Change was inevitable at the University of Kansas.
The Jayhawks' offense was the worst in the Big 12 as it struggled to find consistency and rhythm throughout the season. Thus, head coach Charlie Weis has made plenty of changes in his offensive coaching staff, led by the hiring of John Reagan to run KU’s offense. Reagan was Rice's offensive coordinator for the past three seasons and helped the Owls average 29.6 points and 405.6 yards per game on their way to a Conference USA title in 2013.
With spring football set to begin March 4, Reagan took some time to chat with ESPN.com about his vision for the offense, core principles and priorities for the spring in Part I of this Q&A session.
Ideally, what would your offense look like?
I think obviously we’re going to be spread, we’re going to space the field out and we’re going to look for matchups and try to do things with the ball in space and put the ball in the hands of our players. To say, right now, ideally what that would look like would be hard to do until I get on the field with some of these guys and see what they are capable of doing within this offense. I would say it’s going to be very similar, in looks, to what we were doing at Rice, but at the same there is some skills talent and things that are very different here that we will try to take advantage of.
Looking five years from now would there be an ideal look for the offense, or does it change year-by-year based on personnel?
One of the things that is unique and special about college football is even though we recruit, you don’t get to draft your personnel so you can’t just hire and fire, you adapt with the personnel you have. It’s an ever-changing landscape; what we were doing six or seven years ago would look very different from what we did last year. The personnel at Rice dictated that we were better off trying to run the football with a controlled passing game. I think sometimes the personnel allows you to go down the field a bit more so it’s hard for me to paint a picture for you and say this is what we’re going to work toward. The one picture it will look like is we’re going to force people to defend the entire field in a lot of different ways. That’s the No. 1 thing.
What would you say the three core principles of the offense would be?
Man, you’re getting personal with me now. In college football, you have to be able to run the football, regardless of whether you do it with five guys blocking or nine guys, you have to be able to run the football, so we’ll be able to run the football. The No. 1 thing we will talk about and make sure we are coaching well is ball security; turnover margin is the No. 1 thing we will focus on. And then, realistically, you’re going to see the ball in the hands of our playmakers. There are different ways it can happen, but that will be a characteristic. If somebody was talking about us, that would be three things I hope they would say.
With spring around the corner, what are some of your top priorities?
No. 1, we have to instill the system. It’s going to be brand new -- we’re going to be no-huddle and it is going to be brand new to our players -- so just learning it. Second, we need to find out how our players fit the system and fit the system to our players, that will be a big part of it. Then I think we have to go into this with a new mindset, not the hope but the belief we’re going to come out being a better offense, a much better fundamental offense at every position.