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(All information as of June 20, 2007)
COACH AND PROGRAM
Mark Mangino has brought Kansas back to respectability it hadn't seen since the Glen Mason era. There hasn't been a big payoff in the mighty Big 12 conference, but the likes of Texas, Oklahoma and Nebraska can no longer pencil in a victory when a trip to Lawrence lies ahead on the schedule.
Last year, the Jayhawks were particularly strong in the running game, on both sides of the ball. They finished fourth in the conference on offense at 176.9 rushing yards per game, their best mark in 11 years, behind the stellar senior season of tailback Jon Cornish, who ran for more yards in one year than any Kansas tailback in history. But Cornish is gone, and so are three of the linemen who opened holes for him.
On defense, only one opposing rusher has topped 100 yards in a game against Kansas in the last two years, and the Jayhawks finished third in the Big 12 in rushing defense at 109 yards per game. Of course, only one Big 12 team faced fewer rushing attempts than the Jayhawks last year, partially because their injury-ravaged secondary allowed 269.1 yards per game through the air, worst in the conference.