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Monday, August 22, 2011

Far and wide: KU receivers put emphasis on big play

Kansas receivers, clockwise from front left, Daymond Patterson, Ricki Herod, Chris Omigie, Kale Pick, Andrew Turzilli, Christian Matthews and D.J. Beshears.

Kansas receivers, clockwise from front left, Daymond Patterson, Ricki Herod, Chris Omigie, Kale Pick, Andrew Turzilli, Christian Matthews and D.J. Beshears.

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Daymond Patterson, who makes conversation interesting and refreshing with his shoot-from-the-hip approach, laid out a basic goal he has for Kansas University wide receivers this season.

The 5-foot-9, 173-pound senior would like to see Jayhawks receivers find the end zone at a greater rate.

“It’s a really big emphasis. We feel like we need to make more big plays to help this team,” said Patterson, who led KU receivers with 60 catches for 487 yards and two scores last season. “When we get in the red zone, we need to capitalize and get in the end zone and stop taking threes.”

Kansas ranked last in the Big 12 and 112th of 120 Div. I teams in red-zone efficiency last year. The Jayhawks made 33 trips inside the opponent’s 20-yard line and came away with 24 scores — 19 touchdowns and five field goals.

“You can have a lot of good drives and have a really good offensive day, but if you’re not putting the ball in the end zone, it’s still going to be a long day for you,” Patterson said.

Of KU’s 11 receiving touchdowns last season, five came from tight ends and running backs, meaning wide receivers had just six TD receptions. Of course, some of those struggles could be pinned on inconsistent quarterback play from Jordan Webb and Quinn Mecham. The 37 sacks surrendered by the Jayhawks, tied for most allowed in the Big 12, didn’t provide KU receivers much time to get open.

Still, Patterson insists he carries lofty expectations for a wide-receiver corps he said is more competitive, faster and deeper than it was in 2010.

“Guys have been competing like crazy,” Patterson said. “That’s the biggest difference on the whole football team.”

So which receivers give KU the best chance to land in the end zone this fall?

Patterson, a Mesquite, Texas, native, is KU’s No. 1 receiver.

The outlook gets fuzzy from there. Aside from Patterson, no returning KU receiver caught more than 10 passes last season. Johnathan Wilson (38 grabs) exhausted his eligibility, while Bradley McDougald (19 catches) moved to safety.

Kansas has options. Those options are just inexperienced.

• Christian Matthews, a 6-1, 186-pound sophomore, is listed atop the depth chart as a starter opposite Patterson. Matthews, a converted quarterback, only caught one pass for 41 yards in 2010, but has displayed big-play potential the last two spring games, leading many to think this could be his breakout season.

“Christian reminds of me of (former KU/current Tampa Bay Buccaneers receiver Dezmon) Briscoe,” McDougald said. “He’ll go up in traffic and put his body on the line to come down with the ball. He’s definitely a jumper. That’s what a lot of people don’t know about him. He definitely has some bounce to him.”

• D.J. Beshears, a 5-9, 185-pound junior, showcased his speed in a variety of ways (kickoff returns, catching passes, taking handoffs) last season. Beshears will still return kicks this season, but won’t carry out of the backfield, shifting his focus on offense solely to receiver. Beshears, who caught 10 passes for 69 yards and a score in 2010, is competing for the No. 2 starting spot with Matthews.

“I enjoy playing wide receiver the most,” the versatile Beshears said. “Playing outside receiver now has made me see the field more and given me more opportunities to make plays.”

• Chris Omigie, a 6-4, 194-pound sophomore, possesses arguably the best size of any KU receiver. Omigie, who caught seven passes for 73 yards last season, is also competing for the starting spot opposite Patterson.

• Kale Pick, a 6-1, 208-pound junior, should get plenty of looks in the middle of the field and in short-yardage, third-down situations. Pick, KU’s starting quarterback to open last season, said it has been a smooth transition.

“I picked it up pretty quickly,” Pick said. “I was kind of a dual-threat quarterback, so that helps. Growing up, I always messed around and liked to run. Obviously, a pocket passer is not going to help if you can’t run that fast. But just the fact that I have some speed and I also have some size really helped with running and blocking as well.”

Pick caught three passes for 18 yards last year.

“He’s doing the same thing I did (converting from quarterback to receiver),” Matthews said. “He’s been in college football longer than I have. He knows. He’s played. He can do some big things out there. When you need a big catch or it’s third down and you need to get that first down, he’ll probably be there to catch it.”

• Sophomore Erick McGriff (6-3, 209 pounds) is also looking to make an impact after catching six passes for 61 yards in two games last year.

• Finally, KU has a crop of freshmen eager to make an impact, including red-shirts Ricki Herod, Andrew Turzilli and Brian Maura, and true freshmen JaCorey Shepherd and Marquis Jackson.

