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September 3, 2012

Weis wants to see tough mentality

The Jayhawks use Sunday as a day to review Saturday's game and practice. Monday is spent breaking down the next opponent. Weis said the staff and players made good use of their time on Sunday.

"It (Sunday) was a really good day for us because we got a chance to watch everything as a coaching staff and we went over it thoroughly," Weis said. "We had plenty of time to show it to the players and explain the good, the bad, the ugly. Then still be able to turn this into a work day physically. It was a very productive day."

Looking back on the South Dakota State game Weis saw both positives and negatives.

"I thought we ran the ball very well but the pass efficiency wasn't up to par," Weis said. "We gave up a couple of big plays on defense and I thought our defensive line play was much improved. I thought there were a lot of highs and lows. One thing I was concerned about was how new a lot of these guys were as far as this summer. I thought for the first time out a lot of the busts on defense were at a minimum. It was very encouraging."

Solid debut for Taylor Cox

Junior college transfer Taylor Cox had a strong showing in his first game as a Jayhawk. He shared much of the load with Tony Pierson. Both Pierson and Cox surpassed the 100-yard mark. It was the first time the Jayhawks have produced two, 100-yard rushers in the same game since the season opener in 2007 against Central Michigan.

Weis has talked about Pierson's talents in the off-season. This was the first chance Cox had to show what he could do in a game-type setting since arriving in June.

"He runs so hard," Weis said. "He's a physical guy where he can make people miss but at the end of the play if he can't make you miss he will try to run you over.

There was one play in particular that came to mind. It was an inside run in plus territory and he cut to left and made a couple guys miss. He had a safety he couldn't make miss and he lowered his shoulder and out the guy right on his back."

The play Weis is likely referring to was a 14-yard carry Cox had in the second quarter. After making a couple defenders miss he came head on with safety Skyler Luxa and ran over him.

Picking up the pass efficiency

In the post-game press conference Dayne Crist admitted he missed on some throws. Weis did point out this was his quarterbacks first game since the first week of last season when he was at Notre Dame.

People will usually point the finger at the quarterback when things don't go well in the passing game. Improving on the efficiency will be a goal going into the Rice game.

"I think Dayne was not real satisfied with how the game went," Weis said. "When your pass efficiency is under 50 percent, it is a combination of a lot of factors. There were a number of plays out there where we would expect way more completions and a much better efficiency rate than what we had in that game. If you complete 47 percent of the passes, regardless of whose fault it is, it comes back on the shoulders of the quarterback."

Playing physical on offense

The Jayhawks ran the ball 57 percent of the time against South Dakota State. The numbers may not always work out that way in Weis' system. Being able to run the ball puts an emphasis on playing physical which is something Weis wants to see.

"We felt what we needed to do is change the mentality of our program and become a tougher football team," Weis said. "I don't think you can establish toughness if you are throwing it every play. You have to win the line of scrimmage and I think for most of the night that was accomplished.

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