For the second straight spring, KU coach Turner Gill said the competition for the starting quarterback job would continue into the fall.
At that time, incoming freshmen Brock Berglund and Michael Cummings will be in camp, attempting to make it a four-way race. For now, however, the battle is between sophomore Jordan Webb and senior Quinn Mecham. Saturday, Gill gave a hint about the leader.
“Both guys have done some good things,” Gill said. “But if I had to give an edge right now, I would give it to Jordan Webb.”
3rd-string QB impresses
The KU quarterback with the funny last name very well might have been Saturday’s biggest surprise.
Red-shirt freshman Blake Jablonski, a 6-foot-3, 198-pound right-hander out of Wichita Collegiate High, showed good zip on his passes, good awareness in the pocket and the ability to handle his first opportunity on the big stage. But not everyone in Memorial Stadium was caught off guard.
“I wouldn’t say (we were) surprised,” said fellow QB Webb of Jablonski, who completed eight of 13 passes for 76 yards. “I was surprised how he handled himself more than anything. But he’s got good tools, he’s smart, and he works his butt off. He’s going to be a good player for us.”
Jablonski’s day caught the eye of more than just the other quarterbacks on the roster.
“It was very, very impressive what he did today,” Gill said. “That’s a good sign. I don’t think he’s really at the point (where) he’s competing with Webb and Mecham as a (starter) at this time. But it was good to see him produce and go out and do some things when he was called upon.”
Running back reps deceiving
Don’t read too much into sophomore Ryan Burton leading KU’s running backs in both carries (12) and yards (23) on Saturday. Burton receive the lion’s share of the workload because Gill and company already know what they have in last year’s leading rusher James Sims (5 carries for 11 yards) and freshman phenom Darrian Miller (4 carries for 23 yards). Both players played sparingly during Saturday’s scrimmage.
Gill summed up Miller’s spring with quite a compliment.
“Of the 15 practices he had, I thought he was a person who got more yards than what was blocked,” Gill said. “And I think that’s a little bit of how you define a good running back.”
“James and Darrian are those two guys that we feel very good about,” Gill said. “We’ve got good depth, we’ve got good people. Brandon Bourbon was definitely a guy who was coming on strong before he got hurt, but I anticipate he’s going to be ready to go in the fall and we’re going to have a very, very solid group of running backs.”
Special teams oddity
The Jayhawks kicked off Saturday’s scrimmage with a special teams exhibition unfamiliar to most Kansas fans. With the players standing side-by-side on both 35-yard lines, the Jayhawks ran through a six-on-six kickoff drill that ran horizontally across the field, from sideline to sideline.
Gill said after the game that the Jayhawks use the drill because it allows coaches to evaluate those players receiving the kick and those players covering the kick at the same time in a quicker manner. In addition, playing on a short field keeps the contact from being too damaging.
“Our players, they love it,” Gill said. “And we’ve been doing that since we’ve been here and we just thought it would be good to get it out here in our spring scrimmage.”
This and that...
After Saturday’s scrimmage, Gill confirmed that Berglund, a three-star, dual-threat quarterback from Highlands Ranch, Colo., who graduated early but returned home earlier this year, was, in fact, present at Saturday’s spring game.... Eleven different Jayhawks caught passes on Saturday, with wideout Kale Pick (4-38), tight end Jimmay Mundine (3-31) and walk-on receiver Connor Embree (3-19) leading the team in catches.... Saturday’s scrimmage was played under sunny skies and with temperatures hovering around 70 degrees.... There was no kickoff, but the first play was run just after 1:30 p.m. The game ended a little more than an hour later, after KU had run 80-85 plays.