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Friday, August 26, 2011

KU football team begins preparations for McNeese State

Kansas fullback Nick Sizemore takes a handoff from quarterback Mike Cummings during practice on Tuesday, Aug. 23, 2011.

Kansas fullback Nick Sizemore takes a handoff from quarterback Mike Cummings during practice on Tuesday, Aug. 23, 2011.

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With the season opener against McNeese State just eight days away, Kansas University’s football team is beginning its preparations for game day.

“You start (looking ahead) as soon as that last ballgame’s over,” wide receivers coach David Beaty said after Thursday’s practice. “As far as preparing them for that game, we’re starting that period now. We had a little on McNeese today, which was good, and we’ve had some film study all throughout camp on ’em so our kids are familiar with them.”

With the focus shifting from competing for jobs and eyeballing individual improvement to studying the first opponent’s strengths and weaknesses, the flow of practice has changed as well.

“When you get into game prep, you’re not going against your defense all the time,” Beaty said. “Now we’re starting to move into the physical part of it, and today was one of the first major steps toward getting ready for (McNeese State).”

That included taking a detailed look at what the Cowboys do on offense and defense and then setting up practice to plan for every possibility.

“At this point, you’ve already evaluated your players, you know what they can do and who are gonna be your first- and second-line guys for the most part,” Beaty said. “Now you’re really just trying to piece together the game plan and focus in on making sure they’re seeing the right looks.”

Beaty conceded that preparing for the first game is a bit of a luxury across the country since coaching staffs everywhere have had months to scout their Week One opponents. However, while that usually gives the coaching staff a leg up, getting the message through to the players isn’t always as easy.

“You really only get a few days to prepare,” Beaty said. “And right now we’re really trying to narrow in on what we want to do offensively against those guys and make sure we’re giving (our guys) the right looks that we think we’re gonna see so they can make good decisions.”

The Jayhawks and Cowboys kick off the 2011 season at 6 p.m., Sept. 3 at Memorial Stadium.

Wide receiver roll call

Asked Thursday which receivers had stepped to the front of the pack during the past week or so, Beaty referenced a few familiar names.

“It’s kind of the same type of song, really,” Beaty said. “Kale Pick has really done a nice job for us in all phases. Daymond Patterson has had a fine camp, and then D.J. Beshears is another guy who just continues to stick out to me. You just feel him on the field when he’s out there.”

While those were the top three wideouts Beaty mentioned, they weren’t the only receivers he spoke of highly. Beaty also talked up freshman Jacorey Shepherd’s speed and said sophomores Chris Omigie and Christian Matthews had looked solid at times and were in position to contribute this season.

As for the guy who had been the most steady this spring, that was easy.

“There’s a lot of youth at the position, and there’s been a lot of emphasis put on the battles that are going on there, and I think that’s why Daymond might have been lost in the trenches a little,” said Beaty of KU’s top returning receiver.

Last year, Patterson led KU’s wide receivers in receptions (60), yards (487) and touchdowns (2), and this fall his name is the one that appears at the top of KU’s catch chart.

Beshears a brick

Since returning to Kansas after a one-year stint as the offensive coordinator at Rice, Beaty has emphasized physical play from the Jayhawks’ wide receivers.

One guy he hasn’t had to sell too hard on the notion is Beshears.

“He’s probably the strongest receiver I’ve ever coached. I mean extremely strong,” Beaty said. “It’s like hitting a brick wall when you touch that kid. I don’t even like slapping hands with him because it hurts.”

Used all over the field during 2010, Beshears has focused most of his attention this fall on playing the X receiver spot, which lines up on the outside and makes plays down the field. Although players his size — 5-foot-9, 185 pounds — are more often seen in the slot, Beaty said Beshears’ mind-set makes him capable of playing outside.

“He’s a very strong, explosive kid who practices as hard as anybody I’ve ever had before,” Beaty said.

Comments

actorman 2 years, 7 months ago

Thanks for the scouting report, Texas. Sounds like we might all be taking McNeese a little too lightly. I'm less worried about KU taking them lightly after last year's opener.

As for some of the rosy predictions above, I'd love to believe them but I'm extremely skeptical. Like most people, I get excited and jazzed reading about all the talent KU has compared to last year. But then I think about the fact that every team in the country is talking in the same way. It's like spring training in baseball: before a down has been played, everyone looks great. I think KU will be improved, but anything more than four wins will be a major accomplishment. I'd love to be proven wrong.

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texashawk10 2 years, 7 months ago

Here's a scouting report on McNeese St.

McNeese St. is located in Lake Charles, Louisiana and has an enrollment of about 9,000 students and I have personally been to more McNeese St. games than KU games having been grown up 10 miles away from their campus in Sulphur. If I was at the game, I would probably wear a KU jersey with a McNeese hat.

The Cowboys have not finished lower than second in the Southland Conference under their current head coach. They return 10 starters (4 offense, 4 defense, K, P) off of a team that went 6-5 (5-2) last season.

Their best returning offensive player is all-conference RB Andre Anderson who ran for 855 yards and 713 yards in conference games. Anderson is a Michigan St. transfer so he is probably the most talented RB in the conference and could be the best back on the field. Their QB will likely be sophomore Cody Stroud who started two games last year for McNeese (LSU and Southeastern) and was 63-110 (57%) for 586 yards and 3 TD's.

On defense, the Cowboys best players are DE Desmund Lighten who is rated as one the 10 best DLinemen in the FCS and FS Malcolm Bronson who is a two time all-SLC player. The other returning starters on defense are SS Darrell Jenkins and CB Seth Thomas.

