Kansas football has been nothing to brag about in recent years.
After going 1-11 in 2012 and 3-9 in 2013, the Jayhawks were picked to finish last again in the Big 12 in 2014.
“We got picked last in the Big 12, reasonably so, because we only won one game last year, but I feel like I’m confident to say that our defense is going to be good enough and I think our offense is going to put the right pieces together to give us a chance to win every game,” senior linebacker Ben Heeney said.
Kansas is 22-51 since it finished the 2007 season 12-1 with a victory over Virginia Tech in the Orange Bowl.
“Lately we’ve been in a valley and we want to get back up on top of the mountain, so of course we’re going to do what we can as a unit and as a team and as a senior class to get it back up to where it should be,” senior safety Cassius Sendish said.
Kansas opens Sept. 6 at home against Southeast Missouri. The Jayhawks aren’t looking past the FCS Redhawks, but believe the next game at Duke is significant for rebuilding the program.
“The arrow’s pointing up in all directions on Duke,” coach Charlie Weis said. “Going on the road where we haven’t won a road game in a million years, and if we could go down there and take care of that game, all of the sudden, people will say, ‘What’s going on at Kansas?’ ”
Kansas won the teams’ only previous meeting, a 44-16 victory at home in 2009.
“Let’s not disrespect Southeast Missouri State, but assuming that that game’s been played, I think the Duke game, that would be a nice one to win,” Weis said. “That would be a nice flight back because everybody’s going to say we’re going to lose by about eight touchdowns, you know, so it might not be eight, but it will be significant I promise you.”
John Reagan joins Kansas as offensive coordinator after spending four seasons at Rice, helping the Owls to a Conference USA championship in December.
“I have a lot of confidence in our team this year, and our defense is going to show up in every game and play hard-nosed and stop people, but the question mark here is the offense and coach Weis did everything possible to get the offense to where it needs to be,” Heeney said.
Coach: Charlie Weis (third season, 4-20)
2013 record: 3-9
Season opener: Sept. 6 vs. Southeast Missouri
• Quarterback T.J. Millweard is eligible to play after sitting out due to NCAA transfer rules. He played at All Saints his senior year.
• Junior offensive lineman Damon Martin returns. He started the last four games in 2013 as right guard and played in 11 games that season.
• Kansas broke its 27-game conference losing streak last year with a 31-19 victory at home against West Virginia. The Jayhawks haven’t won an away Big 12 game since 2008.
Big 12 Countdown
Aug. 18: TCU
Wednesday: Kansas State
Thursday: Texas Tech
Friday: West Virginia
Monday: Iowa State
Aug. 26: Oklahoma State
Aug. 27: Oklahoma