaster has shortened the window so to speak. He's has to show he can put at least a competitive product on the field. Honestly, I'd point to Coach Rhodes as a guy who get's more out of his team and puts them in a position to win even though he might not have the most talent. Kansas needs that, Gill doesn't look like that at the moment.
More Q&A after the Jump
PC: Defensively, what can Iowa State fans expect to see on Saturday? Does Kansas play 4-3, 3-4, Nickel, or some other defense? What are the strengths on defense for the Jayhawks?
OK: Kansas has played primarily out of a 4-3 base with plenty of 4-2-5(nickel mixed in). I'd suspect they might go more 4-3 against Iowa State and if there is a strength it's in stopping the run. Problem is it's kind of like a levee, a trickle through the levee turns into a flood in a matter of moments and that pretty much defines the Kansas defense. They hold up well early, but with no offense and a lackluster special teams they just can't contain the impeding doom. From there things have gotten out of hand in a hurry.
If it were me, I'd put the ball in Arnaud's hands and let him win the ball game with both his feet and his arm. I know he's not maybe a top tier QB in the league, but neither is Carson Coffman and he had a field day against Kansas despite struggling in every other game of the year. Arnaud is better than Coffman and he can do some damage.
PC: With Lew Perkins on the way out the door as the Athletic Director, is there any news about his replacement? What do you think the first job of the new AD is?
OK: A lot of rumblings and rumors but nothing of substance. The search committee is tight lipped as ever, but there are definitely names that seem to get floated out there on almost a weekly basis. From the sound of it, Kansas has some interest from some fairly solid candidates. The fact that Kansas has gone through the major capital improvements in recent years makes it an attractive post, but obviously the recent struggles in football and the other bad press elsewhere open it up to scrutiny.
First job for the new AD is regaining the trust of the fans. Right now it feels like Kansas went from the top of the world and stumbled down sharply. Knowing what we know now about what was going on and watching how business was handled in the last year or two it feels a little like some seriously bad karma coming back around. I'm ready and I think a lot of Kansas fans are ready for transparency, credibility and programs that do things the right way. Winning matters, but so does being proud of the school you attended because of the way people conduct themselves.
PC: How do you think the game turns out this Saturday in Ames?
OK: I think Iowa State wins fairly easily. It might be closer than we expect because I could see the Cyclones having a letdown after a nice win a week ago, but I don't think Kansas fielding a 3rd string QB guiding an offense that has been putrid can provide enough on the road to get a win. I liked the Cyclones from the beginning of the year myself. I thought they'd be better than last year but maybe not appear that way because of the schedule. Even without Kansas falling apart as they have I would have put this one as a toss up at best. Now I'd say 90/10 in favor of ISU.
Good luck the rest of the way.