Sunday, December 18, 2011

Tim Grunhard seeking specific linemen

Tim Grunhard, a second-round draft pick out of Notre Dame in 1990,
played 11 years at center for Kansas City.

Tim Grunhard, a second-round draft pick out of Notre Dame in 1990, played 11 years at center for Kansas City.


He was a second-round draft pick, played 11 seasons and 164 games in the NFL with the Kansas City Chiefs and was a standout offensive lineman at Notre Dame during the late 1980s.

It’s safe to say that Kansas University offensive line coach Tim Grunhard knows a thing or two about playing the position he now coaches. Although he won’t officially begin his new job until Jan. 1, Grunhard, who was hired Tuesday by new KU coach Charlie Weis, also has a specific vision for the type of player he wants representing the Jayhawks in the trenches during his time in Lawrence.

“I don’t care if you look like Tarzan, if you play like Jane, I don’t want you around,” said Grunhard during his weekly radio spot on 810 WHB last Tuesday. “The guys that we get in, I don’t care if they’re the biggest guys or the strongest guys, but they’ve gotta be the best technicians.”

Right away, Grunhard will have plenty of options from which to choose. Not only will KU return three starters from an offensive line that started the same five guys for every game of the 2011 season, the Jayhawks also have more depth on the offensive line than at any other position.

Heading into 2012, seniors-to-be Tanner Hawkinson (a 6-foot-6, 293-pound right tackle), Trevor Marrongelli (6-2, 293 left guard) and Duane Zlatnik (6-4, 305 right guard) will be joined by a couple of other offensive linemen who played a few snaps this season. That group will be bolstered by a pack of five red-shirt freshmen who came to KU together and spent the 2011 season getting bigger and stronger.

The most notable members of the top trio’s supporting cast are sophomore tackle Riley Spencer and freshman center Dylan Admire, 6-3, 272. During 2011, Spencer, 6-7, 300, was the first lineman to enter the game when one of the starters needed a rest, and Admire, who came from Blue Valley West High, got a jump start on his class by graduating early and joining the Jayhawks prior to spring ball.

Also on KU’s list of returning red-shirt freshmen on the O-Line are: Travis Bodenstein, 6-5, 310; Luke Luhrsen, 6-5, 299; Damon Martin, 6-5, 265; and Bryan Peters, 6-5, 305.

Although their experiences during 2011 should serve all of KU’s linemen well, Grunhard said the new coaching staff was prepared to change the culture.

“They have to accept that they’re gonna work hard,” Grunhard said. “The fundamentals and technique of the position are very important to me. There were a lot bigger guys than I (in the NFL), and you really have to be solid in fundamentals and technique to have success.”

Grunhard emphasized intelligence throughout his latest radio appearance. For him, it’s not as important to be a giant in stature as it is to be a genius upstairs.

“The secret to playing offensive line is to anticipate and be right,” he said. “And the only way you can anticipate and be correct with your anticipation is by studying film and understanding the game.

“The one thing we’re going to concentrate on is becoming students of the game, so that when we go to the line of scrimmage we’re the best-prepared football team, the best offensive line, and we understand the logistics of how we’re gonna do it. If you understand that and you have confidence, you can play with anybody.”

Grunhard continually talked about KU being the perfect place for him to make the leap to college coaching. For starters, it allows him and his family to remain in Kansas City, and, more important to the job, gives him the opportunity to coach the kind of players he likes to coach.

“I like chips on their shoulders,” Grunhard said. “A lot of times, at KU you get guys with chips on their shoulders because they didn’t have the opportunity to play somewhere else.”

He also said he looked forward to the task of turning Kansas into a winner again and recognized how difficult the process may be coming on the heels of two of KU’s worst seasons in school history.

“I am aware of it,” he said. “And that’s one of the reasons I took it. I love the challenge. You, as a person, cannot grow until you challenge yourself.”

Although coaching the proper footwork and the right reads will be a priority, Grunhard, who spent the last six seasons as a successful head coach at Bishop Miege High and was a Kansas City-area high school assistant for five years before that, also said he looked forward to keeping in touch with his high school roots on the recruiting trail.

“High school football in Kansas City, I think, is very, very underrated,” Grunhard said. “There are a lot of good football players, and we need to tap into that, and we will tap into that.

“It’s gonna be a blast, man. It’s a dream come true. I know I keep saying that, but it really is.”


