Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Kansas quarterback Quinn Mecham gets nod, pats on back

Kansas quarterback Quinn Mecham (8) runs through a hole in the Colorado defense during the fourth quarter of the Jayhawks’ 52-45 victory Saturday at Memorial Stadium.

Kansas quarterback Quinn Mecham (8) runs through a hole in the Colorado defense during the fourth quarter of the Jayhawks’ 52-45 victory Saturday at Memorial Stadium.


When junior quarterback Quinn Mecham arrived on the Kansas University campus, he was a quiet guy with a loud resume.

Through the first seven games of the 2010 season, the Snow College transfer remained in the background, on a path to red-shirting and packed only with the potential to become the odd man out in KU’s quarterback rotation.

However, three weeks ago against Texas A&M;, KU’s top two QBs — starter Jordan Webb and backup Kale Pick — were injured, and Mecham was tossed onto the field. The red shirt was toast, the Jayhawks were down to their third quarterback, and all hope seemed to be lost.

Good thing for Kansas, Mecham’s self-discipline and devotion remained strong all along.

“I’ve always said this to a quarterback, and it’s held true,” offensive coordinator Chuck Long said. “If you work hard enough and you have a passion for this position, it will pay off for you someday, somehow. It’s held true in all my years, with any quarterback who’s worked hard. (Mecham has) certainly displayed it all the way through, and look where he is today. It’s paid off for him.”

Last week, KU coach Turner Gill delayed making a decision on a starting quarterback. He didn’t reveal his choice until gameday. This week, Gill wasted no time, naming Mecham the starter the matchup with Nebraska — 6 p.m. Saturday in Lincoln, Neb. — at his weekly news conference Tuesday.

“At this point in time, I think he has earned the starting spot,” Gill said. “His poise has been very high. He has been able to execute our offense. He has made one or two mistakes, but I really like the way that our players have responded (to him). He is not going to be a flashy guy on the field, but he is going to be productive. I think he will get better as he continues to play and get more reps.”

Long took his pat on the back for his quarterback one step further.

“Just what he’s done the last two games as far as poise, confidence and being unflappable, he’s as good as I’ve coached,” Long said. “And that’s saying a lot. I’ve coached some really good players.”

Included among those productive passers Long spoke about are 2003 Heisman Trophy winner Jason White and 2000 Heisman Trophy finalist Josh Heupel, both of Oklahoma. Long was OU’s quarterbacks coach in 2000 and the offensive coordinator in 2003.

It’s not just Mecham’s coaches who have appreciated what the 6-foot-2, 207-pound righty has done to lift the KU offense. His teammates also have sung his praises.

“Coming in, walking into the quarterback room, 10 weeks ago he saw his name on the bottom of the list, but he kept his head high,” sophomore receiver Bradley McDougald said of Mecham. “He didn’t take any animosity towards anyone. He came in and worked every day, took coaching very well, and when his number was called, he went out and executed to the best of his ability.”

Colorado comeback still fresh

Though the Jayhawks have shifted their focus to this week’s game, many were happy to relive last week’s record-setting, comeback victory against Colorado in which KU scored 35 fourth-quarter points to win, 52-45.

“We’ll never forget this game,” Long said. “This is the greatest comeback I’ve ever been involved in as a player and a coach. I think there’s 115 years of offensive experience (on the KU coaching staff), and I asked them all, I said, ‘Hey, have any of you guys been involved in a comeback like this?’ and none of them had.”

Added junior tight end Tim Biere: “It should be a turning point in this program. We realize what coach Gill is teaching us is working, and we can play like we did in the fourth quarter.”

Biere familiar with Gill long ago

Speaking of Biere, the Omaha, Neb., native recalled Tuesday his memories of hearing Turner Gill stories throughout his childhood.

“Growing up in Nebraska, I’d heard of the guy before,” Biere said. “They play highlights of old Nebraska games all the time so you definitely knew who Turner Gill was if you grew up in Nebraska.”

