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Saturday, October 13, 2007

Football players can run, too

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Jayhawks ready to rumble with the Bears

Saturday morning, the No. 20 Jayhawks will take on the Baylor Bears at Memorial Stadium. KU is looking for revenge as the Bears defeated the 'Hawks last season by a single point.

One of the valuable recruiting pitches for Baylor University's football team is the offer to certain athletes that they can use their talents on the school's nationally recognized track team, as well.

That's part of what lured sophomore wide receiver David Gettis to Baylor. An alumni of the Army All-American Bowl, Gettis since has become a legitimate playmaking threat at the college level - just what coach Guy Morriss thought he could be out of Dorsey High in Los Angeles.

Gettis caught eight passes for 99 yards in the Bears' 43-23 loss to Colorado last week. He also returned seven kickoffs for 126 yards.

"He is becoming better each week," Morriss said. "He is getting more power in his routes. I think the difference we are seeing in Gettis is his sense of direction with the football."

Gettis, 6-foot-4 and 211 pounds, runs the 200- and 400-meter dashes for the Baylor track team, and his athleticsm gives the Bears a dangerous threat in a season that's quickly becoming a disappointment in Waco, Texas.

"Anytime you have speed out there, it is going to help this offense," Baylor quarterback Blake Szymanski said. "He is just really coming together as a stud receiver for us right now - a go-to guy."

But really, Baylor (3-3 overall, 0-2 Big 12 Conference play) doesn't have a true go-to receiver. Gettis has 17 catches for 256 yards in six games, but Brandon Whitaker (24 catches), Justin Akers (23) and Brad Taylor (18) all have more receptions. Still, no one has enough to consider anyone the No. 1 guy.

Baylor is known for its passing attack, but it hasn't been too effective this year. The Bears are last in the Big 12 in completion percentage, only fourth in yards per game (behind Texas Tech, Missouri and Kansas) and 11th in scoring offense (ahead of only Iowa State).

The potential is there, though. Being right in the middle of recruiting-rich Texas - and with a track team to sell - Baylor has its share of athletes, like Gettis, who can help right the ship.

Gettis, for one, hopes today's 11:30 a.m. game at Kansas is the first step.

"We need to get on the right track, and this game could be that game," Gettis said. "We are trying to upgrade the program. We are not playing our best football right now, so this is definitely a game that if we do play our best football, it can boost the season for us."

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