Advertisement

Friday, October 29, 2010

Kansas football notebook: Oguntodu expected move to LB

Advertisement

Kansas University senior Olaitan Oguntodu had started KU’s first six football games at strong safety and was the team’s third-leading tackler.

photo

Kansas’ Olaitan Oguntodu encourages his teammates in this file photo from Sept. 25. Oguntodu has moved from safety to linebacker, where he is expected to play Saturday at iowa State.

Prior to last week’s loss to Texas A&M;, which dropped the Jayhawks to 2-5, Oguntodu was moved from safety to linebacker, where he played sparingly against the Aggies.

Asked Tuesday if he was on board with the change, Oguntodu stressed his commitment to this team.

“Comfortable, yes. I’m comfortable at the position,” he said. “I’ve played the position before. To be honest with you, I anticipated the move before it happened. We’ve tinkered around before, defensively on the practice field. But you always want to be in position to have some input on the overall production of the team.”

His opportunities were limited against A&M;, but KU coach Turner Gill said this week that the idea was to get Oguntodu more involved.

“He’s gonna play some,” Gill said. “How much, we don’t know. But we are gonna rotate him in there with (starter) Steven Johnson. He’s on board. I’m not going to say he wasn’t initially disappointed. He got a few snaps just to get himself going, and as we go along he’ll get more and more. You gotta make sure your guy’s going to be able to be successful. You can’t just throw him out there.”

Still, Gill said the coaching staff chose to make the move because Oguntodu’s skills are better suited to his new position.

“He fits a little bit better there. He’s a little bit more of a downhill player,” Gill said. “He has good size and is able to get off blocks better closer to the line of scrimmage.”

Oguntodu, who has recorded 40 tackles this season, said changing positions at this point in his career has been tough but doable.

“You have to be open to change,” he said. “If that’s what we need to get a win, I’m all for it. I’ve never let difficulty measure how I go about situations.”

Welcome to the show

With running back Deshaun Sands and wide receiver D.J. Beshears suspended for this week’s game at Iowa State — 1 p.m. Saturday in Ames, Iowa — a few new names appeared on the Jayhawks’ depth chart this week.

Willie O’Quinn, a 6-foot, 181-pound sophomore from Coppell, Texas, was penciled into Beshears’ spot as the H receiver, and sophomore wideout Bradley McDougald slid into Beshears’ spot as the first-string kickoff-return man.

Cornerback Isiah Barfield slid in to McDougald’s old role and also will return kickoffs this week.

Struggle a surprise

Several of the most experienced players on KU’s roster this season said the rough stretch they are fighting through caught them by surprise.

Senior receiver Johnathan Wilson, who continues his move up the school’s all-time receiving charts, said dropping 12 of the last 14 games he has played has been tough.

“As soon as we came here, we had success, so I kind of expected that year after year,” he said. “But the group behind me, and in the years to come, they just have to believe in the program and keep pushing.”

Wilson needs nine grabs to move into eighth place on the all-time receptions list. He needs just 81 yards to move into 17th place on that list.

While those factors figure to motivate him some, Wilson said his biggest drive was to end the losing streak.

“I have confidence we can turn it around,” he said. “I just want to win. I’m tired of losing.”

Comments

Kevin Kelly 9 years, 3 months ago

Oh yeah? Well....something sarcastic about Turner Gill.

Dirk Medema 9 years, 3 months ago

What's funny is that sarcasm about the sarcasm isn't funny, but somehow the sarcasm is.

Or is it just dumb?

leonard 9 years, 3 months ago

"You gotta make sure your guy’s going to be able to be successful. You can’t just throw him out there."

Perkins must have missed that chapter when he read the manual on "How to Hire a Great Football Coach".

Kumbaya, coach Gill.

Matt Kenton 9 years, 3 months ago

I continue to wonder how things might be different if Perkins were still here. Not saying the win-loss record would be any different, but how much guidance would he be giving the man with the average resume he brought in. What kind of talks would be taking place between them, what things would Lew be doing to help the program mid-season? Maybe they are still talking... Turner fails, Lew still looks bad.

khummel60 9 years, 3 months ago

This seems like a good move, and I really expect to hear Oguntodu's name mentioned allot in the remaining games. He has proven to be a hard-nosed player and he seems to have that linebacker mentality. Here's hoping he plays like Willie Pless tomorrow at Iowa State.

sava12 9 years, 3 months ago

Khummell60, thanks for the trip down memory lane with Willie Pless....great tackler. I remember when he played at KU. I believe he was only 200 lbs and still made over 600 tackles. Oguntodu should provide some good speed against the ISU option.