Saturday, Gill, a standout quarterback at Nebraska in the early 1980s, will make his first trip to Lincoln, Neb., as a visitor, something many Jayhawks said they believed would be a moving experience for the former NU star. Despite the flood of emotions Gill’s sure to encounter, his current players said their coach’s focus has been on finding a way to win the game.

“I expect him to be level-headed like he is with everything,” Biere said. “I’m sure he’ll have some extra motivation to beat these guys, going home like that. But I’m sure we won’t see it out of him.”

Gill and former Nebraska coach Tom Osborne — now the athletic director at NU — have remained friends throughout the past three decades. Gill said Osborne called and left a voice message on Monday but that he wasn’t sure if the two would speak before Saturday’s game.

Injury update

Gill said sophomore safety Lubbock Smith was doubtful for Saturday’s game because of a concussion.

Smith, who ranks fourth on the team with 48 tackles, was left off KU’s most recent depth chart. In his place was former starter Olaitan Oguntodu, a senior who was third on the team in tackles (42) prior to being moved to linebacker two weeks ago.

KU comeback costly for Hawkins

KU’s 28-point, fourth-quarter comeback victory against Colorado last weekend proved to be the final game in the Colorado coaching career of Dan Hawkins.

Hawkins, who arrived in Boulder, Colo., in December of 2005 after a highly successful run at Boise State, was fired by CU on Tuesday. He guided the Buffs to a 19-39 record in five seasons.

“Really, ending the negativity is what it’s all about,” CU athletic director Mike Bohn told The Denver Post.

Colorado assistant coach Brian Cabral will serve as the team’s interim head coach for the remainder of the season.


100 11 years, 2 months ago

"Just like the school yard boys!!!"

It's time for the Big Blue Wilson-Mecham-Sims-Toben-KU Machine to stand up in Lincoln, Nebraska!!!

Its time to Shock the world Jayhawks!!!!!!

Chris Bailey 11 years, 2 months ago


You mentioned on a previous post that we won 2 head to head recruiting battles with Nebraska. Can you tell me who those two recruits are? I was just wondering. Also hoping we can somehow steal Bubba Starling away! Thanks Man!

Ashwin Rao 11 years, 2 months ago

Street ball works with not so good teams, but with good teams you need to have discipline. Hopefully we give NU a fight, and may be even win!

Dirk Medema 11 years, 2 months ago

Discipline is what kept Toben home on the reverse. Streetball is what seperated the ball from the receiver. It works both ways.

I also recall a Statue of Liberty play working against OU a few years ago, and that's pretty street ball.

Good point that a team needs discipline to execute their assignments effectively, but a little streetball is what can put a less talened team over the top against a more traditionally talented team. You need look no further than the spread offense to see this is true.

100 11 years, 2 months ago

Good points by both of you.

I'm not saying go nuts & don't have a plan.

I'm saying, do what Coach has said all year...

"Explode on that football team!"

As we saw in the 4th quarter against CU, the team is seeming to understand "how" to play, mentally, to take it to the next level.

Jonathon Wilson summed it up best, pumping up his teammates, saying, "play just like it's the schoolyard."

That doesn't mean "don't run your plays."

It means play with incredible enthusiasm.

As a Colorado player said, "They played like they thought they were the best team in the country."

That's because Jonathon Wilson & his teammates finally began to visualize excellence the other day, in a way that made sense to them.

(that's also why I'm calling for a much simpler playbook this week, simply exploiting gaps that are actually there in the moment of the Nebraska game itself so our players play with that "60 minutes of schoolyard fervor" instead of running plays that we practiced all year that may or not work with our current line.)

"You already know your assignments boys. Now let's explode on those Cornhuskers, just like it's the schoolyard & they've said something about your mom!"

ahpersecoachingexperience 11 years, 2 months ago

Follow up for Long. If QM is as good as you have coached (including hiesman level talent) why has he been third string all season?

This power of positive thinking is so easy to see through.

ahpersecoachingexperience 11 years, 2 months ago

Com'on! You didn't laugh when he drew parallels between our third stringer and two heisman candidates?

