Two weeks ago, when the Kansas Jayhawks surrendered an 11-point second-half lead in a 25-24 loss to Rice, the most pervasive emotion was shock.
On Saturday night, when the Jayhawks let a double-digit lead slip away again in an eventual 30-23 loss to Northern Illinois in DeKalb, Ill., KU coach Charlie Weis could sense a different feeling.
“This one, I think that they were a little more hurt than shocked,” Weis said. “And I think that’s what you want them to be.”
With a bye week looming, the Jayhawks stand 1-3 and will now have to find a way to regroup over the next two weeks before a Sunflower Showdown matchup with K-State in Manhattan on Oct. 6. In some ways, the Jayhawks’ bye week could be coming at an opportune time.
Weis began the process on Sunday by showing his team a play-by-play rerun of its fourth-quarter collapse against Northern Illinois. It wasn’t a punishment, he says, or even necessarily a ploy to re-motivate the troops.
“That was reality…” Weis said.
“What good does it do if you’re fighting hard for four quarters if the end result is the same? And it’s a negative one.”
Cox injury update
Weis said Sunday that junior running back Taylor Cox could be ready to go when KU returns to the field at K-State. Cox, a junior college transfer, suffered an apparent injury to his right leg on Saturday during the first half of KU’s loss at Northern Illinois.
Cox, who was limited to three carries and 19 yards on Saturday, has averaged 5.9 yards per carry in four games this season.
“I expected him to be listed as doubtful or out, and he wasn’t listed as doubtful or out,” Weis said. “(The training staff) thought that he was better than they were expecting. And with it being a bye week, they thought that he had a chance of playing in the next game.”
Cox's absence was softened by the return of junior James Sims, who finished with 91 yards on 18 carries in his season debut.
"His timing couldn’t have been any better," Weis said. "I thought James was about what I thought he’d be. I’ve been high on James; all spring I was high on James. This was his first opportunity to get out there and do something. He certainly didn’t disappoint."
After watching film, Weis had a better idea of the pass-protection problems that plagued the Jayhawks in the second-half against Northern Illinois. There were multiple breakdowns on the right side of the line, and quarterback Dayne Crist was overrun with pressure.
“We got beat on the same alignment twice on the right side,” Weis said. “What happened is they took their two defensive linemen ... and they moved them out really wide. So that really put the right guard and the right tackle a little bit on an island.”
Weis said KU still should have been able to make the adjustment during the course of the game.
“It shouldn’t have happened the first time,” Weis said. “It should have been much easier to handle the second time around.”
Weis said KU would begin preparation for K-State while practicing on Tuesday through Thursday. After Thursday’s practice, the KU entire coaching staff will hit the road to recruit and, by the end of the weekend, the Jayhawks will rejoin their normal routine.