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Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Still the one? Webb remains in position to take starting QB spot

Kansas University Quarterback Jordan Webb prepares to pass to a receiver as the Jayhawks run through plays during practice on Tuesday at the KU practice fields. Kansas coaches haven’t officially named a starting quarterback, but the sophomore Webb figures to be the favorite entering the fall season.

Kansas University Quarterback Jordan Webb prepares to pass to a receiver as the Jayhawks run through plays during practice on Tuesday at the KU practice fields. Kansas coaches haven’t officially named a starting quarterback, but the sophomore Webb figures to be the favorite entering the fall season.

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With just 18 days remaining before Kansas University’s first football game of the 2011 season, the battles for starting spots in preseason camp are starting to heat up. But few seem as hot as the competition at the team’s most visible position — quarterback.

As was the case a year ago, KU coach Turner Gill and offensive coordinator Chuck Long continue to evaluate their options at QB as camp moves into its third week.

Little has changed from a week ago, when Gill said sophomore Jordan Webb and senior Quinn Mecham were at the top of the depth chart at QB, but, with the days leading up to game week dwindling, the time is nearing for the coaches to name a starter.

As has been the case since the end of spring ball, Webb has the slight lead in the race. But Gill said Mecham remained close and that the competition would continue for a little longer.

“We want to go through three or four more days and then maybe sit down with Chuck and see where we’re at,” said Gill, when asked if he was ready to name a starter. “I feel very good about Mecham and Jordan Webb being the catalysts to run our football team. We’ll make a decision here sometime soon.”

For Long, the ideal timing for an announcement would come sometime early next week.

“Within 10 days of the first game, that’s what you like to do,” Long said. “That way you give him a chance to talk about it with the media and do some other things. But coach Gill may extend that. He may go to the week before. He may do it tomorrow. But 10 days is always optimal, just because he can settle in a little and then focus on the opponent that next week.”

While some of the battle has played out in practice with performance in drills, leadership and overall demeanor all being closely scrutinized, the other part of the evaluation has taken place during a pair of scrimmages, the most recent of which came last Saturday night.

“Both guys have really done well in the scrimmages,” Gill said. “And it’s kind of good for me because we continue to have competition. That always puts a smile on my face.”

Another QB who has emerged recently is true freshman Michael Cummings, of Killeen, Texas. While Gill seemed to indicate that Cummings remained behind Webb and Mecham in the race to become the starter, he also said he had been impressed with how good Cummings had looked in limited time.

“He’s done some good things, and I think every day he’s gotten better,” Gill said. “That’s all you can ask for from a freshman. I think every single day (we’ve been) impressed with what he’s able to do. He has some running skills. He’s shown some good throwing ability. And I’m very pleased with what he’s shown. He’s got tremendous upside and we’ll see how it all fits as we continue to evaluate our guys.”

Gill wasn’t the only one lauding Cummings, a 6-foot, 196-pound dual-threat QB who missed the second half of his senior season of high school because of a knee injury.

“Great,” said Long, when asked how Cummings had progressed. “He had a nice 50-yard run in the scrimmage, and he was live. We wanted to see him live and in some Wildcat stuff, and he’s impressed so far. We’ll see how that all shakes out by the end of camp.”

Added junior wide receiver and former QB Kale Pick: “The big thing that’s really impressed me with Michael is his arm strength. He can wing it all over the field, and he can make every throw.”

The thing that seems to separate Webb and Mecham from Cummings is the fact that the two older guys have actual game experience.

“Having both of them with starting experience really helps,” Long said. “That has really shown up this fall at training camp. But it’s been a very competitive battle. Jordan’s really done well and probably has an edge at this point in time, but we feel very solid about our two guys.”

As for Cummings’ injury, for which he had surgery last December, that’s a non-issue.

“I wouldn’t say anything is wrong with him,” Gill said. “He’s not injured, he’s not favoring the leg at all. That’s really not even a discussion anymore. He’s 100 percent healthy and ready to go.”

Pick thought back to his experience in last year’s quarterback battle and said he imagined Webb and Mecham were ready to find out who had won the job.

“I definitely remember the feeling,” Pick said. “I remember I wanted to know right away. I’m sure Jordan and Quinn do, too.”

As for any longing for his old position or the infamous red jersey that QBs don during practice, Pick said he hadn’t thought about it in a while.

