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Les Miles and the Kansas Project

Credit: Jeff Jacobsen, Kansas

Kansas football has won six games in the past four seasons and hasn’t had a winning season since 2008. As for a Big 12 Championship? It’s never happened before in Football.

It’s safe to say that the program is dreadful and in a critical state. However, this past winter, Kansas was able to hire a once prominent name in college football, a name that has accounted for a National Championship and two SEC championships; Les Miles.

Coach Miles has been charged with a task that may be the most difficult he has ever had to face; take one of the losing programs in FBS history and make them competitive. This school has been consistently overshadowed by their basketball program and has struggled to put fans in their seats as they boasted an average attendance of only 26,000 in 2017. Which was the worst of any power five team in the entire county.

Miles takes over a team that won only three games last season to whom many fans considered this past season to be a success based on the past few years results. Though there’s no question that Miles will have his hands full. There were some small victories for last year’s Kansas squad as they managed to snap an astounding 46 game road losing streak to Central Michigan, as well as knocking off Big 12 foe TCU. Many have called that loss for TCU one of the worst in the Gary Patterson era.

Moving forward, based on the spring game that took place this past April it’s clear that Les Miles will look to the ground game to carry the offense. Khalil Herbert will likely be the one seeing most of the carries. He had an impressive 154 yards on 13 carries on the day. Fellow running back Pooka Williams Jr. has had some off the field issues. He was absent from the spring game and his status for the upcoming season is in question. However, if he does play this year Williams will be a valuable asset for the Jayhawks as he led the team last season with 1,400 total yards and 9 total touchdowns.

With the addition in December of JUCO quarterback transfer Thomas MacVittie, Les Miles may have found himself his quarterback for the foreseeable future. MacVittie hails from Moeller High School, a National powerhouse based in Cincinnati, Ohio and was rated the number two pro style quarterback by JCGridiron.com. Miles played six quarterbacks in the spring game but look for MacVittie to be under center for the Jayhawks in the fall.

Kansas will start the season at home against FCS Indiana State, a team that should not be taken lightly. Head coach Curt Mallory has made a phenomenal transition with his Sycamore program. After falling to 0-11 in his first season, he was able to do a complete 180 and lead his team to a 7-4 record and finish 22nd in the FCS National rankings in his second go around.

This is the kind of turnaround Jayhawk football fans hope to see from Les Miles and company. It’s important to remember that this is a rebuilding project and success isn’t going to happen overnight. For Jayhawks fans it’s all about taking it one step at a time and if anyone can save this Kansas program from another painful decade of football, it’s going to be Les Miles.

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