During a four-year career in which he has been unseated as Kansas University’s starting quarterback and subsequently reinvented himself as a viable collegiate receiver, junior Kerry Meier has developed a reputation as the consummate team-first player.
It should come as no surprise, then, that even as he has been forced to devote a good chunk of his practice time this spring to the presumably fruitless task of backing up starting quarterback Todd Reesing — instead of focusing solely on his new position — he has done so without complaint.
“I’ve brought it up,” said Meier of a permanent switch to receiver, a position he would almost certainly play at the next level. “But right now, I’m the kind of guy that’s living in the present. And the present is next year with the Jayhawks. If the NFL is gonna come, it’ll come. I think next year, if we have another great year like we did last year, then I see myself getting to the league. But right now, I’m focused on winning 12, 13 ballgames with the Jayhawks next year.”
While spending only 50 percent of his practice time working as a receiver last season —the other half was dedicated to work with the team’s quarterbacks — Meier still managed to emerge as one of the conference’s top pass-catchers, earning all-Big 12 honorable mention honors after hauling in 97 passes for 1,045 yards.
The quarterback reps were based primarily out of necessity — at the time, Meier represented the team’s only viable No. 2 quarterback — but the situation also raised a reasonable question: How good could he be if he worked at receiver full-time?
So far this spring he’s spent approximately 70 percent of his time at receiver, and the plan, Kansas coach Mark Mangino has said, is to bring red-shirt freshman quarterback Kale Pick along during spring practice in an effort ease Meier out of his backup quarterback role completely.
Until coaches are confident in Pick’s ability to handle the increased responsibility, however, Meier won’t be afforded the luxury of specialization.
“We’re trying to get into a situation where Kale’s really comfortable with the entire system, and just feels good about everything,” Mangino said.
Briscoe, Greene suspended indefinitely: Dezmon Briscoe, who earned second-team all-Big 12 honors after his historic sophomore season, has been suspended from the team indefinitely after violating unspecified team rules.
According to Mangino, Briscoe has yet to take the field this spring after catching 92 passes for 1,407 yards and 15 touchdowns in 2008.
“I’ve held him out of practice,” the coach said Friday. “I’ll review his case next week.”
Defensive tackle Jamal Greene, who played in 13 games for the Jayhawks last season, also has been suspended indefinitely.
Williams named starter ... kind of: While most position battles are still in their earliest stages — to be worked out gradually throughout the coming months — Mangino said Friday that he has at least one starting spot already figured out.
The coach indicated Friday that John Williams, who red-shirted last season, would likely be starting somewhere on the offensive line by the time the 2009 season rolls around.