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Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Quarterback carousel: Juco transfer Mecham gets nod with Webb, Pick injured

Kansas University quarterback Quinn Mecham (8) works on taking snaps, alongside Jordan Webb (2), Jacob Morse (16) and Conner Teahan, far right, on April 19 at a spring practice at Memorial Stadium. Turner Gill has options but has not named a starting quarterback for the game against Colorado.

Kansas University quarterback Quinn Mecham (8) works on taking snaps, alongside Jordan Webb (2), Jacob Morse (16) and Conner Teahan, far right, on April 19 at a spring practice at Memorial Stadium. Turner Gill has options but has not named a starting quarterback for the game against Colorado.

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Though he’s taught plenty of X’s and O’s, go routes, fades, bubble screens and zone blocking schemes, there’s one piece of advice that Kansas University offensive coordinator Chuck Long thinks stands above everything else.

“I always tell guys, ‘You ought to get to know Quinn. He’s gonna be a millionaire someday,’” said Long of KU’s third-string quarterback, Quinn Mecham. “He’s like a double major in finance, he’s a straight-A student, he’s a sharp young man.”

He’s also penciled in as the Jayhawks’ starting quarterback for this weekend’s game at Iowa State.

KU coach Turner Gill said Tuesday that starter Jordan Webb is doubtful and backup Kale Pick is out for Saturday’s game.

The injuries — a shoulder issue for Webb and a concussion for Pick — have put Mecham in a position that can be interpreted in a couple of ways. The doomsday crowd might look at Mecham’s chance to start as the latest in a line of bad luck for the KU football program.

But those inside the KU locker room choose to look at it differently. They might not have been able to do so before Sunday’s practice, but Mecham impressed so much on Sunday that the Jayhawks seem to have serious faith in the junior-college transfer’s abilities.

“Just going by Sunday’s practice, he felt very comfortable back there,” Long said. “He brought a little juice to practice, to be quite honest. He has a great opportunity before him, and he practiced like it on Sunday.”

KU coach Turner Gill did not say who Mecham’s immediate backup would be. The most recent depth chart lists Webb as the No. 2 guy, but there’s no guarantee he’ll be ready. If he’s not, the Jayhawks could go with red-shirt freshman Christian Matthews, a former quarterback who has spent most of the season working as a wide receiver.

Matthews said Long told him to expect more work at quarterback this week. The mere thought brought a smile to Matthews’ face.

“I’ve still got that passion at quarterback,” he said. “So if I get the chance, I’m not gonna hold back.”

One thing that may prevent the KU coaching staff from using Matthews as much as they might like is a right shoulder injury he suffered a couple of weeks ago. Matthews, who did not play last week but did two weeks ago against Kansas State, said the shoulder would not be a problem.

“I don’t think I’d be able to feel it if I played,” he said. “So it’s the last thing I’m worried about right now.”

Regardless of which player is taking snaps, Gill said the change at quarterback won’t force KU to alter its offense.

“There’s going to be some simplification,” he said. “But we’re still going to run what we run. (Mecham) has played two years of college football. I like the way he gets the ball out. He has a good arm and I think he’s going to be able to do some things in a good way for us. He’s got a big smile on his face and he’s ready to go. He said, ‘Coach, I’m ready. I’m ready for this opportunity.’”

Despite his own excitement, Matthews said he believed in Mecham. Asked what he expected to see from the 6-foot-2, 207-pound junior this week, Matthews was quick to respond.

“Smart play for the most part,” he said. “He’s the smartest guy on the team. He’s always in the study room or the academic center, doing what he needs to do.”

Long said Mecham’s intelligence transfers to the field and is the one thing that makes the KU coaching staff feel good about preparing for battle with a third-stringer.

“As I said from the very beginning, this is something that’s still being worked out,” Long said. “He’s a very intelligent young man. He studies the game. He just hasn’t had the repetitions. But he’s been a very good backup.”

Comments

100 3 years, 11 months ago

From TheShiver.com.....

[Four star recruit] Darrian Miller will be enrolling at Kansas this spring, allowing him to participate in spring ball. However, before he arrives, Miller has a message for Jayhawk Nation. ”We’re bringing the program back.”

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ahpersecoachingexperience 3 years, 11 months ago

Little heavy on the cut and paste this morning.

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Dirk Medema 3 years, 11 months ago

And Saunders too!

Obviously, Darrian is the bigger name and more highly rated player, but Saunders has some serious speed. That is another great addition.

Will Bernard Thomas be joining the family?

It s also interesting that Darrian is now a 3* after being much more highly rated earlier this year.

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omari1911 3 years, 11 months ago

He's still listed as a 4-star at Rivals.com. He's probably a high 4-star at that. He's the best RB in the Midwest.

