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Thursday, September 27, 2007

O-Line pleased with early effort

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Reader poll

What would you like to see on the side of KU's helmet?

  • The Trajan "KU" 20% 398 votes
  • The block-lettered "KU" 14% 289 votes
  • The Jayhawk 64% 1242 votes

1929 total votes.

Meier shows off talents outside quarterbacking

With starting QB Todd Reesing off to an excellent start this season, KU's Kerry Meier may not see much action at QB - but that won't stop this great athlete from find other ways to crack the lineup.

Ryan Cantrell sensed a good vibe from Kansas University's offensive line long before the football season began earlier this month.

"I was confident in the spring," KU's junior center said. "It's been a good feeling all throughout. We can go in the film room and watch film together, and everybody knows exactly what everybody's talking about. They can make each other's calls for them. It's actually pretty phenomenal."

Nothing's phenomenal enough, of course, to keep KU's line from working toward getting even closer, more on the same page and, ultimately, more effective as the season progresses.

That's why the idle week has been big for the boys up front. With the Jayhawks (4-0) off until the Kansas State showdown on Oct. 6, KU's offensive line has gone back to basics before it starts moving forward again.

"You always need a re-tune on fundamentals," Cantrell said. "We only have so much time in one day, and having an off week where we can work on base steps and work on seeing defenses and the extra time in the film and meeting rooms and to really study ourselves helps."

Cantrell anchors a line that features All-Big 12 candidate Anthony Collins (left tackle), Adrian Mayes (left guard), Chet Hartley (right guard) and Cesar Rodriguez (right tackle). Besides the opening drive in the Toledo game that Collins sat out of for disciplinary reasons, the five have had plenty of time to get comfortable with each other in game situations.

"I think it's been a process," KU coach Mark Mangino said. "Each and every week, the communication gets better. I think they're comfortable with each other. I think it's a group that has improved fundamentally each and every week."

All four of KU's nonconference opponents have blitzed heavily - sometimes at the expense of playing sound defense - to try to fluster quarterback Todd Reesing. While Toledo had some success on Sept. 15, the Jayhawks' offensive line overall has done a strong job in picking up the extra rush.

"It got everybody talking and on the same page," Cantrell said. "As long as everybody is on the same page, we're good to go."

Though the competition is the wild card, the numbers behind the offensive line back up the positive testimony. KU ranks third in the Big 12 in passing offense and fourth in rushing offense. It trails only Oklahoma in scoring offense.

As is the cliche, it all starts up front. And for the Jayhawks to continue moving the chains at an impressive pace once conference season begins, the linemen are learning that it all starts this week.

Even with no game on the schedule.

"I think this is an important week for those guys because we have focused on the fundamental aspect of the game, and it's important to those guys," Mangino said. "Good technique and fundamentals really lead to success up front."

Comments

Dyrk Dugan 7 years, 2 months ago

let's just get our o-line ready for the hostile environment that is Bill Snyder Family Stadium. I think these guys are up for the challenge.

1977kufan 7 years, 2 months ago

Ryan, Super important article. I have to put this next point in caps and you have already emphasized that one: THE PLAY OF THE O LINE HAS BEEN AND HAS TO CONTINUE TO BE THE ROCK SOLID CENTER FOR THE O EFFORT. Sure, the specialty guys get their "air time" (and justifiably so), but for me, I watch what is happening on our lines (both sides). Great line play cannot be thanked enough. THANK YOU VERY MUCH, GUYS!!!

Displayhawk 7 years, 2 months ago

Sounds like these guys will hang together when the feces hits the fan too! Good Luck the rest of the season, guys! Rock Chalk!

justanotherfan 7 years, 2 months ago

I said over and over before the season even started that o-line play would determine what happened with this season. We have the best group of playmakers at KU in a long time, maybe ever (as a group, not individually). The key has been that Reesing, Sharp, B-Mac and others have had lanes to run through and Reesing has had time to get the ball to Henry, Pendleton, Talib, Fine, Briscoe and the rest of the posse of receivers we have. If this stellar play continues, we could have a great (not just good) season!