McNeese, like KU, has a lot of questions on their front 7 as they only return 1 starter from last year. On offense along with Anderson, McNeese returns 3/5 of their OLine so their running game should be the focus of their offense as the Cowboys break in a new group a receivers.

Keys for KU in this game:

  1. Stop McNeese's running game. McNeese is going to have one of the top rushing attacks in the FCS and with the number of good running teams KU faces this season, this will be a very telling sign of how KU's season is going to go.

  2. Pound the rock. KU needs to run the ball up and down on the Cowboys. With McNeese only returning 1 person from their front 7, they will be vulnerable up front and KU needs to take advantage of that.

  3. Special teams. KU will be breaking in a new kicker, punter, and long snapper. Considering KU missed 2 FG's last year from makeable distance against NDSU, I'd say the kicking game will be very important for KU this year if they want to upset better teams later on.

  4. Don't overlook McNeese St. The Cowboys have long been one of the better FCS programs in the country. McNeese has won a league high 12 conference titles and played in two FCS championship games (1997, 2003).

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KURiggins 2 years, 7 months ago

There is reason to optimistic. I hate K-State however, the kingdom of Bill was not built in a year. K-State fans hung with him..and BYOB. KU will be improved this year. Look for Jordan Webb to have a great year. Webb is easily our teams most underrated player. Everyone is critical of his play last year as a FR. If you think that was a true test of Webb and his abilities your a fool. Look for a monster year out of James Sims and Brandon Bourbon(you keep hearing his name, its not by accident) . And I love our speed. You take one RB out of the game. We just keep coming with them. Go Hawks! Rock Chalk! !! I will be in the stands cheering my guts out. Come early, yell hard and Rock the Hill

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Matt Bowers 2 years, 7 months ago

Does anyone know where this game can be found online? I live in NC and there no way that game is being televised here. Thanks.

Rock Chalk

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Tony Bandle 2 years, 7 months ago

I predict Kansas will play at least 12 games before Christmas. I predict we will not lose all our games. I predict we will not win all our games. I predict Texas A&M will get booed out of every Big 12 Stadium they visit. I predict HCTG will be praised/vilified during the season. I predict the Kansas Band will be awesome.[My niece plays the alto sax] I predict The Wheel will sell a lot of beer on game day. I predict that predicting will be predictably predictable.

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jayhawkintx73 2 years, 7 months ago

If the attitude among the players this year has really changed like they said, I would expect for Kansas to beat McNeese State in a 45 to 10 or similar margin. I remember, and I think it was 2003 or 2004 when KU's defense sort of struggled in the first game but then came the following week against Tulsa and just destroyed them. Kansas was ahead something like 49 - 7 at the half in that game, but we have something different this time around. Our defense seems to be hungry, particularly the linebackers, DE's, and the Safeties. The biggest difference is the talent that this team has on offense that was not present in 2003 and 2004. If we had 2004's defense in 2007, 2008, and 2009<<<< KU Big 12 Champs and probably at least National Runner Up if Not Champs at least one of those years. If our defense has that attitude and physicality, there are going to be very bright days for Kansas Football in the very near future.

This team is loaded at Receiver, Running Back, two pretty good TE's, and I think Jordan Webb has the ability to win at this level and closing last year our Defense showed improvement in consistency. This year the FUD factor doesn't seem to be there, FUD = Fear Uncertainty Doubt. They seem to be on the same page from the articles here.

So, I'm making a new prediction. 7-5.

McNeese State, Win North Illinois, Win Georgia Tech, Close, but Win Texas Tech, Win Oklahoma State, Competitive but Loss Oklahoma<<< Upset of the year Kansas State <<< Revenge and Win Texas <<<< Competitive, close game, but Loss Iowa State <<<< Win Baylor Win Kansas at Texas A&M <<< Competitive but loss Missouri, WIN<<,

Sun Bowl, Holiday Bowl, or Aloha Bowl

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Tony Bandle 2 years, 7 months ago

Take a good hard look at the picture above. I would suggest #76 in the background join Weight Watchers!!

PS Kansas 49 McNeese State10

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Tony Bandle 2 years, 7 months ago

Take a good hard look at the picture above. I would suggest #76 in the background join Weight Watchers!!

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Randy Maxwell 2 years, 7 months ago

I'll go out on a limb and say KU scores more points on it's first drive vs McNeese than it did the entire game in last years opener vs NDSU. If they can make an extra point that is.

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KGphoto 2 years, 7 months ago

“At this point, you’ve already evaluated your players, you know what they can do and who are gonna be your first- and second-line guys for the most part,” Beaty said.

So yeah. I can't find that depth chart that was supposed to post this week.

Anyone?

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Keith Hummel 2 years, 7 months ago

I agree that anything less than a old-fashioned Cornhusker-like drubbing will have me worried.

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Dirk Medema 2 years, 7 months ago

It will be so nice to get past the notion that nothing has changed since last year. That we don't have the same injured OL, that we do have a truckload of speedy, talented RB's & LB, that we do have a healthy, fast and deep DB group, and that a young team is continuing to develop.

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kujayhox 2 years, 7 months ago

It will be a step up from last year. thats for sure. but i still feel good about this team.

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phog1004 2 years, 7 months ago

If we do drub them will it be a short season?

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yates33333 2 years, 7 months ago

If KU can't drub McNeese State it is going to be a long, long season.

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