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Monday, December 26, 2011

Well-positioned: Ex-Jayhawks Reesing, Whittemore excited for future KU QBs

Former Kansas University quarterback Todd Reesing greets Jayhawk fans after a 44-16 win over Duke in this file photo from Sept. 19, 2009 at Memorial Stadium. Reesing said he is impressed with new KU coach Charlie Weis and the potential of KU’s recent quarterback recruits.

Former Kansas University quarterback Todd Reesing greets Jayhawk fans after a 44-16 win over Duke in this file photo from Sept. 19, 2009 at Memorial Stadium. Reesing said he is impressed with new KU coach Charlie Weis and the potential of KU’s recent quarterback recruits.

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As the starting quarterbacks in three of the 12 bowl games the Kansas University football program has played during its 121-year history, Todd Reesing and Bill Whittemore certainly are qualified to talk about what it takes to play quarterback at KU.

And both are more than impressed by the upgrade that new KU coach Charlie Weis has brought to the position during his first three weeks on the job.

By adding former Notre Dame QB Dayne Crist and former BYU QB Jake Heaps — both transfers and five-star prospects coming out of high school — Weis has returned to the program the kind of hope and excitement that Reesing and Whittemore once made common during their five combined seasons as KU starters.

With the pieces in place, it’s time to see if the new guys can deliver the same type of results. Reesing and Whittemore believe that’s possible, even if they can’t quite believe KU now has two blue-chip QBs on its roster.

“If they were recruiting five-star quarterbacks back when I was around, I wouldn’t have been there, so I’m obviously glad that wasn’t the case,” said Whittemore, now a quarterbacks coach at a private high school in Nashville, Tenn. “But I think KU has always had potential to recruit those types of kids. It’s a great college town, it’s a great school and there’s no reason why they can’t compete at that level. Obviously, they don’t have the backyard that Texas and schools like that have, but I think it’s an exciting time, with a new coach, and I think this just proves that.”

Reesing, who owns every major passing record in KU history, said the addition of such high-profile players not only brings talent to the field but also provides a sense of pride for the program.

“These guys still have to go out and play and prove themselves,” Reesing said. “But when you have guys that have the five-star ratings, whether they live up to them or not, they still bring that kind of attention. They’re the guys that are talked about, fans know their names and they’re being recruited by all the big schools. So when you get those kinds of guys to your school, and beat out schools like Texas and Florida and Alabama, it means a lot.”

Reesing, a former three-star recruit out of Lake Travis, Texas, and Whittemore, a former three-star recruit out of Fort Scott Community College, brought stability and skill to the team’s most important position during their stints at Kansas.

Whittemore, who started during Mark Mangino’s first two seasons at KU and led the Jayhawks to the 2003 Tangerine Bowl, threw for 4,000 yards and 29 touchdowns while bringing grit, toughness and leadership to a team that had cycled through QBs with regularity during the decade that preceded his arrival.

Reesing, KU’s starter from 2007-09, led the Jayhawks to back-to-back bowl victories — including a 12-1 record during the 2007-08 Orange Bowl championship season — and threw for 11,000 yards and 90 touchdowns while delivering three consecutive seasons of more than 3,400 yards.

Both were leaders on their teams, and both operated as KU’s unquestioned, first-and-only choice at quarterback throughout their careers. While having that kind of a role helped them perform on the field, both said it also helped their teams tremendously.

“I do think there has to be a guy that the coaches believe in and back, and, as a response to that, I think it’s important that the players do, too,” Whittemore said. “The team has to believe in the quarterback or else the defense will be playing for just their side and not for the team and things become more individualized.”

Added Reesing: “When the team knows who their quarterback is, who their leader is, it makes everybody else around them play well. They have the ability to motivate people, to lead, to get everybody excited. It’s a lot of responsibility. It’s a tough position to play. And most of the teams that have been really, really successful have had a good quarterback.”

While it’s too early to tell if either Crist, who will play one year at Kansas and will be eligible next season, or Heaps, who has to sit out 2012 and will have two years remaining beginning in 2013, will match, or even exceed, what Reesing or Whittemore were able to do, Reesing said both will come to KU with a huge advantage.

“The thing is, these two guys are seasoned veterans,” Reesing said. “They have played a lot of college football and they’ve been around Charlie Weis. Dayne Crist knows Weis’ offense, he knows the system, and he’s going to come in and be miles ahead of everyone on the team, which is going to give him the ability to step in and be a leader right away.”

Will all of the impressive traits along with the incredible hype surrounding his arrival mean more pressure for Crist from the start?

“For a young guy who’s been playing at Notre Dame, with the attention that that program gets, he’s not going to feel any pressure,” Whittemore said.

While the two former Jayhawks were impressed by the new players who will step into their old positions, that paled in comparison to the thoughts each had about KU’s new head coach.

“I was actually at work and I got online and happened to read it somewhere, and it just completely caught me off guard,” said Reesing, recalling the moment he first heard about the Weis hire. “It was kind of like, ‘Oh my gosh. Where did this come from?’ It kind of takes your breath away. You know who Charlie Weis is. You know what he’s done, you know what his pedigree is and it’s exciting that he’s bringing that to our school.”

