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Originally published September 20, 2009 at 06:29p.m., updated September 21, 2009 at 12:00a.m.

KU’s Sharp likely a game-time decision against Southern Miss

Kansas running back Jake Sharp watches the action from the bench during the fourth quarter against Duke Saturday  at Memorial Stadium.

Kansas running back Jake Sharp watches the action from the bench during the fourth quarter against Duke Saturday at Memorial Stadium.

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KU's Sharp a game-time decision

Jake Sharp will be a game-time Saturday against Southern Mississippi. Sharp will receive intensive treatment during the week leading up to the contest.

Sharp’s status unknown for Southern Miss

Injured Kansas University running back Jake Sharp underwent a light practice Sunday, but is expected to be a game-time decision heading into Saturday's final nonconference game against Southern Mississippi, coach Mark Mangino said Sunday evening.

“We don’t know whether he’ll be ready or not,” Mangino said. “Knowing Jake, as tough as he is, he probably will want to do it, but we won’t put it out there if it means putting him in harm’s way. We need him for the long haul.”

Sharp, a senior, missed most of Saturday's 44-16 victory over Duke due to the undisclosed injury, which was suffered earlier in the week during a noncontact drill in practice. In limited action, the Salina native carried the ball five times for 13 yards and looked far less explosive than he did in the team’s first two games, in which he averaged 113.5 rushing yards per game and the Jayhawks emerged as the Big 12’s top rushing attack.

In his absence, true freshman running back Toben Opurum garnered the majority of the carries against the Blue Devils.

He finished with 120 total yards (70 rushing, 50 receiving) and two touchdowns, averaging 4.1 yards per carry.

“(Jake’s) smart enough to know that if he can’t function and perform at the level he needs to, he won’t be foolish about it,” Mangino said. “He’ll take counsel from our medical staff and from us as coaches, because when he plays, he wants to be the best.”

Onyegbule builds on quick start

Following a career day two weeks ago in a victory over UTEP, KU defensive end Maxwell Onyegbule earned Big 12 co-defensive player of the week honors.

Against Duke this week, he did his best to make it two in a row.

Onyegbule, from Arlington, Texas, finished with three tackles, including his third sack of the season, and provided the game’s top play when he returned an interception 48 yards for a touchdown early in the third quarter to give the Jayhawks a 27-7 lead.

“For a big guy, he runs pretty well,” Mangino joked following the game. “I didn’t realize he had such good hands. Might tempt me to play him at tight end some day.”

Harris practices at full speed

A day after leaving Saturday’s game with an undisclosed injury, junior defensive back Chris Harris was back working at full speed during Sunday’s practice.

“He got banged around a little bit, had a little pull here or there, but he’s fine,” Mangino said. “... He plays really hard, (and) guys that play hard like that every once in a while get nicked up. But he’s fine.”

Comments

sdoyel 10 years, 4 months ago

It's not like HCMM is going to say yes or no. Might as well let So. Miss. guess.... With us having a bye week after this game, it would make sense to just rest Sharp and have him well-rested entering Big 12 play. It's not like Oporum is a slouch. Dude has 5 TD's already!

hometownhawk 10 years, 4 months ago

If it's a hammy, DON'T PLAY HIM!!!!! 2 weeks rest could prevent this becoming a nagging thing that could ruin the part of the season where we'll really need Jake.

Dirk Medema 10 years, 4 months ago

I read elsewhere it was a calf. Regardless, the same thought is true. 3 weeks rest can go a long way toward being healthy at the end of the year when Jake's presence will be that much more important.

It would be nice if we could also get to see Porter or Lewis spelling Toben Opurum. Just how deep are we at RB?

Andy Tweedy 10 years, 4 months ago

His calf was wrapped at the start of the game, so must be a calf. If he can't go, he'll be missed. So. Miss. will be the toughest of the non-conference slate.

joepattern 10 years, 4 months ago

eek. We weren't quite the same without him early on in the Duke game. Let's hope a full week of practice knowing he might not be a go will help out. This one is our toughest yet. No doubt about it.

suttonku 10 years, 4 months ago

I would bet that Sharp plays but he wont get near as many carries as usual...I just dont see how they will keep sharp off the field and even if he's not 100% the team still needs him on the field for leadership...KU has a tough game this week no doubt but they should win this one...So. Miss was getting pounded by Virginia most of the game and then they came back and won somehow.

gardenjay 10 years, 4 months ago

Leave Sharp on the bench. Ham, Calf, or a beef, he needs to heal.

hjayhawk 10 years, 4 months ago

I seen Jake after the game and he had a walking splint on his left foot.

Erik Roesh 10 years, 4 months ago

Maxhawk: You'd think it's not a big deal but I can remember when I screwed away a whole track season because I hurt my calf early on and tried to run 100% way too soon and it went back to crap really quickly. I did learn to stretch and warm up properly after that though.

jakzhumans 10 years, 4 months ago

I'm fine with resting him if he needs it so he's ready for Big 12 play, but in that case I'd really like to see Rell Lewis get some time. I don't think it was Sharp's absence that hurt the running game this week as much as it was the lack of diversity back there. For a while they had Opurum running off-tackle stuff that's better suited to someone smaller and faster, like Sharp or Lewis, before they finally figured out that's not his game and shifted to more straight ahead runs with some option thrown in. Lewis looked good in the spring game, so give him Sharp's work and keep the offense the same, rather than ask Opurum to do things he's really not built to do. It's the flexibility to run with either speed or power that's going to make the ground game effective most weeks, and I think that means having two different backs.

Joe Baker 10 years, 4 months ago

Opurum is the real deal!! This kid is going to get stronger!

Rest Sharp and give Opurum a chance to shine in another pre-season game. Besides it will be great for his confidence. We don't need to chance agitating the injury.

Jonathan Briles 10 years, 4 months ago

I would vote to let sharp suit up, but not play unless absolutely needed. Give the younger guys some confidence and leadership and let the other team wonder if they will see him. Sharp is great to have on this team but I care more about our conference games and dont want to see him out longer than he needs to be. We have a bye week after this so he can get the rest of two weeks. It will make him all that much better the start of the conference.

Brandon Snook 10 years, 4 months ago

I'm sure Sharp will be in the game. At the very least he'll start and if things still don't feel great they can rest him. He was close to playing in the Duke game.

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