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.


yates33333 6 years, 8 months ago

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

Laurence Cooley 6 years, 8 months ago

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

Dirk Medema 6 years, 8 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.

Jayhawk444 6 years, 8 months ago

What we actually have is a lot of unknowns. A lot of freshmen/sophomores with little experience. No proven playmakers on O or D. So this could turn out to be a change from last year, but like I said...unknown at this point.

smar4 6 years, 8 months ago

the same thing worries me, i'm very optimistic about the direction of the team/program, but i fear our inexperience this season... will all that speed lead us to over pursue or "bite" on many play-fakes?

waywardJay 6 years, 8 months ago

I'm sorry but SIms is defintely a playmaker. He may be the only one proven, but he's a play maker.

Randy Bombardier 6 years, 8 months ago

I think that could happen because of our talent alone. I will be worried if, regardless of the score, we get lots of penalties, have frequent miscues, and do not look organized as a team. Talent will carry us a long way these first two games. It is the other I am concerned about. Also worried about our new 3-4 Defense. Hoping to see a lot of aggressiveness. If we get a punt blocked I will really start to wonder.

On the other hand, I will be extremely confident, regardless of the score, if I see a total game. That is what would really give me confidence about this regime. If we do nothing but pound the ball and average 4 yards a carry, get 18 first downs and win by two tds I will be happy if the performance is solid. Let our opponents be unimpressed with the margin of victory and maybe we will catch them napping. Play a total game, each and every game, and we will surprise some people.

Ryan Shelton 6 years, 8 months ago

As a voice of reason, let me prepare you for the fact that there WILL be too many penalties and there WILL be too many miscues. That's what happens in the first game of the season for practically every team, no matter of what level of play. The offense will stall a bit because defenses are nearly always ahead of offenses early in the season.

Anyone with unrealistic expectations of a "Cornhusker" drubbing will most likely be disappointed. Yet I assure you that none of it should be a reason for concern.

In Mangino's second year, we lost to Big 10 door mat Northwestern 28-20 in the first game of the year, yet that didn't stop us from learning from our mistakes and pulling out six wins.

Now I'm not saying that McNeese St. is as good as NW, and I think we can all reasonably expect a Jayhawk win and be disappointed if it doesn't happen, but the point I am making is that we fans NEED to have more patience than fretting over not blowing out a team first game of the season. Please let our young guys get some experience before putting such high expectations on them.

waywardJay 6 years, 8 months ago

We're likely going to be a running team..... So, The game is going to be predictably low scoring anyway..... I would say a "Husker type Drubbing...." Could be a 38-10 type of Game....

To those, Like Ah perse, Who only pay attention to the Boxscores.... 38-10 may not be incredibly awe Inspiring....

The difference could be easy to tell by the third period....

A 38-0 lead that has us resting our starters.... Or a 21-10 Lead with the ball in scoring range both can easily become the same finish......

nuleafjhawk 6 years, 8 months ago

Atl, as we get closer to September 3rd, I'm getting more enthused and anxious. But, being a realist, right now I'd settle for a "W".

KGphoto 6 years, 8 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.


lv_jhwk 6 years, 8 months ago

Ummm...actually, the extra point wouldn't be necessary since the 'Hawks only managed a field goal in that game.

Tony Bandle 6 years, 8 months ago

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

Tony Bandle 6 years, 8 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

texashawk10 6 years, 8 months ago

If a lineman has a sexy upperbody, chances are he sucks. Go look at NFL linemen and tell me how many have a gut.

jayhawkintx73 6 years, 8 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

Gary Wirsig 6 years, 8 months ago

OK, I'll bite - that looks like a record of 9-3. Am I missing something?

chicagojayhawk87 6 years, 8 months ago

I love your optimism. But... Predicting an OU and GTech win is getting a little over our head isnt it? I know we beat GTech last year but that was coming off an embarrassing loss.

Take it one game at a time, I'm more worried about beating Northern Illinois than beating Oklahoma this year. They're young and from what it sounds like highly ambitious. Lets leave too much predicting out of this and just hope for a fun year. No giving up and lackluster plays, let's play hard and GO HAWKS.

