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KU trying to buck trend of 'here we go again'
College Football
Kansas coach Charlie Weis talks to quarterback Jake Heaps during a break in play against Rice during the first half of a college football game last Saturday in Houston. - photo by The Associated Press

LAWRENCE — Kansas quarterback Jake Heaps could be forgiven if he experienced a "here we go again" moment when he arrived home last Saturday night.

After beating a lower-division team in their season opener, the Jayhawks were leading Rice in the second half when things went haywire. Just like last year, the result was a stinging defeat that left Kansas sitting at 1-1 as it heads into Week 3 of the season.

Then again, Heaps was redshirting during last season's disappointment. So maybe he's not quite ready to acknowledge the season already bears an eerie resemblance to last year.

"You're looking for a team that is motivated," he said. "That's how these guys are. We're all (ticked) off about how Saturday went and we're looking out here to improve and get a win here on Saturday, and to show everybody that's not the type of team we plan on being."

The Jayhawks aren't the only team that will be trying to get back on track on Saturday. Louisiana Tech opened the season with a loss to North Carolina State, knocked off lower-division Lamar, and then led Tulane going into the second half before letting it get away.

It left the Bulldogs with a similar feeling to the Jayhawks.

"It was frustrating, the whole night was," Louisiana Tech wide receiver Andrew Guillot said. "We really could not get anything going on offense, but I feel like everybody's head is back on track and we are ready to go to Kansas and get a win."

So, two teams desperate for a win will meet at Memorial Stadium on Saturday. Here are five things that could decide who is successful:

SHAKING IT UP: Kansas coach Charlie Weis shook up his depth chart this week in an attempt to get the offense on track. Junior college transfer Rodriguez Coleman jumped over Oklahoma transfer Justin McCay at one of the wide receiver positions, and Trent Smiley moved ahead of Jimmay Mundine at tight end. "Even though Rodriguez is probably getting force fed before he's really ready to be number one, we need to get better and we can't win games scoring 14 points," Weis said. "That just isn't going to be good enough."

BANGED-UP BULLDOGS: Louisiana Tech quarterback Scotty Young left last week's game with bruised ribs. He's listed as probable for the game against Kansas. Running back Kenneth Dixon, who hurt his knee against Lamar, was limited against Tulane. "Both of them practiced," Bulldogs coach Skip Holtz said, "and I am encouraged both of them will have the opportunity to play."

TONY, TONY, TONY! There is perhaps no more dynamic playmaker on the Jayhawks than Tony Pierson, who has moved from running back to wide receiver. The speedy Pierson still has six carries for 50 yards, but he also has six catches for 127 yards and a touchdown. "Tony's one of the one guys on our team that can take a six yard gain and turn it into a big play," Weis said.

PRESSURE HEAPS: Louisiana Tech has shown an ability to get into the offensive backfield this season. The Bulldogs are second in the nation in tackles for loss and third nationally in sacks, led by IK Enemkpali, who has 4½ sacks and five tackles for loss. "They have like, 12 sacks, and they're way up there in tackles for loss, both categories. They live off of big plays and one of the guys that you know you have to be concerned with right off the bat is Enemkpali at their defensive end," Weis said. "He's a pretty dynamic pass rusher."

WIN ONE FOR COACH: The Jayhawks are still trying to break through for Weis, who won just once during his first season in Lawrence. The Bulldogs are in their first season under Holtz, who won games at UConn and East Carolina before things ended badly for him in South Florida. The two coaches know each other well, too. Weis got friendly with Holtz's father, Lou, when he was the coach at Notre Dame.

"One of the first things I did when I got there was talk to Lou and talk to Ara (Parseghian)," Weis said. "I thought they would be great people to talk to. They were great to me the whole time I was there. They were good confidants; they tell you the good and the bad. They would say the good doesn't last very long, so let's spend more time talking about the bad. I've heard his jokes a few times, seen his card tricks a few time. But he was really good to me."