Added Whittemore: “I think we’re probably catching him at the right time. I think he’s figured out the college game and realizes that he only has some much time to spend with the kids, so he’s probably tweaked his offensive schemes for them. I’m interested to see what they do and how it evolves.”

With his coaching staff only half complete and somewhere in the neighborhood of 20 new players still on his wish list, there clearly is more work for Weis to do. But both Reesing and Whittemore said, from their perspective, one of the hardest things to achieve already is in the bag.

“I don’t think there’s been this much buzz surrounding KU football since the middle of our 2007 season,” Reesing said. “And that’s exciting to see.”

Comments

JayHok 2 years, 4 months ago

Just noticed on scout a KU fan posted that Dieter sent a tweet after Crist announced. Dieter apparently really wants to announce now, but is waiting. Considering the timing of the tweet, it very much appears Weis has a great shot to sign Dieter.

Receivers that are serious about running perfect routes is a key for Weis. Dieter certainly does that. Reminds me a lot of Jordy Nelson and a taller version of Kerry Meier.

RCJ Weis!

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JakeBarnes 2 years, 4 months ago

If these 5 stars are as good as Reesing it's happy days again for KU fans. Since 1950 there have been two really great KU quarterbacks, John Hadl and Todd Reesing. Cromwell and Bobby Douglass were very good, but not the quality of Reesing.

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Geekinout 2 years, 4 months ago

South Florida: DE containment on Reesing. Never the same team after...

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LAJayhawk 2 years, 4 months ago

FYI

Slant is reporting Brian Wagner -- the Akron kid who led the MAC and was second in the nation in tackles before his last game where he was hurt and didn't play (he finished 4th) -- is down to KU, Arizona and Indiana to transfer. For those who don't know, he's the same situation as Crist: 1 year of eligibility, but has graduated making him able to play immediately. He is an excellent LB, and would be a great addition to our D.

Also, it looks like we might be taking another JuCo DT (although, I'm not finding a name), and we're in line on a handful of high school DLs. In fact, it looks like we are not actually out on De'Jon Wilson, the kid that committed, but then switched to CU. We shall see......

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Goose_88 2 years, 4 months ago

Items left to be resolved: DC = ?? 2nd coach to be retained = ?? current players to transfer = ?? def recruits coming in = ?? receivers coming in = ?? bowl invite in '12 = ???

Anything i missed?

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Mike Kendall 2 years, 4 months ago

Any news on the DC for KU?

Thanks!

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Jim Jackson 2 years, 4 months ago

Hopefully it's Beaty. The man can coach and can crecruit Texas very well. Anyone have any concrete info on this? Any news on Darrian Miller? We need that dude to stick around. He will be playing on Sundays somewhere if he can stay healthy.

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willie_fu_fu 2 years, 4 months ago

Beaty was the only one up in the air wasn't he?

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rockchalkblock 2 years, 4 months ago

Slant is reporting another coach is staying ne one know who it is?

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hawkfan20 2 years, 4 months ago

Good to see the LJW catch up with these two. Whittemore married Dave Ramsey's daughter.

Hopefully we'll see both back for games this year.

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Steve Brown 2 years, 4 months ago

When we lose the track and add a complicated yet needed drainage system under the turf how many seats will that add?

Charlie will have to explain to students how staying for the whole game helps recruiting and building blocks for future.

Let's recruit some big mean and fast D players.

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gchawk 2 years, 4 months ago

Great article, and welcome back Matt. Just a little side note, please lose the "Ex", just too many connotations.

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Phoggin_Loud 2 years, 4 months ago

"12 bowl games the Kansas University football program has played during its 121-year history"

Ouch!! Those futile numbers are staggering.

It's time to turn it around. Go get 'em, Coach Weis!!

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Terran Woolley 2 years, 4 months ago

Seeing that photo makes me sad. I remember that day being my 40th birthday, KU was ranked #15, the world seemed ours for the taking.....then two weeks later we lost to CU, Lew began his witchhunt which eventually ended up costing the University OVER 15 million dollars in payouts to Mangro, Lew, and Derp, and Mangro threw the MU game in the final two minutes as a final F you to Lew on his way out the door.

Things can only get better, after what this program has endured the past three years.

RCJHKU!

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TenaciousD 2 years, 4 months ago

How is a guy like Reesing not on KU's staff in some way? Assuming he wants to stay involved in the game, he should be an assistant. Having him on the sideline would amp up the excitement even more. He's got to be getting bored of that desk job. Bring him in Charlie!

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chicagoeddie 2 years, 4 months ago

IM SOOOOOOOO EXCITED!!! CHITOWN IS GOING TO BE GOING NUTSS~!

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VaJay 2 years, 4 months ago

Keep these articles coming Matt! Thanks! Nice to hear our favorite experts talk about the impact rather than the armchair versions!

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ahpersecoachingexperience 2 years, 4 months ago

"I can make a quarter come back like Reesing."

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gardenjay 2 years, 4 months ago

That was a great article - thank you!

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gardenjay 2 years, 4 months ago

That was a great article - thank you!

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Todd Simpson 2 years, 4 months ago

as always I will be at the First game of the season every year I go.

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ksbball1 2 years, 4 months ago

Great article! Can't wait till next season. RCKJHK

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Funhawk 2 years, 4 months ago

I always thought Todd Reesing saved Mark Mangino's job.

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