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Sunday, October 31, 2010

Keegan

Mecham should start at quarterback again

Iowa State defensive end Jacob Lattimer pressures Kansas quarterback Quinn Mecham during the third quarter Saturday, Oct. 30, 2010 at Jack Trice Stadium.

Iowa State defensive end Jacob Lattimer pressures Kansas quarterback Quinn Mecham during the third quarter Saturday, Oct. 30, 2010 at Jack Trice Stadium.

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KU vs. ISU highlights

Highlights from Iowa State's 28-16 victory over Kansas on Oct. 30, 2010.

— The coaches simplified the offense, running the ball up the middle to open up the pass for the quarterback making his first start, and it largely worked.

The coaches simplified the defense, letting the players react more and think less, and it worked.

So the last thing the Kansas University football coaching staff needs to do at this point is out-think itself at quarterback.

The Jayhawks looked, acted and sounded more like a team with Quinn Mecham under center Saturday in a 28-16 loss to Iowa State than it had in several weeks.

So regardless of the health of the other quarterbacks on the roster, leave him right there, taking the first snap of the Colorado game, a 1 p.m. kickoff Saturday in Memorial Stadium.

Offensive coordinator Chuck Long noted early in the week that it seemed as if Mecham’s presence brought added juice in practice, and that’s the way it seemed at Jack Trice Stadium.

“He threw the ball around real well,” senior running back Angus Quigley said. “He led the offense, and he acted like he’d been out there. That’s encouraging. He was really spirited all week, but it is what it is. We lost.”

Mecham’s spirit brought out better play in teammates who tired harder for him. In the first year of coach Turner Gill coaching Mark Mangino’s recruits, this hasn’t always felt like a unified team. Call it progress. So don’t regress by benching Mecham.

“Quinn came in and did a great job for being a third-string quarterback,” left guard Sal Capra said. “I thought he did a really good job. It didn’t surprise me at all. All week at practice he was calm and cool and did a good job.”

Mecham appreciated the strong, early work of a running game that opened passing opportunities for him.

“From the offensive line to the receivers to the running backs, they all helped me out all week, and it was great,” he said.

Mecham, a junior who put up big passing numbers at Snow College, a juco in Ephraim, Utah, doesn’t qualify as a great talent. Kale Pick and Jordan Webb have more mobility, better athleticism. But Mecham is more decisive on where to go with the ball than Pick and a more accurate passer than Webb.

Mecham didn’t try to go downfield very often and badly telegraphed his lone interception on a touch pass. He made for a fairly easy target for pass rushers, but he also exhibited a feel for how to manage a game and withstood some serious shots without fumbling.

Mecham’s statistics were pretty representative of his performance. Not bad. Not great. He completed 22 of 33 passes for 149 yards and one touchdown and was sacked twice.

Regardless of who’s under center, this team has issues, conditioning and special-teams play among them. In four Big 12 games, Kansas has been outscored 91-14 in the second half, including 21-0 in the third quarter Saturday. (The points allowed would be greater than 100 if three of the games weren’t blowouts.) Conditioning and half-time adjustments are contributing factors.

Leaving Mecham at QB for at least one more start staves off another issue.

Comments

NebraskaJayhawk 3 years, 9 months ago

I didn't see the game, but those aren't great stats against a pretty average team. Who cares if they beat Texas. ISU is not a national contender....yet. At this point in the season, with the record we have, why in the world would you suggest starting a quarterback that knows how to "manage a game" but is less athletic than both Pick and Webb. Gill knows and will start the quarterback of the future for this team if he is any coach at all. Game time experience is what Webb needs if he is going to progress as our quarterback. Send him back in, Gill.

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Max Ledom 3 years, 9 months ago

Are you saying he has to beat a top ranked team to be considered good? What you said was stupid. Iowa State is a damn good football team this year with senior leadership. "Who cares if they beat Texas", dude. I don't care what team you are. You have to be pretty good to beat Texas in Austin. No "average" football team does that. Also, Iowa State is 1 win away from a bowl gam. And they went to a bowl last year aswell. Dumb statement on your part.

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Kyle Crenshaw 3 years, 9 months ago

ucla, baylor, and isu have won at texas this year...baylor may be above average but isu and ucla sure aren't

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GridironHawk 3 years, 9 months ago

Not to mention some average KSU teams (non bowl eligible) the last couple years...

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NebraskaJayhawk 3 years, 9 months ago

No offense to you, Mr. Keegan...just don't agree with you.

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Ashwin Rao 3 years, 9 months ago

Keegan, not sure what is wrong, but I agree with you yet again (become a habit lately!)

