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Saturday, August 6, 2011

Jury still out on new Kansas QBs

Freshmen Brock Berglund, Michael Cummings make early impression

Freshman quarterback Brock Berglund works out with the quarterbacks during the team's first practice on Thursday, Aug. 4, 2011.

Freshman quarterback Brock Berglund works out with the quarterbacks during the team's first practice on Thursday, Aug. 4, 2011.

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Thursday’s first practice of the season marked the first time Kansas University offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach Chuck Long had the opportunity to work with freshmen QBs Brock Berglund and Michael Cummings.

As much as he enjoyed the chance to see the two three-star prospects up close, Long said one day was not nearly enough time to make a true evaluation on either player.

The most telling moments will come in the next few practices.

“We’ll see how much they can comprehend, see how much they know, see how much they can consume and retain,” Long said. “Those are the big things with young quarterbacks. If they make a good throw, can they make the same throw or do they forget about it and misread it?”

Thursday, teammates and coaches said both players did enough to show why they were ranked so high coming out of high school.

At 6-foot-4, 205 pounds, Berglund is the bigger of the two, but Cummings, at 6-foot, 196, also possesses decent size.

The biggest thing both players bring to the roster is the ability to make plays with their arm and their legs.

A couple of Jayhawks said Berglund and Cummings showed that Thursday, but most of the day was spent throwing the ball and demonstrating how much of the playbook they had learned.

With things only getting more intense in the coming weeks, Long cautioned about making a read too soon.

“This (was) Day One and Base One defensively, too,” Long said. “They see very simple things for a while.”

Because of the team’s overall experience and renewed focus, the simple stuff might not stick around as long as it did a season ago. Long said that would be by design.

“We ran a lot of football plays today,” he said Thursday. “We taxed ’em really good. Our pace was good, much faster than the first day last year, and that’s gonna help us. Hey, it’s gonna be a tough camp. It really is. We’re giving them a lot. They gotta fight through it. There’s gonna be that mental strain. It’s coming.”

So, too, is a heavy dose of the offense.

“We’re gonna have a lot of our offense installed early,” Long said. “It’s the flood theory. Flood ’em early, and then repeat, repeat, repeat and see how much they can pick up.”

TE Putoff out 6-8 weeks

Gill announced Friday that tight end Justin Putoff, a sophomore from Goddard, would miss up to two months because of an injured clavicle.

Gill also announced the addition of Scott Baron, a freshman tight end from Orange Lutheran High in Santa Ana, Calif.

The addition of Baron, 6-foot-2, 238 pounds, gives KU depth behind returning tight ends Tim Biere, Ted McNulty, Jimmay Mundine and Trent Smiley.

Young receivers impress

It might have been just one day, but freshmen wide receivers JaCorey Shepherd and Marquis Jackson demonstrated right away they were here to play.

“They looked good today,” Long said. “Both are very smooth. JaCorey runs smooth routes, and you can tell he’s been coached well, and Marquis, he’ll give you that explosion. Both are very eager guys who want to learn. If you’re an older receiver on the team, you better pick it up. We recruited very well, and we’ve got some talent. They’re gonna keep plugging along, and these other guys need to make sure they’re competing as well.”

It wasn’t just the coaches who were impressed by Shepherd and Jackson. Red-shirt freshman running back Brandon Bourbon cited Shepherd as one of the guys who stood out to him.

“I saw a little move he put on somebody, and I was just, like, ‘Wow,’” Bourbon said.

That notion is in line with what many around the program have said all summer as Shepherd already has established a reputation as a guy who’s tough to cover one-on-one.

More talk of the 3-4

There has been a lot of speculation in recent weeks that the Jayhawks might play more of a 3-4 defense that employs three linemen and four linebackers instead of four linemen and three linebackers they did a season ago.

In Dallas, Steven Johnson said new defensive coordinator Vic Shealy told the team in mid-July that it would run a 3-4 base. Thursday, junior defensive tackle John Williams echoed Johnson’s thoughts.

“It’s definitely 100 percent,” he said. “We’ve switched up everything, so it’s a whole new ballgame for us. We’re getting it down quickly, and it’s not too bad. They’ve just adjusted some stuff.”

KU coach Turner Gill has said the 3-4 would be in the Jayhawks’ repertoire this season, but has not said definitively that it would be the team’s base look.

Last year, the Jayhawks operated out of a 4-3 base defense.

The year before that, former KU coach Mark Mangino elected to go with a 4-2-5, which put one more defensive back on the field in an effort to slow down the Big 12’s spread offenses.

If the Jayhawks do play a lot of 3-4, it’s likely because of the talent and depth they’ve developed at linebacker.