Randy Maxwell 2 years, 4 months ago

Travis Bodenstien and Luke Luherson are absolute studs. Martin is the most athletic lineman we have recruited in years, but needs to get stronger


Jason Keller 2 years, 4 months ago

The USC transfer Brice Butler told a FOX analyst that Kansas is not that high on his list but he still isn't sure where he is headed. She posted it on a USC discussion board. I thought I would share.


texashawk10 2 years, 4 months ago

I love that Grunhard wants to emphasize technique. Superior technique is how you win games when you have undersized players like KU does and always will. Charlie Weis may be able to get the attention of a few 4 and 5 star players and that's great, but KU will never attract those kind of players at the rate of Texas or Oklahoma so superior technique becomes the equalizer for schools like KU and KSU. Being able to block better, tackle better, take better pursuit angles, run better routes, and so on is how teams with lower rated athletes win which all comes back to coaching up 3 star kids which is what 85% of KU's roster is made up of.


hihawk 2 years, 4 months ago

Sure would be funny if KU football got to the level as Kansas ST. (Cotton Bowl) and Pittsburg ST.( Conference Title). At least we can say we have two great football teams in the state of Kansas and only one loser.


blackhawkjayhawk 2 years, 4 months ago

Most recent Tweet from Crist. Look's like he's still deciding.

dcrist10 Dayne Crist @ @NDmom haha I know that was bad on my part, as soon as I know so will you 2 hours ago


danno1313 2 years, 4 months ago

Recruit .. 1 Speed 2 Speed 3 Speed 4 Speed 5 Speed


Carolyn Troupe 2 years, 4 months ago

I just spoke to the girlfriend of Crist's second cousin by a previous marriage. He has no information.


bville_hawk 2 years, 4 months ago

Charlie has said that he will serve as OC initially and eventually turn it over to an OC Apprentice. Don't know if "initially" means first few games or seasons.


waywardJay 2 years, 4 months ago

This hire has me a step closer to endorsing the Weis hire. Still waiting an Offensive coordinator.

Keeping Reggie Mitchell , Good move. Hiring Grunhard.... Good Move.

I swear to Bejebus if WE hire Josh McDaniels I will wash my Jersey in a vat of industrial strength bleach.


Ralster Jayhawk 2 years, 4 months ago

Back to basics with a position coach who enjoyed a stellar career at the top of his profession. Tim Grunhard totally "gets it". ANY KC chiefs fan of the Trent Green era (when we wasted a true superbowl-caliber offense with a zero-defense) knows or learned just how golden a good, skilled offensive line is. The Chief's experience in 2000-2004,5,6 taught us that the offensive line is the key to the offensive side of the game. Ask Larry Johnson (former KC RB) & Trent Green what happens when you lose your A-rated O-line. An A-rated O-line can make a B-rated QB look like a champ. And they can produce a 1000yd rusher yearly.

The key to staying on the field & sustaining drives is the O-line. 1st down gains set up all subsequent play-calling and the %success that comes with various situations. You want to keep opposing offenses off the field, get better staying in possession of the football!

Of course, all-around high level football requires having a strong defense. Again, Trent Green's wasted experience in KC proves that amply. You can score yes, but still lose a shootout to Peyton Manning, unless you can stop Peyton Manning, or get him under pressure.

Thank god Grunhard has some a bunch of O-linemen to choose from. We could be really good, with real O-line depth, too. Wear people out by the 4th quarter, would be a nice thing...


manginodrh00lz 2 years, 4 months ago

Just spoke to Crist's family - he is KU bound.


ahpersecoachingexperience 2 years, 4 months ago

Can that guy that wrote the article about taking pictures go and snap a new one of Gunhard?


Kevin Crook 2 years, 4 months ago

Grunhard is going to prove to be a sensational hire. I'll bet he has an unmeasurable positive effect on the entire program, not just the O line. RCJH!


dino5540 2 years, 4 months ago

I heard Tommy Rees is coming Tommy Rees is coming!! Tools.


willie_fu_fu 2 years, 4 months ago

Crist tweeted he has picked a school, as posted in the football board. Looks to be Kansas Bound!!!


blackhawkjayhawk 2 years, 4 months ago

Final Thought; and I mean it this time. I read an article on Crist and Wisconsin which makes me think we'll get him. Wisconsin has 4 quarterbacks on roster and the tone of the article was - even if Crist ends up as a back-up it's not a bad gamble.