I wasn't there, but I noticed that we moved the chain consistently at the end, and people were where they were supposed to! I don't care if Mecham is not very athletic, but if he can move the chains and score, he can protect the ball, he is accurate, he releases the ball quickly and makes good decisions, and if his team has chemistry (which was lacking... big time!), I would definitely back your suggestion to keep him for at least one more game! CO can be a great confidence builder... We will most probably be toyed around with against NU, so CO would be a great place to get our confidence back!

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kickazzkurtz 3 years, 9 months ago

Can we get someone else to start at head coach next week?

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siltom 3 years, 9 months ago

Whoever is at QB, we have to throw the ball long. All these short passes isn't going to cut it. Wilson and McDougald are both good receivers and we aren't getting them the ball enough. Patterson is fast but he is small and we throw to him with 2 and 3 people covering him. We kept it SIMPLE against ISU and we can't do that in the up-coming weeks.

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NebraskaJayhawk 3 years, 9 months ago

I think you are right in that we're not taking our shots downfield. Of course this all depends if the QB has time to chuck it long. I think McDougal is a great downfield target. Not sure about Wilson unless he's open. But I think McDougal has the skills to go up and get the ball...and bring it down.

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ahpersecoachingexperience 3 years, 9 months ago

tom brady could start for us next week and it won't matter!

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caribhawk 3 years, 9 months ago

Unfortunately, KU only moved the ball and scored at the end because ISU had its 2nd string in on defense. This KU team always gets hammered in the 2nd half, they are clearly out of shape. As I suspected, Meachem may be the best QB, which raises questions about TG's ability to get the right players on the field. Given his few reps all season, Meachem is better than Webb and Pick were at this stage, although I can understand that KU wants a 4 year starter at QB and not a 2-year juco guy. The problem all year is TG has dumbed down the offense for young QBs, yet freshmen QBs in the Oklahoma and Texas systems always have a full complement of plays. If TG doesn't "expect" anything of his team, and doesn't challenge them, then you get exactly what has happened to date. ISU has a great coach, and his coaching is really helping that team, KU gets no help from its coaches. KU must be the easiest team in the NCAA to game-plan for, they never do anything different - - vanilla offense, no special red-zone offensive plays, no mis-direction, no "new" plays or new game plans from week to week to keep teams off balance...this team could be coached by anyone right now and I don't think there would be any noticeable difference in how they would perform.

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jhawkrulz 3 years, 9 months ago

Unfortunately, I agree. I saw your comment about a lose-lose situation for Gill last week, and I couldn't agree more with that comment as well.

I heard KU is falling to the worse in the D-I football, a far cry from those Mangino years.

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ahpersecoachingexperience 3 years, 9 months ago

ill go ahead and suggest that isu may of been looking ahead to their game against nu next week

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Justin Diederich 3 years, 9 months ago

I think Keegan is dead on here. I have been to every home game. Webb is not a good leader. I think Pick is a good leader, but he can't stay healthy. If Mechem brings any excitement to the team what so ever then we need to roll with him. If turner wants to get anything out of this year, he needs to let Mechem finish this year. Then hit the recruiting trail and find a QB. Great article Tom. Rock Chalk Jayhawks. No matter what!

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grandpa 3 years, 9 months ago

Our problem is that we have three weak quarterbacks. I don't care how many good receivers you have, if you cannot get the ball to them, you are in trouble. Look at all of the good quarterbacks around the league, Baylor, Texas, Nebraska, A& M.It starts with the quarterback to have success. Our three quarterbacks show me nothing.

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jayhawkinATL 3 years, 9 months ago

Couldn't be ANY worse!!! Webb looks like a deer-in-headlights on EVERY friggin' snap!!! He's so jittery!!!

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troutsee 3 years, 9 months ago

Agree with you GP. We need a QB that can run and pass and one that fits the modern day QB mold. Some how we always seem to miss out on those while other teams, even teams in smaller conferences, get them. Why???????

Although I had tickets to the ISU game, I opted not to make the trip. Glad I did not. I saw Mechum in the spring game and was not impressed at all. Maybe he is the guy but I remain unconvinced.

Certainly agree with those who say we are not stretching the opposing defenses. That is a big 10/4. This team simply does not make big plays.

Although many of you continue to lay this on the coaches, we are lacking in overall team speed and you can't coach that. Gill realizes the need for speed, which is the reason he has made all the line-up changes. We need to be patient. It's hard because many of us thought that with the Orange Bowl win, KU FB had turned the corner and had become a consistent winner. Not the case. KU FB remains irrelevent and only once every ten or fifteen years bursts onto the national scene only to fall back into the depths of mediocrity soon after. Hopefully this coaching staff can change that.

