Monday, September 13, 2010


Five KU players to watch


Depth remains an area of concern for the Kansas University football team, which has exciting talent, but looks thin in some spots.

Jeremiah Hatch’s return to the lineup improved the offensive-line play, but Brad Thorson’s leg injury has prevented him from playing effectively. The hobbled Thorson repeatedly was beaten, and another shuffling of the line could be upcoming. Red-shirt freshman Riley Spencer could replace Thorson at right tackle, or Duane Zlatnik could return to the lineup at guard, with Sal Capra moving back to center and Hatch to right tackle.

KU was boosted by exceptional linebacker play, but staying healthy here is a must. Toben Opurum’s crash course here has been stunted by an ankle injury.

Shy on overall depth, there is no shortage of exciting playmakers. Five names on the roster stand out as athletes who make us keep watching closely. Here they are, with a nod to a very important sixth factor.

1. Justin Springer, middle linebacker: Nick Reid won Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year honors in 2005. No reason Springer won’t be considered if he continues his superior play. He gets into the backfield so quickly, and in short yardage situations stands up ballcarriers at the line of scrimmage so well. What an entertaining blend of speed, strength and passion.

2. Daymond Patterson, receiver: In the wake of the thrilling 28-25 victory against Georgia Tech, Patterson let loose with his true feelings and said, “Playing offense is way more fun.” Watching him play it isn’t so bad either. He’ll make defenses worry about him all year. He knows how to get open.

3. James Sims, running back: Cutting so sharply can’t be taught. It’s a gift, and he has it. He also has power and runs with hunger.

4. Jordan Webb, quarterback: Hung in there under serious heat and didn’t get nervous feet. Webb’s a confident leader who knows how to fire up teammates. Plus, he throws an accurate ball and will stretch defenses who forget what a strong arm he has. Webb’s performance Saturday killed the quarterback controversy before it gained much momentum.

5. Keeston Terry, safety: Switched from receiver to safety a couple of weeks before the season started, Terry, a fluid athlete who closes quickly, has made an impact already. He and fellow safety Lubbock Smith really know how to make open-field tackles, a great quality for a safety. A true freshman, Terry has the sort of frame that will make packing on the pounds easy. His father, Doug Terry, played defensive back at Kansas (1988-1991) and for the Kansas City Chiefs (1992-1995). His son has the potential to play on Sundays as well, but first he has to get ready to play Southern Mississippi on Friday night.

6. The student section: Loud, proud and classy, the students knew a great game was brewing, had the discipline to delay reveling and stayed put for the second half. Clearly, their energy was felt by the players, many of whom exhorted them to get louder, louder, louder. Connections between performers and audiences — especially given the onslaught of impersonal methods of communication — can be tough to strike, ask any rock band, but this one was real.


fansincewilt 7 years, 9 months ago

Was that our team on Saturday? Wow! I hope that team shows up every week. I really enjoyed that game. I didn't enjoy the other one so well. I really want Gill to do well. I really like him. I will continue to lift him in prayer. However, I know the bottom line in Div. 1 football is winning. His team responded to him in an unbelievable way this week. Wow!

JacquesMerde 7 years, 9 months ago

Keegan you may be right. They may win four games. I was wrong in doubting your guess.

Marcia Parsons 7 years, 9 months ago

You're right, EastBay. They missed some good stuff. I have a feeling the next game will be a sell-out.

KU 7 years, 9 months ago

Keeston Terry will make everyone forget about our dearly departed Darrell Stuckey. I'm not talking about forgetting the great kid Stuckey is and all the great things he did off the field while he was at KU; I'm talking about Terry being an even better and more natural safety on the field. And that's saying a lot because I really respect Stuckey's game.

Keegan said "cutting so sharply can't be taught", and Terry shows instincts on the defensive side of the ball that can't be taught either. He has a knack for playing in space, even as a true freshman, that is very impressive.

kcgridiron 7 years, 9 months ago

I agree...Terry is going to be something special it appears...He played well in the first 2 games....He did get caught out of position on that 60yd run GT had Saturday (his first snap from scimmage) but bounced back to have a solid game.

Bruce Brenner 7 years, 9 months ago

Tom in your articles try to list their player numbers next to the names, since the players names are not on their jerseys,

GridironHawk 7 years, 9 months ago

They are very easy to look up. Use the football program, internet, radio announcer, in-game announcer, scoreboard, etc.... You can't tell me that you could actually read the names on the back while sitting in the stands watching the game anyways! Here they are though if you really didn't know Springer - 45 Patterson - 15 Sims - 29 Webb - 2 Terry - 9 Students - 12 (12th man...)

labbadabba 7 years, 9 months ago

No, but seeing the names in close-ups and replays do. It's easier to create a name association when you have both a name and number instead of just a number. I follow the team pretty closely and last week even I had to look up to see who numbers 33 and 11 were.

