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Monday, September 28, 2009

Despite WR success, Meier still wears red

Kansas receiver Kerry Meier (10) trots into the end zone past Southern Miss defensive back Michael McGee. Meier had 10 catches for 141 yards in the Jayhawks’ 35-28 victory over USM on Saturday at Memorial Stadium.

Kansas receiver Kerry Meier (10) trots into the end zone past Southern Miss defensive back Michael McGee. Meier had 10 catches for 141 yards in the Jayhawks’ 35-28 victory over USM on Saturday at Memorial Stadium.

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Even as he has developed into Kansas University’s most reliable wide receiver, and even as red-shirt freshman Kale Pick has proven himself to be a capable No. 2 quarterback, Jayhawks senior Kerry Meier still shows up to football practice every day wearing a red jersey.

It’s the one issued to the program’s quarterbacks — the one that acts as an essential stop sign for defenders — and, to be perfectly honest, Meier’s not quite sure why he’s still wearing it.

“It kind of throws me for a loop,” the Pittsburg native said after Saturday’s 35-28 victory over previously unbeaten Southern Mississippi. “I guess you’d still consider me a quarterback, and if you’re playing quarterback at KU, you’re going to be wearing that bright red jersey during practice.”

Jersey color notwithstanding, however, Meier’s work at the quarterback position this season has seen a significant dive — he spends approximately 95 percent of his time this year working at receiver, compared to about 50 percent last season — and the extra work seems to be paying dividends.

Meier’s 10 catches for 141 yards and two touchdowns against the Golden Eagles on Saturday were all team-highs, for instance, and his 62-yard touchdown grab from quarterback Todd Reesing on the game’s opening drive marked the team’s longest score of the season.

Dating back to last season, Meier has recorded triple-digit receiving yards in four of the team’s past six games, and as he has spent an increasing amount of time watching film from a receiver’s perspective and frequenting receivers meetings, his knowledge of the position has expanded rapidly.

“I think with anything, any time you can turn your complete focus and attention to one thing, obviously you’re going to feel a lot better, feel a lot more comfortable and pick up even more things,” he said.

He has also continued his habit of making dominant performances appear effortless.

Following Saturday’s performance against Southern Miss., for instance, KU coach Mark Mangino described Meier’s effort — which would have constituted a career day for a great deal of Big 12 receivers — as a “quietly” impactful outing.

“He is just so smooth at it and makes it look so easy that I think if you’re a casual observer or a fan, it seems rather simple,” the coach said Sunday night. “It’s not, but he makes it look so easy and so smooth.”

Meier’s hope is that he can make it look so easy and smooth that, eventually, he can shed the red practice jersey, even if that doesn’t appear altogether likely.

Though Mangino felt confident enough in Pick’s abilities to name him the team’s No. 2 quarterback before the season, he also has said that he probably won’t ever completely divorce Meier, last year’s backup signal-caller, from the quarterback position.

“Until they take me completely off of QB,” Meier shrugged, “I guess I’ll still be rolling around in that red jersey.”

The Jayhawks continued their ascent up the national rankings lists, jumping three spots to No. 16 in the USA Today/Coaches poll and two spots to No. 18 in the Associated Press rankings Sunday.

In addition, Kansas was ranked 16th in the first Harris Interactive College Football Poll, which, in addition to the USA Today poll, is part of the BCS formula.

Comments

67Hawk 10 years, 3 months ago

Kerry's like the b-baller who can't jump real high, be he's always around the rim to get the rebound. At the end of the game you look at the stats and wonder how he did it. His speed is deceptive. He runs down a cornerback in that blocked conversion against Duke and runs away from another one for the first TD vs Southern Miss. He's an amazing player with an amazingly unselfish attitude. Guys would do real well to emulate his unselfish nature. Meier seems to be a quiet leader, who leads more by example than words. He's a player's player in my opinion.

KU_Alumn_2000 10 years, 3 months ago

If ku could develop a wildcat package with meier behind center....this would throw confusion into ou's defense...giving us that extra advantege that we need to pull off this quality of a win. With his arm and ability to play quarterback...we could do a lot of things with this offense. I really liked that double fake to briscoe that he ran in the inzone.

loudog 10 years, 3 months ago

67 - Agreed. And, because of his attitude and work ethic, I think he'll make an impact at the next level; in the vein of Hines Ward or Wes Welker. Not outstanding athletes, or super-flashy problem receivers like T.O. or Ochostinko, but a guy who does everything right, even the little things like down-field blocking, and cares more about the team than individual stats.

Brian Leiker 10 years, 3 months ago

I agree they should use him at Wildcat. Before Reesing turned qb at Lake Travis he led his team as a sophomore in receptions. Line Reesing outside once in awhile.

jayhawkintx73 10 years, 3 months ago

KU_Alum, We could do the same thing with Pick as well. I would not want Reesing out on a route unless he is the guy that took the snap, pitched it to Briscoe or Wilson on a double reverse to Meier, then wide open in a crease for a big gain. A play specifically designed for reason with a couple of outlet receivers running crossing patterns underneath for Meier or Pick to throw to.

