Wednesday, August 24, 2011

In with the old …: Jordan Webb focused as starting QB

Kansas quarterback Jordan Webb looks to throw during practice on Tuesday, Aug. 23, 2011.

Kansas quarterback Jordan Webb looks to throw during practice on Tuesday, Aug. 23, 2011.


After Tuesday’s practice, Kansas University quarterback Jordan Webb spoke to reporters for the first time since being named the Jayhawks’ starting quarterback for the 2011 season.

Webb, a sophomore from Union, Mo., who started seven games last season, looked about the same, save for the buzz cut that took the place of his gold locks that were dyed the night before the first day of camp. Webb sounded about the same, too — humble as ever, happy for the opportunity, ready to get back to work. While news that Webb was the starter came as little or no surprise to most who follow the program, the way he reacted probably was even more predictable. Asked what feeling ran through his mind when he and back-up Quinn Mecham received the news from KU coach Turner Gill last Friday, Webb pointed to the one most would expect.

“I guess more excitement,” Webb said. “It doesn’t change the way I approach anything. I still have to keep the competitive nature that earned me the spot, and I know Quinn’s gonna keep doing the same. As we continue to push each other, I think it’s gonna really help our position.”

Webb, a starter in seven games last season, said he learned a lot from KU’s version of QB musical chairs. He said walking into Gill’s office last week had a similar feel and was reminiscent of the day he and former QB Kale Pick learned who had won last year’s quarterback battle.

“It kind of was,” Webb said. “I remember going in there last year and getting the news (that Pick was the starter). I was upset, but it still didn’t change the way I was approaching practice. At quarterback, you just gotta take it day by day, and you just have to try to prove it. One thing that kind of stuck with me from last year was just not to take anything for granted. You’re always one play away from not being on the field, and you just have to try to do your best when you’re out there.”

With Webb slotted in at No. 1 and Mecham working behind him, the most interesting battle at quarterback is at third-string, where quarterbacks coach and offensive coordinator Chuck Long said Tuesday that red-shirt freshman Blake Jablonski had a slight lead on freshman Michael Cummings

“Right now, we’re working with Blake as No. 3,” Long said. “Michael may work in there some, but I believe in working scout team, and I believe you gotta get reps down there. A lot of the pass patterns are the same, you learn, and you’re going against the first-team defense, so (scout team QBs) actually get a good pocket feel of getting rid of the ball faster. I know in my own experience, when I was a red-shirt on the scout team my freshman year, I got a lot better because of that.”

Cummings, an impressive but raw dual-threat prospect from Killeen, Texas, figures to get most of the work with the scout team, though Long said Jablonski could work there some. If all goes according to plan, Cummings would spend 2011 learning and improving without having it count against his eligibility.

“We’re looking at red-shirting (him) right now,” Long said of Cummings. “But you never know. I told him to stay alert because, in this deal, you just never know. Last year, Quinn went into the season with the scout team as No. 3 and ended up being No. 1. You never worry about red shirts until the end of the year.”

McDonald draws praise

KU defensive coordinator Vic Shealy faced an interesting dilemma during a recent practice, one in which his cornerbacks weren’t bringing it the way he had hoped. With the jerseys off because of the nature of the drill, Shealy was forced to identify the unit’s top four players based on ability and not number. It was a tougher task than it might seem and one that led to an interesting conclusion.

“Dexter McDonald is probably the most improved player we have in the secondary,” Shealy said of the 6-foot-1, 205-pound red-shirt freshman from Rockhurst High. “He’s very dynamic. Athletically, if you take the jerseys off between Isiah (Barfield), Greg (Brown), Anthony (Davis) and Dexter, you wouldn’t know who’s making the play. They’re all looking pretty much even right now.”

He didn’t stop there.

“Now that Dexter McDonald is coming on, I’ll mention his name time and time again,” Shealy said. “He had (an interception) today in practice and then two or three pass break-ups. I’m making sure that that meeting room knows that Dexter’s kind of chomping, and I know the upperclassmen are giving him a good look on the field.”

Patmon on the mend

Limited since the third day of fall camp by a muscle pull in his leg, sophomore cornerback Tyler Patmon continues to make strides toward a return. Tuesday, Patmon participated in all of the team’s individual work and did some light skill work after pleading, unsuccessfully, to get back to full speed.

“We don’t want that injury to be something that lasts six weeks,” Shealy said. “If we were playing this Saturday, he would play.”

When he returns, Patmon will begin work at both field corner and nickelback.

“We’re gonna play him at both,” Shealy said. “When he comes back, I think it will be him and Isiah battling at that (field) cornerback position all through next week. When we get into our nickel and dime, Tyler and Greg will come inside to fill those roles, and Isiah and Anthony would be more on the perimeter.”

