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September 11, 2012The one area of the offense that is clicking for Kansas right now is their running game. As we wrote about in the spring, Kansas was expected to run a heavy dose of outside zone plays this year because of the speed they have at running back in Tony Pierson. The outside zone plays have already resulted in big yardage plays.
"Tony has a little more confidence this year," Tanner Hawkinson said. "Obviously he is taking on a bigger role this year and the offensive linemen know if we execute our blocks having a guy like Tony he will make some plays."
While Kansas is having more success with their outside zone this year, they are running those plays roughly the same amount of the time as they did last season. One of the differences though is they are running more inside zone plays. While they have run Pierson on some inside zone, Taylor Cox has excelled in that area.
"We go back and forth between inside and outside zones," Trevor Marrongelli said. "It kind of keeps teams on their toes because they don't know what we are going to do."
TCU runs a similar base nickel defense as Rice did last week. For preparation purposes for Kansas, that can be both good and bad. Let's start with the positives.
"It's easier on Tuesdays because that is the learning day," Marrongelli said. " We install their plays and go over their defense but since we have seen it before we can roll in new plays and be more aware of movements that are going to happen in a four down defense."
The negatives is that TCU coaches can look to see how Kansas attacked a similar defense last week and make adjustments. Since the Kansas coaches know that this will likely happen, expect to see some new wrinkles on Saturday.
"I think that we feel pretty confident that we have ways to attack them in the running game," Weis said.
Weis announced on Tuesday that linebacker Prinz Kande is out for the year with a knee injury. Kande had actually been one of the more improved and versatile players on defense this year. Kansas was using him at both strongside linebacker and nickelback. It is likely that Tunde Bakare and Corrigan Powell will be used in Kande's absence
"I feel bad for him more than I feel bad for me," Weis said. "Anytime you get a guy in the mix in a new program and he gets hurt. We'll put another guy in there but for him I feel bad."
As for other injuries, wide receiver Kale Pick, safety Lubbock Smith, and running back Brandon Bourbon are all listed day to day.
"If we were playing today," Weis said, "I don't know if any of the three of them would play. But all three of them are trying to play this Saturday. So, we'll see how it goes.
Dent over Sterling
If you noticed, right guard Aslam Sterling did not get much playing time after the first series of the game against Rice. Right guard Randall Dent played the rest of the game at right guard. Weis gave a direct answer as to why Kansas went away from Sterling.
"One guy was making a lot more mistakes than the other guy."
Meeting with Quarterback
In an effort to help his struggling quarterback to loosen up, Weis met with Crist on Monday night. The main theme of the meeting was to get Crist to relax and enjoy himself more on the field.
Weis mentioned to him that the running game was strong so Crist shouldn't feel like he has to bear all the weight on his shoulders. Crist agreed that he had been playing tight.
"It's really just about going out there and running the offense and having fun," Crist said. "I just wasn't having enough fun out there but that's why I play the game. It's a little frustrating that the two weren't going hand in hand. I just want to relax and be one of the guys who commands the offense."