KU quarterback Todd Reesing talks to reporters after practice on April 1, 2009.
KU linebacker Jake Schermer talks to reporters after practice on April 1, 2009.
KU coach Mark Mangino talks to reporters after practice on April 1, 2009.
In his four seasons as a member of the Kansas University football team, backup linebacker Jake Schermer hasn’t exactly enjoyed the clearest pathway to football glory.
In his first season, he found himself buried on the depth chart behind former standouts Nick Reid and Banks Floodman. Later, he wound up stuck in the shadow of the three-headed monster of James Holt, Mike Rivera and Joe Mortensen.
“Sometimes,” Schermer admitted following Wednesday’s practice, “it gets frustrating.”
For the first time since arriving in Lawrence in 2005, however, Schermer is entering a college football season with a glimmer of hope.
With all three linebackers from the Jayhawks’ 2008 team lost to graduation, the Nixa, Mo., native joins a small contingent of remaining players — including Arist Wright, Justin Springer and running back-turned-linebacker Angus Quigley — with a chance to fill the vacant spots in the defensive lineup.
“I didn’t do much last year besides special teams, and (a little) here or there,” said Schermer. “But I work as hard as I can, and hopefully the coaches will see it.”
So far, they seemed to have taken notice.
Wednesday, Schermer was one of two players — along with quarterback Todd Reesing — who KU Mark Mangino made available to the media, and the coach spoke encouragingly about Schermer’s chances of contributing next season.
“I’d like to see Jake help us,” said Mangino, whose team will hold its annual Spring Game at 2 p.m. on April 11. “It’s his last opportunity to really get in here and help our program, and I think he’s taken advantage of all the repetitions he’s received this spring.”
Boasting an impressive list of mentors — he said he learned something different from each of the linebackers he has played behind over the years — he enters his final collegiate season ready to make the most of his long-awaited opportunity.
“A couple times,” said Schermer, asked if he ever has questioned his place in the program. “But teammates help you out, like, ‘Jake, just wait, you’ll get your turn.’ And they’re right.
“They always give you a chance, so you’ve just got to make the most of your chances.”