Wednesday, June 13, 2007


Keegan: KU ‘O’ not easy to project


The pessimist looks at the Kansas University football team's offense for 2007 and notes that one quarterback, Kerry Meier, throws too many interceptions and the other, Todd Reesing, too often fumbles.

The optimist points out that Meier is so big and fast and since he has a year of experience can be counted on to look less jumpy in the pocket, which will result in planted feet, which will mean throws with more zip. The guy drinking the half-full glass of beer also believes that Reesing is so smart and such a born winner, he'll figure out how to hold onto the football.

And so it goes with trying to forecast coordinator Ed Warinner's first offense. Unit by unit, a pessimist could find flaws, an optimist reasons for excitement.

On the line, Anthony Collins has developed into the sort of quick-footed, powerful blocker the University of Texas lines up at tackle. Collins is that good, the best NFL prospect on the offense. Ryan Cantrell shapes up as a solid center. The rest of the line? Chet Hartley, the 315-pound guard out of Butler Community College, can calm edgy nerves if he proves he's a big-time blocker because on paper, it looks as if this unit lacks depth.

The line, should it exceed expectations and do so quickly, could go a long way toward calming Meier's antsy feet and reducing Reesing's fumbling tendencies. If the line can provide adequate pass protection and one of the two quarterbacks emerges as a player who appears vastly improved, things could get exciting.

The chronic complainer who gripes about the half-empty state of his beer glass would have trouble making a case the quarterback won't have ample big-play targets getting open for him. Even if Marcus Herford (17.1 yards gained per his eight catches), a big-play threat to both teams, doesn't make the leap from fast and strong athlete to usable football player, the Jayhawks have big-play receivers.

Making the tight end a bigger part of the passing offense would be a nice goal for Warinner. Derek Fine, a fifth-year senior who has been standing out since his sophomore season, shared the team lead with five touchdown receptions.

Marcus Henry, long and tall in the mold of a Texas receiver, could be primed for a big break-through season. Dexton Fields is reliable possession receiver who knows how to find the end zone (five TD catches last season.) Herford, largely responsible for the Baylor collapse because of a variety of mistakes, can outrun a secondary with the best, but he's running out of chances and facing a now-or-never season. If Herford, a converted quarterback, can't cut it, either former running back Angus Quigley or ex-defensive back Raymond Brown could get a long look. Plus, don't forget Aqib Talib will play some at receiver, where he already has shown big-play ability.

Warinner said to expect Jake Sharp to catch his share of passes out of the backfield. That's good news, especially if the muscle Sharp has added doesn't decrease his speed.

Watching how Mark Mangino and Warinner divide the work between Sharp and bruising Brandon McAnderson will be one of the many interesting plot lines to follow on the KU offense. Pessimists and optimists would have to agree on at least this much: Watching the Kansas offense come together won't be dull.


Ryan Gerstner 12 years, 4 months ago

Don't forget about Tertavian Ingram. I expect big things out of him this year.

Alan Halvorsen 12 years, 4 months ago

Also Raimond Pendleton, and Xavier Rambo. They should at least be seen this year.

bmcmich1 12 years, 4 months ago

I'm really interested to see 'thunder and lightning' out of the backfield this fall! I can see it working well

William James 12 years, 4 months ago

Holy cow, Keegan came out with a football article? Thats when you know there aint a lot of basketball news.

Kirk 12 years, 4 months ago

Our QB's will be great. Inexperience has been their main limitation; they'll grow.

prairie_dog 12 years, 4 months ago

Good article as far as it goes. However, we need some color on the pass rush plans, Mr. Keegan. Of interest to us football fanatics, this has the potential to be either a breakout season or a total flop. We have volatile situations at QB, RB, LB (Mortensen/Rivera) and pass rush part of the defensive line, as well as the receiver questions covered in this article. That's a lot of question marks and a lot of potential excitement.

Here is my dream: we play Misery at Arrowhead for the B12 North. Hey, it could happen if we get some breaks on the above questions.

William James 12 years, 4 months ago

prariedog- That would be something if the Division was decided at Arrowhead. In my opinion, to make that a reality we have to defend our home turf(3-0) and split the four road games. Everyone knows Nebraska is the favorite but they have to play at Mizzou and at KU. If both schools protect thier home turf than all of a sudden your dream becomes very realistic.

Looking over the Huskers schedule they have a couple cake games before they travel to Columbia. So they ought to be well rested and ready for battle. However, before the Huskers come to Lawrence, listen to the four games they play- @Missouri O-State Texas A&M @Texas And no bye weeks in between, then after all that they have to deal with us in what is by far the most anticipated game in Lawrence all year. The team will be ready, the fans will be ready. If Nebraska wins that game than we dont deserve to win the division.

hometownhawk 12 years, 4 months ago

I'm really surprised that there is competition between Rivera and Mortensen. Rivera looked like a potential pro in his first couple seasons, and Mortensen was a liability with his lack of speed last year.

Alan Halvorsen 12 years, 4 months ago

No kidding hometown, I've been wondering what the coaching staff is trying to pull there. I've heard some things about Rivera like, he dissapears late in games, and also that he has too many late hits.....

As far as late hits, I know he had two last year. (OSU were he was taken out of most of the remainder of the game. As well as Mizzouri, which if anyone remembers that knows chase daniel should have gotten an oscar for his acting)

But as far as not playing four quarters I never noticed anything but I guess someone else did. He is a stud, no question! I say play him over Joe (Vego) Mortensen

greatabu 12 years, 4 months ago

A couple of things about Mort and Rivera. Last year, Mort was playing out of position on the outside; he is a natural middle linebacker. He looked great there during the spring game. Rivera needs to play more under control; he wasn't always assignment sound. Of course, this was a problem for most of the LB crew last year. With Tovar coaching them and an extra year of experience, this should get worked out. I hear that the reason Mort is ahead of Rivera right now is a Rivera got in some trouble (practice related not legal) with Tovar during spring practices and got demoted as a result. It sounds as though he responded well to it though. I think it was a case of a coach trying to get him mentally focused on what he's doing. You know, yank his playing time and see if the light comes on. It sounds as though he'll be back at no. 1 by the time the season starts. I think that we will see a lot of both of them.

bmcmich1 12 years, 4 months ago

Good deal about Rivera, sometimes all you need is a little kick in the pants!

Kirk 12 years, 4 months ago

Unfortunately we will have to play NU immediately after they visit Austin and get pounded into an indistinguishable mass of quivering flesh. Assuming some players survive, they will be ticked off.

bmcmich1 12 years, 4 months ago

Ticked off, but unbelievably tired and coming to our house. I couldn't think of a better scenario in which we play 'em.

Alan Halvorsen 12 years, 4 months ago

how about this bmc- Just like last year our biggest home opponent of the year plays texas right before they play us. Then somehow they win! Then we beat the crap out of 'em anyway!!!!! Rock chalk, and BEAK 'EM!

sevenyearhawk 12 years, 4 months ago

Jimmy_Dean ...

true, true, getting Neb after UT isn't bad, but getting them to start the season was ideal like last year ...

Going to be VERY interesting this season!

William James 12 years, 4 months ago

Speaking of K-State, the poor bastards had to play Texas the week before they played us while we were at home with a bye week. Now, this year its the exact same situation. The week before the KU/KSU game the Cats travel down to Austin while we chill at home. The scheduling gods have been very kind to KU the last couple years. Having an extra week to prepare for the Cats helped so much. I laughed when I saw the schedule this year.

Kirk 12 years, 4 months ago

This is the easiest schedule we'll ever see. We'd better win some games.

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