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Monday, June 27, 2011

The one to beat: Jordan Webb best of the bunch at QB for Kansas — at least so far

KU football position by position: Quarterback

Kansas quarterback Jordan Webb looks over his receivers as he runs through plays with the offense during practice on Monday, April 11, 2011 at the KU practice fields.

Kansas quarterback Jordan Webb looks over his receivers as he runs through plays with the offense during practice on Monday, April 11, 2011 at the KU practice fields.

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Kansas quarterback Jordan Webb looks over his receivers as he runs through plays with the offense during practice on Monday, April 11, 2011 at the KU practice fields.

Quarterback.

It’s the one position on a football team that can make or break a season.

It’s also the one position on the Kansas University roster that has more questions than answers.

Three guys who took snaps for the Jayhawks in 2010 return in 2011, but only two of them return as quarterbacks. Jordan Webb — 1,195 yards, seven TDs and eight interceptions last season — and senior Quinn Mecham will enter fall camp as the leaders in the race to become KU’s starting quarterback this fall.

Kale Pick, the junior from Dodge City who won the job heading into 2010 but attempted just 36 passes at QB, returns this fall as a wide receiver.

Word from the KU camp is that Webb emerged from spring ball with a lead over Mecham. After delivering up-and-down performances throughout 2010, Webb appears to have matured and improved quite a bit in the offseason.

KU coach Turner Gill said Webb displayed more confidence and poise throughout the spring.

Offensive coordinator Chuck Long said the third-year sophomore from Union, Mo., learned from his first year as a starter.

Though Webb and Mecham took most of the first-team reps during spring drills — red-shirt freshman Blake Jablonski also got a few snaps — they’ll welcome a couple of newcomers into the battle when preseason camp opens in August.

Freshmen Brock Berglund, of Highlands Ranch, Colo., and Michael Cummings, of Killeen, Texas, will hit campus looking to compete for the starting job right away.

Gill and Long have said both will get the chance to prove they deserve the job, but the guess here, in Part Two of the Journal-World and KUSports.com’s position-by-position summer breakdown series, is that neither will be able to unseat the incumbents.

Here are our lists, from football beat writer Matt Tait, sports editor Tom Keegan and KUSports.com online editor Jesse Newell.

Matt Tait’s list

  1. Jordan Webb: The best of the bunch — for now. Deserves a ton of credit for improving dramatically in the offseason.

  2. Michael Cummings: This is the quarterback of the future the KU coaches had in mind when they got here. Knee injury changed things a bit.

  3. Brock Berglund: Excellent prospect with unlimited potential. Will he be able to put odd offseason behind him and start making plays?

  4. Quinn Mecham: Exactly the kind of guy you want in a backup role. However, as a senior, the coaches can’t afford to give him many snaps unless it’s absolutely necessary.

  5. Blake Jablonski: If ever forced into action, he could handle it. Odds of that happening? Slim to none.

Tom Keegan’s list

  1. Jordan Webb: Time for him to hand off more often and throw fewer passes. Run, Jayhawks, run.

  2. Quinn Mecham: No mobility and no arm strength, but he’s a smart decision-maker and an accurate short passer.

  3. Blake Jablonski: If only his arm were as strong as it is accurate.

  4. Brock Berglund: Getting ranked behind a walk-on here should give him plenty of time to sit and think about what a poor decision he made when he blew off spring football.

  5. Michael Cummings: Wearing a red shirt will give his knee time to heal from surgery. Mobile with a strong arm, he has a shot at developing into the QB of the future.

Jesse Newell’s list

  1. Jordan Webb: Best of a weak position; showed improvement in spring game.

  2. Quinn Mecham: Has experience on his side, but still too fidgety in pocket.

  3. Brock Berglund: Lots of potential, but will be playing catch-up after deciding to go back home instead of staying at KU in spring.

  4. Michael Cummings: Sounds like he’s making progress from torn ACL, but still should be behind three above him.

  5. Blake Jablonski: Had a good spring game but is clearly behind the other four.

Journal-World Consensus Top 5 Quarterbacks

  • Five points awarded for first, four points for second, three points for third, two points for fourth and one point for fifth.

  • Jordan Webb (15)

  • Quinn Mecham (10)

  • Brock Berglund (8)

  • Michael Cummings (8)

  • Blake Jablonski (5)

Comments

ahpersecoachingexperience 3 years, 5 months ago

Man, the crew is taking some shots at BB. Daddy likey!