Joe Baker 10 years, 3 months ago

I was impressed with the selfless play of all the guys Saturday. I saw receivers blocking for runners and most assignments were filled really well. I think they see that unselfish plays lead to points and wins!! Good job guys keep up the great play. We had a few defensive opps but overall they played ok.

How bout Opurum? What a kid! He's going to be special.

RCJHKU

David Leathers 10 years, 3 months ago

loudog, I'm sorry but I have to disagree with your reference to Wes Welker not being a great athlete. If a coach puts a player in the game to return punts and kick-offs, he is basically saying to everyone, "this guy is the fastest, shiftiest player on our team. Can you tackle him?" He is basically the white version of Darren Sproles, both great athletes.

David Leathers 10 years, 3 months ago

Oops, and by the way, Kerry Meier will make a hell of a WR in the NFL. He has a very high football IQ and WANTS to do the little things to help his team win the game (I.E.- block for RB's, screen plays etc.). I look forward to him being one of the most successful Jayhawks of the last few decades. On the football side of course.

Phoggin_Loud 10 years, 3 months ago

Looking ahead, since it's a bye week, what is the possibility that Pick could follow in Meier's footsteps and be moved to WR? I've seen enough zone-read from the kid. Can he throw? I understand that it's not proper etiquette to throw in "mop-up" duty, but can he throw?? I have MUCH respect for Meier, but all he ran was the zone-read. Even now, his throws are suspect when they run the WR option. I keep thinking of when he lead the wide-open receiver out of bounds last season (I think it was Sharp). Should have been an easy TD, but he didn't set his feet. Fortunately, Reesing stepped up. I hope I'm wrong.....but then again, am I? Kerry Meier is one of THE building blocks of this program. He is one of the best receivers in the country. He will be missed. With that said, Pick has the size, speed, and athletic ability to make the switch if necessary. Obviously, it would hinge on another "Reesing" winning the job. There are currently 4 other QB's listed on the roster. 3 Freshmen & 1 Soph. Let's also not forget that it took a long time for Pick to be named the back up...and Meier still wears the red jersey. Why? Is it because he's young & the QB has to know the entire offensive scheme? Or is it that he can't throw? Or is it that the 4 QB's mentioned aren't ready yet? Or something else? Really, I'm not trying to look too far ahead and I'm not trying to label Pick. I am just curious and I would like to see if anyone else is thinking that far ahead. I know HCMM will make the right decision when the time comes & put the right players in the right positions. He has so far. But, like I said, it's a bye week, and I'm tired reading "fight" posts.

rasta_meta 10 years, 3 months ago

A better comparison for Meier would be Heinz Ward. In fact, Heinz played QB, WR, and RB at different times when he was at Georiga.

loudog 10 years, 3 months ago

CaliHawk - you're right about Welker being a great athlete - the comparison to him was more that he's a team player and does everything the team needs him to do to win. Ward, too, is a heck of an athlete, but neither he nor Welker are generally compared to TO, Ocho, or Steve Smith, when the sports yaks are talking about the super duper receivers. However, I'd rather have Ward, Welker, and Meier as the receivers on my team than the other three.

John Randall 10 years, 3 months ago

"""CaliHawk - you're right about Welker being a great athlete - the comparison to him was more that he's a team player and does everything the team needs him to do to win. Ward, too, is a heck of an athlete, but neither he nor Welker are generally compared to TO, Ocho, or Steve Smith, when the sports yaks are talking about the super duper receivers. However, I'd rather have Ward, Welker, and Meier as the receivers on my team than the other three."""

Massive understatement here -- no team could survive a season with O-tard1 and O-tard2. So far, it seems either one is enough to disrupt the whole team concept.

John Randall 10 years, 3 months ago

Why does Kerry remind me of Jordy -- the walk-on from Riley County who wound up all-american and first pick for Green Bay?

Lance Hobson 10 years, 3 months ago

Welker and Hines Ward dominated college football. Meier is good, but he's not close to those guys. That's not to say he won't make it in the NFL.

okiedave 10 years, 3 months ago

Meier reminds me of Steve Largent. Wide receiver for the Seattle Seahawks. Same build, same work ethic, can't jump and intelligent. After football, Largent returned to Oklahoma to win an election for U.S. House of Representatives, but later narrowly lost a bid for Governor. I could see Meier doing that.

David Leathers 10 years, 3 months ago

loudog- Hines Ward and Wes Welker = great athletes and even better football players!

KU62- the Monday Night announcers would surely disagree with your comment on TO... haha but what the hell do they know? He didn't even have a catch on Sunday, which means there's no way in hell he was blocking for anyone! TO = Turn Off (your TV of course, whenever your watching a Bills game!)

Jayhawker413 10 years, 3 months ago

Kerry Meier will be the same exact player as Dallas Clark in the NFL a listed tight end that plays more like a receiver... A NFL GM would be foolish not to recognize that this guy has serious skill

bad_dog 10 years, 3 months ago

There's another reason to pay attention to the Bills when they play. It's called Derek Fine.

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