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Central Michigan Chippewas at Kansas Jayhawks: Q&A With Rock Chalk Talk

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Both Kansas and Central Michigan suffered humiliating blowout losses, with KU losing on the road to Duke and CMU losing at home against Syracuse. Which team will pick itself up off the ground first? We ask Andy Mitts, from our sister blog Rock Chalk Talk, five questions, and one curiosity.

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Hustle Belt: Ya'll got shellacked in a wonderful basketball match-up last week against the Duke Blue Devils. What exactly happened out there?

Andy Mitts: Honestly, we are still trying to figure that out. We jumped out to an early lead in our first game, and made pretty much every excuse we could when the lead shrunk and we had to hang on for dear life.

Too many of us bought into the hype that a new offensive coordinator would magically fix things. With the expectation from many that Duke would be markedly worse than last year and we would be exponentially better, we were cautiously optimistic about our chances. Obviously, nothing was too different from last year...

HB: I thought that Charlie Weis was supposed to be the next great coach to make Jayhawks football relevant after the Mark Mangino Dynasty. Why hasn't his coaching being effective thus far, and what are the fans' feelings about him?

AM: Funny how that narrative was supposed to work. If you ask Charlie, it's got to do with the attitudes of the players. Just yesterday, he said in an interview that we were finally to a point where the players expected to win games.

There are many speculations as to why he hasn't been effective. The other day we had a discussion that included a bunch of stats to show that Charlie isn't the offensive guru he was given credit for, as the Patriots offense has been better in nearly every year since he left than any of the years he was running it.

Others feel that he meddles too much, causing confusion among the players and overriding decisions made by his coordinators. Some say instead that he doesn't really do anything for us anyway, citing comments similar to ones he made yesterday that he showed coordinators problems he saw on tape and basically said "You fix it".

In all, Charlie is not liked by any fan who actually cares about the football team. He was a splashy hire who sunk like a rock immediately. He still isn't hated to the level that Turner Gill is, but it's starting to get close.

HB: Okay, enough of that stuff. What Jayhawks players should Chippewa Country be looking out for in their match-up Saturday?

AM:
I'm not really sure how to answer this, because it doesn't seem like our coaches know how to get the ball to our best players.

On offense, the player to watch is Tony Pierson. Last year he played the position of Offensive Weapon, and before the injuries to our two returning running backs, he was slotted in as our top receiver. He's averaging 17.3 yards per play, but he's only touched the ball 9 times in 2 games, inexplicably being ignored or used as a decoy in important situations where other players just can't deliver like he can. The rest of the receiver corps is solid, and the two newcomers at RB have filled in without missing a beat, but Pierson can hit a home run at any point if you aren't careful.

On defense, you want to watch for Ben Heeney, by far the leading tackler on the team. He flies around the field making plays against both the run and pass, and is definitely deserving of the preseason attention he got.

HB: Conversely, what players will the Jayhawk Faithful hope don't torch their beloved 'Hawks?

AM: Any of your receivers. Or secondary has been getting torched so far, so I'm expecting Jesse Kroll, Anthony Rice and Courtney Williams to light it up early. The hope is that with Thomas Rawls out, the running game will sputter and we can focus on shutting down the passing game.

HB: What is the key for Kansas to pull away with a victory?

AM: The first key is to get the ball to Pierson. His playmaking ability is vital to opening up the offense and getting everyone else a chance to make positive plays.

The second key is to limit turnovers and fumbles. Montell Cozart threw two interceptions against Duke, but also fumbled the ball twice to kill drives (he's only credited with one fumble because the second was on the snap). Overall, the offense needs to stop pressing so much and overall make better decisions.

HB: The Chippewas must ______________ to pull off the upset.

AB: Stop the run. Even though the WR corps is the strongest unit on the team (including Pierson in that group), the RB group has provided most of the production. This is still very much a run-first team, especially with Cozart being largely ineffective.

BONUS: What do you think of those super shiny "Crimson Chrome" jerseys, and do you know if they'll be worn this week?

AB: Honestly, I don't like them. We've had this debate several times before over on RCT, but the main KU color has always been blue, and so jerseys with too much red just don't look right. Add in that the reason the jerseys are supposed to be so "cool" - the chrome trim - is barely visible, and the whole thing just seems kind of ridiculous.
As for whether they will wear them this week, I doubt it. Our resident uniform "expert" dnoll5 has predicted that they will wait until the Oklahoma State game to unveil them, and his predictions have been perfect so far this season.

Hustle Belt would like to thank Andy for stopping by the Belt today. Andy can be found on Twitter @mister__brain and on SB Nation under "misterbrain". Andy is a contributor for Rock Chalk Talk, the official Kansas Jayhawks blog for SB Nation.

To see what I had to say about Dan Enos, Central's on-the-field woes, and what it's like to cheer for a team playing meaningful games, check out RCT's Q&A!