Anyone see rivals ranked us 82nd in the nation? With teams ranked worse than us influencing the team and athletic department. Gills former team, which is weird that not much talent is there because I thought he was a great recruiter. Our strength coaches former team and the school that the recent marketing hire comes from. Then I thought is Illinois State a bcs (its not) school and found some great numbers. Last year the average home attendance for "the little engine that couldn't" school was around 7000.

And you guys wonder why I have no confidence in the direction of our program!!!

waywardJay 3 years, 5 months ago

Rankings are sketchy at best in Basketball. In football, it's a total free for all.

So Rivals having us at 82... doesn't really offend me much, considering they had us at what 32nd last year, pre-season ?

How much of that is projecting against a stronger schedule.... probably most of it....

This is the position here that can change perception, let's not kid ourselves.

What we have an abundance of is Running backs, with a bad line and no passing game... we were averaging a first down every 3 carries....

If Our Quarterback can give us consistancy moving the ball, and not making mistakes we might surprise some people.... Perhaps even you Persy.

79ictjhawk 3 years, 5 months ago

What a shock, Mr. negative gets the 1st comment on a FB article. You just coundn't wait to pounce on it, could you Persey?

100 3 years, 5 months ago

Clearly this isn't what the LJW intended when allowing reader comments to have a Grape lead off the discussion of every football article.

Isn't there some newspaper writing something about Bill Synder or Frank Martin you could be hanging out on?

Are you really still THAT miffed that Gill stomped the Grapes in recruiting last year?

ahpersecoachingexperience 3 years, 5 months ago

Love it! When they said we had a decently ranked recruiting class everyone popped bottles. Now they know nothing.

Here is how Turner plays the QB situation. He red shirts both of the incoming freshman buying him another year and he and the homers will play the "wait 'till he has his qb playing" card. You guys make me want to puke! We are force fead how great this coaching staff is and yet we are weakest in the position our oc and hc played. Don't great coaches make chicken soup out of . . . . ?

waywardJay 3 years, 5 months ago

And we are wrong to be giddy over a ranked recruiting class, too. Mangino's last recruiting class was said to be his best ranked, and so far it's netted us 8-16 record over two seasons.

Only thing that really matters is how the kids play on the field, just most of us don't want to cap our Coaches Knees on paper results.

You have a point, to an extent.

You would like to think you are most successful at the things you have the most experience with, but that isn't always the case. For Example, Brian Billick couldn't find a Quarterback for the Baltimore Ravens. He was supposedly an Offensive Genius but he won many games on having the best defense of the the decade.

Sometimes, a coach is best at knowing what his weaknesses were and how to exploit them. Gill's best team to date, They won 3 of 4 Overtime games, and out scored teams. SO yes, he has background of having teams score, BUT looking inside the numbers that season was not incredibly successful at either running or throwing the ball. They basically took what they could get and got the job done, whether it mean running the ball and controlling the clock or passing for good yards....

One thing that Can be said, is that they saw a decent number of good quarterbacks against them that Season.... Trevor Vittatoe at UTEP, Dan Lefevour at Central Michigan, Chase Daniel at Mizzou, Nate Davis at Ball State, and Tyler Sheehan at Bowling Green were all decent to Very good College Quarterbacks..... And Buffalo won their fair share of those games.

I just find it hard to objectively look at one season and think that's enough to get rid of someone. 0-12, yeah, that's not likely going somewhere. Mangino won 2 games his first year and he was treated as a savoir of our football team 4 years later. He had t-shirts made about him, and his weight problems.

As for the results on the Second Season, Gill has a pretty quick bunch of players coming in, and he has emphasized speed at BOTH Schools he coached.

A question to you Persy, What would it take for you to be proven wrong about Turner Gill ? It took seeing Chalmers, Wright and Rush playing their Sophomore season for me to get on Board with Self completely...... ( bill's Fourth year with the team... ) What would it take for you to Eat your words ?

Kirk 3 years, 5 months ago

To respond to the last question: A competitive football team. One that plays smart, and doesn't get blown out too often.

One that fills the stadium with fans who are coming to the games because they have the realistic expectation that we could actually win.

ahpersecoachingexperience 3 years, 5 months ago

Kirk, that sounds nice but I fear your expectations are a wee bit to high.

