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Originally published May 6, 2009 at 12:00a.m., updated May 6, 2009 at 03:50p.m.

Keegan

O-line looks promising

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The interest level in Kansas football has reached the point that 122 days before the 2009 season kicks off against Northern Colorado, plenty care about which five players will form the wall that protects quarterback Todd Reesing in his final season.

Based on the spring football season, three players cemented offensive line positions and the two guard spots remain open in what shapes up as among the most heated battles throughout summer conditioning and preseason practices.

Jeremiah Hatch, a hit at right tackle and then left tackle as a redshirt freshman, returns to his natural position of center, where one day he could develop into an All-American candidate. Classmate Jeff Spikes, a big man with a high ceiling, mans right tackle.

Spring football season opened with Kansas coach Mark Mangino revealing quick-afoot former tight end/defensive end Tanner Hawkinson would get a shot to win the left tackle position and it ended with him starting and performing well in the spring game.

Juniors-to-be Carl Wilson and Sal Capra started for the first string in the intrasquad exhibition. John Williams and Trevor Marrongelli, both of whom redshirted this past fall, have four remaining years of eligibility. They started for the second team. Somebody had to start for the blue team, somebody for the white.

“That’s a pretty tough competition, but in recent days those guys have moved forward,” Mangino said of the veterans who started at guard. “I don’t know if that’s how it will end up. We may end up that way, but I like the idea we have competition at those positions. And it’s pretty keen. That’s good. It’s been a seesaw in terms of who has had those starting positions throughout the spring.”

Williams, a 6-foot-4, 338-pound native of Tulsa, Okla., was first-team all-state as a senior. Marrongelli, a 6-4, 285-pound native of Austin, Texas, was named his team’s offensive MVP. How often does a blocker win that award?

This much is certain: The five best offensive linemen will start, not the five linemen with the most potential.

“Potential gets me fired,” KU offensive line coach John Reagan said when discussing the prospects for the line as the spring season got under way. “It’s nice when you have guys competing for jobs. Not competing by default, competing because they’ve got the ability to compete. It generally does make you better.”

If Williams and Marrongelli win the guard spots, Kansas would have three redshirt freshmen and two redshirt sophomores starting on the offensive line. View that through the prism of a Class of 2010 high school quarterback who wants to start right away in a big-time conference. In his first season, he would be protected by a big, quick line playing its second season together. In his second season, the quarterback would have a line stacked with pro prospects playing its third consecutive year together, a rarity in college football.

Interestingly, Rivals.com’s highest-ranked uncommitted quarterback in the Class of 2010, Austin Hinder of Steamboat Springs, Colo., lists Kansas among 15 schools in the running.

Comments

jayhawkintx73 4 years, 10 months ago

thebruced, Just so ya know, Tony Sands, the father of this running back Sands at that time set the all time NCAA single game rushing record of 396 yards in one game and it was against Mizzou.

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thebruced 4 years, 11 months ago

That's it. I knew his father had played runningback for us, but I didn't realize it was as recent as the 90's. I hear he's very shifty and was impressive during the spring practices.

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Dan Pawlowski 4 years, 11 months ago

Deshaun Sands will be a freshman. His dad Tony was a stud running back at Kansas in the early 90's and once held the single season rushing record at 1442 yards. He was passed by John Cornish.

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thebruced 4 years, 11 months ago

I wonder who will be doing most of the running behind that line. Sharp did look pretty good toward then end of last year, but Quigley and others were disappointing at best. If the line has been solidified and improved as much as we hope and anticipate, any disappointments at runningback will have no scape goat this season. I've heard we have a young smaller back (his name escapes me right now) with great ability and who's father was a pretty good runner. Could anybody help me out with who I'm referring to and if he has the potential to play significant minutes this season?

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actorman 4 years, 11 months ago

"Only one of the 15 schools in the running...

so you're saying there's a chance!!"

Classic reference, of course, but seriously it's still pretty amazing that KU has a shot at a QB of that high a caliber. In most years of KU's history, they wouldn't have been one of the final 50, much less the final 15.

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yates33333 4 years, 11 months ago

To read of Kansas being competitive in football is a dream come true. Coach must be a genius, a big one at that. He, Self, and the AD are all big timers.

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Rickyonealku 4 years, 11 months ago

Just love this it's May and the talk is KU Football.....just give Todd 3 seconds on each passing play....TD...or a long gain.

Rock Chalk Jayhawks...

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NebraskaJayhawk 4 years, 11 months ago

I really hope the line is as good as the hype in this article. We lost some games last year because of our weakness in the line (on both sides of the ball). Personally, I hope Reesing isn't passing the ball as much this year. That would mean we actually established a consistent run game. I know Sharp ended up with a pretty decent season, but to contend for the Big XII title & a possible national championship, we have to be a lot stronger up front than we were last year. Hopefully these guys are physically & mentally more mature this year. I'm psyched about the upcoming season though. A couple of years ago everyone was thinking..."We could do some damage in the Big XII this year." Now it would be a huge let down if we weren't contending for the Big XII title.

Key to this year: Beat the pants off Nebraska. They are going to be tough as well.

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JJHawq 4 years, 11 months ago

Thanks a bunch, Tom. THAT IS PERFECT. MORE MORE MORE!!!!

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Randy Maxwell 4 years, 11 months ago

Lueken had been moved to guard this spring as was starting in place of Carl Wilson before his injury

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sevenyearhawk 4 years, 11 months ago

Good stuff, sir!

I know I personally pulled Ryan Cantrell aside after the awards ceremony in February and thanked him for all of his contributions ...

that kind of leadership on the line and under center is going to be difficult to rapidly replace.

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GridironHawk 4 years, 11 months ago

Isn't it only 122 days (give or take depending if you count today or game day)? At least that's what the iPhone app says :)

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rolo2383 4 years, 11 months ago

I know Ben Lueken was going to be a backup, or possibly a starter, at tackle before he got hurt. Jose Rodriquez is still on the roster but not sure if he's gotten any playing time. We do seem to be a little thin at Tackle.

Nice article. We do seem to have a very bright future on the O-line.

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Joe Joseph 4 years, 11 months ago

Only one of the 15 schools in the running...

SO YOU'RE SAYING THERE'S A CHANCE!!

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Rivethead 4 years, 11 months ago

We definitely have depth at the Guard spots. But what about the Tackles? Ian Wolfe and........?????

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Carter Patterson 4 years, 11 months ago

Last year it looked like Reesing was running for his life on every play. I'm looking forward 133 days to some exciting football.

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Dirk Medema 4 years, 11 months ago

Thanks for the update Tom. I for one have been interested in the o-line situation for the past month+. Will you be giving insights into the LB's and even the d-line. 133 days of waiting? Man this is going to be tough. The snack is appreciated.

Rock Chalk

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