Lawrence — It’s been almost a week since the Kansas Football coordinator previewed Wednesday’s matchup between the Jayhawks and Arkansas at the Liberty Bowl in Memphis.
Offensive side Andy Kotelnicki was able to set up more for the Razorbacks defense. Defensive side Brian Bolland was able to set up more for the Razorbacks offense. But last Monday they each pointed out the key to this game’s unit. This could go a long way in deciding whether Kansas will return to Lawrence for head coach Lance Leipold’s second season with a 7-6 record.
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Here are Kotelnicki and Borland’s comments:
Arkansas’ ability to rush passers stands out
Kotelnicki isn’t shy about the benefits of self-scouting, and he knows how much of a factor it’s been in the weeks since the Jayhawks finished their regular season finale. When he mentioned it this time, it was matched by his enthusiasm for the benefits those extra weeks of practice would bring for Kansas to move forward past the bowl game. Others were studying Arkansas, and the Razorbacks’ ability to rush passersby stood out to him.
Kotelnicki knows Arkansas is missing some key ingredients, including linebacker Drew Sanders, who leads the team in tackles, tackles for loss and sacks. With questions the Jayhawks don’t have easy answers for, Kotelnicki admitted he had some assumptions about his game plan as to what to expect. The Razorbacks will take on Kansas’ pass-blocking unit, which is allowed only nine sacks.
Jayhawks have to withstand Razorbacks rushing attacks
Borland also noted that both quarterback KJ Jefferson and running back Raheim Sanders are expected to play, although he understands Arkansas won’t be praising its players as they usually do. . Jefferson is also a threat on the ground, so these help make the Razorbacks a formidable offense, averaging 223.4 yards rushing per game and 4.8 yards per carry. Borland admitted that if the Jayhawks can’t hold up on their run defense, it will be difficult to win the game.
Matching the physicals of Arkansas’ offensive line goes a long way in determining that, given Kansas’ defense, which allows an average of 193.7 yards rushing per game and 4.5 yards per carry. The Razorbacks have a size Kansas has to deal with. Borland praised the coaching the team got, noting that Arkansas head his coach Sam Pittman has a history of coaching the position.
Jordan Guskey covers the University of Kansas Athletics for The Topeka Capital-Journal. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org or @JordanGuskey on Twitter.