I'd settle for more than 3 men on the line of scrimmage when it's 4th and goal. More than 9 men on the field during punts and put returns. And my personal favorite, no delay of game penalties because the coach didnt get a play called in time after the refs took a timeout to review the previous play.

waywardJay 3 years, 5 months ago

Wow.... That's not happening this year.

Competitive team, sure I can see it.

One that plays smart and doesn't get blown out too often..... Two years away as to the amount of Freshman and Sophomores playing.....

One that fills the stadium with fans who realistically expect to win a ball game..... against Texas or Oklahoma every year ????? Wow, that's asking for a lot. Considering where we've come from, just losing them to two touchdowns regularly would be a feat... because that would mean we are making huge strides....

But if Snellenberger can turn around Miami.... and Stoops can almost get Oklahoma back to Prominance...... I suppose anything is possible....

Steve Corder 3 years, 5 months ago

Where are your basic writing skills? Ugh! Being lazy and sloppy, assuming you were taught properly, is no way to present yourself and your thoughts.

ahpersecoachingexperience 3 years, 5 months ago

Ah the writing/spelling take. It's only second to "I know you are. But what am I?"

Kirk 3 years, 5 months ago

Huh? Your last sentence is a grammatical burp up.

What does "being lazy and sloppy" modify? What does "assuming" modify?

KCHawk81 3 years, 5 months ago

It's true that "assuming" begins a dangling participial phrase. (And "presuming" would be the correct word.) But "Being" is a gerund, the subject of the sentence in this case, and is modified by the adjectives "lazy" and "sloppy." You have to get past that dangling modifier to find the predicate, which contains the linking verb "is," the subjective complement "way" (with litotes!) and the infinitive phrase "to present yourself and your thoughts" serving as an objective complement to "way." I think.

I also think I'm more confident with Webb being a clear QB favorite than any of our other options. At this point, I have to trust the coaches that he has improved his decision-making abilities. I'm not looking for an air show this fall, so if Webb can hand the ball off effectively and still make defenses respect the occasional deep pass, I'll take it.

Jared Grillot 3 years, 5 months ago

That was awesome :) If we elect a MB grammar sheriff, I'm voting for you.

KCHawk81 3 years, 5 months ago

The NDSU game must not have been televised, then.

PenguinHawk 3 years, 5 months ago

No, no one wonders why you have no confidence in "our" program. You're a troll who has wasted countless hours of his life posting a bunch of disparaging garbage on a website dedicated to the sports programs of a school you don't even like. No one wonders about anything you say.

Andy Tweedy 3 years, 5 months ago

I actually clicked on this article today just to see if ahperse was the first to respond.

ahpersecoachingexperience 3 years, 5 months ago

Two best things about living out west. 1) college football all day long in the fall 2) being the first to post on ljw articles in the summer

79ictjhawk 3 years, 5 months ago

So Persy could have something else to bit*h about. It was actually his theory that it was for a girlfriend back home in CO. I never seen any report confirming that.

Ethan Berger 3 years, 5 months ago

Considering he was at Buffalo, he did alright recruiting. Remember just three years ago he won the conference title, yes it was the MAC, but Buffalo has never been close to football success. I'm not super mad with Gill because our team the year before who should have won the North, ended up last. So luckily for me, my expectations were down.

KU_Alumn_2000 3 years, 5 months ago

Think BB will come in and take the position from Webb. His talent level will take over and he'll become the QB of the future.

Dirk Medema 3 years, 5 months ago

Not likely by September, but definitely could see it happening by October - or maybe MC.

hawk316 3 years, 5 months ago

QB is such a challenging position, and it takes time to grow into it. Rare indeed is the freshman who can take over a starting role and perform at a high level. Jordan Webb strikes me as a player who is going to continue to improve. All seem to agree that he has the arm. If he can improve his accuracy and decision-making, he may be difficult to unseat (especially with a strong running game and an improved OL that can offer him better protection).

Andy Hess 3 years, 5 months ago

I think Berglund's superior physical tools, coupled with his familiarity with Chuck Long's offense, will carry him to the starting spot at some point this year. Sooner rather than later, please.

John Mueller 3 years, 5 months ago

JW and TG share the same Arc on future potential and projected success.

And its flat to declining.