GrayHawker 7 years, 2 months ago

What is great is that there are players pushing the starters and are capable of stepping in. Carl Wilson stepped in for Chet Hartley when he got dinged and the offense didn't miss a beat. Ian Wolfe is going to be a star at OT and has pushed for starting since he has been here. Jason Hind is more of an unknown showing up this summer but the NJCAA thought he was going to be an A-A if he had not left a year early for Division 1A football.

killabees 7 years, 2 months ago

Week 2 of my "new tradition" of documenting the unbeaten teams in "I-A" football. I am doing this because I feel that KU will be among the ranks of the undefeated for some time now. I promised last week to report back on which teams were still perfect, and how that matched up with my predictions. Now I know that at least three people out there are waiting with baited breath for the results, here they are:

There are currently 23 undefeated teams in I-A: USC, LSU, Oklahoma, Florida, WVU, Cal, Ohio State, Texas, Wisconsin, Rutgers, Boston College, Oregon, Clemson, Kentucky, USF, Hawaii, Missouri, Cincinnati, Arizona St, Purdue, Mich St., Uconn, and, of course, KU.

I correctly predicted that 23 would still be unbeaten, but I had Bama, TAMU and Penn State instead of Wisconsin, Kentucky and UConn. Who will survive this week? Check back in 5 minutes for my predictions.

killabees 7 years, 2 months ago

Has it been five minutes? OK. Mustering all the football savvy I could muster, here's who I think will still be unbeaten come next Monday.

USC, LSU, Oklahoma, Florida, one of a number of Ohio State Universities, Wisconsin, Texas, Rutgers, BC, Oregon, USF, Kentucky, Hawaii, Missouri, Cincinnati, ASU, Purdue, UConn, and of course KU (it's hard to lose on a bye week).

That's 19 left. My big stunner is for WVU to lose at USF (who's got the juice?), also for Cal to lose at Oregon (but that's a tossup really), Mich St. to lose at Wisc, and Clemson to fall at G Tech. Undefeated I'm least sure of: Missouri against Nebraska. Which team will give this one away? I'm not sure.

Anyone else have any predictions?

Kevin Long 7 years, 2 months ago

Kellabees i bet that list gets cut in half this week! There is a lot of good games on the slate for Sat. My topic is today is how stupid MU fans really are. I was at a bar in Lenexa the other day and this fool starts running his gums. First off he says KU has no defense!! Did you get that? A MU fan saying KU had no defense! Don't worrry I was quick to pull out the stats on the year and he shut up, but only about that. Next the fool starts swearing that Tony Temple of all people was the Big 12 leading rusher a year ago. By this time I can see he is a total idiot and bet him a beer on it. He gladly took it, you know being from Missouri. A friend of mine looked it up on the black berry and it was quick to show that Cornish won by like 300 yards over anyone. I wouldn't have even bored you all with the story, but it's not just like he is the one bad fan. I swear I have yet to meet one who actually knows what he is talking about. MU fans need to realize that they are NOTHING!! They have no national titles, no final fours NOTHING!! They name their court after a guy who didn't even get to a final four, what does that tell ya? Sorry had to let it out!!

Warren 7 years, 2 months ago

I thought that Mizzou was Bye next week, so they will still be undefeated.

sevenyearhawk 7 years, 2 months ago

killabees, USF is not a program to be trifled with, that should be very interesting when KU makes the trip to Tampa and Ray/Jay field ...

bmcmich1 7 years, 2 months ago

Here's a classic for all you out there:

Start out the joke with

"have you ever played the golf course in Columbia? It's the damndest thing I've ever seen--only 14 holes! I have never in my life seen a golf course with just 14 holes. Then, I heard WHY there are only 14 holes. They can just never get to the FINAL FOUR!!!!!" (hahahaha)

I don't know, I've always thought that was a good one; feel free to use it if you want.

Moving on, looks like the team is really putting the off week to good use, especially the O-Line. Those guys in the trenches can really take a beating, and the rest coupled with work on basic fundamentals will have them at the best they can be come oct.6

Myself, I am going to use the off week well, while still working on my tailgating fundamentals. I will be tailgating at the K for the Royals game Saturday, and hope to have the TVs hooked up to watch college football in the parking lot. Fellow 'Hawk Football fans, let's hear it--what will you be doing with your bye week??