Bruce Brenner 7 years, 9 months ago

The point is the news print articles should have the association with players name/numbers and not just these players.

NebraskaJayhawk 7 years, 9 months ago

Kudos to the students. Keep it up. Now just to get the season ticket holders to get fired up.

youowethehawks 7 years, 9 months ago

good luck with that. The Family Zone is full of folks that love sitting on their hands. I got yelled at on the West Side for standing up too often. ... I respectfully declined on account of how bada$$ the game was.

Jared Grillot 7 years, 9 months ago

Yes, it has been a long-standing privilege at KU, that when you have achieved well-to-do alumni status, and pay lots and lots of money for your alumni tickets, you have earned the right to sit through the entire game, only clapping when necessary. This is, and has been, normal for the season ticket seats, both football and basketball, as well as away games. Our Alumni travel well, but they travel sitting down. I was at Ford Field for the KU-Davidson shootout in '08, and, despite having about the same number of fans in the crowd, we were absolutely drowned out by the Davidson section. There are, of course, the "other" alumni, who often do whatever it takes to get a seat in/near the student section, so they can stand and scream all they want.

Dan Pawlowski 7 years, 9 months ago

Then you haven't been to Boulder for a Jayhawk basketball game. Because that is what it is when Kansas comes to play , A Jayhawk game. 50% or more of the fans are Jayhawkers and drown out the home fans and most of us that show up are Alumni. So don't be painting everyone with a broad brush.

waywardJay 7 years, 9 months ago

Awww the guy who thinks we stink is jumping on board. How cute.

You could have made this list 10. Easily.

Steven Johnson's Health, Jeremiah Hatch's impact at Center, and we should always include MacDougald in this also.

Harris and Barfield are the players to watch next week IMHO, up against two bigger Receivers next week. Guys who gave us fits last year, in a game we eventually won. The game hardly ever comes down to Cornerback v. Wide receiver like it comes down to that matchup next week. Likewise, Laptad and the DE Troop also as they will need to be more than just run stoppers on Saturday. We faced alot tougher rushing assignment last week, but they have aformidable running game, if allowed to face 4 man fronts instead of 7. Being able to single cover will be key from one if not BOTH of our corners.

Ed Brown 7 years, 9 months ago

The best part of the game was the solid tackling. If there were any missed tackles, I wasn't looking. Last year especially it seemed like anybody running just went right through the tackler. I even saw one player hanging on to a shoestring for dear life until others could come help out. What awesome team play for a bunch of overachievers.

Travis Warner 7 years, 9 months ago

I'm not sure if you were watching the same game as me. I thought there was good gang tackling but A LOT of missed tackles....maybe I'm to hard on the kids...who knows


Annette Lee 7 years, 9 months ago

Daymond Patterson! WOW he made a couple of great receptions at the side line and his running WOW. I was hard on Long last week but he made the adjustment so yeah RCJH.

Beak 7 years, 9 months ago

Uptown, good point. The tackling was spot on.

Troy Abel 7 years, 9 months ago

Enough whining about the lack of names on the jerseys already! If you can't take the time to learn the names and numbers, what kind of fan are you anyway? The only name that matters is on the front!!!

number1jayhawker 7 years, 9 months ago

Look for 6' 3" Calvin Rubles to also play a key role Friday night. If they can just keep coaching him up each week, he might turn out to be pretty good by the end of the season.

1jhawk2 7 years, 9 months ago

We are a lot better than people think. I hate to hear Kevin Keitzman say Mangino left this program in the same shape he found it. We have players like McDougal who is going to be really good, along with McDougal, Simms and Bourban when he gets his chance. Opurum is a true team player and will benefit this team greatly. Webb has the mechanics of a good QB, reminds me of John Elway (no he's not John Elway), but will be good. There is nothing wrong with the players we have. The system has not been very different either. Kale Pick could possibly be the next Kerry Meier if he decides to be a true team player and be a very productive WR/ back up QB. Terry Allen didn't have guys this talented when shown the door, did he KSUcks?

bwhacker 7 years, 9 months ago

KK is an idiot, and it's a joke to make a statement like that. Terry Allen left this program in a shambles after taking the reins on a program that had finally shown some life under Glen Mason. He went 20-33 in his 5 seasons, but only 10-30 in conference games. His last season was so bad that he got fired before the season was over, which is fairly rare in football, but especially rare in college football.

Even with last season's disappointment, KU went 25-13 in the last 3 seasons, including 2 bowl appearances. They came within an eyelash of playing for a freaking national championship in 2007, for crying out loud. To suggest that KU is somehow bereft of talent and foundering as they were when Mangino took over is ridiculous.

Jack Wilson 7 years, 9 months ago

Right on, bwhacker .. not even a comparison.

Randy Bombardier 7 years, 9 months ago

I like mentioning the students. Is it the students who tend to leave and the alum that tend to stay, but sit. Am I getting that right? I like the student energy.

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