Borland

LAWRENCE — Kansas football defensive coordinator Brian Borland said the right things this week, as he previewed the Jayhawks’ Saturday matchup against the Oklahoma Sooners.

Kansas coach Lance Leipold previews Oklahoma, analyzes Jason Bean's progress so far > The Topeka Capital-Journal See more videos "> See more videos > > > > > What to watch next
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Asked about facing a program at the level Oklahoma is right now, Borland responded that his team isn't trying to approach things differently. He’s told his players that each week will be tough and that they just have to prepare and make sure the Sooners get the best version of the Jayhawks.

Borland pointed out that Kansas isn’t going into the game anticipating a loss, or expecting to play that way in this Big 12 Conference matchup. He noted the Jayhawks (1-5, 0-3 in Big 12) aren’t going to feel sorry for themselves, that they’re going to compete and “make sure (the Sooners) know we’re there.”

►RELATED: What TV channel is the Kansas football game? Here's how to watch, stream and listen to KU vs. Oklahoma

Borland also allowed, though, that he knows Kansas could defend No. 2 Oklahoma (7-0, 4-0 in Big 12) — as ranked by the USA TODAY coaches poll — the right way and the Sooners could still find success because of the talent they have. In response to a separate question, he admitted he’d be less than honest if he didn’t say he hoped his defense would be further along than it is right now. Offensive coordinator Andy Kotelnicki said the Jayhawks have a long way to go offensively, too.

Kansas junior safety Kenny Logan Jr. catches the leg of a Texas Tech player during the first half of an Oct. 16 game at David Booth Kansas Memorial Stadium. © Evert Nelson/The Capital-Journal Kansas junior safety Kenny Logan Jr. catches the leg of a Texas Tech player during the first half of an Oct. 16 game at David Booth Kansas Memorial Stadium.

And ahead of this matchup, scheduled for an 11 a.m. kickoff in Lawrence, there isn’t the added benefit of an open week allowing more time for Kansas to prepare.

“We’re going to have to play our best football, to date,” Jayhawks head coach Lance Leipold said. “We have to be excited about the opportunity to have the (AP poll's) No. 3 team in the country come in here, an excellent football team, well-coached team, and embrace that and continue to use it. … You only get 12 of these opportunities a year, and that’s one thing whether you’re winning or you’re not that you need to embrace if you’re a competitor at this level.”

In the statistic that ultimately matters the most, scoring, Kansas’ offense averages the least amount of points per game in the Big 12 and Kansas’ defense averages the most points allowed per game in the Big 12. Those numbers are 16.7 and 43.3, respectively, which means the Jayhawks are being outscored by an average of 26.6 points per game. Oklahoma has the Big 12’s top scoring offense at 42.7 points per game, and is winning by an average of 17.8 points per game.

►RELATED: Kansas football releases depth chart ahead of Big 12 matchup against No. 2 Oklahoma

Kotelnicki and Borland said — when they’re going through rough patches like they are now — they point to the moments where things have gone well so players don’t get discouraged. Then Borland can say, “Man, this is — it doesn’t matter who you’re playing, this is it right here.” Then they can explain where the gap is between that play and the one where things go wrong.

Borland said he thinks they all realize it’s a work in progress right now, and said guys are playing a lot right now who wouldn’t be playing as much if the team was in “a more solid situation.” Neither he nor Kotelnicki are frustrated with the players themselves. If coaches and players can march forward in lockstep with each other, the more likely eventual progress and even immediate progress can occur.

Consistency, as it has been so often already this season, will play a major role in Kansas’ chances at an upset at home against Oklahoma — a team that’s won 16-straight games in this series.

►RELATED: Kansas football coach Lance Leipold remains confident in starting quarterback Jason Bean

“We talk all the time offensively about: There’s going to be one moment,” Kotelnicki said. “You don’t know what it is. You don’t know where it’s going to be. But you’re either going to get the block done or you’re not. Or, you’re going to catch the ball or you’re not. Or, you’re going to make the throw or you’re not. Or, you’re going to see the right read or you’re not.

"But you don’t know what it is, and oftentimes, that becomes one of those four or five plays that we’ve talked about before that allow you to either win the game or lose the game by however many ever points.”

Kansas redshirt freshman wide receiver Lawrence Arnold celebrates after a touchdown late the second half of an Oct. 16 game against Texas Tech at David Booth Kansas Memorial Stadium. The Jayhawks lost 41-14. © Evert Nelson/The Capital-Journal Kansas redshirt freshman wide receiver Lawrence Arnold celebrates after a touchdown late the second half of an Oct. 16 game against Texas Tech at David Booth Kansas Memorial Stadium. The Jayhawks lost 41-14.

Kotelnicki said there hasn’t been any finger pointing, and both players and coaches have been open to learning.

It could be lost, over the course of the season, that to an extent Kansas’ coaching staff is a mix of holdovers from the previous Kansas staff and those Leipold brought with him from Buffalo. As the players are learning a new system, coaches are learning how to work with each other, too. The more time the coaches spend together, Kotenicki and Borland — newcomers from Buffalo — said they’ll be better for it.

And the quicker the better for the Jayhawks, because the Sooners’ defensive front seven and young, talented freshman quarterback Caleb Williams are up next.

“We talked,” Kotelnicki said, “I think this was one of the first two or three weeks that we were together, I said: ‘Hey, listen, you know how we mess this up? It’s by not staying together in this room.’”

Borland added: “I know that like anything else, the longer the ingredients sit in the pot together and stew and simmer, the better it’s going to taste. So, I would anticipate as time goes on, there’ll even be just a higher comfort level than maybe even there is right now.”

Jordan Guskey covers University of Kansas Athletics at The Topeka Capital-Journal. Contact him at [email protected] or on Twitter at @JordanGuskey.

This article originally appeared on Topeka Capital-Journal: Kansas football faces another tough Big 12 matchup at home against No. 2 Oklahoma

Source : https://www.msn.com/en-us/sports/ncaabk/kansas-football-faces-another-tough-big-12-matchup-at-home-against-no-2-oklahoma/ar-AAPQ8lV

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