LUBBOCK, Texas – Kansas coach Charlie Weis is tweaking a couple of routines heading into the Jayhawks' game against No. 25 Texas Tech this weekend.
It couldn't hurt to try something different. The Jayhawks are winless in Big 12 play and have just one win overall this season, so Weis is taking the team to Lubbock earlier and holding practice where they will play the Red Raiders on Saturday.
"We're not just going to go there to take a look at the wonderful stadium they have," Weis said. "We're going to get out there and we're going to go run around."
Kansas (1-8, 0-6) is looking to break an 18-game conference losing streak. The Jayhawks most recent defeat came in a 41-14 loss at Baylor, while Texas Tech (6-3, 3-3) is coming off a second-straight loss, having fallen 31-22 to Texas last week.
After five-straight losses to close last season Texas Tech doesn't want to see this year's skid extended.
The Red Raiders' 28th-ranked rush defense will be tested by Jayhawks running back James Sims, who would be leading the conference in rushing yards per game (124.7) had he played in more games. He served a three-game suspension to open the season.
Texas Tech is allowing about as many yards per game as Sims is averaging. Last week, Longhorns running back Johnathan Gray got 106 yards on 20 carries. Texas Tech coach Tommy Tuberville said Texas moved its offensive lineman around to create mismatches.
"That's one thing we have to work on and do a lot better job of getting lined up," he said. "You saw us. We were running — we were just trying to get lined up."
Weis said Sims is showing he's more than just a player who comes onto the field to carry the ball.
"Obviously, we're a run-first team," the first-year coach at Kansas said. "That's no secret. And he's the main guy. So, I think that what's really helping James is he's taking more of that leadership role on. And I think it bodes well for both him and us as we go forward."
Texas Tech is one of just two teams nationally — along with Florida State — that's ranked in the top 20 in both total offense and total defense. The latter represents a huge turnaround from last season when the Red Raiders were ranked near the bottom in several defensive categories.
"Now, all of a sudden, (Tuberville's) got himself a more complete team than just one-sided one way or the other," Weis said. "And being that he's a defensive guy by trade, I'm sure that brings a smile to his face, that they are playing much more stout on defense."
The team that'll be passing the ball more Saturday ran into some snags against the Longhorns. The Red Raiders squandered scoring chances inside the red zone against Texas and four times settled for field-goal tries.
Quarterback Seth Doege, who leads the nation with 31 touchdowns, was clearly frustrated.
Penalties twice inside the 20-yard line kept the Red Raiders from possible touchdowns, including one time when running back Kenny Williams crossed the goal line for a touchdown. But center Deveric Gallington was called for holding and Texas blocked an ensuing Red Raiders field-goal attempt.
"It just kind of came down to finishing and we didn't get it done," Doege said. "When it comes down to it, you've got to make plays and score touchdowns to win games, especially in this conference."
Weis believes that the Jayhawks having just played an uptempo team like Baylor could help them against the Red Raiders who like to get up to the line quickly.
"I think that it's a catch-22 there," he said. "I think that having just played against that tempo, there will more plays where guys are more ready to go. Rather than just getting ready to go, I think they will be more ready to go."