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DocBean 3 years, 11 months ago

I suspect that players ratings will drop after signing with this coaching staff. Rivals always moves guys after they sign. If they're signing for someone like Bill Self or Roy Williams in Basketball they move up, if they're signing with an unproven coach they move down. If they don't sign until late they seem to move higher and higher, this drives more traffic to the website so people can see where the high recruits are going to end up.

Hopefully he'll play above his ranking.

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Ben Kliewer 3 years, 11 months ago

Wait...what? Now I'm all discombobulated. Don't get me wrong. Very exciting when kids say things like that (unfortunate that he has to). But since when did Gill get four star recruits? All you guys lied to me! I guess I should start following the recruiting myself instead of relying on reading posts on here to know what's going on. But wait again! He was a four star and now he's a three star...is that what committing to KU does to a players credibility? Can Gill actually recruit now? WHAT'S GOING ON?

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Harrison Green 3 years, 11 months ago

Or because our games won't be on TV for God knows how long...

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Michael Leiker 3 years, 11 months ago

Exactly, it's impossible to judge the quarterback play with our O-Line. You just really don't know how good these guys are.

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leonard 3 years, 11 months ago

"Gill said the change at quarterback won’t force KU to alter its offense...He’s got a big smile on his face"

Whew! Had me worried for a minute...I thought coach Gill was going to abandon his one touchdown a game offense and wipe the smiley-face off the players.

Kumbaya, coach Gill.

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jhox 3 years, 11 months ago

You guys are all way too caught up in the number of stars recruits have. Half of the guys giving out these stars have never coached or played football. A lot of two and three star guys turn into college stars, while a lot of 4 star guys never see significant playing time.

What matters is whether the coaching staff knows how to identify a player who is likely to be successful. Where is that great post Orange Bowl recruiting class we supposedly had? Where is the team speed from that group? We lucked out and had a number of good players "hit" at once. Guys like Reesing, Meier, Talib...guys who were not necessarily highly rated (Meier had a decent rating, but at QB.)

The older I get, and the more football I've watched, the more and more convinced I am that the game comes down to speed as much as anything. This staff seems to understand that. It remains to be seen if they'll be successful recruiting the right guys, but it is encouraging to see them still getting committments int he midst of a disasterous season. We need to give them a chance. There is a reason we lost 7 in a row to end the year last year, and that was with the most prolific QB in KU history still at the helm. This is not a talented team we have here.

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jhox 3 years, 11 months ago

That's a good point...I should have chosen my words a little more carefully. What probably would be more accurate, is to say most of the guys handing out these stars have never recruited players to a successful footbal program.

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FSUJHAWK 3 years, 11 months ago

Good luck QM! This road game is a great opportunity for KU to get some sort of self-respect back. ISU is still on a high from their recent win and will probably underestimate this KU team. Hopefully our team will not underestimate itself. Go out there and whoop some Cyclone butts boys!

RCJHGKU!!!

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Brian Leiker 3 years, 11 months ago

Neither Boise St. or TCU have out recruited us in the last 5 years. Recruiting services are deficient.

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crmsnblu 3 years, 11 months ago

am i crazy or does the picture caption say "connor teahan" with webb and morse?

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TxJyHwk 3 years, 11 months ago

You're not crazy. The picture was from spring practice when Connor Teahan tried out as a walk-on for the quarterback spot.

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vmwskywalk 3 years, 11 months ago

Dude...give it up. Go root for for your kitty cats.

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trout984bum 3 years, 11 months ago

Cause I'm sure these boys' highschool coaches are better at player positions than Coach Gill, cmon!

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jaymar74 3 years, 11 months ago

You are dead wrong, this team does not have a lot of good and talented players, this team has average talent at below average speed. Why did Mangino not fight harder to keep his job? He knew he was in for a long season this year.

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Layne Pierce 3 years, 11 months ago

Well it's half empty half full guys. Meecham can't do any worse, really, unless he throws 3 intercetions for touchdowns. Which he might. Fact is, as David Lawrence said, right now,we have no starters. Let's suppose that Meecham throws 6 passes for a 100 yds, and no interceptions. And we simply hand the ball off three fourths of the time. Let's say the score is just 28-0. Will we all agree that we have made tremendous progress? After all, Iowa St did beat Texas at Texas?

Fact is we need to see some fire, some determination, some no quite. And we need to begin to see something that looks like a formula for victory. We control the ball, we score 28 points, we kick a bunch of field goals. So far, there is no indication of any means to be competitive, let alone any means to win.

I think ideally, if we could score first, and then be able to pound the ball to use up the clock, keep the defense off the field, and make Iowa St respect the run, so we could pass at the right moments, even downfield, then we can win.

Anybody see that as a possibility?

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grandpa 3 years, 11 months ago

nebhawk77. I agree with your positive attitude. We do need to see some fire. If we could put some early points on the board, I think we could stand a chance. Who knows what this new quarterback can do? If he can have some time, he may be the better quarterback. In my opinion, Webb and Pick are never going to make good college quarterbacks.