Randy Bombardier 6 years, 8 months ago

OU win would be a huge upset. Of course would love to see it. I see us beating Texas before OU though. I don't see us beating K-State. They are a sleeper this year. They played a lot of teams close. I don't think they lost by more than 10 points. Their QB play should be much better and their run D should be much better. Their offense w/o Daniel Thomas will be much more two-dimensional. But they are very disciplined and Snyder knows how to correct last season's problems. They will have different ones this year and too early to tell. Because of the rivalry we can always beat Misery so I will go along with that. Otherwise, I hate to be in the position of predicting W's and L's. This crop of Jayhawks could explode onto the scene. They could look brilliant, well coached, physical, tenacious. I hope for all of that. It is easy to talk it, but if you are not going to be tenacious in the weight room, you are not going to be tenacious on the field. If you are only "disciplined" for 60 minutes you are probably going to have a lot of mistakes. I hope our guys learn to be disciplined, dedicated, tenacious 24/7/365. When we do that we will win big and I will start predicting 12-0 seasons.

texashawk10 6 years, 8 months ago

KState is going to worse this year than last year. Collin Klein can't throw the ball to save his life, Bryce Brown is overrated and nowhere near as good as Daniel Thomas and they only return 12 starters from last year total. KState also only returns 2 starting DLinemen so I don't think their run defense will be improved.

John Randall 6 years, 8 months ago

His coach thinks Colin Klein can throw the ball just fine. He just hasn't done much of that yet. If he is a dual threat and a decent defense materializes, K-State can be a big-time spoiler – for anyone in the conference.

texashawk10 6 years, 8 months ago

Unless Klein significantly improved from last year, KState is going to be a spread option team reminiscent of the Michael Bishop and Ell Roberson teams. KState won't be anywhere near as good as those teams, that's just what the offense will look like.

kittyhawker 6 years, 8 months ago

I'll have whatever jayhawkintx73 is having! Talk about delusional!

kureader 6 years, 8 months ago

I didn't see your post ... I left one just like it ... sorry. Something is wrong with Jayhawkintx73, though.

jayhawkintx73 6 years, 8 months ago

Yeah, something is wrong with me. It is a new season, and KU has their two best recruiting classes in their history on this roster, even if some may be red-shirting and one had to go to Juco. This is the most athletic team KU has ever had.

jayhawkintx73 6 years, 8 months ago

I don't drink, or do drugs. You can say what you want. My skin is thick, and I'm not posting here to win your approval. That is what cowards do.

jayhawkintx73 6 years, 8 months ago

I will say this though. If you're one of the fans that goes to the game and leaves at half time, like what happened in 2008, You're a fool!

The crowd has to make noise, and if you're a band wagoner and have season tickets, SELL THEM TO SOMEONE WHO IS A REAL FAN.

Tony Bandle 6 years, 8 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.

Matt Bowers 6 years, 8 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

KURiggins 6 years, 8 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

texashawk10 6 years, 8 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).

actorman 6 years, 8 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.

John Randall 6 years, 8 months ago

Even four wins would exceed most prognostications (except ours from behind crimson glasses). None of our games are near to being cupcakes, and at least half of them are realistically beyond us unless we happen to play a perfect game on someone's off day.

The number of wins is too simplistic a barometer for progress, at least this year.


jayhawkintx73 6 years, 8 months ago

You have a point, except the difference is that KU closed the gap between say OU's recruiting classes and KU's recruiting classes Pre-Mangino. Not only that, the recruiting classes were far better than K-State's and combined, are better than MU's in regards to who is still there.

There are certainly going to be questions come the next three weeks. If we win all three of those games, and do it with playing quality football, the rest of the conference will either take notice, or they won't, and I suspect some of the other teams won't since everyone has to play each other every year now.

All indications from what is being written from a top notch sports writing crew in the country is that there is a cohesiveness to this team that was only existent in one football game last year, vs. Georgia Tech. This team is certainly talented enough, that if they play with that intensity, after 6 games, other teams will take notice, and if they don't it will be to the opponent's detriment.

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