Kid likes to throw the 3 yard pass which is fine if the intended play is a bubble, but most of the time its just panic in the progressions.

No hope with this kid at QB.

We went from an angry fat man who could coach to Terry Allen all over again.

We suck, and it ain't gonna change until we hire a football coach.

No clue what really happened with BB, but hope he comes in ready to play football cuz we need a QB.

Btw, since when is having a person with anger management problems a bad thing when the job is football coach?

I don't think i ever played for a football coach that wasn't a bit of an MF, I think its just part of the profile.

Pretty sure Vince Lombardi didn't spend much time on anti alcohol pledges and tea parties.

Jim Stauffer 3 years, 5 months ago

No, but Tom Landry did and I will take his long lasting career over Lombardi any day.

clevelandjayhawker 3 years, 5 months ago

How is our O-line looking? I live out of the market and keep getting mixed comments. Some say its bad, like last year, and others say its improving....which is it?

ahpersecoachingexperience 3 years, 5 months ago

This is going to be hard to say to you but, our o-line took their "talents" elsewhere.

rolo2383 3 years, 5 months ago

Keegan ranked him behind a walk-on. That's all that needs to be said.

rolo2383 3 years, 5 months ago

I'd put money on Cummings being our QB of the future. I'm no expert but watching film of BB and Cummings I could tell that Cummings had a lot more play making ability.

rolo2383 3 years, 5 months ago

That's true and I agree. In the long run both of these guys will be an improvement over who we have now.

treyvanahill 3 years, 5 months ago

Agreed. I do feel like Cummings is a lot more exciting player though.

KGphoto 3 years, 5 months ago

Berglund or Cummings, just from the playmaking standpoint. Both can scramble, run... improvise. Also, both are guys our coaches wanted for their offense. Webb and Meacham are on borrowed time.

From what I saw in the highlight tapes, I would feel most comfortable with a healthy and confident Cummings running the offense. He seems like a leader, which is something we missed last year. Berglund... not so much. I don't know the reasons behind the "blow off" of spring practice, but it doesn't feel right.

Hawk007 3 years, 5 months ago

I think these guys are hugely underestimating Blake Jablonski. Just because he is a "walk-on" doesn't mean he can't play. I thought he actually looked the best of the bunch in the spring game, and he was playing with the 2nd team O going against the 1st team D.

treyvanahill 3 years, 5 months ago

Yes!! Jablonski has work to do but in the spring game he played pretty dang well.

ahpersecoachingexperience 3 years, 5 months ago

On BB leaving:

Pure speculation but I would guess moving away from the beautiful sights and smells of CO and coming to KS would be hard on a young man. I'm sure he missed the sight of a pair of twin peaks that he would regularly see and the smell omitted from wild bushes that grew close to home.

79ictjhawk 3 years, 5 months ago

At least Mr. Negative is occasionally funny.

kranny 3 years, 5 months ago

Previous articles said BB went home for personal reasons. Girlfriend wasn't mentioned or anything else. Maybe he simply wanted to be a high schooler for awhile longer-nothing wrong with that.

ozzzy 3 years, 5 months ago

Here is how I would rate the QB's at this point in time. 1) Webb -- No one can deny the kid is tough after the beating he took last year. He has the right blend of talent and experience to be named the opening day starter. 2) Jablonski -- From what I have seen of him, I like it. Very accurate and enough arm strength to make the passes needed for our system. Biggest question is his experience.

3) Mechum -- I have seen what he can do, and I just don't think he has what we are looking for. I would personally rather Jablonski get the first shot at back-up if Webb gets injured or hasn't improved from last year. 4 and 5) Freshmen QB's -- It is too hard to come into D1 football as a true freshman at the QB position and be successful (especially when you don't participate in all of the spring drills). At this point, I feel that both should red-shirt.

JVZMan 3 years, 5 months ago

I am pulling for Jordan Webb, I watched him play as a 3 year starter in high school. He owns many state and school records. The kid is tough and a hard worker and wants to win. I cannot comment on the others as I have no information about them and I refuse to trash someone I do not know. They say Jordan has improved, I think he will do better and hope he shows his ability and determination. The JayHawk schedule is brutal, Jordan will need some help from the other positions on the team to be successful. If your defense gives up 30+ points a game, it will be a long season for all the Jay Hawks!

