Jayhawks' offense never got on track
MORGANTOWN - As it turns out, that schematic advantage that Charlie Weis and his Kansas staff were supposed to hold over West Virginia didn't work very well.
In fact, while Weis tried a few different things, for the most part Kansas's game plan against West Virginia was pretty basic. And the results weren't at all surprising as the Jayhawks lost for the 11th time in a row, 59-10, at Mountaineer Field.
WVU coach Dana Holgorsen had referred during the week - sarcastically, perhaps - to the schematic advantage the Jayhawks staff would have over his own. Weis is a former NFL offensive coordinator who rather infamously told his players when he became the coach at Notre Dame in 2005 that with him at the helm, the Irish would have a schematic advantage over opponents.
Weis's offensive looks Saturday against the Mountaineers? Well, he started his passing quarterback, Notre Dame transfer Dayne Crist, and threw early against the No. 120 pass defense in the country. Crist completed just one of his five passes, that a 41-yarder downfield after the protection broke down and everyone freelanced.
Then, after Crist threw an interception at the goal line to Karl Joseph, Weis went back to redshirt freshman Michael Cummings for the third series and ran the ball on 42 of the remaining 53 plays.
Stedman Bailey wasn't honored as one of the team's 21 seniors Saturday, but there's not much there to indicate that he will return next season. In fact, during the second half the school played a video of Bailey's highlights on the scoreboard, almost as if to give him a sendoff.
But Bailey insists he hasn't made up his mind about what he will do next year - stay for his fourth year of eligibility or leave for the NFL draft. He has to decide by January and says he's always getting input from fans.
"They tweet me all day, every day,'' Bailey said.
Bailey came to WVU in the same class with Geno Smith and Tavon Austin and as a high school teammate of the former. Those two played as true freshmen and Bailey redshirted, which is why he has another year and they don't.
Bailey did say that if he did come back next season and play with a new quarterback, a rebuilt offensive line and without Austin, one of the reasons would be to set records.
"Just to break all the records I could possibly break,'' he said. "That might keep me here.''
Smith and Bailey set the tone for the day on the game's first play when Smith hit Bailey on a 45-yard post pattern.
It wasn't the first time the Mountaineers had tried that. In fact, they have opened with a long pass on the first play or early in the first series for pretty much every game the last month. But it seldom worked.
Offensive coordinator Shannon Dawson had put the pressure on Smith to make it work this time.
"The last two or three games we've tried the same thing,'' Smith said. "He said, 'Man, can we just complete one?' So the pressure was kind of on me.''
BRIEFLY: With still a bowl game to play, West Virginia has already established single-season school records for first downs (315) and total offense (6,222). The previous marks of 301 and 6,104 were set last year.
Reach Dave Hickman at 304-348-1734 or firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him at twitter.com/dphickman1.