Other members of the defense who recently have made their return to full practice include Davis, linebacker Tunde Bakare and defensive linemen Kevin Young and Pat Lewandowski. Shealy said all four stood out in practice Tuesday. Shealy also noted the strong play from defensive lineman Randall Dent, a 6-5, 275-pound sophomore who moved back to D-Line from offense at the start of camp.

“It’s been fun watching him and (center Jeremiah) Hatch go after it,” Shealy said of Dent. “It’s kind of like watching two big ol’ cats kind of smacking each other.”

Depth chart coming

Gill his coaching staff would spend the rest of the week evaluating the various position battles still going on and then would try to nail down the starting unit and second stringers sometime this weekend. In addition, Gill said his players would vote for team captains later this week, and the winners would be revealed Tuesday.


ahpersecoachingexperience 6 years, 8 months ago

Oh gawd! Don't give gill any ideas. Next thing you know he will take the numbers off the jerseys!!!!!!

Jeff Coffman 6 years, 8 months ago

To me...this was a funny comment.

I'm assuming this goes back to removing the names off the backs of the jerseys. I still wish we had those.

Chayse Patrick 6 years, 8 months ago

This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.

mjhawkchalk 6 years, 8 months ago

Lets be a little realistic here, aphersecoachingexperience.

mjhawkchalk 6 years, 8 months ago

Ahpersecoachingexperience acts like Kansas is the only program in the country not to have names on the back of the teams jerseys.

Don Everett 6 years, 8 months ago

Just another ignorant comment from ahole.

Ben Kliewer 6 years, 8 months ago

Adidas just announced that Gill ordered a shipment of leather helmets last week...

nuleafjhawk 6 years, 8 months ago

What the hell are you guys going to whine about when we start winning?

Will you want a blue field? Worried about having too far to walk when you leave at halftime? They're using the wrong flavor of Gatorade?

Don't worry - there are plenty of crybabies in every stadium. I hear Oklahoma fans are pizzed that the Boomer Sooner wagon doesn't have spinners, seat warmers and XM satellite.

KGphoto 6 years, 8 months ago


ahpersecoachingexperience 6 years, 8 months ago

Most used words by nu and atl: If When Could Should Maybe (just maybe) Might Hope Wish Try

nuleafjhawk 6 years, 8 months ago

Most used words by aholepiercing:

Wah Wah Wah Wah Wah Hate TG Wah Wah Wah Wah Wah

Dirk Medema 6 years, 8 months ago

I was wondering if we were going to hear from the DL. Obviously, the expectations are much higher elsewhere, but it's still nice to know they are on the field practicing. Glad for the good news healthwise.

It's also really nice to hear about the new kid on the block (without the hype) getting noticed for the good. And the big cats sparring for supremacy is a great picture.

Randy Bombardier 6 years, 8 months ago

Thanks, Atlanta. I agree that Webb will be greatly improved and the entire offense will be greatly improved. If our total O and D can be ranked in the neighborhood of 80th among D1 programs I will be quite happy. I think our running game could be as high as 40th but it may not be that high in pts per game. Our D will probably me closer to 80 in pts allowed. 2011: Close the Gap! Compete!

Gary Wirsig 6 years, 8 months ago

Good perspective. It reminds me of Todd Reesing - great competitor, but as the offensive line declined, so did his performance, especially his senior year.

Mike Suellentrop 6 years, 8 months ago

Not having Meier and Briscoe to throw didn't help any either. Hopefully we'll have some receivers step up this year.

Laurence Cooley 6 years, 8 months ago

as long as we get good consistent play from our o line and our d can make some stops, i can see us surprising a lot of people this year.

KURiggins 6 years, 8 months ago

Of note: Jordan Webb's Sr. High School Stats

As a senior he threw for 3,100 yards and 31 touchdowns while rushing for 1,024 yards and 24 touchdowns (Right off the KU Athletics Website) The weakest part of our offense last year was the line. Here is what Jordan Webb inhereted. No weapons that scared anyone, no experienced RB. No Meier, No Briscoe and an AWFUL OL. According to Coach Gill our OL is all healthy now, and we have depth(thanks to Coach Gill). OL being the first position Coach Gill went after. Do NOT count out Webb. He was a FR..repeat a FR last year, with a bad OL and no real weapons. Now he has a "healthy" OL, RB's and decent WR's, plus Biere ..lets see what he can do. I think Webb can play. He has a great arm, the ability to run and I think is underated.
Also, look at the QB's and RB's Coach Gill is bringing in. He is breeding competition at every position. Real hope for the future as well. Speed, Speed and even more Speed! Go Coach Gill! And Rock Chalk!!

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