If you compare that sentiment to the idea that he's the automatic starter if he comes to KU, then I think he'll lean towards us. As stated by some earlier posters, we have some offensive talent, Crist could probably run a very effective offense here. He could have a shot at 2nd team all-conference and put himself in good position for the draft (I'm assuming Klein is 1st team).


blackhawkjayhawk 2 years, 4 months ago

Best line in the article was the last one: It's a dream come true. Says a lot about the the mind set he will bring.

I also love the focus on technique - you have to actually coach players to make them better. I'm excited.

Finally, the comment on KC recruiting was telling. Grunhard is also in charge of Chicago, I believe, which means that we will begin reeling in some key recruits in the next recruiting session.

Does anyone know why Jan. 1 is the magic date? It would seem that we could use him sooner.


John Mueller 2 years, 4 months ago

Webb is not a D1 quarterback.

Has no clock in his head to get rid of the ball.

Cannot go thru his progressions quickly enough.

Vision of the field is awful.


JayDocMD 2 years, 4 months ago

I love the "Grunny" hire and enjoyed this article. However the LJW must stop using this picture. He looks like a rather large Dr. Evil.


KU_Alumn_2000 2 years, 4 months ago

Bangkok - if we get all of our key players back...I think Weis and his new coaching staff will be pleasantly surprised with our offense.

The d-line and linebackers need a major overhaul. No ifs, ands, or buts about it. Ive been saying this since 2008...if we don't get some talent and depth on that defensive line...this program will struggle.


alphajay 2 years, 4 months ago

For not seeing any live games, Bangkok must have put some serious thought into how our team should line up. Good set of posts. Don't know how accurate any of them are, but they read well.


Bangkok_Jayhawk 2 years, 4 months ago

Special Teams-

LS-Gibas K-Doherty P-Doherty

KR-Beshears PR-Patterson

Position change candidates... -We are overly stacked at RB. Sims and Miller are definitely RBs. Can Pierson play corner? Can Bourbon play Safety or linebacker? San Miller be a RB/WR like Percy Harvin was at Florida? -Keeston Terry to receiver? -Michael Reynolds back to DE? (I was not able to watch games, only read about them and see high lights... I think he was playing LB bt could be wrong) -Hawkinson back to LT? He is definitely a RT type player, but we have to have the best available guy to protect the blind side.


Bangkok_Jayhawk 2 years, 4 months ago


DE-Opurum DT-John Williams DT-McKinney DE-Keba

LB-Tunde Bakare LB-Darius Willis LB-Huldon Tharp

CB-Greg Brown S-Keeston Terry S-Bradley McDougald CB-Tyler Patmon NB-Chris Robinson

I bet we bring back the 4-3 because this is not the NFL. Because of the spread, I would like to see one of the linebackers as a nickel back/line backer hybrid. Tunde Bakare looks to be that guy. I love our safety combo and our DLine should be improved. I wonder if this will be enough for a dramatic change.


Bangkok_Jayhawk 2 years, 4 months ago

Projection time...

T-Tanner Hawkinson G-Duane Zlatnik C-Dylan Admire G-Trevor Marongelli T-Riley Spencer

TE-Trent Smiley Slot-DJ Beshears WR-Daymond Patterson WR-Kale Pick WR-JaCorey Shepard

QB-Dayne Crist (PLEASE!) FB-Nick Sizemore TB-Committee... Miller-James-Sims-Pierson-Bourbon

Even though there is a new coaching staff, most of these guys have experience... Definitely enough to be a respectable offence. I bet we will be able to run the ball well.


johnnyhrdwd 2 years, 4 months ago

I'll take a chip on the shoulder over a bluechip anyday. Maybe Grunhard should be head coach someday.


gardenjay 2 years, 4 months ago

Nice article, thanks for letting us know a little more about this coach....rcjh


doolindalton 2 years, 4 months ago

“High school football in Kansas City, I think, is very, very underrated,” That is correct and so is high school football throughout the state of Kansas. (See the 2011 D2 National Champions, Pittsburg State.) Excellent article. Particularly encouraging from the perspective of those of us who believe that it is actually possible to coach kids up into good football players. Grunhard should be an excellent asset to the program.


JJHAWK 2 years, 4 months ago

I think our offensive line is in good hands! RCJH


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