LAWRENCE (AP) — Kansas has seen this story line before: A top-ranked offense against its bottom-of-the-barrel defense.
Last week, it was Texas Tech’s seventh-ranked offense that averages 525 yards and 47.3 points per game. The Jayhawks allowed 530, a performance that somehow propelled the Jayhawks from last of 120 teams to 119th. They’re still last in scoring defense at more than 44 points per game.
There’s no rest this week.
Sixth-ranked Oklahoma State brings its third-ranked offense into Saturday’s game in Stillwater. The Cowboys are averaging more than 570 yards and nearly 47 points per game.
“It’s very disappointing knowing that we’re ranked pretty bad in those categories, but we have to stay positive and look forward what we can do in the future,” Kansas cornerback Greg Brown said. He said everything can get better, but the defense simply needs to stop the big plays.
“There’s a lot of playmaking ability that our secondary and defense has and if we go out there and make plays, I’m sure we can improve the rankings,” Brown said. “We need to come out in the third quarter with the same passion and aggressiveness that we do at the beginning of the game.”
First-year defensive coordinator Vic Shealy said it is a tough time to bring in a new defensive system when Kansas has to face four top 10 offenses in consecutive weeks. It started with No. 13 Georgia Tech’s second-ranked offense on Sept. 17 and will end with No. 3 Oklahoma on Oct. 15.
Shealy also pointed out the relative youth of the entire defense.
“You correlate it to basketball games,” he said. “Sometimes you get in the NCAA tournament, older teams all of a sudden have a lot of success versus younger teams in the tournament. Maybe it’s because they can handle the quick turnaround adjustments.”
Shealy said younger players have a difficult time forgetting adjustments from previous games and focusing on the game in front of them -- and not refocusing is a recipe for disaster.
One of the problems the Jayhawks have encountered is high-tempo offenses.
Teams like Oklahoma State often finish a play and are lined up quickly, ready to snap the ball, before the defense is set.
“All of our defensive calls are down to one word,” Shealy said. “We can’t make a three- or four-word call anymore because the guys can’t look at the sideline long enough to get three signals, four signals. So now, you have guys that are taking 12 to 14 calls into a ball game, they’re all down to one word and you have to memorize what they have to do by one word.”
The AP Top 25 college football schedule
No. 9 Oregon vs. California, 8 p.m., ESPN
No. 5 Boise State at Fresno State, 8 p.m., ESPN
No. 1 LSU vs. No. 17 Florida, 2:30 p.m., CBS
No. 2 Alabama vs. Vanderbilt, 6 p.m., ESPNU
No. 3 Oklahoma vs. No. 11 Texas at Dallas, 11 a.m., ABC
No. 6 Oklahoma State vs. Kansas, 2:30 p.m.
No. 7 Stanford vs. Colorado, 6:30 p.m., VERSUS
No. 8 Clemson vs. Boston College, 2 p.m., FSN
No. 10 Arkansas vs. No. 15 Auburn, 6 p.m., ESPN
No. 12 Michigan at Northwestern, 6 p.m., BTN
No. 13 Georgia Tech vs. Maryland, 11 a.m., ESPNU
No. 14 Nebraska vs. Ohio State, 7 p.m., ABC
No. 16 West Virginia vs. Connecticut, Noon
No. 18 South Carolina vs. Kentucky, 11 a.m., SEC Network
No. 19 Illinois at Indiana, 1:30 p.m., BTN
No. 20 Kansas State vs. Missouri, 2:30 p.m., ABC
No. 21 Virginia Tech vs. Miami, 2:30 p.m., ESPN
No. 22 Arizona State at Utah, 2:30 p.m., FSN
No. 23 Florida State at Wake Forest, 11:30 a.m.
No. 24 Texas A&M at Texas Tech, 6 p.m., FX
No. 25 Baylor vs. Iowa State, 6 p.m., FSN