By Nathan Keil | Sports Editor
In preparation for Baylor’s matchup with Kansas on Saturday, the Lariat spoke with Sean Collins, assistant sports editor for The University Daily Kansan. Collins said that like Baylor, Kansas has had a difficult time settling on a quarterback this season and that the game will come down to which quarterback can settle find their offensive rhythm.
Q: Zach Smith has been Baylor’s quarterback for most of the season, but now he is injured and freshmen Charlie Brewer will start on Saturday. How is Kansas preparing for Baylor’s offense when Brewer’s sample size has been so small?
A: The Jayhawks defense is going to have their best chance at a successful game on Saturday. Since [head coach David] Beaty and the defense won’t have much to look at as far as the Baylor QB situation goes, it will be up to the defensive line to put pressure on the freshman. Looking at the reads Baylor like to run is a good option, but if the Jayhawks want to be successful, [defensive tackle] Daniel Wise has to be getting to Brewer.
Q: The Jayhawks battled all the way down to the wire against Kansas State last Saturday. How does competing at that high of a level and pushing your in-state rival help Kansas as it prepares for Baylor this weekend?
A: The Jayhawks know they have talent on the team. That’s never been out of the question, but Kansas needs to be putting points on the board. This means going for it on fourth downs when applicable and being aggressive. [Wide receiver] Steven Sims Jr. is coming off a good gain against the Wildcats and the Jayhawks should look to feed him the ball.
Q: The Big 12 is full of high-profile quarterbacks, but it seems like little is known about Peyton Bender. What are the keys for his success and what should Baylor fans know about him?
A: David Beaty likes Bender and believes him to be crucial for the “air raid” offense the Jayhawks try to run. However, there is no telling whether Bender starts or not. There is a good chance Carter Stanley is under center on Saturday after throwing for 400 yards against K-State. The Jayhawks have juggled quarterbacks all season and that makes it difficult for them to have any sort of offensive momentum from game to game.
Q: Baylor’s offense at times has been explosive this season, scoring quickly and on deep passing routes. How does the Kansas defense prepare for Baylor’s quick strike offense?
A: Jayhawks need to get to the quarterback and make plays. Baylor liked to launch the ball downfield and this means safety Mike Lee needs to be a vocal leader on Saturday. Lee can be a playmaker for the Jayhawks, but in the past the corners have struggled against teams that throw the ball.
Q: What are the keys to the game? How does Kansas win? How does Baylor win?
A: Kansas keys: Daniel Wise needs to get to the quarterback, and whoever starts Stanley/Bender need to get going early. Feeding Sims will put the Bears on their heels.15-20 touches for [running back] Khalil Herbert. Offense has been a struggle for the Jayhawks and this is the best chance at a victory.
Baylor keys: Give Charlie Brewer a chance to get comfortable. Baylor has the wide receivers. Let Brewer sling the ball against the Kansas corners, double team Daniel Wise. Teams have been doing it all season and it has halted the Jayhawks from getting to the QB. Get Kansas in fourth down situations. Beaty has made questionable decisions on fourth down that have been costly.
Baylor (0-8, 0-5) will take on Kansas (1-7, 0-5) at 11 a.m. at KU Memorial Stadium in Lawrence, Kan.