William James 7 years, 2 months ago

It wouldnt be a shocker if USF beat West Virginia in Tampa. Last year USF beat West Virginia in Morgantown. A year before that I think they beat Louisville, and this year they have already won at Auburn. When are people going to start giving USF their respect?

Michael Leiker 7 years, 2 months ago

USF and KU have similar situations (minus the huge name wins). Traditionally lower tiered teams in their respective conferences that have to do some great things to get the respect that they probably deserve.

I heard Kietzman (sp?) on 810 yesterday talking about how when KSU wins games, people just automatically think that whoever they beat must be a bad team. I think KU will be in that situation for a while and we ought just as well get used to it. Nice thing is that the coaches get to keep playing the no respect/underdog card.

Don't know where I was going with this.....

Michael Leiker 7 years, 2 months ago

We actually ran into John Reagan after the game at west on saturday. Guy was impressed that my buddies knew anything about the O-Line. He sounded pretty serious in saying that this is the best the O-line has been in his 3 years here, and that they have really been manhandling people. He sat down and talked to us for 30-45 minutes and seemed pretty pumped about their play and potential.

killabees 7 years, 2 months ago

Warren,

Good call (I totally should have realized that) Mizzou is on a bye.

Though I'm still only giving them a 50-50 chance of not losing to it.

killabees 7 years, 2 months ago

Fabio,

 I agree that USF is nothing to mess with, that's why I picked them to win. I call it a shocker in the sense that most people wouldn't expect that outcome. They are a talented team.

easyfive 7 years, 2 months ago

I think KU is going to have 50+ day in KSU land. Final 52 to 10.
KU is not smooth yet on the offense. The 6th is the break out day! Some three's will get to play!

The Texas and KSU is going to tie at 20 20. Texas wins 23 to 20.
It is hard to get mad at MO people. Because, the women are so easy!

It's about time the O line gets some credit. Mark is doing a super job! I thought that offense cord. we had last year sucked. Maybe that is why he quit, he knew he sucked.

seattlehawk_78 7 years, 2 months ago

Klong, here's my theory.

Even when we lose to KSU and MU, overall I think they both realize we are better. The football rivarly against MU is pretty close but we own them in basketball. While KSU had a good run against us in football, overall the series is pretty lopsided and I don't need to tell you about basketball. We've had a high-profile, nationally recognized program for some time and I don't think some of the fans of either of these schools can deal with it. Some people are so bothered by their rivals that it keeps them up at night. And when your rival is superior your only defense is to attempt to inflame your opponent. That's where people like willie come in. If you're good you don't have to tell anyone because they already know it. Personally, I find it flattering.

seattlehawk_78 7 years, 2 months ago

bmcmich1, I think you're onto something but if you don't mind my saying, I think it needs some tweaking. I was thinking along these lines.

Q - How many minutes in a Missouri basketball game?

A - 36. They just can't make it to the final four.

Okay, so I'll never write for Letterman.

7 years, 2 months ago

I don't know seattlehawk, the bit about willie making bail and/or his "manufactured" abode was pretty rich :)

wmsloan 7 years, 2 months ago

Maybe you could use a picture of the current line instead of one with the hold Font on the helmet

actorman 7 years, 2 months ago

Good one, bmcmich. (Sorry, seattle, but I like the golf one better.)

seattlehawk_78 7 years, 2 months ago

The people have spoken.

I'm gonna go with West Virginia over UCF. I've seen a little of both of these teams and I don't think UCF will be able to sneak up on the Mountaineers again.

For a team that hasn't been on the football map for very long they've gotten good in a hurry. Just goes to show how much football talent is in the state of Florida. Right now they are better than Florida State and Miami.

Bob Zielinski 7 years, 2 months ago

it is good to hear the majority of mangino bashing from last season has died down. also, south florida may or may not be a very good team, recall though that KU beat them last year.

actorman 7 years, 2 months ago

Good points, seattle, but you're talking about USF, not UCF.

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