Dirk Medema 9 years, 3 months ago

Pless played for only three years (1983 to 1985) and amassed an amazing 633 tackles. This is not recognized as a record, as the NCAA officially counted tackles starting in 2000, but the present leader (Rod Davis) has only 360. Pless was 5 feet 10 inches tall, 210 pounds.

sava12 9 years, 3 months ago

633! Wow. I still have the programs from the 1980's and he is listed at 205 in his final year. Not that 5 lbs matter but where did you see 210?

GoHawks1 9 years, 3 months ago

Do you realize that Turner Gill makes $38,461 a week? That's right, $38,461! Week after week have you seen this team improve? If I saw improvement week after week then I would think that Coach Gill was earning his paycheck.

When you make as much money as Turner Gill does people expect results. So far the Return on Investment is BAD.

Dirk Medema 9 years, 3 months ago

GoHawks - You apparently missed the goals of the program - recruiting and winning. You also apparently missed the really solid recruiting week we had in the midst of the bad on the field performances. That is an improvement, so yes we are getting some return on our investment.

Realize also, investments by their very nature do not produce immediate gratification. An investment is about doing without immediately in order to benefit more in the long run. Even an entire season is not the long run.

lv_jhwk 9 years, 3 months ago

KR, there are definite reasons for a lot of the bashing that is occurring. Admittedly, my own original optimism has turned into a fair bit of skepticism with some of the strategies and techniques I've seen.

However, I too am getting weary of certain voices having the same repetitive complaints day after day, few of which seem to really be tied to on-the-field matters.

I am more than willing (and quite hopeful) to praise Gill when the time comes. I just wonder how many of his biggest detractors will be able to do the same.

Jeremy LeMaster 9 years, 3 months ago

I must have missed something... Why is Beshears suspended this week?

bayareajhawk 9 years, 3 months ago

My cousin's brother's ex-girlfriend's boss's nephew told me Beshears was caught talking to a girl on his cell phone at 10:07 PM the night before the game last week. That, or he skipped class. You heard it here first.

Jonathan Allison 9 years, 3 months ago

I think it was me actually who made up the curfew violation/skipped class theory.

Who's your cousin's brother's ex-girlfriend's boss?

grandpa 9 years, 3 months ago

Good for you John Wilson. I hope you are thrown some decent passes this Saturday. The third string quarterback has to be aan improvement over the other two.

Kevin Kelly 9 years, 3 months ago

Everyone get your tri-corner hat and tie on some bags of lipton! We're off to go after that fat-cat Gill and all that fat-cat money he makes!!!! I say in the honnor of Halloween we force him into an abandoned windmill and set it on fire Frankenstien's Monster style!!!

You're not mad!!! I'm MAD!!! Torches at the ready!!!

Get...a....life....

Everyone gets 3 years. You aren't going to track his fricking water and power consumption in his office, are you?

DocBean 9 years, 3 months ago

Why does everyone get 3 years? Who wrote that rule? Will you say the same thing if he continues to get blown out every game this year and next?

I say the next AD needs to evaluate him after this year, and make VERY clear that he/she expects more next year. That AD also needs to be looking at what coaching talent is available out there right now, and next year. If Gill can't win at least 1 or 2 Big XII games next year, then he should be gone. You can only go down the wrong road for so long before you have to turn around and go back the other way.

Gill has a horrible contract. That's Lew's fault. He might end up being a horrible hire he might end up being just what we need; I'm just hoping the next AD is smart enough to make the right move, and smart enough to be evaluating other coaching options whether we need one or not. And that goes for ALL sports. It's the AD's job to know what talent is out there at all times, and be able to get the guy he wants. Lew didn't get the guy he wanted, and settled for Gill. It happens. Roy Williams certainly wasn't KUs first choice when Larry Brown left, and that turned out ok. Self WAS the number 1 target, and that turned out even better.

Dustin Engelken 9 years, 3 months ago

I would be curious to see how those recruiting classes would rank if you took the kids off the list who are gone now for whatever reason.

I think if you subtract all the kids who left the team (crawford, johnson, briscoe for different reasons), as well as the kids who have been injured (spikes, tharp), then I think you will see that many of the "better" recruits which lifted those recruiting rankings are actually not playing for Gill's team.

Obviously, I realize there isn't an easy way to recalibrate the rankings, especially considering other teams deal with these issues too. My only point is that pointing to top 50 recruiting classes and expecting a top 50 team is kind of irrelevant when you realize that many of these recruits are not even playing this year.

Dirk Medema 9 years, 3 months ago

Actually, there was an article in the LJW last February-ish (?) about how Lew has been interested in Turner for several years, since meeting him at a golf outing or something like that. I believe it was also reported that he was the first candidate interviewed, but that Lew did his due diligence by contacting other candidates as well.

