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Thursday, August 20, 2009

Dugan Arnett’s KU football notebook

Kansas' Kerry Meier tosses to the end zone in the spring game on April 11. Meier will not make the switch to full-time receiver.

Kansas' Kerry Meier tosses to the end zone in the spring game on April 11. Meier will not make the switch to full-time receiver.

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Senior Thornton returning to safety

After a short hiatus, Kansas University senior Justin Thornton will return to the position in which he thrived during the Jayhawks’ 2007 Orange Bowl season.

Thornton, who tied for the team lead with five interceptions as a sophomore in ’07, was shifted to cornerback last fall as part of the team's massive secondary overhaul. But on Wednesday, KU coach Mark Mangino said the St. Joseph, Mo., native has made the move back to safety.

“The reason we did that is because he kind of directs the traffic, he’s an old hand back there,” said the coach. “He’s been in a bunch of big games at that position, and we’re starting to feel more comfortable with him there because the corners are starting to develop really well.”

Thornton played the first seven games of last season at free safety before making a mid-season switch to left cornerback. He led the Jayhawks with 11 pass break-ups and finished with a career-high 63 tackles.

Meier won’t stop working at quarterback

Mangino’s plan to phase Kerry Meier out of the quarterback rotation and allow the Pittsburg native to work full-time at receiver has been scrapped — at least for the most part.

“After looking at it through training camp, I’m not sure that we’ll completely divorce him from that position,” Mangino said. “But his reps are extremely limited. I just want to keep him there in case the worst-case scenario would come about.”

Mangino, who said Meier has been working at receiver approximately 90 percent of the time, previously indicated that Meier would make a permanent shift to the position if backup quarterback Kale Pick emerged as a viable No. 2 quarterback during summer training camp.

Linebacker Brooks returns to practice

After leaving summer training camp last Tuesday to deal with a family emergency, transfer linebacker Vernon Brooks is back at practice and showing signs of promise, Mangino said.

“Vernon Brooks the last couple days has really come on strong, and he’s really making a statement,” said Mangino of the transfer from Texas’ Blinn College. “He’s a hard-nosed guy, and he just has to learn our defense. But he’s doing very well.”

Porter among running backs vying for snaps

A year ago, Daniel Porter was watching KU standouts Todd Reesing and Dezmon Briscoe from a box in his living room.

These days, he’s vying for a chance to play alongside them.

“I used to watch them on ESPN all the time,” said Porter, a running back transfer from San Mateo (Calif.) Junior College. “And I’m here now, so it’s pretty cool.”

The junior from San Francisco was a late addition to the Jayhawks’ roster this spring, but Mangino last week called him one of the team’s fastest players, and said he didn’t figure the back would have much trouble making the transition to Division-I football.

“I like his attitude,” Mangino said. “He’s a guy, like a lot of our kids, he’s super serious about his work.”

Linebacker Jones no longer with program

Mangino also said Wednesday that Julian Jones, a true freshman linebacker from Lawton, Okla., did not report to training camp and is no longer with the team.

“We talked to him and he wanted to just go somewhere to college close to home,” said the coach. “And I think he made a good decision.”

Comments

suttonku 5 years, 4 months ago

So basically if something were to happen to Todd, Meier would be in the game instead of Pick...Vernon you can just tell he is a hard hitter and just a strong run stopper...I think we are going to have 5 or 6 different LBs in every game...which is a good idea...If you need to stop the run you put in Quigley and Brooks...You want to defend the pass then you put in Arist Wright and Tharp...Not a bad thing to rotate fresh legs into the game every once in a while...And some people seem to thing that KU is going to struggle on defense and I dont really understand why...lets see secondary we have Stuckey, Thornton, Strozier, Patterson, Harris, and Davis...thats a pretty good secondary, in fact I would put that up with anyone else in the Big 12...Defensive line looks pretty dang good too with Laptad, Onyegbule, Woods, Young, Zlatnik, Parish, and Greene...And honestly I dont think the LBs will be as bad as everyone thinks.

Also just speaking about the offense we all know theyre loaded... I think the offensive line will be a lot better...we finally have a lot of depth at RB with Sharp, Lewis, and Opurum among others...We have the best WR crew in the conference and top 10 in the country at least with Briscoe, Wilson, Meier, Macdougled, and Pendleton...Obvously we have Todd at QB and we all know how awesome he is...And what people tend to overlook, we have a great tight end in Tim Biere because he is a great blocker and he can catch the ball and I look for Biere to be very useful in the red zone.

This team can make some noise in the big 12...not saying they will go to Austin and beat UT, although I do believe they can give UT a game...I do think they can beat TTU, Nebraska, and Mizzou...Colorado could be a very tough team to beat in Boulder but if they can get through that game then they will definitely have a shot at OU in Lawrence and I really believe they could beat OU...If they beat OU then I gotta think they will win the North because if they can beat OU then they can definitely take care of Nebraska.

wxhawk 5 years, 4 months ago

When was the last time you remember hearing a kid say he saw KU play on ESPN and wanted to play with them (in a serious fashion). That has to say something about our direction.

Ted Toulouse 5 years, 4 months ago

I like your thoughts suttonku. Now post them on Tim Griffin's blog on ESPN. I'm getting sick of that guy's preconceived ideas of our team without even spending any time around them.

Rivethead 5 years, 4 months ago

sutton I would be willing to bet you right now that AJ Steward catches more balls this year as a TE than Biere will. When we go with four WRs I'm betting Steward will be that fourth WR split out wide much like MU did with Coffman. Kid's a beast.

Dyrk Dugan 5 years, 4 months ago

too bad about Jones. dang, we're thin at LB.

jhawk613 5 years, 4 months ago

sutton, we do appear to have depth in the defense.

I would guess that most people just aren't familiar with some of our players, therefore they discount them.

On the D-Line, correct me if i'm wrong, but I thought Darrius Parrish moved to the O-Line.

ttoulouse - Tim Griffin is from San Antonio. All he cares about is Texas and he only writes about Oklahoma because the Sooners are really talented and everyone would call him a homer if he didn't. His blog is 70% Big 12 South and 30% Big 12 North. Of the North about 60-70% of that content is about Nebraska.

Griffin is living in the 90s regarding Nebraska. And everything else he writes is through burnt-orange lenses.

bg_duck1 5 years, 4 months ago

Tim Griffin is garbage...I think he is Phil Steele's twin brother

Dirk Medema 5 years, 4 months ago

jhawk613 - On the D-Line, correct me if i'm wrong, but I thought Darrius Parrish moved to the O-Line.

That's what I heard too.

Glad to hear Vernon is stepping up.

Rivethead says... I would be willing to bet you right now that AJ Steward catches more balls this year as a TE than Biere will. When we go with four WRs I'm betting Steward will be that fourth WR split out wide much like MU did with Coffman. Kid's a beast.

I could care less about the comparison of Biere to Steward, but definitely expect to see him split out as a 4th WR/TE. The next Meier?

My take on the QB issue is that Kale will be 2nd string, and will fill in behind Todd, but that Mangino realizes that Kerry is still the 2nd best QB on the team. Only if Todd goes down will we see Kerry behind center. That probably has as much to do with the development of the WR's. Gotta love the reports on McDougled.

With training camp over, will they be releasing an updated depth chart?

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