“Everybody can make big plays, and we have a lot of talent out there,” Matthews said. “We all need to share the wealth. We’re a lot faster than usual and from last year. We’re a lot younger and a lot fresher. I think it will be a pretty fast team.”

Comments

100 3 years, 2 months ago

C.harge!!!!!!

O.nward!!!!!!

M.anpower!!!!!

P.erseverance!!!!!!!!

E.verybody!!!!!!!

T.ogether!!!!!!

E.licit the Spirit of a Champion!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

jhawkrulz 3 years, 2 months ago

Why does manpower only get 5 exclamation points and perseverance get 7, when all the others got 6?

Another lackluster comment.

Comments that deserve the -1 symbol.

bad_dog 3 years, 2 months ago

There's a "minus one symbol"?

What's it look like?

100 3 years, 2 months ago

Jhawkrulz... Nice counting.

T.ogether

E.verybody

A.chieves

M.ore

okiedave 3 years, 2 months ago

This actually deserves a +1!!!!!!!!!!! symbol.

Cmill1221 3 years, 2 months ago

Bahahaha. So lame! This is "major" college football. Not a high school guidance Counselors office. Where is the picture of the kitty cat on a rope w/ the caption "HANG IN THERE!!".

KU_Alumn_2000 3 years, 2 months ago

Would love to see Kale Pick tear it up this season.

By the looks of some of the practice and scrimage video thats available...he may have the best hands on the team...consistently bringing in some one handed grabs.

jayhawkintx73 3 years, 2 months ago

Much of this rests on the play calling. They cannot continue to call 20 bubble screens in a game. The other teams can defend much easier when its predictable. From the same formations they have many options.

Quick Slants Post Patterns Down and Outs Stop and Gos Curl Routes Wheel Routes by the flanker Double Crossing Routes Quick Timing Patterns, like 6 steps, catch the ball, make one or two defenders miss Stop Routes

The idea here is to play to the other team's weaknesses, and exploit them as much as possible. Scouting and studying the other teams is going to be important. There are so many possibilities. If the receivers run good, sharp routes, the QB can get rid of the ball faster. Of course, with the running backs, which seem to be the strongest part of the offense and if they can get 5 to 6 yards on First down just half the time, 2nd down play book will be wide open.

Ben Kliewer 3 years, 2 months ago

What? Chris Omigie isn't good enough for a bullet point?

justinryman 3 years, 2 months ago

First and fore most, catch the dang ball. Then keep a hold of it.

A good WR doesn't always have to get open, but they do have to be able to catch the ball, i.e. Steve Largent. Her didn't have blazing speed, but he ran perfect patterns and could catch the ball.

Speed is great, but does you nothing if you don't have the ball in your hands as a WR.

Pick knows that coming from QB, and hopefully becomes a leader for all the other WRs.

llama726 3 years, 2 months ago

Maybe this is a shallow thing, but our players look pretty jacked this year. Our wideouts look pretty ripped, which has to be a good sign from a blocking perspective.

Robert Brock 3 years, 2 months ago

Can/will any of these guys block? Pick mentioned blocking...good for him!

KGphoto 3 years, 2 months ago

Beshears, even at 185 pounds absolutely relishes the contact. If you watch any film at all of him, you see he's a tough ombre. He will be blocking.

They've all commented at one point or another that if you don't block for coach Beatty, you won't play.

Mike Kendall 3 years, 2 months ago

Why do I get the feeling (by looking at the picture above) these guys could rip one for 50 yards? I am getting jacked for their first game. Rock Chalk!

jc1306 3 years, 2 months ago

Anybody have any info on McGriff? Haven't heard anything about him in a while. This picture does'nt even include the two freshman everyone is raving about, Shephard and Jackson.

justanotherfan 3 years, 2 months ago

I think that photo is from the spring. I feel like I have seen it before.

Randy Bombardier 3 years, 2 months ago

Blocking and burning. That is what is going to make this receiver corps. If the defender hesitates just a moment because of the persuasiveness of our running game and our receiver gets a couple of steps on him that only widens as he flys down the field, he will play and we will score.

Michael Maris 3 years, 2 months ago

WR's just do as Coach Beaty instructs you to do. Perhaps, you might have a chance to make the NFL (as Briscoe and Meier have done). Taken 3 star WR and a 4 star rated QB and turned them into NFL Caliber WR's. The play that Meier made the other night was a great attempt at making an possible ESPN Top10 Nightly Highlight. If they had not showed the Replay of the attempted reception, Atlanta would've been in the RedZone and possibly went in for 6 points. But, the replay showed that the ball came out (in the end). But, still a great attempt on Meier's part.

Keep it up guys. I know that everyone rants and raves about how much Reggie Mitchell is luring in the talent. But, Beaty is sure an asset (as well) to the KU Coaching staff. T. Gill has done a great job of getting a coaching staff to come to KU and turn the KU Football Program around.

RockChalk.

kayjku 3 years, 2 months ago

Wow! Kale Pick is a hottie all of a sudden! Yum!

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