Five games into the season and not one back to back performance with any sort of consistency. The Jayhawks opened with a thud in a loss to North Dakota State and then rallied against an overrated but still solid Georgia Tech team to get Turner Gill's first win. A road trip to Southern Miss. and another dip met the Jayhawks in week three, followed by a much needed cupcake tuneup against New Mexico State before kicking off Big 12 play.
All that brings us to Baylor and if you're following the pattern, a game in Waco that certainly didn't give off any warm and fuzzies. The Jayhawks didn't disappoint, Kansas held true to form and played as poorly on the defensive side of the ball as they have all year. Baylor controlled this one from the outset and further cemented the feeling among many Kansas fans that 2010 is going to be a trying year.
What's interesting about Kansas is that the perception in recent years was that Mark Mangino had been effectively bringing the program along following an Orange Bowl victory in 2007. The reality, at first glance, seems to be that Kansas is no better off now than they were in 2002 when he took over. The Jayhawks look overmatched, slow and poor fundamentally throughout the game in Waco. Some of that rests with the coaches and some of that rests with the players. How they fix it and if they can fix it is the question.
The positives are that Kansas is young in some key areas. Jordan Webb had perhaps his worst performance on Saturday, but since taking over as the starter he's looked like someone who could be a serviceable quartreback. James Sims and DJ Beshears are two offensive weapons that are still in their first year at their respective positions. Other positives? It's hard to say after a game like Saturday's.
Top to bottom Gill has to build depth, develop the young talent and find a way to clean up the mistakes that clearly rest with the staff. "It's part of the process", that's the phrase that Gill continues to use. Hopefully that is more than coach speak and hopefully Gill has a plan. If not the cliche's and rhetoric will only go so far.
Kansas has a long way to go and the losses are likely to continue, but losing 55-7 against the team that represents the best hope for a Big 12 South victory just isn't acceptable. It's not about the losses, it's how they are happening. There is no denying that, Gill knows that and what he has to do is put his team in a position to compete and find a way to motivate them to compete. If he can do that with some consistency by the end of this year, at least there will be some positives to take from what has been an ugly season to date.