Starters lost: QB Dayne Crist, WR Kale Pick, S Bradley McDougald, CB Greg Brown, CB Tyler Patmon, DE Toben Opurum, S Lubbock Smith, LB Huldon Tharp, TE Mike Ragone
Passing:Michael Cummings (43 of 94 for 456 yards, three touchdowns and four interceptions)
Rushing: Sims (1,013 yards)
Receiving: Pierson (291 yards)
Tackles: Heeney (112)
Sacks: Young (1.5)
Interceptions: KU does not have a returning player with an interception.
New Kansas quarterback Jake Heaps has experience against Texas, as he started for BYU against the Longhorns in 2011.
Did you know: For the second year in a row, KU coach Charlie Weis is hanging is hopes on a high-profile transfer quarterback. (Dayne Crist proved to be a failed experiment in 2012.) This time it is Jake Heaps, a transfer from BYU. Texas fans might remember Heaps. As a sophomore in 2011, Heaps started against Texas and went 22 of 38 for 192 yards with a touchdown and two interceptions in a 17-16 Texas win.
What to watch for
Team transfer: Not only does KU have a transfer quarterback but the Jayhawks are attempting to rebuild their receiving corps with transfers. Weis has brought in two junior college receivers, Rodriguez Coleman and Mark Thomas, as well as Oklahoma transfer Justin McCay. Coleman could prove to have the biggest impact as he had 70 catches and more than 1,000 receiving yards in his two years at Garden City Community College.
Passing out: Kansas was ranked 116th in pass efficiency defense a year ago. (Anyone who witnessed Greg Brown drop a bread-basket interception thrown by Case McCoy can attest to why the Jayhawks had such a low rating.) And now all KU has to do is replace its entire secondary and three other defensive starters. The Jayhawks do not have a player on their roster who intercepted a pass last season and only have two players on the roster who recovered a fumble last season.
Rushing to judgment: The one area where KU was effective on offense was in the running game. Kansas was No. 22 nationally in rushing offense and has its two running backs, Sims and Pierson, returning. Kansas, which rushed for negative yards against Texas in 2011, had 234 rushing yards against the Longhorns in 2012.
View from the other side: Rustin Dodd, Kansas beat writer, The Kansas City Star
Another year and another new quarterback for KU. Any chance Jake Heaps is better than KU's last transfer?
The answer is probably yes, but that's partly because KU's quarterbacks set a pretty low bar last year. The Jayhawks' receivers failed to record a receiving touchdown and the passing game was anemic all year. Heaps had a solid freshman year at BYU -- before some second-year struggles -- and he has the skills and pedigree to be a vast improvement. He's much more mobile than Dayne Crist, and he could benefit from having transfer receiver Nick Harwell (Miami of Ohio), who is attempting to become eligible as a graduate transfer.
With only five starters returning on offense, is there any hope that KU can become competitive on that side of the ball?
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The question marks are at the offensive line and receiving positions. KU should have one of the deepest backfields, with James Sims and Tony Pierson both back, but Charlie Weis will have to patch his line together with junior college transfers and a handful of first-year starters. If Heaps is as good as advertised, though, there could be marked improvement.
With just four returning starters on defense, is there any hope KU can become competitive on that side of the ball?
KU went very heavy on junior college players in its recruiting class, and some of the biggest impact players will be on defense — and the defensive line specifically. Junior transfer Marquel Combs could be a difference-maker at defensive tackle, and the fact that KU is replacing its entire secondary is probably a good thing.
How will the ball be shared between James Sims and Tony Pierson?
For now, Weis plans to use Pierson as more of a dual threat, in a role similar to how West Virginia used Tavon Austin. Expect Pierson to be more of a threat in the passing game and James Sims to get a majority of the carries.
How many wins does Weis need to get the fan base to believe in his plan?
The program has made measured strides in recruiting and talent. But it only resulted in one win in Weis' first season. The Jayhawks really need at least one conference victory this season, and if they can stay competitive most weeks and take care of business in their nonconference slate, four victories would be a solid number.