Andy Tweedy 3 years, 5 months ago

I'm far from sold on Jordan Webb, but I think he got a bit of a bad rap last year. He didn't look good, but for a freshman surrounded by a gross lack of talent and a bad offensive line, he didn't look awful, either. The jury is certainly still out. I think this year, with a healthy OL and a better running game, we should be able to better see what he's made of and what he's capable of doing on the field. Even if he proves not to be the starter, hopefully he can at least add depth to the position.

Geekinout 3 years, 5 months ago

Regardless of who starts at Qb, we better run the ball a lot! Not to abandon it after going 3 & out a couple of times early in the game. Running game=damage control...

onlylookin2score 3 years, 5 months ago

You're right. Our RB are better and deeper as a tandem than our QB's are... we need to focus on pounding running game with a strong screen pass game.. let some of those speed demon recievers get a little open space then juke the damn CB's out of there jock straps.

texashawk10 3 years, 5 months ago

I honestly don't see Michael Cummings staying at QB in the future. Brock Berglund fits the mold better for a Chuck Long QB and Cummings is too good of an athlete to keep off the field. I also think a redshirt is in Cummings future so that he can be 100% recovered from his knee injury. Ideally BB also redshirts this year as he adjusts to college life and takes the job from Webb for the 2012 season. Webb sounds like he might be a turning into a decent game manager which is what you need to have some success with a running game that has the potential of KU's running attack.

TheGiftedOne 3 years, 5 months ago

I really don't know why Tom Keegan gets paid to spout off his worthless opinions...your "analysis" of Brock Berglund was unprofessional and downright amateur. The writers for the UDK have better analysis day in day out than you Tom. I guess you're just allowed to coast and get paid like all the execs/coaches (except Bill Self, what a badass) at KU athletics. Thanks Matt and Jessie for adding something to my life, you guys do a great job.

You heard it here first: Brock Berglund will be awful and will last one year KU. I guarentee he never plays a down for the Jayhaks. Just another spoiled Colorado kid who expects to start from day one.

ahpersecoachingexperience 3 years, 5 months ago

And the award for the most confusing post of the day goes to. . .

TheGiftedOne 3 years, 5 months ago

Like Brock Berglund cares what Tom Keegan's rankings say...I just didn't like how it was worded, almost like he was talking to his own kid or something...these rankings mean nothing, what is there to think about?

ahpersecoachingexperience 3 years, 5 months ago

Why do I have the strangest feeling that thegiftedone is Brock? And that these words are to be taken as a threat.

Brock if that is you and you do leave have fun at highland community college next year.

Ethan Berger 3 years, 5 months ago

The beginning of success and the end of success lies in two places. O line and D line. People but up the qb has the most important, but this is a team sport. Look at Washington. Jake Locker was a great qb but he didn't have lines to help him out. He had to improvise which is why he was drafted so high. When we went to the orange bowl in 08, its because our O line wouldn't let Reesing get touched, and when he did, he escaped. Our d line wouldn't allow themselves to get run on. The foundation of the Team is the lines. Just like our nations foundation is through congress and senate, the prez is just a scape goat like the qb.

jayhawkintx73 3 years, 5 months ago

I'm not expecting much this year, but after another year for the defense, and if they show an aggressive style of play and after the newcomers on the offensive line get a year under their belts along with the newcomers in the offensive backfield, opposing teams won't be able to focus on the "Bubble Screen", which was highly overused a year ago, and Mangino's last year. How about some quick outs, or some out and ups or some straight fly patterns to get the safeties out of the middle of the field to get the ball to the tight end with one on coverage against a linebacker, and then get the quarterback to put some air under the ball and let the guys run under it. We could maybe see some gadget plays that include Matthews and Pick such as lining up Pick as the half back and half back pass or a double pass, after sending the other guys deep and pulling the guards to block for Pick so he doesn't get hammered by a safety cheating up.

I don't want to see the Bubble Screen 12 to 15 times a game. They can use the same formation, but get the guys down the field 10 to 15 yards and then get it to a 4 star running back in the flat with blockers out in front. Time to open the playbook up and use it.

Andy Smith 3 years, 5 months ago

Berglund came to Lawrence, saw the competition, and immediately decided to spend his senior year with his friends. He can come in here for 2 a days and compete for the starting job. By Oct. it will be clear that he and Cummings are the best 2 at QB. I like Webb, but he holds on to the football far to long.

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