“I don’t look over there as much anymore,” he said. “I’m pretty much focused on what I’m doing at receiver. But every now and then I’ll see Jordan or Quinn walk by me and I’ll tell ’em, ‘Keep it going, keep the hard work up,’ and I’ll try to keep them motivated.”

Comments

squawkhawk 2 years, 8 months ago

With Webb and Mecham we have a chance to win 2 games this year.

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squawkhawk 2 years, 8 months ago

With Webb and Mecham we have a chance to win 2 games this year.

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KGphoto 2 years, 8 months ago

Definitely want to see some plays/possessions drawn up for Cummings this year. Reesing got his chance and and we blew it up for years, collected a BCS win and reset the offensive record book. Cummings sounds like he's got that playmaking ability.

Right now I think you have to put him in if any opportunity arises. Certainly Webb deserves a shot to get it going, but I wouldn't hesitate to get Cummings his chance too.

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David Lara 2 years, 8 months ago

No need to officially put Cummings in a redshirt until we know what we have at the QB position this season. If Webb and Meacham can cover our needs we can always give him the redshirt at any point down the road. Seems to me that Brock will certainly be the best candidate for the extra year since his spring and summer prep time has been a complete waste. I don't really see how he is going to contribute to this season. He's certainly not prepared enough and Cummings, who seems to have had a great camp, brings the same skills to the table. It would take a lot for Brock to see the field this year IMO.

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rob4lb 2 years, 8 months ago

I can't believe how many people here have hyped up Berglund. I doubt that anyone here has seen him play. His potential is all based on what most people have read on the recruiting websites. To read the comments, you'd think he is the second coming of Joe Montana. He originally committed to Colorado- not Oklahoma or USC or Florida. Given his personal issues (and I don't know what they really are), there is no way he can focus 100% on football. He really needs to get through the personal stuff this year, adapt to college life and redshirt.

It really sounds like there is some good competition amongst some player who can focus 100% on football and that should be encouraging. Webb was only a freshman last year. His performance could take a huge step up this year.

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Randy Bombardier 2 years, 8 months ago

My first thought was to redshirt Cummings, but when thinking about the fire that Reesing brought I have to say no, he needs to start. 2013 is going to be the year so do we want him playing that season as a sophomore or a junior? On the other hand I am superstitious and since Reesing took us to the Orange Bowl as a sophomore...

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ahpersecoachingexperience 2 years, 8 months ago

It's pretty standard for a head coach to take a year and a half to pick a starter

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Chris Bailey 2 years, 8 months ago

Matt Tait,

You can't talk about the QB position and NOT mention Berglund! Where is he? What or How is he doing? We haven't heard anything about him for a while. I know I check the message boards quite a bit looking for anything about him. I mean all summer it was Brock this and Brock that, he's coming, he's not and now nothing. Can you give us something? I just wanna know is he on the team and at practice??? At least at practice occationally? Is he gonna play football here or not? I'm dying man. Any tid bit would be nice. Last I heard he was going back and forth between Co and Ks.

Thanks Matt!

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jhawkrulz 2 years, 8 months ago

1-Long don't use "wildcat" for a KU interview.

2-I hope that Cummings wins the battle. That is actually a good sign for KU for the fact that the other two QBs talked about did not perform well last year, and knowing that a true freshman would have an uphill battle to get the starting job; this would mean that he is head and shoulders above the other two QBs and would bring (at least to me) some real optimism to the season. I think knowing what our two QBs brought last year, unless if there has been some miraculous improvement, this could be a long season.

3-There is always the long debate of whether the Offensive line makes the QB or the QB makes the offensive line. And last year there were questions on both. This year with an increase in the O-line (at least based on articles on this site), I would hope that helps the QB significantly, but if the QB makes the offensive line, it could be a long season.

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JHWKDW 2 years, 8 months ago

No mention of Berglund?I think he is the mystery thing in this puzzle!I know minus all the legal stuff but somehow I think he will be the one we talk about in the future!

But for now Webb and Mecham are the key guys that got to get the job done!

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Ferd Magellan 2 years, 8 months ago

The age old dilemma of talent vs experience. Not to say that Webb doesn't have talent, but with Cummings you have more speed and potential. If one year of experience in a 3-9 season is the only reason they're ahead of the freshman, you should probably play the freshman.

I want to give Webb the opportunity to showcase his talents behind a healthy OL and with a superior running game to aid him. But when those losses begin to pile up (and they will), I would like to see Cummings on the field rather than redshirting him. The goal is to win now, not in the future.

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