2014 Kansas football preview, with schedule

08/23/2014 1:00 PM

08/23/2014 6:45 PM

Projected record: 3-9, 1-8 Big 12 (last)

2013 record: 3-9, 1-8 Big 12 (last)

Key starters lost: RB James Sims, QB Jake Heaps, OT Aslam Sterling

Key starters returning: LB Ben Heeney, S Isaiah Johnson, CB Dexter McDonald, WR Tony Pierson, CB JaCorey Shepherd, DL Keon Stowers

Leading the charge: Senior linebacker Ben Heeney fronts a veteran defense that made major strides last season. And the secondary is perhaps Kansas’ most talented unit since 2007, when future NFL talents Aqib Talib, Chris Harris and Darrell Stuckey helped KU to the Orange Bowl. More junior-college recruits have also added depth. On paper, this should be the Jayhawks’ best defense since the final years of Mark Mangino.

Potential roadblocks: In two years, Charlie Weis’ offenses have ranked among the worst in the country. New offensive coordinator John Reagan has installed a college-style spread system, but sophomore quarterback Montell Cozart is still unproven at this level after getting his feet wet last season. In the end, it’s pretty simple: The Jayhawks need to produce a passable passing game to have a chance to move forward.

End result: In two years under Weis, Kansas has won four games. The Jayhawks possess the talent to be a middle-of-the-pack team in the Big 12, but the schedule could be their undoing. Kansas, which hasn’t won a road game since 2009, will travel to face a rising Duke program, and then comes a nine-game Big 12 schedule. Unless Kansas can pick off multiple Big 12 victories, Weis could be looking at three victories again.

To reach Rustin Dodd, call 816-234-4937 or send email to rdodd@kcstar.com. Follow him on Twitter: @rustindodd.

2014 schedule

Date

Opponent

Time

Projection*

Sept. 6

Southeast Missouri

6 p.m.

W

Sept. 13

at Duke

2:30 p.m.

L

Sept. 20

Central Michigan

TBA

W

Sept. 27

Texas

TBA

L

Oct. 4

at West Virginia

TBA

L

Oct. 11

Oklahoma State

TBA

L

Oct. 18

at Texas Tech

TBA

L

Nov. 1

at Baylor

TBA

L

Nov. 8

Iowa State

TBA

W

Nov. 15

TCU

TBA

L

Nov. 22

at Oklahoma

TBA

L

Nov. 29

at Kansas State

TBA

L

| Projections by The Star’s Blair Kerkhoff

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