Finally, some balanced football

Here in the heartland, we've been jinxed for years on the football field.Those of us who are Kansas University football fans and Kansas City Chiefs fans have grown sick of having a dominating offense and putrid defense, or vice versa. It seems that since the mid- to late-1990s there has been no sense of balance.For the Chiefs, it was the juggernaut air-it-out offense of Dick Vermeil that was paired with a God-awful-terrible defense that ranked among the worst in the National Football League.For the Jayhawks, fans experienced both extremes. There was the magical offense of "Wild Bill" Whittemore and a defense that couldn't stop a leaky faucet. There also was arguably the best D-unit in school history in 2005 that was paired with a revolving door of largely ineffective quarterbacks on the offensive side of the ball.Finally, this year SHOULD be different. Under first-year coach Herm Edwards, the Chiefs look to tone down their aerial attack and give the ball to Larry Johnson. They also took a major stride in upgrading the defense by signing Pro Bowl cornerback Ty Law. A little less offense, a little more defense. Yeah, a happy medium could be just what the doctor ordered to get Kansas City back into the NFL playoffs and beyond.Here in Lawrence, however, the balance could be even more ... well ... balanced. Sure, the Jayhawks lost a majority of their starters from one of America's top defenses, but a slew of young guys - think Aquib Talib, Mike Rivera, Rodney Allen, Paul Como and James Holt - should fill in just fine.The defense won't put up the same stunning numbers as it did a year ago, but it shouldn't have to. Not with Kerry Meier taking over at quarterback. The redshirt freshman probably was the best signal caller on the KU roster a year ago, but coach Mark Mangino opted to redshirt him for medical reasons, as well as to let him grow and mature a bit more. If the maturity shines through and Meier plays with the type of poise Mangino thinks he can, then the offense is in good hands and should put up some serious points (not Whittemore-level points, but at least Asheiki Preston or Chip Hilleary or Mark Williams points - which should be enough to compliment a solid defense).Having a balanced attack is critical in any sport, but it may be more important in football than in any other sport. A lack of balance has made matters difficult for both the Chiefs and Jayhawks in recent years, but both teams are more equipped to have balance this year. That balance, in theory, should take both teams to the next level.


cvillehawk 15 years, 11 months ago

I sure hope you're right! I have to admit that I moaned for years about wanting a better passing attack during the Martyball years, and then when Dick Vermeil finally installed one, I found that I pined for the days of a badass running back and studly defense. I guess the Vermeil style might have been more exciting if we had a big-time WR to make it really formidable, but I find I'm much more of a meat-and-potatoes football fan these days. I want to see my D knock some heads!!!! And I know for a fact that Larry Johnson will play the way I like.

I know far too little about this year's Jayhawks to make any informed comments, but I sure think Mangino's going in the right direction, and I hope they hammer out a contract extension for him PRONTO!

cvillehawk 15 years, 11 months ago

I definitely don't want to knock Preist, either. He was a blast to watch, with his tendency to break the long run. But there's a real mean streak in Johnson, and this IS football, after all.

cwrist 15 years, 11 months ago

I'm not willing to jump on the Super Bowl bandwagon just yet, but I am willing to jump on the "Lock for the Playoffs" bandwagon. As important as it is to have a great running back, the Chiefs still don't have somebody who is reliable enough as a big play receiver.

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