If the Kansas defense was supposed to be a top five unit this season, they may have gotten off to a slow start.
After starting the season 4-5, the Jayhawks surrendered the fewest points in the Big 12 and were outscored 40-17 by opposing offenses.
Their lack of production, coupled with the defense’s poor play, led to a 5-4 start, and even if the team can find a way to get back to the playoffs, it’s hard to see them winning a conference championship with their current roster.
The Jayhawks are looking to upgrade their defense this offseason, and it will be interesting to see how the Jayhawk secondary performs when the team takes the field against Kansas State in the first of three preseason games on Friday night.
After having a rough start to the season, the Kansas Jayhawks defense has been a revelation, but they are still struggling to find consistency.
The unit allowed just three touchdowns in the season opener against Texas Tech and has been solid on the other side of the ball.
Outside of the defense, there is a lot of improvement to be made on the defensive line, as the unit ranked in the top 10 in tackles for loss and pass sacks.
If the Jayhawks can get a lot more consistent pressure and a few more sacks from the front seven, they should be able to take a lot away from the Jaytons offense.
Defensive Line: The Kansas Jayhawkes have struggled on the interior of their defense, but there is still room for improvement.
They had two sacks on the season (against TCU), and it wasn’t even close.
They allowed 14 points per game against Oklahoma State and TCU, and those numbers are nothing to write home about.
They were also in the middle of a seven-game losing streak against Kansas, and they did allow five touchdowns in those seven games.
The secondary is a question mark as well, but the Jayhayes will be hoping to find a few new faces to improve the unit.
They signed veteran defensive lineman Chris Williams as a free agent and he should help with the defensive end rotation.
The biggest question mark is the linebacker position.
Junior college transfer Matt Soderberg has been making an impact this season and is expected to play some snaps on defense this season.
But, while Soderbs defensive line play was good against the run, it was still limited to two tackles.
That could change once the team gets into the season.
Linebackers: Kansas Jayhawk linebackers are in a tough spot right now.
The team is giving up a lot on the edge in the secondary and has struggled to defend the run as well.
The defensive line has been the most consistent unit on the defense and should be a major concern for Kansas.
They gave up just seven points per contest against Oklahoma and two touchdowns to the Sooners.
If they can get some more pressure on the quarterback, they could be a big reason for the Jaybacks success on offense.
Linebacker: The Jayhawaks are in need of more depth at the linebacker spot.
Junior College transfer Michael Gage has been doing a nice job so far, but he may not see any playing time as long as Jayhawk LB Anthony Walker Jr. is out for the season with a broken thumb.
Junior transfer Ryan Thompson is still a possibility for the starting linebacker spot, but it is still too early to judge him at this point.
Kansas has had a few standout linebackers over the last couple years, but most of those guys have either been in the NFL or have already earned a starting spot.
The defense has some new faces at the position, and the Jays are going to have to make sure that they have their best players available when they take the field on Friday.
Safety: There are still questions to be answered about the safety position.
Jayhawk safety Darrin Johnson will likely be back this season after spending time at safety in high school.
The sophomore was a part of the 2013 team that made the College Football Playoff, but was injured the following season.
Johnson played the last four games of the season recovering from the injury.
He has played well, as he recorded three tackles and a pass breakup.
He should be ready to play this season with the team.
Outside Safety: The outside linebacker position is a big question mark.
Sophomore safety Brandon Davis was an All-American last season and earned a spot on the 2014 team that lost in the Sugar Bowl.
Davis will likely miss some time as he recovers from the broken thumb he suffered last season.
He recorded three solo tackles against Oklahoma, but not enough to make a difference on offense as the Jayeas defense allowed the fewst touchdowns in that game.
The safety position is also a huge question mark for Kansas as well as the defensive backfield.
Junior sophomore Anthony Walker is still looking to prove he can play as a starter.
However, he has yet to get