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Saturday, September 16, 2006

Keegan

Keegan: Meier needs support

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— At this rate, Kerry Meier will turn everyone who watches him into a manic-depressive by alternately showcasing his considerable talent and leadership abilities with an abundance of rookie miscues.

He's going to make mistakes that enable opposing defenses to put points on the board. That's what freshmen do and that's why if Kansas University is going to play in a bowl game for the third time in four seasons, its defense is going to have to do the same.

So far it hasn't.

Three games into the season, the Jayhawks have forced two turnovers, neither of which came during Friday night's 37-31 double-overtime loss to the University of Toledo at the Glass Bowl.

Meier, who had a hand in all five KU turnovers, including four interceptions, could have used the help.

During the first overtime, KU basically needed only to hold possession after Toledo failed to score, in order to set up a chance to win it with a field goal, and couldn't do it. After regulation, KU's meltdown included a muffed handoff from Meier to Jon Cornish and a Meier interception.

On four of Meier's five turnovers, Toledo responded with a score.

During the game's first four quarters, Meier showed a magical ability to hide the ball, which aided his dangerous running ability and that of Cornish, his big-play partner. Meier also showed an ability to rebound from mistakes with confidence.

Meier's most costly regulation blunder came in the fourth quarter. He took the Jayhawks on a drive that at least seemed bound for a go-ahead field goal. Then he dropped back to pass and locked in on Derek Fine in the right flat for so long he all but called a press conference to announce his intentions.

Barry Church, Toledo's freshman from Pittsburgh, demonstrated why announcers are always saying such a pass is "a very risky play." Church intercepted KU's red-shirt freshman from Pittsburg and returned it 84 yards for a touchdown that gave the hosts a 31-23 advantage.

After that seemingly fatal mistake, Meier needed only 3:16 of the clock to drive the team 69 yards on nine plays, the final one a 20-yard completion to Dexton Fields to pull KU within two points. Meier leaped into the air and landed in the end zone for the successful two-point conversion.

Church acknowledged what Meier did wrong on the mistake he turned into a touchdown.

"All game he was kind of looking down his receivers," Church said after the game. "When he looked down the tight end, I knew where to head on it. I timed it right and returned it for a touchdown."

Audio clip

Mark Mangino talks about the Jayhawks' 37-31 double overtime loss to Toledo

Church expressed an honest and accurate criticism of Meier, and Toledo quarterback Clint Cochran offered an honest and half-accurate praise of KU's first quarterback to start from his first game as a freshman.

"He had a great game," Cochran said of Meier, who did have a great game, except when he had an awful one. "On that two-point conversion, when he went up and over the top, that's all heart. You have to be able to step beyond what you're doing wrong and focus on what you have to do to win and he was able to do that."

Still young and in some ways raw, Meier needs the sort of help from his defense that Cochran received from his.

Comments

McGuzzo23 7 years, 11 months ago

I believe Mr. Keegan wasn't watching the same game as I was. The Kansas Defense did everything it could to prevent Toledo from winning the game. Maybe one of the best defensive performances I have seen in the 2nd half. Mangino's game plan was set up great. Our defense responded big time in the second half. Meier is doing fine and I believe it will all come together but KU now needs to go beat someone they weren't expected to beat to make up for this loss.

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jhyphene 7 years, 11 months ago

Talk about Meier needing support, I couldn't agree more, but from a slightly different perspective. Who called the pass play that resulted in the INT during KU's second OT possession? In my opinion (admittedly in hindsite), that play call was awful. Some will say it's "showing confidence in a young QB." BS. Showing confidence in your young QB is sending him back on the field despite the turnovers. I'm not frustrated with Meier in the least...I love the fact he's taking his lumps now and growing up, because the kid is going to be a stud in the very near future. I wish the play calling was designed to win the game. (Ironically, I think Barmann actually signals the play calls to Meier, lol.)

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KU504 7 years, 11 months ago

I think the article should be the other way around....the defense should be getting some support from the offense. Toledo scored on 4 of the 5 turnovers committed by the offense. Keegan obviously wasnt watching the same game. any team on any level would have an extremely hard time beating a team when they commit 5 turnovers themselves. I love it how this article completely contradicts what the other kusports article says about talib and the defense.

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wiltstilt 7 years, 11 months ago

i agree with jhyphene. we lost this game because of one reason... play calling. not only do we miss out on moving a game closer to bowl eligibility, but our staff looks a incompetent in front of the nation. hopefully none of our future recruits own televisions.

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actorman 7 years, 11 months ago

I agree re the play-calling. Just pathetic. And I especially can't understand why they don't use Cornish more, when he's averaging 4.5 yards a carry. I also agree with people's comments on other threads that they should try using Cornish, Sharp and Meier in the same backfield.

But I think people are missing the point on Keegan's comments re Meier getting support from the defense. Yes, the defense had a fantastic second half, and yes the offense needs to give the defense more support. But no matter how great a job the defense is doing, two turnovers in three games is not going to cut it. There were plenty of chances for the defense to make interceptions, and they dropped almost as many passes as the offense, which is saying something. They have to make the big play, not just stop the other team.

Another comment re play-calling: it's not just calls on the offense that are the problem. In the first overtime, KU called an all-out blitz and sacked the QB. Where was that earlier in the game? The QB had so much time he may as well have set up a tent and sleeping bags.

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