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Jaminrawk 3 years, 11 months ago

You know, I'm as frustrated as most about this season but here's a question for all of the Gill haters:

Q: Where did KU finish in the Big XII last year? A: dead last with a 1-7 record.

Add to that the fact KU lost Reesing, Meier, Stuckey, Sharp and Briscoe and what did we all really expect this year? I do agree we shouldn't be getting embarassed out there but at the same time I seriously doubt any coach would be winning with this team.

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DocBean 3 years, 11 months ago

Q: How competitive did you expect KU to be with this weak Big XII Schedule?

If your Answer is that you expected us to lose every conference game by an average of 45 points, then I'd say you should be working in Vegas.

Coaching makes a difference. It's not all Gill's fault, Torbush and Long need to take a lot of the blame too. You won't ever see me apologize for guys that are making millions to stand on the sidelines and watch a game, maybe that makes me a "hater" – so be it.

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trout984bum 3 years, 11 months ago

Who knows, maybe half the reason we suck is cause Coach is spending all his time recruiting for next year?

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tis4tim 3 years, 11 months ago

Though I've been down on the state of our football team this year, these kinds of situations are often where stars are born.

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namder 3 years, 11 months ago

If Conner Teahan would have stayed out for football he probably would have started this Saturday.

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Kent Wells 3 years, 11 months ago

By now he would have been moved to nose guard or linebacker.

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ahpersecoachingexperience 3 years, 11 months ago

the snap on the far right pretty much sume up this season!

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Tony Bandle 3 years, 11 months ago

I see the problem...look at the picture...we're playing with a ball way to big!!

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Michael Leiker 3 years, 11 months ago

In the back of this kids mind, in his heart of hearts, do you think he's scared sh!tless about having to line up behind our O-Line?

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Tony Bandle 3 years, 11 months ago

Hey, c'mon...we suck. Let's have some fun with it. Some suggestions to improve attendance.

1] Rename our cheer leading squad the Full Frontal Nudity Hawks. 2] "Buy One, get One Free Beer Night" 3] You get a full refund if you stay for the entire game. 4] Halftime Show - Flyovers of Stealth Fighters, Bombers and Classified Aircraft. 5] Erin Andrews Bikini Night. 6] Use a revolutionary No Run, No Punt, No Huddle, All Passing Offense. 7] Fly the Canadien Flag, pretend we're up north and field 12 guys. 8] Equip the defense with brass knuckles, tire irons and Tasers. 9] Let Bill Self call the plays. 10] Blow up 50,000 inflatable ladies and fill the stands.

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Mark Lindrud 3 years, 11 months ago

1) Replace our cheerleaders with exotic dancers. 2) Wet t-shirt contest everytime we score a TD 3) Half price beers. 4) Half time show: Lap dance contest. 5) Let the cheerleaders play the 4th quarter. 6) Make Coach Gill play QB for one quarter so he knows how bad our line really is.

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jhox 3 years, 11 months ago

It's pretty obvious Gill knew how bad our O line was before the season even began. We had like 5 offensive lineman commit before summer practice started. That tells me he knew good and well that offensive line was not a strength. What else did he do? He went after a bunch of fast running backs. He obviously figured out early on this team lacked speed as well. Look for some of those RB's to be in the secondary in a year or two.

I don't believe talent evaluation is a Gill weakness. I do think he needs to figure out a way to get guys to play harder and with more enthusiasm. If I have a strong criticism of him, that's it.

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Tony Bandle 3 years, 11 months ago

11] Set up a pie throwing booth with Jaybate, Kushaw, Ralster and OakvilleJHawk. Who ever gets hit with the most pies takes Soobawls out to dinner. 12) Drug the opponen's Gatoraid with roofie and leave them on the roof of Strong Hall. 13] Stage a Halftime Texas Death Cage Match between Sweet Lew and Mark the Manginator 14] Play New Mexico State for the rest of the season. 15] First Quarter: Play the Marching Jayhawks Second Quarter: Play the Basketball Team Third Quarter: Play the Cheerleaders, Yell Leaders and Pom Pom Girls. Fourth Quarter: Play Free State/Lawrence High School Combo team

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Kenneth Hillman 3 years, 11 months ago

16) TO gets to play running back

17) Plays are called by facebook polls...get out and vote!

18) The players get to hang out with girls after 10 if they win!

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Kenneth Hillman 3 years, 11 months ago

19) Check your ticket stub, drawing at halftime, you may get to play the 2nd half!

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jmsuther 3 years, 11 months ago

How in the heck could KU's offense get any more simplified

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KU_FanSince75 3 years, 11 months ago

To: Oakville-----

16) Have the Chiefs defense dress up in KU's road uniforms, doing double duty---taking on Iowa State, Buffalo Bills and hey, bring on the Rams, too!

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