KU head coach Lance Leipold struggles to find positives after Jayhawks’ latest loss
Kansas Jayhawks head coach Lance Leipold found it hard to think of any positives he could take from his side’s 52-42 loss to Oklahoma on Saturday. The Jayhawks are now 5-2 on the back of the reverse – 2-2 in the Big 12 – having put in a soft defensive performance against their latest opponents.
Kansas got off to their best start to a campaign since 2009, going 3-0 under Leipold. They won their first two games to start 2-0 for the first time since 2011 and beat West Virginia to open conference affairs with a win for the first time since 2009.
A poll published last month saw the team garner enough votes to be ranked for the first time since then too, coming in at No.19.
Saturday, however, brought them their second loss of the season. They exchanged two touchdowns with the Sooners to start the game before the latter fumbled to prompt a punt from the Jayhawks. The Sooners, though, were next to score and held onto their lead until the end, going up by as much as 21 at one point.
Though they kept fighting back, Kansas found themselves outclassed in the end, with Oklahoma besting them on the yardage front 701 to 430. The opposition also ran 100 plays to their 62 and saw their quarterback complete 16 of his 27 throws to the tune of 265 yards, four TDs, and two interceptions.
Running back Devin Neal had a good game for the Hawks, leading the team’s ground game with 84 yards on 12 carries while wide receiver Lawrence Arnold made five catches for 113 yards and two TDs. Safety Kenny Logan also shone on the day, making 14 tackles for the KU defense.
Kansas’ start to the season will certainly ramp things up on the Kansas sports betting scene, as punting on college games is allowed therein. The Jayhawks are the underdogs in their upcoming game against the Baylor Bears but Leipold will look to get them back to winning ways as they can ill-afford to drop another game.
The head coach was unable to draw any positives from Saturday’s loss immediately after the game yet did note the fumble recoveries when speaking to reporters.
“I’m sure there are [positives],” he was quoted as saying by 24/7 Sports. “I can’t think of a bunch right now. But I think you watch us still playing hard and making stops trying to make something happen. Yeah, there’s some things there. That’s not fair to the team to say it was just a total debacle, because we’re putting points on the board. We’re doing things.
“What’d we get, three turnovers today? I mean, it might be the most we’ve had in a while. But I guess when you run 100 plays, sometimes you’re gonna get some. But I mean, Kenny had some. We end up with two fumble recoveries. I mean, there are some things there. I think there are some guys that got to play their most football of the year as well. So hopefully, as that goes, we’re going to continue building some depth and competition right now that we’re going to need at some spots.”
Leipold also rued the defensive mistakes that saw the Sooners pick up major yardage, both on the ground and in the air.
“Until I look at it all, I mean, you give up almost 300 yards rushing and 400 passing I think you there’s probably plenty to go on about. I just felt we were kind of on our heels a little bit and tentative,” he said.
“I thought we played a little high the first half. I didn’t like our pad level at times. But those can be quick glimpses on some plays. So I try to be careful guys, because if I say it and it might be one or two plays or one or two guys that’s not giving the other nine to credit or something that they deserve. But let’s not take away the fact that this is an excellent football team we played today that struggled for a little bit and that’s a credit to their coaching staff and their program and their athletes. Their backs were against the wall a little bit in a situation and they came out played extremely well. And we didn’t quite match that and we’ve got to find a way, if we want to be that type of team, that we can do that.”
Meanwhile, Leipold is understood to have emerged as a target for multiple colleges, including Nebraska and Wisconsin. Wisconsin could be particularly attractive to the coach as that’s where he’s from.
The 58-year-old was a starting QB at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater as a player and coached there for seven seasons later on. He also worked in several roles at Nebraska and Nebraska-Omaha, including assistant coach and offensive coordinator.
credit to Kansas Athletics for the image