Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Back in action: RB Brandon Bourbon cleared to return from injury

Kansas running back Brandon Bourbon fields a punt during practice on Monday, April 11, 2011 at the practice fields near Memorial Stadium.

Kansas running back Brandon Bourbon fields a punt during practice on Monday, April 11, 2011 at the practice fields near Memorial Stadium.


Thirteen weeks after suffering an injury that ended his spring, red-shirt freshman running back Brandon Bourbon appears to be back in action and gearing up for the 2011 season.

Mark Casey, Bourbon’s high school coach at Potosi (Mo.) High, said Bourbon was cleared by doctors to resume full football activities about 10 days ago.

Bourbon, 6-foot-1, 208 pounds, injured his leg during spring practice on April 18. At the time, KU coach Turner Gill said Bourbon would be out 6-8 weeks but added that he expected him to return in plenty of time for preseason camp. Casey, who remains in close contact with his former player, said Bourbon was right on track for a full return.

“It seems like he’s doing pretty good,” Casey said. “He was cleared to go back to full football activities and to do everything that everybody else is doing. I think the injury might have put him a little bit behind. The way he likes to work out, he loves to hit the weight room and really hit it hard, and I don’t think he’s been able to do it the way that he’s used to doing it. But he’s still on pretty good track right now.”

Although the injury stalled his progress, Casey said Bourbon had shown great improvement from where he was during the spring of 2010 and seemed poised to inherit a bigger role in the Jayhawks’ offense this fall.

“Back in spring ball, before Brandon got hurt, I remember talking to (running backs) coach (Reggie) Mitchell about him and he said he was looking the best he had looked through all of spring ball the day he broke his leg,” Casey said. “I don’t think he feels like he’s 100 percent because he hasn’t gone out there and tested it in that manner yet. But I think he’s feeling really, really close. I know he’s biting at the bit to get back out there.”

In some ways, Casey believes that fighting through the first serious injury of his football career may have been good for Bourbon, much in the same way that red-shirting was in 2010.

“He’s never really been injured before, especially to this extent,” Casey said. “So it’s just going to make him a stronger person being able to fight through it. Now that it’s all over with, he just has that much more experience and he still has four years of eligibility left. I think in a lot of ways, it went the best way it could’ve gone for him.”

One thing Casey believes will help Bourbon is the presence of other talented running backs on KU’s roster, guys like sophomore James Sims and freshmen Darrian Miller and Anthony Pierson who can do their part to make sure Bourbon doesn’t have to do too much too soon.

“They’re similar guys,” said Casey of Bourbon and Sims. “And I think they’d put out about the same numbers. That could be a good 1-2 punch. And then, with the youngsters coming in, they could have something pretty special.”

Bouncing back from injuries can change the way players approach the game. Some are hesitant and uncertain in their return and others hit the field as if nothing ever happened. Casey said he believed Bourbon would fall into the latter category because of his tenacity.

“I think early on it took him a little while to adjust,” Casey said. “Not just to college football but to college life in general. But I think he’s kind of gotten over that rookie hump now and he’s a lot more comfortable.”

Bourbon and his teammates will continue summer conditioning for the next couple of weeks and will report to fall camp on Aug. 3, when they’ll begin preparing for the Sept. 3 season opener against McNeese State at Memorial Stadium.


smartjayhawk 2 years, 9 months ago

If Bourbon is forced to play defense only, he will transfer.

I can see him playing both ways though. He is a good enough athlete to do it.


JHWKDW 2 years, 9 months ago

Some are saying make him a Linebacker if he dont make it as a RB nah put him at Wider Receiver!


texashawk10 2 years, 9 months ago

Brandon Bourbon is going to end a linebacker before his career at KU is done. KU is loaded at RB with depth and good talent while LB continues to be a position lacking depth and good talent. Bourbon has the athleticism to be a good OLB and I wouldn't be shocked if Bourbon doesn't get many carries early on this season, you could see Vic Shealy trying to get his hands on Bourbon and working him into the LB rotation for 2012.


KGphoto 2 years, 9 months ago

Is Dreamius his real name, or is that just what he does in class?

Snap out of it boy, before you find yourself out of college, and out of football altogether. Either that or get real good at basketball, real fast, so the Kentucky Squid will take care of that pesky ACT, make you OAD and send you to the NBA. Easy as 123.


ahpersecoachingexperience 2 years, 9 months ago

Ummmmmmmmmmmk wow! 3 of us today.

Let's face it boys, the real ahperse would step up and post a video link to deal with this situation:

Then kick a little football knowledge that most homers haven't thought about: With Dreamius and Phil not being on campus our actual enrolled recruiting ranking is going to drop to the mid to low 40's

And finish it off with a jab to turner like it's all his fault: Recruit! Recruit! Recruit!

I'd ask the ljw staff to remove these no talent @$$clowns but I think they might be working for them (black helicopter theory). Maybe 1st year j school interns on a summer project?

Whoever it is you don't have the knowledge, wit, or TIME to keep up with me. So if you want to do this, in the words of Al Bundy "let's rock"


ahpersecoachingexperlence 2 years, 9 months ago

I have to admit I'm really excited about seeing Bourbon play. Starting to get excited about Jayhawk football!

Too bad about Dreamius. He has too good a name not to be on the field, but I guess I can wait a couple more years...


DallasHawk 2 years, 9 months ago

Sucks about Dreamius... I had a feeling something was up. Good luck Dreamius and I hope to see you in Lawrence soon!


Keith Hummel 2 years, 9 months ago

This is great news. Can't wait to see this kid play.


KU_Alumn_2000 2 years, 9 months ago

Have never seen Bourbon play...but from what I've heard...the guy has physicalities that 95 percent of college D1 tailbacks don't have. Hope this guy just explodes onto the college football scene and tears it up !


JHWKDW 2 years, 9 months ago

Well it sucks for Dreamius Smith would have liked to seen him on our team hey maybe next season!Even though Smith couldnt play for us it is good we getting top notch guys to want to play for Kansas!They just got to be eligible now!

Glad that Bourbon injury wasnt as bad as I thought it might be because they played on turf and from one report his leg twisted around real bad.It reminded me of what happened to SF 49er Garrison Hearst!I wish Gill and the coaching staff would get rid of the turf really we ought to play on grass!


Ferd Magellan 2 years, 9 months ago

We need more recruiters like Mitchell on the staff. We're going to have THREE 4-star back-ups at RB.


Kman_blue 2 years, 9 months ago

It's great news that Brandon is back and 100%! I think he'll see plenty of carries this year with him and Sims providing a double hit of power and speed. I think it's going to be fun watching our RB's this fall.

It's really too bad to hear about Dreamius not qualifying. He's a beast with deceptive break-away speed. Hopefully his stint at the JUCO will only be for 1 year and we'll see him back up in Lawrence next year. Maybe he can redshirt at the JUCO and not lose any eligibility for when he (hopefully) comes back to KU next year?


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