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September 12, 2013Rice coach David Bailiff didn't take long to hire former Kansas coaches when he got the chance. Bailiff added David Baty and John Reagan to his staff after the 2009 season. Both Reagan and Baty coached under Mark Mangino.
Baty was the offensive coordinator and then returned to Kansas under Turner Gill. Reagan stepped in and has held the offensive coordinator position for the last three seasons.
Reagan was the offensive line coach and run game coordinator for some of the best offenses in Kansas history. Now he is ready to lead the Owls against the Jayhawks on Saturday night. Reagan said he uses some of the same concepts they used at Kansas.
"There are a lot of the aspects and the offense that are similar to what we were doing at Kansas," Reagan said. "Obviously we use different terminology and have a different twist to it. But there are a lot of strong comparisons and parallels between what we're doing here in Kansas."
Reagan helped install the offense when he arrived with Baty. After Baty left he did some tweaking of his own.
"We kind of brought the offense together and put it together," Reagan said. "When David left it gave me the chance to put my own spin on it. For our guys the reason we have seen improvement offensively is we have had some consistency over the years."
In their first game against Texas A&M the Owls rushed for 306 yards. Like Kansas, they have a bye week on their schedule early in the season. They didn't play last weekend so both teams will enter with one game on their record.
"We spent the beginning of the week here trying to get better," he said. "There is the old adage that you improve the most between week one in week two and we did not play last week. So we wanted to make the most of not playing last weekend."
Reagan has watched the Kansas defense on film. He only has one game to study and already noticed they are doing different things on the defensive side of the ball.
"I think it is a brand new picture," Reagan said of the Kansas defense. "Obviously it is not the same scheme that was being used a year ago. I am sure that is for a lot of reasons. But it is a different defense. They are playing very hard. I don't think we can take what we saw in the first game as their entire package. For us watching the Kansas defense is a little bit like let's wait and see what we see this Saturday."
The coaching mach-up will feature Reagan's offense going up against the defense coached by a friend in Clint Bowen.
"Clint is very familiar with what we were doing there at Kansas," Reagan said. "He has probably done a good job of studying us and preparing their staff for what they're seeing on video. I was with him for five years at Kansas together and we have been through a lot. We remain friends and in contact."
Although it is a good story line Reagan said the game is not between coaches. It comes down to what the players do on the field.
"Other than this weekend we wish each other luck," Reagan said. "It really isn't me against Clint Bowen it is about how the student/athletes from Rice will do on Saturday against the student/athletes from Kansas."
Reagan has brought more Jayhawks with him to Rice. Former offensive linemen Ryan Cantrell and Adrian Mayes are on staff along with tight end A.J. Steward.
The Owls do a lot of different things on offense from quarterback run game to option to throwing the ball. The strength so far is their rushing attack.
"What I like best right now is our ability to run the football," he said. "We have done some good things there. We have the mentality and talked that we approach offense with a hard hat mentality."