Mark Mangino doesn't want to be a one-trick pony. He doesn't want to watch his Kansas offense roll up and down the football field, only to watch the opponent to do the same thing against KU's defense.
Mangino, like all football coaches, craves balance. He's an offensive guy, so he knows more about that side of the football. That does not mean he's willing to stand idly by and watch the Jayhawks' defense get ravaged the way it did Saturday by Iowa State.
No way, no how.
It took every inch of offense KU could muster — all 19,836 of them — to hold off a Cyclones team that, yes, has some playmakers. But 512 yards worth of playmakers? Wouldn't have believed that.
Iowa State has gone to a spread offense this season (what took so long?) and is playing a more spirited brand of offense, led by tailback Alexander Robinson and quarterback Austen Arnaud.
And KU did win the game, 41-36, even though it took a late defensive stand to escape Memorial Stadium still unbeaten.
Defensive stands have been few and far between for the Jayhawks, and the inability to put a crimp in Iowa State's fireworks show could be a troubling sign of things to come.
Kansas, which plays at Colorado this week, is about to come to the end of the cupcake portion of its schedule.
After the Buffaloes, it's Oklahoma, Texas Tech, Kansas State, Nebraska, Texas and Missouri.
If Iowa State can rip the Jayhawks' defense for 512 yards, what will Texas Tech do to KU in Lubbock? What will Texas do to the Jayhawks in Austin?
Kansas has the nation's No. 3 offense and the No. 57 defense. That disparity is too big.
Quarterback Todd Reesing passed for 449 yards and four touchdowns against the Cyclones. Receivers Kerry Meier and Dezmon Briscoe combined for 28 catches, 328 yards and four TDs.
Yet, KU almost lost. To Iowa State. A team that had won three of its previous 25 Big 12 games.
Makes you wonder whether Kansas really deserves to be ranked No. 17 in the country. Offensively, it's a no-brainer. The Jayhawks have everything they need to score points except a healthy Jake Sharp, and he should be returning soon.
Big 12 contenders shouldn't have question marks, but KU has a big, bold one concerning its defense.
Mangino has built a consistently high-powered offense. The Jayhawks have been ranked 33rd, eighth, 21st and third nationally the past four seasons with Reesing at quarterback.
In 2007, with a 12th-ranked defense, the 12-1 Jayhawks won the Orange Bowl. It was easily Mangino's most balanced team; easily his best team.
Finding that kind of balance has been tricky for Mangino, which explains why the other six Kansas teams he has coached have lost at least five games.
Mangino knew the Jayhawks had to improve on their No. 89 defensive ranking in 2008. He brought in veteran defensive coach Bill Miller to help Clint Bowen run things. He adopted a different defensive scheme to better cover the Big 12's spread offenses.
It might all still come together, but it hasn't yet. KU did play well defensively at UTEP and clamped down on Southern Mississippi during the fourth quarter to hold on for a win.
But the Jayhawks failed to impede Iowa State's offense, which kept chugging for 60 minutes. And that was after a week off that Kansas used to focus on defense.
Defensive consistency, though, remains elusive.
After KU ranked 11th nationally in 2005, it dropped to 94th in 2006. The Jayhawks vaulted back to 12th in 2007, only to fall to 89th last season.
It's not easy to stop teams in college football these days. Offense is where most of the innovation is. KU revels in that innovation.
The other side is still a work in progress. And with so many tough games to play, against so many skilled offensive teams, it's fair to wonder what, if any, progress will be made.