So, Yes, Gill WAS the #1 target.

sdoyel 9 years, 3 months ago

Yep, Mangino left Gill with a TON of depth and talent. We have Olaitan Oguntodu as a starting Linebacker!!!! WOO HOO! FIRE GILL! FIRE GILL!

DocBean 9 years, 3 months ago

I don't know why everyone keeps saying Mangino left the cupboard bare. In '07 he had the #50th ranked recruiting class, in 08 - 40th, in 09 - 31st. These are the same kids that are playing now.

Yet are we even close to being a top 50 team??? NO!!!

The same recruiting experts have Gills current class ranked #46. So how can anyone say he's fixing things with recruiting? He's bringing in the EXACT same talent level!

Mangino's 1 year above .500 in the Big XII was with talent that didn't rank in the top 50. I'm not Mangino apologist - Mangino sucked, and I'm glad he's gone! However, you can't argue that he coached those kids up constantly ending the year ranked higher then his recruiting classes would have put them. THIS KU team should be in the top 50. They're not. that's this coaching staff's responsibility.

DocBean 9 years, 3 months ago

  • meant to say "You CAN argue that he coached those kids up..." because he did according to Rivals rankings.

Andy Tweedy 9 years, 3 months ago

Please, Please, Please! Would everyone stop using Rivals and Scout as their reasons why we should do this and not do that. Most of the writers for these rags stopped playing football when they were 10. It's nice to get a 4-star or 5-star player, but it really doesn't mean much of anything. There is so much politics built into recruiting. You don't think the Rivals guys want to sell rags to Nebraska or Notre Dame fans by pumping up a few stars for a ND recruit? In fact, Notre Dame should be enough to tell you the stars don't mean a thing. Always getting the recruits and never getting the results.

Dirk Medema 9 years, 3 months ago

Jersey's well said, but misplaced comment from above.

I would be curious to see how those recruiting classes would rank if you took the kids off the list who are gone now for whatever reason.

I think if you subtract all the kids who left the team (crawford, johnson, briscoe for different reasons), as well as the kids who have been injured (spikes, tharp), then I think you will see that many of the "better" recruits which lifted those recruiting rankings are actually not playing for Gill's team.

Obviously, I realize there isn't an easy way to recalibrate the rankings, especially considering other teams deal with these issues too. My only point is that pointing to top 50 recruiting classes and expecting a top 50 team is kind of irrelevant when you realize that many of these recruits are not even playing this year

Dustin Engelken 9 years, 3 months ago

I would be curious to see how those recruiting classes would rank if you took the kids off the list who are gone now for whatever reason.

I think if you subtract all the kids who left the team (crawford, johnson, briscoe for different reasons), as well as the kids who have been injured (spikes, tharp), then I think you will see that many of the "better" recruits which lifted those recruiting rankings are actually not playing for Gill's team.

Obviously, I realize there isn't an easy way to recalibrate the rankings, especially considering other teams deal with these issues too. My only point is that pointing to top 50 recruiting classes and expecting a top 50 team is kind of irrelevant when you realize that many of these recruits are not even playing this year.

ahpersecoachingexperience 9 years, 3 months ago

Nothing like experimenting with players positions 8 weeks into the season. Sounds like something that should of been noticed/done in spring ball.

khummel60 9 years, 3 months ago

It seems to me the coaches actually did foresee problems with our linebackers in the Spring, thus the move of Operum. Unfortunately, there is simply no way any coach could know exactly how they would perform in Big-12 competition until they actually played a Big-12 game or two. Now we know in no uncertain terms that line-backing is an issue. In 2008 we lost Rivera, Holt, and Mortenson, all of whom went to the NFL. Without them last year our Defense struggled, especially the linebackers. The best linebacker coming into this season was Springer, but he is an "old-style" hard-nosed linebacker who is tough against the run, but doesn't have the speed to cover the outside plays (thus the never-ending string of bubble screens being run against us). Our linebackers are all tough and competitive, but they are getting burned by speed. I applaud the coaches for continuing to try and fix the problems, and move the best athletes into the positions where they are most needed.

Jonathan Allison 9 years, 3 months ago

it's hard to notice/do things in the spring to fill holes in the lineup created by guys who had season ending injuries in summer drills and two-a-days.

ahpersecoachingexperience 9 years, 3 months ago

Your right the man knows his stuff. Like when he knew our returning rb would be a great lb, wait it mean de. Like when he knew pick would be the qb to lead us. Everything gill touches has been gold so far, so I'm sure this will work out great!

ahpersecoachingexperience 9 years, 3 months ago

And plastic, just a heads up that trick or treaters will be coming to your house in a couple of days. . . If dude gets hurt in the summer and here we are in almost November and taking steps to replace due to injury. . .

JBurtin 9 years, 3 months ago

I don't think it's so much about summer injuries as having guys that aren't panning out and having to make adjustments with players that don't necessaryily fit the mold, but might be able to get the job done.