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jhawkrulz 3 years, 9 months ago

I think most of of us don't base it just on the one Orange Bowl winning season; but more on the line of the four bowl appearances with Mangino. I also think most of us felt that last year was a slide down, but expected better things. Instead I think we are getting much worse. We arguably have beat the worst team in all of D-I (New Mexico St) and Georgia Tech (who clearly weren't the same team as their ranking has shown). All that being said, we haven't been competetive that is what is so frustrating.

Even two years ago when we were decent, we went to Oklahoma, and late in third quarter we were in the game. Now, I'm not sure if we could score a point or prevent 70 from being put up. Even last year in our 5-7 season, we were competitive in every single game.

The problem, is I think many of expected change, we didn't expect to get blown out, and even for some of us that don't brake down every single game, you can clearly tell that some of the fundamentals don't seem to be sinking in, which is another frustration.

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55jayhawk 3 years, 9 months ago

Let the other quarterbacks heal if possible and give Meachum some more experience. Last weekend was a confidence builder and it sounds like he was ok and did what the coaches told him to do. If he struggles and any of the other quarterbacks are healed, then try them again but let Meachum try.......someone is bound to mature into the position this year.

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KSseahawk 3 years, 9 months ago

TG and his staff have been out-thinking themselves all year, I'll bet next week it'll be more of the same. Next week is a must win. CU may have gotten blown out by OU, but I think Hawkins will out-coach TG. Hawkins is coaching for his job while TG is coaching for millions of dollars, despite the results on the field.

CU - 28 KU - 10

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Layne Pierce 3 years, 9 months ago

I truly believe that none of the 3 current starting qbs will be the starter next year, unless, they truly improve. I think that TG is really going to give a good look at the qb recruit from Texas, he is dual threat and fast enough to break it.

This year is primarily to teach the kids how to be good people. Too bad if you thought it was going to be something esle. Too bad if you happen to be a senior.

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Mark Lindrud 3 years, 9 months ago

I say let Mecham be the guy this year so that the Texas recruit can come i and learn as a freshman, be the second qb then start his sophomore year when Mecham graduates. Mecham has played at a major Juco for 2 years so he at least has playing time on his resume. He could help the young guy learn and be a stud when he is ready.

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Ibajayhawk 3 years, 9 months ago

I don't know what game you people are talking about but I was at ISU for the game and I thought the players looked pretty good for the most part. I coached football for awhile and from my observations of the game, I thought it was fairly well played. There were some mental let downs on the parts of everyone on the team, but they played a very good game. I also think that the statement that Mecham isn't very athletic is false. When you are a drop back type passer your avenues for running are fewer. Also there were some streak and fade routes for long passes but the recievers weren't finishing their routes.(Partly due at times to being held and tackled by ISU corners) I think the coaches need to teach the recievers how to clear space around themselves so they can have a better chance to catch the ball. They just don't seem to be fighting the defenders very hard, they need to get hungry and mad. I thought the line play was very good, they seem to be trying harder and battling the other lines. The tackling problem looked like the players were trying so hard that they over ran the play and missed some tackles, that can be very disheartening and the more you are frustrated the harder you try and it rolls up on you. I thought the coaching with the exception of that little oops and the end of the first half was very good. So how about if we just try to grow along with this team and support the players and coaches. Let's stop pretending we are something we are not at this time ( a great national power ) and just support.

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stahlin 3 years, 9 months ago

Why do I feel like Keegan wrote this article before the game was even played?

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rolo2383 3 years, 9 months ago

Without reading the article I say no on starting Mecham is Webb is healthy. Webb needs to get better with the rest of the team.

Nice post Ibajayhawk.

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dtownhawkfan 3 years, 9 months ago

Mecham’s spirit brought out better play in teammates who tired harder for him.

Good sentence Keegan

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khummel60 3 years, 9 months ago

Dang....I guess I better take that giant Beak off the hood of my car before I drive up there.

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Danimal 3 years, 9 months ago

I think the problem is that the coaching staff is expecting a program that really hasn't run the ball at all since 2007 to run at least 60% of the time. If the coaches would call some more pass plays with deeper routes I think they'd be more successful. I still think that given time to implement his system Coach Gill and his staff can be successful, but the problem is the way they're going about the transition from a spread to run-oriented offense. Probably also wouldn't hurt if they treated the players like adults.

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huddle 3 years, 9 months ago

We have a QB, his name is AJ Steward, I watched this kid play up in the St. Louis area, Suburban North (tough conference) and he has a ton of confidence, he can throw the long ball, he has a powerful run game and is hard to bring down. This kid was brought in as a QB and is built like Gabbert but more athletic. Let's win some games now!!

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