Friday, April 23, 2010


Webb not scared of change


More than just the identity of the quarterback will change in the Kansas University football offense. Where he’s standing also shifts.

Jordan Webb, seemingly armed with just the right amount of confidence, is a 6-foot-1, 210-pound red-shirt freshman who hasn’t worked out of anything but the shotgun since before high school.

Webb has spent the spring working under head coach Turner Gill and offensive coordinator Chuck Long learning new terminology while working with several different centers on a team full of players who haven’t used a snap count since coming to college. It’s a lot to absorb, but Webb seems like the sort of athlete who embraces a difficult challenge.

In high school, and in practice during his red-shirt season at Kansas, Webb stood in the shotgun, receiving the ball where a drop-back quarterback would have it after the third step. In the shotgun, the quarterback catches the ball and can see the whole field right away. Dropping back, he turns his back to half the field. It’s a serious adjustment. NFL teams are having a tougher time guessing right on quarterbacks because so many of them played in the shotgun in college.

Competing with Kale Pick for the starting job, Webb isn’t as short as Todd Reesing, but he’s slightly undersized for the position. Working out of the shotgun enables shorter quarterbacks to see throwing lanes more easily.

Yet, Webb certainly doesn’t sound freaked out about having to make the change. He seems to look at it as having a new toy, a learning challenge he’s enjoying figuring out.

“Actually, it’s been pretty good,” Webb said of working under center. “I was a little nervous about it coming in because I’ve never really done it since junior-league football. It’s been different, but it’s been good. I like it a lot.”

He said what he likes best about working under center is “you can do a little more with play-action, taking shots down the field.”

If Webb wins the starting job despite not having any game experience, at least he can take comfort in knowing he will be protected by an experienced offensive line. All the key blockers are back from last year.

“That’s definitely an advantage,” Webb said. “They’re working hard, too, getting everything down. They’ve got to learn the new offense, too. It’s just as hard for them because they’ve got to do a different thing on every play. They’ve got to hear what we’re saying, and they’ve got to pick it up fast.”

Hearing alone is a new concept. During Reesing’s time, silence was golden. Signals weren’t barked, they were flashed with a lift of the leg, sometimes a clap, maybe two consecutive lifted legs, always silent. If the offenses get flagged repeatedly for an offside penalty, that will be a sign the shift away from the shotgun and the silent snaps hasn’t been super smooth.

It would be asking plenty of Webb to direct an offense undergoing so many changes with so many new faces, but nothing would make him happier than being asked.


mandomax 10 years, 11 months ago

solid article Mr. Keegan. No filler. Pertinent story.

bearhawk 10 years, 11 months ago

I'm glad Webb is not scared! Stupid article.Webb must be Keegan's love child.

Kevin Studer 10 years, 11 months ago

"If the offenses get flagged repeatedly for an offside penalty, that will be a sign the shift away from the shotgun and the silent snaps hasn’t been super smooth."

Offenses don't get flagged for offsides penalties, defenses do. Offenses in this type of transition get flagged for false start penalties.

Rivethead 10 years, 11 months ago

Silent signal calling was an advantage on the road in noisy venues. I hope Coach Gill realizes that even Ames, IA and Mancrappy, KS will be 10 times louder than any place in the MAC conference.

MitchumMan 10 years, 11 months ago

I'm sure that he knows what it's like considering he was a QB at Nebraska!

jesusisajhawk 10 years, 11 months ago

I am sure the noise level in Big 12 stadiums is at least comparable to the Big 10 and they seem to be able to pull it off, so we should be able to as well. Not to mention all of the NFL teams who call audible constantly in the midst of screaming crowds much larger than ours.

IBRONNIEB 10 years, 11 months ago

Thats what I was thinking, he played at Nebraska. I'm sure he knows just how loud Big 12 stadiums will be.

NebraskaJayhawk 10 years, 11 months ago

Get rid of the flashy advertisements. Makes it hard to read while at work.

LAJayhawk 10 years, 11 months ago

If they get rid of advertisements, we start paying for access. Nothing is free. The paper has to get its revenue from somewhere.

TxJyHwk 10 years, 11 months ago

He didn't say get rid of the advertisements. He said get rid of the "flashy advertisements".

In fact, the "flashy" advertisements work against the web site and the ads. I end up hiding the ads because they literally give me a headache if they are on the screen while I am reading.

jesusisajhawk 10 years, 11 months ago

As an epileptic jayhawk fan I have to agree, it has gotten a little ridiculous lately.

Scott Oswalt 10 years, 11 months ago

amen to that brotha!!! gives me a headache too!

justinryman 10 years, 11 months ago

Every team has silent snap counts and they practice for loud venues in many different ways. The best way to not worry about it, is to get up on them early in the score and the crowd isn't as loud and not an issue.

JJHawq 10 years, 11 months ago

hey nebraska - get back to work and buy a newspaper if you don't like it... ; )

number1jayhawker 10 years, 11 months ago

Makes me wonder with all the praise that Webb has received, it isn't some kind of motivational ploy the coaches are using to get Pick ready for the next level. Don't get me wrong, Webb is very talented but Pick is the ideal athlete for this new offense.

JVZMan 10 years, 11 months ago

Having seen Webb grow up and play high school ball, All I can say is he is a winner! Great competitor, great althlete. Holds many state records in the show me state of Missouri. Good luck Jordan!

troutsee 10 years, 11 months ago

agree with number1jayhawker. Pick is the guy to run this offense unless his reads are slow or his accuracy is not good. However, judging from his play as a junior in high school, his accuracy seems good.

Dan Harris 10 years, 11 months ago

Just heard from my dad that Hutch Highs Josh Smith has decided to walk on at KU. Josh was Hutch's leading rusher last year(2900 yds) and is a stud. I know we are loaded at the RB position but keep them coming Coach Gill !!

hawk316 10 years, 11 months ago

I have the sense that this is a very heated race for starting qb. Both quarterbacks are very talented and could lead this team quite capably. That means that whoever wins the starting nod will be backed up by another very strong player. I hate to see one of these guys have to sit, but it does translate to outstanding depth at a key position.

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