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Lance Leipold Said KU is Focused on Improving Ahead of Hosting Oklahoma

The Kansas Jayhawks are 1-5 in Lance Leipold's first season, but are just trying to build the foundation to success in years to come.

Lance Leipold’s Kansas Jayhawks are still lacking an identity.

The former Buffalo coach took over the worst program in Power 5 football under harsh circumstances, even by Kansas’ standards.

Leipold wasn’t named the head coach for the Jayhawks until April 30, 2021, meaning he didn’t even get a spring with his team to begin to reshape them into his form.

So far this season, the results have reflected those struggles.

After opening the season with a 17-14 win over FBS competition in the South Dakota Coyotes, the Jayhawks hung around for a bit in the first half before succumbing to the Coastal Carolina Chanticleers 49-22.

The Jayhawks also put up some points on the road at Duke, but lost 52-33.

Entering Big 12 play, however, the results have been much more bleak.

Kansas has scored 28 points total in three conference games, losing by an average of 39 points per game.

Leipold maintains there have been positive flashes this season, but overall the product has just been too volatile to really compete in the Big 12.

“We showed flashes again,” Leipold said after Kansas’ 41-14 loss to Texas Tech on Saturday. “…The inconsistencies to drive the football, our third and long situations, we’re not giving ourselves better third down situations.”

Up next, the Jayhawks will have to withstand a major step-up in competition in the No. 3 Oklahoma Sooners.

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But regardless of who is on the opposing sideline, Leipold said the Jayhawks just need to focus on themselves if they want to improve.

“We believe in our approach. Again we said if after Week 1 and again today,” Leipold said. “We have to own what’s on film. We have to come in with an attitude that we want to get better. And I think they have. I think that again, and though it has not shown in the scoreboard, there are things that this team and this program is getting better at that will pay dividends. I’m 100 percent confident of that.”

Regardless of how far along Leipold’s Jayhawks are, this weekend’s matchup with the Sooners was always going to be a difficult test.

The Kansas offense ranks 116th nationally in yards per game — one spot behind Clemson. The Jayhawks enter Saturday with the 80th best rushing offense in college football, meaning they’ll likely be easily contained by OU’s excellent run defense and be one dimensional.

Unfortunately, the Jayhawk passing offense has been even worse, averaging just 172.7 yards through the air per contest.

Defensively, things are even worse. The Jayhawks rank 126th out of 130 teams in total defense, allowing a staggering 484.0 yards per game. 

Still, Leipold and his coaching staff have a job to do as they host the new-look Sooners, led by true freshman phenom Caleb Williams, on Saturday.

“We’re still going to keep coaching them and demanding that we do the little things right,” Leipold said. “And I asked them that if they’re going to be here that they’re going to be all in and they said they were.

“…A lot of things that we’re going to do and have been doing and here on out is gonna be about what we do whether it be a quality opponent such as highly ranked as Oklahoma or anyone else that is on our schedule. So we have to work on getting better at what we do. And again, when whoever that opponent is is going to be a huge part of that challenge and we understand that.”

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