“I’m excited about that group of guys,” Gill said of his linebackers. “We definitely have a group to choose from, whereas last year, we didn’t really have a whole lot to choose from.”

Comments

vd 2 years, 8 months ago

3 of the 8 years MM was here, he had a starting QB named at this time. Whitimore's Sr. year and TR's Jr. and Sr. year. the other 5 years we and the coaching staff had no idea who was going to be the starting QB. Did the fuskers name their starting QB at this time last year? KSU? TT?

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chalky 2 years, 8 months ago

Pulling so hard for Burglund to eventually blow the doors off of this team. A great QB brings hope and can bring more positive light to some of our posts.

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troutsee 2 years, 8 months ago

Gosh, I wish our coaching staff had the football acumen that many of you guys have. Most of you should be directors of player personnel in the NFL or coaches at any level.

Some of you should apply for Keegan's job.

And, of course, the most insightful of all, the one that brings out the ultimate joy of being a Jayhawk, Mr. Optimist himself, asper....aka ASFULLOFBS.

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fromthatstandpoint 2 years, 8 months ago

Yes. Everybody knows that no football player would respond to, "Whoa! What are you doing man," a long "I can't believe what I just saw" stare and a light-hearted suggestion that perhaps he doesn't belong with the group that is fielding punts.

Any decent coach would have gotten in his face and either grabbed him by the facemask or poked him in the chest and screamed at him, used multiple f-bombs, berated him, denigrated his family and threatened to yank his scholarship and send him back home to a dead end life.

You also forgot to mention that Gill has the wrong kind of whistle, that his shorts are too baggy and they are made from the wrong kind of material. The Jayhawks are doomed.

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ahpersecoachingexperience 2 years, 8 months ago

Kansas Football Youtube version of COACH GILL MIC'D UP http://www.youtube.com/watch?v​=FExJJs1e9sE

Dude fumbles the punt return into the head coaches chest and the head coach jokes with him about it!?! It can be assumed the player mentions somethimg along the lines to doing it to see if the coach was ready. I'm sure Saban, Stoops, heck most high school coaches would have taken a different approach.

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kenshinU 2 years, 8 months ago

I've been saying 3-4 is the way to go in the Big 12. Hail Mary's are a thing of the past. Short slant routes, HB screens, and TE posts are the new battle, and having a ready supply of coverage LBs (which KU has had for the past few years) will make it easier to defend.

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Kevin Studer 2 years, 8 months ago

When you have 4 quarterbacks, you have no quarterbacks. Especially in August.

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billikenhawk 2 years, 8 months ago

It's funny and ironic to use "the jury is still out" considering one of them is actually going to trial.

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ahpersecoachingexperience 2 years, 8 months ago

Yeah great, freshmen blah blah blah. How about a starting qb? Feel like naming one anytime soon so maybe the first team can have some time to develope.

Like Mac and Urb said on espn. You pick your starters in the spring and use the fall to get prepared to win some games.

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Ferd Magellan 2 years, 8 months ago

-Basically all I want to see out of the quarterbacks is how Webb is progressing. The others won't be a factor until next spring (or after an injury) at the earliest.

-We'll need to bring another TE in this class if we're trying to go to more of a power game. Smiley, Mundine and a couple walk-ons won't be enough in 2012.

-I actually want one or both of Jackson and Shepard to see the field regularly this year. Our returning guys have so much to prove after looking lost last season, and I want them to feel the pressure.

-I hope our LB are faster than they were last year.

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nuleafjhawk 2 years, 8 months ago

Matthew........... I can't believe we're a a month away from the start of football season and the jury is * STILL * out as far as the quarterbacks go? That should have been set in stone long, long ago.

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blackhawkjayhawk 2 years, 8 months ago

After last year's debacle, it's difficult to take anything this coaching staff says seriously. Some of the comments about how much "tougher" practices and conditioning have been seem a little too politically correct.

Frankly, this is still the same staff that, after a spring camp, summer conditioning program in one of the top facilities in the country and a fall camp could only come out and score 3 points against NDSU......at home.

College football history is full of football coaches who can recruit - aka talk a good game - but couldn't coach. And if I get one stupid reply saying "believe", I'm going to track you down and paint a power cat on your house.

Seeing is believing. What I saw last year made me believe that Chuck Woodling was right when he called Gill a pendulum hire. Bad cop....good cop.

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SEsco10 2 years, 8 months ago

To quote Bart Scott "CAN'T WAIT" for the season

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Funhawk 2 years, 8 months ago

Crow may be served as early as four Saturdays from today.

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100 2 years, 8 months ago

Welcome Scott!

Nice late pickup Coach Gill, keep 'em comin!!!!!!!!!

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