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September 16, 2012
Players see progress in program
Dayne Crist turned in his first 300 yard passing performance since 2010. When Crist was at Notre Dame he threw for 300 yards in back-to-back weeks against Michigan State and Stanford.
One of his key receivers was Tony Pierson who hauled in six catches for 99 yards. Pierson a speedy running back isn't a stranger to the position.
As a sophomore and junior at Gateway Tech he got snaps at wide receiver. As a senior at East St. Louis he saw even more action as a receiver.
"Back in high school I was a receiver whenever they needed me out there," Pierson said. "For three years I played it in high school so I am comfortable going in there and catching the ball."
It was a new set the Jayhawks showed more of against TCU. It caught the attention of TCU head coach Gary Patterson.
"One of the things we were worried about early is we had to take away the back screens," Patterson said. "We felt like we let them have three screens to number three (Pierson) and we said he was the number one guy we wanted take away. We got better at it in the second half. They had many passes just off their fingertips. We feel really fortunate to get out of here with a victory. We came in feeling like KU had pretty good wide receivers. I warned our guys that you've got to go play every week, especially when you go on the road."
It was something the Horned Frogs didn't see on film. It was the first game Pierson had a reception this season.
Weis said after the game when asked he would not move Pierson away from the running back position. Look for Weis to find ways to get Pierson the ball especially with the arrival of James Sims back in the line-up next week.
"I like to get out in space and see what I can do on a defender," Pierson said.
The Jayhawks best success running the football came in the first quarter with 58 yards rushing. The TCU defense started to make adjustments and limited the ground attack. After the first quarter they held the Kansas rushing game to under four yards per carry.
"They did a lot of slanting in the second half and they did bring an extra guy in the box to stop the run," said offensive lineman Trevor Marrongelli. "That did open up the pass game some."
Weis said after the game the loss hurt worse than the previous week. The Jayhawks were still in the game late in the fourth quarter. Weis said he doesn't believe in moral victories. Although it was a loss the players believe they can keep competing against good teams.
"I feel like there is a never-give-up attitude now and we've turned the corner," Marrongelli said. "That's what coach Weis was telling us. He told us he saw us fight for 60 minutes and we gave a good team a good fight. We are going to take this and learn from it. We can take this for the next few games and roll it into them. I think we will keep improving."
Marrongelli said he thought back to all of the off-season work with strength and conditioning coach Scott Holsopple. He felt the team played with effort for the entire game and one reason is the overall shape they are in.
"I feel like working coach Holsopple is just the beginning," Marrongelli said. "A lot of people don't understand with the strength staff you see them more than anybody. We work out hard with them all year round and the extra running has helped. You think back how hard we work and know it is paying off."
Linebacker Ben Heeney wasn't happy with the loss but said he can see the progress in the program.
"As a defense we allowed 20 points to the number 16 team in the nation," Heeney said. "When they got in the red zone we made plays. There are a couple of the big yard stuff we need to limit. It's a completely different attitude around here. We expect a lot of ourselves."
More news and notes
-- Chris Omigie and Andrew Turzilli caught their first passes of the year.
-- Josh Williams and Toben Opurum both recovered fumbles and have two on the season.
-- Linebacker Anthony McDonald played his first game and had six tackles.
-- When the NCAA stats were released this morning the Jayhawks are tied with Alabama and Mississippi State in forcing turnovers.
More reaction from players
We have more reaction from the players after the TCU game.