Monday, April 16, 2007

The Fifth Quarter: Spring game edition


Audio clips

2007 April 15 Spring Game

Some thoughts...from Memorial Stadium

Ryan Wood, Journal-World KU football beat writer

"It was a good idea to take the red shirts off the quarterbacks and let them get popped during the first half. It makes everyone less tentative, which turns into an aggressive team that can flourish in the real season.

Whoever wins the quarterback job - I'd say Todd Reesing looked a little better Sunday - will be better off taking a lick or two during spring practices."

Tom Keegan, Journal-World sports editor

"The first string is far better than the second string. Imagine that."

Ryan Greene, editor

"There might have been a little bit more learned about some of KU's hot roster topics with more balanced out teams, but there still was some to take away from Sunday's action.

Three conclusions I took away: 1) Brandon McAnderson needs 5-10 carries a game this fall, 2) Judging from a couple of his catches and the size of his frame, Marcus Henry looks to have the makings of a No. 1 receiver and 3) Joe Mortensen's hit on Kerry Meier was more of what the Spring game should be.

Inside the numbers

80: We didn't see the thunder and lightning potential between Jake Sharp and Brandon McAnderson at full strength, with Sharp being hampered by a minor health tweak. But McAnderson, a Lawrence High product, was impressive. His progression at KU looks to be continuing as he picked up 80 yards on 15 carries and crossed the goal line twice. He showed some nice moves with the ball in his hands.

6: Marcus Henry had six grabs and stretched then into 150 yards and a trio of trips to the endzone. The most impressive was a 29-yard touchdown grab from Kerry Meier early in the second quarter, in which he stretched high for a pass over the middle and glided into the end zone. True, this came against the second-team secondary, but with his combination of size and hands, Henry could help along whoever gets the starting quarterback job significantly.

2: Another intriguing piece in the passing game is Aqib Talib. He had a near-miss on a deep ball early from Reesing, and finished with two catches for 31 yards. The most eye-opening was a 26-yard catch down the left sideline in which he had to turn his body off his jump to adjust in mid-air to grab it. It looked very much like the type of catch he'd make on an interception.

10: It's going to be interesting to see how Mike Rivera, who played on the second team Sunday, and Joe Mortensen line up come September. Mangino pointed out that both are mike linebackers, but both led their respective teams in tackles - Mortensen with 10 and Rivera with eight. If Sunday were any indication, Mortensen would have to have the edge at the moment, as he had three stops in the backfield and showed more speed from sideline to sideline than he did a year ago.

Just in case you missed it...

Injuries and Kansas quarterbacks have gone hand in hand since Mark Mangino arrived in 2002. With that said, Sunday's first half might not have made a ton of sense. Thought the risk could be worth a hefty reward. The quarterbacks were open for business as far as taking hits in the first half before throwing on red jerseys for the second half. Everyone escaped healthy, and with that said, further practices such as that throughout two-a-days and such could make KU much more game-ready than it may have been in recent seasons come opening day.

Hopefully you didn't miss it...

Kerry Meier and Todd Reesing continued to show just how tight of a race it will be to the finish line, first place being the starting job under center for the Sept. 1 opener against Central Michigan. The numbers (Reesing: 10-20, 171 yards, 1TD; Meier: 13-27, 204 yards, 2TD, 1INT) were fairly similar, though if Sunday's play gave an edge to anyone, it was probably Reesing by an inch. Both connected on roughly half of their passes, but Reesing's incompletions weren't as off-target as Meier's at times. But if the differences are that nit-picky, that means the two are truly pushing each other. There won't be a No. 1 and No. 2 quarterback - it'll be more like No. 1 and No. 1*.


homewood 11 years, 2 months ago

Yay! Another year of quarterback by committee!

Ray Winger 11 years, 2 months ago

Regarding Aqib Talib's ...'near-miss': are we to understand that he caught the ball? That he caught it...but doing so was closer to a near-miss than a good catch.

JBurtin 11 years, 2 months ago

In the past it's been hard to pick a starter because both QB's were lousy, now it's difficult because both are good.

In short, you're a jerk and I'm sure everyone would appreciate it if you would keep your idiotic sarcasm to yourself.

geilerman 11 years, 2 months ago

so how was the defense? not a word...that can't be good.

truefan 11 years, 2 months ago

agreed...sarcasm is not needed, especially when it has no real basis.

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