Opurum is certainly not an ideal DE, but at least he's a guy that is getting some decent pressure.

However, moving Opurum to DE leaves a hole in an already depleted linebacking corps. Oguntodu is a guy with good speed that gets off blocks well and has played the position in the past. All things that we desperately need in the LB corps right now.

Ideally you would like to have more good linebackers to choose from, but even before the season everybody saw that we were reduced to starting 1 former walk on and having 3 current walk ons as back ups. Not exactly a stellar lineup and certainly not something that Gill had control over.

I hate losing as much as the next guy, but I think much of the anger stems simply from way, way overbloated expectations for a team that really wouldn't be very good even if we had the best coach in the nation.

khummel60 9 years, 3 months ago

He may have played LB in certain situations, but he was listed on the roster the past two seasons as a Safety. I do agree, however, that this should not be a huge adjustment for him, as he has played that position before.

F_N_Genius 9 years, 3 months ago

Well thank you for blessing us with your presence.

PEOPLE, PEOPLE. WE HAVE A CELEBRITY HERE. NOT SURE WHO HE IS BUT HEY, HE WATCHES THEM PRACTICE.......

This mofo is IMPORTANT.

Geekinout 9 years, 3 months ago

I heard a rumor the suspensions were for overall not buying into the teams philosophy. Good that Gill has the gumption to take disciplinary acts. Bad, if what I heard is true, that these players are at this point in the season. Not like they were contributing a whole lot anyways, unless you count costly fumbles and drop passes. At least it wasn't for trying to climb through the drive-thru window of Taco Bell.

ahpersecoachingexperience 9 years, 3 months ago

Stealing a ladies credit card and using it to order a pizza to your jayhawk tower apartment is my favorite!

F_N_Genius 9 years, 3 months ago

I foresee Justin Springer as the starting QB in two weeks.

Makes about as much sense as some of the other moves Gill has made.

And even though Oguntodu says you have to take the move with an open mind, you cant tell me it doesnt affect his care to play.

The man is 5 weeks away from possibly playing his last football game. WTF are we moving him for???? Let him play out his career at the position he has played and enjoyed his entire life. Moving him now isnt going to save your season Gill. Making moves at this point in the season makes absolutely no sense.

Dirk Medema 9 years, 3 months ago

Your right. Let's just stop trying to find something that works and quit on the season.

Any athlete worth anything would gladly makes changes in order to win. You apparently missed the articles from earlier in the year (summer, around the time that Huldon went down, and they were tinkering with all the walk-ons playing significant minutes) talking about OO as a candidate for helping with the depleted LB corp.

F_N_Genius 9 years, 3 months ago

Oguntodu said himself that hes "ok" at the position. This is part of the very reason we are getting our a$$es wiped every game. People in positions they have no clue how to play in. Just because someone practices in a position for the preseason does not mean he is going to be worth a poop going up against RB and offensive lineman who have played their positions their entire careers. You gonna tell me Gill doesnt have a FR or SO that can play linebacker who would give us a couple more years with the experience he would gain this season????? Moving a senior from his normal position to play another position, 5 WEEKS BEFORE THE SEASON IS OVER is a BS move and probably one that Gill is making just to try and appease his critics. This move is not going to save the season, nor will it help us out next year so whats the move for? How is this going to help KU in the long run? Is he expecting Oguntodu back next year??? OH YEA. He wont be, hes a senior.

Pointless move. Stop trying to show eye candy Gill and actually coach. You wanna help this program, put in a FR or SO and let us use his experience he'll gain this year. If we're gonna get spanked every game, atleast give us that.

caribhawk 9 years, 3 months ago

Why is Gill making all these moves this late in the season, desperation, disorganization, inability to evaluate where players belong, all of the above!

troutsee 9 years, 3 months ago

Honk. Honk. We have a shortage of liinebackers. Oguntodu hits like a linebacker and has the speed to make a difference. The move makes perfect sense to me. Moving Opurum to defense also makes sense to me. You are not going to play the skilled offensive positions for Gill if you don't have speed. In fact, it is obvious that he is going for speed at all positions except for maybe the O-line. Winning programs are built on speed. KU FB has had a serious lack of speed down through the years. No more.We are going to have speed.

Again, I have been dismayed and angered by the blow out losses like many of you. However, when I stop to think about it, transitioning to a new system combined with a freshman inexperienced QB, and a defense that was very suspect last year has led to blowouts. Whether or not the coaches are at fault is argumentative.

I think we need to cut the coaches some slack. And even if we aren't ready to do that, it makes no difference, as Gill will be here at least 3 years unless we continue to have blowout losses the remainder of this year and all of next year. If that happens, he will be fired.

Commenting has been disabled for this item.