Brak 11 years, 2 months ago

When you say "our" you mean "their" right, I don't think you are fooling anybody.

JBurtin 11 years, 2 months ago

Not to mention. He compared his confidence and being "unflappable" to the the two Heisman candidates. Not the talent level.

slowplay 11 years, 2 months ago

I usually don't like responding to you because it's like trying to explain things to a 1st grader, and your negativity is bad for my karma, but I've got some free time today and this is simple enough that you may actually understand. Perhaps he plays at a higher level during games than in practice. Granted, you can usually tell the skill level at most positions by watching them daily at practice, but as a former coach I've seen this occur many times, especially at the QB position. He also probably didn't get as many reps with the 1st team if he started out slow and was 3rd on the depth chart. It's hard to show your stuff when your on the "B" team.

khummel60 11 years, 2 months ago

It's noble of you to try to reason with him/her/it but I believe your wasting your time. Some doctoral student in the KU Psych Dept. could do an interesting dissertation on what motivates people like this to be such miserable trouble makers. This person is obviously very intelligent, well read, and well educated, but he/she/it has some abnormal need to be a Contrarian. It's like a heckler who periodically shouts incendiary remarks and insults at a speaker from the back of the room, then watches with joy when that person overreacts to their provocations. The best thing to do is ignore the provocations. Easier said than done, however.

Jeremy LeMaster 11 years, 2 months ago

If you read the comment from Long and actually comprehend what he was saying then you will understand that he was not talking about talent. He specifically mentions that from his poise, confidence and being unflappable that Mecham has been as good as Long has coached.

bigtex 11 years, 2 months ago

It is just crazy with the KU Qbs. Chuck said Pick was the most athletic Qb with a good arm he ever coached,then Webb was the strongest arm Qb Chuck ever coached now Mecham is compared to OUs White after playing ISU and CU. I feel bad for the Qbs at KU , coaching staff is struggling and have no idea what direction they are going and keep tanking the Qbs.Good luck Quinn!! Google Chuck Long and see what articles at SD-State had to say about Chuck after 3 yrs there.

khummel60 11 years, 2 months ago

Yea - I agree that the remarks about the QB's are more than a little over-inflated. Don't you think it's normal, though, for a coach to sing the praises of their athletes on occasion? Especially when those athletes are kids, and when they may need a little confidence boosting? Not saying those QB's aren't impressive in certain respects, but I venture to guess Long is doing a little motivational speaking here.

As for Chuck Long's history as a coach, your absolutely right - he was a spectacular failure as a head coach. However, he was also an unmitigated success as an offensive coordinator for OU. Yes, Oklahoma had lots of 4 and 5 star athletes, but you had to have coaching to make all that talent work. By all accounts Chuck Long did that. I'm hoping he will do it again at KU.

slowplay 11 years, 2 months ago

I wouldn't be too concerned about his tenure at SD State. It's not a football school. I think I read somewhere that they hadn't recruited a top 100 prospect in over 5 years? It's a tough market with USC, UCLA etc. etc. competing for the top talent. As far as his praises, it would be like having 3 kids and each time they did something special you try to bolster their ego to maintain the success. Win or lose the next three games is inconsequential as long as they are competitive and go down swinging. That would give me a lot more confidence in this coaching staff going into next year.

Phoggin_Loud 11 years, 2 months ago

Added junior tight end Tim Biere: “It should be a turning point in this program. We realize what coach Gill is teaching us is working, and we can play like we did in the fourth quarter.”

