• 2011 record: 2-10 overall, 0-9 Big 12 (10th)
• Key starters lost: LB Steven Johnson; TE Tim Biere; RB Darrian Miller.
• Key starters returning: OT Tanner Hawkinson; G Duane Zlatnik; RB James Sims; WR Kale Pick; S Bradley McDougald; LB Toben Opurum.
• Banking on … Senior quarterback Dayne Crist. Charlie Weis’ program facelift began with Crist, a Notre Dame transfer who became a captain just a few months after arriving on campus. For the first time since former QB Todd Reesing was a senior in 2009, the Jayhawks will have an unquestioned leader under center — and a quarterback who has a mastery of the offensive system.
• Don’t bet on … Defensive coordinator Dave Campo to work miracles. KU ranked dead last (120th) in Division I in total defense last season. An infusion of juco defensive linemen will no doubt speed up the rebuilding process, but the Jayhawks still have to face a Big 12 schedule. And even a much-improved D will likely rank somewhere near the bottom of the conference.
• Smart money is on … The Jayhawks to be more disciplined, organized and improved — but will that result in a drastic increase in wins? Four victories (and at least one in the Big 12) would double last year’s total. Would that satisfy Jayhawk fans in Weis’ first year? If nothing else, it appears KU will resemble an actual Big 12 football team. And maybe that’s a good place to start.
| Rustin Dodd, firstname.lastname@example.org