The last time Kansas’ offense really soared, John Reagan was a driving force behind it all as the Jayhawks' offensive line coach and run-game coordinator.
During 2007 and 2008, the Jayhawks recorded their highest winning percentages, best points-per-game averages, yards-per-play averages and highest yards-per-game totals since 2004. In 2007, KU went 12-1 while averaging 42.8 points per game, 6.3 yards per play and 479.8 yards per game. In 2008, KU went 8-5 while averaging 33.4 points per game 5.95 yards per play and 432.4 yards per game.
Reagan was a key member of the coaching staff during that span, spending five years (2004-2009) on the offensive staff during his first stint at KU. With Todd Reesing triggering the offense, KU committed to an up-tempo offense and strong running game to become a winner in the Big 12.
This spring, Reagan returned to Lawrence, Kan., as offensive coordinator and with a hope of using that blueprint to re-ignite the offense.
Ripples of the offensive changes have been on display during the early portion of KU’s spring football practices, in which returning offensive players are noticing the change in style and tempo. Quarterbacks Montell Cozart, Jake Heaps and T.J. Millweard have spent minimal time under center in Reagan’s up-tempo, no-huddle attack, but the Jayhawks are also focusing on being efficient while going fast.
“Like Coach Reagan said, we can go 100 miles per hour, but we have to perfect going 100 miles per hour before we can speed it up,” Cozart told The Topeka Capital-Journal. “So the offense is doing pretty well, and we’ll be able to put a lot more pressure on defenses this year.”
Reagan’s plan to amp up the offense shouldn’t be a surprise. KU’s most productive offensive seasons since 2004 were also its fastest during that span. Kansas ran 987 offensive plays in 2007 and 945 offensive plays in 2008 with those seasons ranking as the times it surpassed 900 during that span.
An up-tempo attack, commitment to the running game and taking advantage of the running ability of KU’s quarterbacks could make the offense more explosive in 2014, particularly if playmakers emerge alongside running back/receiver Tony Pierson.
“There definitely are a lot of new things we’re doing in this offense that keep me excited,” Cozart told The Topeka Capital-Journal.
At KU, a return to the past could greatly improve its future.