Go get 'em, Hawks!!

hawk316 11 years, 2 months ago

Phog, the same quote caught my eye. The Gill critics will blow it off, of course, but the players sure seem to be in this coach's corner. So Biere's comment bears repeating,

"We realize what coach Gill is teaching us is working..."

grandpa 11 years, 2 months ago

  1. Thanks for your positive comments. I am revealing that #81 , Johnathan Wilson, is my grandson and I am proud he has my blood running through his veins. John tries to keep an upbeat attitude. I know that he realizes along with the other boys that they have three tough teams coming up but there never was a horse that couldn't be rode and never was a man that couldn't be throwed. Here's Good Luck to the boys Sat. Come out fighting and make Nebraska apologize for what they said about your mother!

khummel60 11 years, 2 months ago

That's awesome! You should be proud. We are very fortunate to have your Grandson as a Jayhawk. Jonathan was a HUGE part of the biggest comeback in KU history, and has been a steady part of our success for years. I'll be rooting for him as he continues to work his way up the list of all-time great receivers at KU. I hope he has a career day against NU.

grandpa 11 years, 2 months ago

Thank you khummel60 for your kind remarks. We are proud of John and he is proud to be a Jayhawk. We have watched him for 4 yrs and he only has 3 more games but we know he will do his best to help the Jayhawks win. Strange things happen and some of the top teams get knocked off each week. Go Jayhawks.!!Win Sat.!!

Funhawk 11 years, 2 months ago

Johnathan Wilson is the greatest! Please tell him thanks for becoming a Jayhawk.

grandpa 11 years, 2 months ago

Thank you Funhawk. John has had a fun 4 yrs as a Jayhawk and we have had a fun time watching him and the other boys. play ball

hawk316 11 years, 2 months ago

Ha! Great line, grandpa... " there never was a horse that couldn't be rode and never was a man that couldn't be throwed."

Thanks for sharing your grandson with the University of Kansas. He's been a solid contributor and has made some big catches.

grandpa 11 years, 2 months ago

Thanks for your nice comments. The quote was not original from me. It came from Mr. Will Rogers. Here's hoping good things for Sat.

rockemchalkemrobots 11 years, 2 months ago

You seem to be getting dangerously close to that line that you like to cross occasionally. Perhaps you should do your counting exercises... Not sure what to call you at this point. Azalumulazahperse...

Jayhawk1075 11 years, 2 months ago

You are probably a lot of people's daddy. While your own parentage is quite murky I'm sure. My understanding is that is quite normal however in Columbia, MO.......

ahpersecoachingexperience 11 years, 2 months ago

Disclaimer: all paternal accusations are false until proven on the maury povich (sp?) show.

troutsee 11 years, 2 months ago

GP, I hope you saw my comments regarding Johnathan a day or so ago. I know you took some jabs for your posts during the Mangino fiasco but obviously you knew what you were talking about. Johnathon had a great game against Colorado. Obviously you are a proud grandpa and you should be. Johnathan and team, give the Huskers 60 minutes of hell.

grandpa 11 years, 2 months ago

troutsee. I sure did see your comments and thanks. I actually knew quite a bit more about Mangino that never came out but that's history & time to move on. Our thoughts and comments are so much alike, I almost feel I know you . I do not know if it is true or not but I have been told that the Nebraska boys and especially Martinez have been saying some very ugly things about the mothers of our boys. This means Martinez lmust go out in the first of the first quarter.Our defense must come alive and play over their heads.!!

KUFan445101 11 years, 2 months ago

So Oguntodu was third in tackles and they moved him to linbacker and do not play him. Do we really have to wonder why our defense has struggled? I know Gill realized this season is essentially lost and is now giving his younger players game time (Oguntodu is a senior), but really...when we are losing by 50 points it is embarassing. Either move him back to his starting position as SS or start him a LB, but don't sit him on the bench. You are killing me Gill.

dtownhawkfan 11 years, 2 months ago

all we have to do for a bowl game is win out against BCS top 20 teams!!!!! woohooo!!!!!

ahpersecoachingexperience 11 years, 2 months ago

Why is an eighteen wheeler parked so close to the field?

hawk316 11 years, 2 months ago

You gotta be impressed with Meacham. Maintained a great attitude, worked hard, earned the respect of his teammates and produced when called upon. Yep, pretty impressive.

Continued success, Quinn!

KU_FanSince75 11 years, 2 months ago

Good luck to Quinn. He has quietly flown under the radar like a Stealth bomber and looked good against Colorado. Rock Nebraska's world on Saturday---again, best of luck!

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