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Wednesday, May 11, 2011

KU releases post-spring depth chart; Lewandowski back to DE, Patmon 2nd team

Kansas University head football coach Turner Gill watches over spring workouts at the practice facility on Friday, April 1, 2011.

Kansas University head football coach Turner Gill watches over spring workouts at the practice facility on Friday, April 1, 2011.

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The Kansas University football program released its first official depth chart of the spring this week, and more than a couple of things popped off the page about the new pecking order.

First, red-shirt freshman Pat Lewandowski, a 6-foot-6, 248-pound defensive lineman from Blue Valley West High in Overland Park, has been moved back to defensive end.

Lewandowski came to KU as a defensive end prior to the 2010 season but spent the majority of spring drills trying to bulk up and playing inside at defensive tackle. Lewandowksi looked good throughout the spring game, finishing with three tackles and generating consistent pressure up the middle. However, KU coach Turner Gill said Wednesday that further evaluation of Lewandowski’s skillset led the Jayhawks’ coaching staff to determine that Lewandowski would best serve the team at his original position.

“He did participate at defensive tackle all spring but it has been decided that he will be moved back to defensive end, where he will play this fall,” Gill said.

Lewandowski’s size likely played a role in the decision. After the spring game, the Blue Valley West alum said his goal weight for the season, in order to play defensive tackle, was in the 275-280 range. That would’ve meant adding 20-30 pounds in the next three months. As it stands now, Lewandowski’s size puts him in the ideal range for a defensive end, a position in which the Jayhawks are lacking proven performers.

Though he’s been in town for just a year and has yet to play a down, Lewandowski already has proven himself to be the kind of player who just wants to play, regardless of position.

“Take all the reps you can,” he said after the spring game. “No one wants to be sitting on that sideline.”

Another note of interest from the post-spring depth chart came at cornerback, where sophomore Tyler Patmon, one of the team’s top defenders down the stretch during the 2010 season, was listed as a second-teamer behind senior Isiah Barfield.

Patmon entered the spring as an almost-certain first-stringer, but when the depth chart came out, he was listed with the second team. Asked to explain Patmon’s placement, Gill said nothing more than, “He is where he is.”

One area in which Barfield has the edge over Patmon is experience. The senior from Haven High has started 14 games during his three seasons and appeared in countless others. Patmon made nine starts a year ago.

Barfield missed the early portion of spring drills while recovering from offseason shoulder surgery, but was able to participate as the spring went along, though not always at full-speed.

Offense officially features fullback

In recent years, KU’s depth chart has included three slots for wide receivers. That’s no longer the case. The latest depth chart includes just two spots for wideouts — Christian Matthews and Daymond Patterson are listed as first-stringers — and two spots for running backs, a tailback and a fullback. This is in line with what Gill wants his offense to become, a power-running product that controls the clock and features the team’s most talented position. The presence of first-team fullback Nick Sizemore, a transfer from Buffalo, certainly made going this route easier. Sizemore had a great spring and should be a difference maker for the KU running game.

Julius Green not listed

He opened spring practice with a bang, being cited early on a couple of occasions by Gill for strong play at defensive end. But since then, freshman Julius Green has fallen down the depth chart. Two things to remember here. First, Green’s still a freshman and even though that 6-foot-7, 270-pound frame leaves people wanting (and perhaps expecting) more, it’s going to take time for him to get used to the college game. Second, Green, who came to KU as a grayshirt, did not play organized football last year. He was enrolled at a community college, where he took one class and worked out on his own. He added weight and seemed to remain in good shape, but being in Big 12, playing shape is a different animal and that, too, is going to take some time.

The ever-popular “OR” pops up again

The post-spring depth chart features three instances in which the word, “OR” is used, something first seen last season with Gill’s depth charts. The first and most notable is at quarterback, where sophomore Jordan Webb is listed first but only separated from senior Quinn Mecham by the infamous O-word. This, according to Gill, does not mean that Webb is the starter. It merely means that the battle is still on and that both guys — along with incoming freshmen Brock Berglund and Michael Cummings — are still in the running for the job. The other areas where “OR” is used are at tight end, where Ted McNulty OR AJ Steward are listed as the backups to senior Tim Biere and wide receiver, where Chris Omigie OR D.J. Beshears fall in line behind Matthews.

Comments

Robert Brock 3 years, 4 months ago

If Lewandowski wants to gain 30 pounds in the next three months, he should move to the feedlots in Garden City - OR he could just hang out with me. I am used to gaining that kind of weight.

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drewsmith84 3 years, 4 months ago

This roster shows how one off recruiting year and a coaching change can hurt your program. Only 6 of the 25 starting spots are filled with Seniors, and only 11 of the 50 names listed are Seniors. Play the best guys, we'll take our lumps this year, and then we'll have a roster loaded with experience. We might go 3-9 this year, but we'll go bowling in 2012.

Patmon being 2nd team corner doesn't surprise me, his strength is as a nickelback. If he isn't a good enough coverage guy to be a starting corner, then he should play on the slot and rush the passer opposite of Opurum. We gotta have someone with some speed to disrupt the other team's pocket.

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David Hodges 3 years, 4 months ago

+1 You, good sir, are a realist!

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ksyank 3 years, 4 months ago

This is a team that actually has quite a bit of experience even without having a lot of seniors. Especially on the offensive line...many have been playing since they were freshman.

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KGphoto 3 years, 4 months ago

But 8 players are Juniors. That makes 14 of 22 positions upperclassmen. That's not so bad. Especially when a couple of the sophomores and even freshmen will be our best weapons. Sims, Jackson, Willis, Miller.

And even more especially since our OL goes Jr., Jr., Sr., Jr., Jr. (Sr., if you want to include Tim Biere in there) and includes a few redshirts. Not too many teams have that much experience up front.

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Jayhawker111 3 years, 4 months ago

I guess Tate did not watch the Spring game.

Tate does not even mention the Redshirt Freshman QB (Yablonsky #17) as being in the Qb mix???

From my seat #17 looked to be the best QB on the field.

If #17 is not under consideration before the untested incoming freshmen mentioned in Tate's article, then something is strange in Rock Chalkland!

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Matt Tait 3 years, 4 months ago

First of all, thanks for reading and taking the time to comment. Always appreciated.

Second, please remember that the depth chart which was released this week only included the first- and second-string players. And, in case you missed this quote from Gill after the spring game, I'll post it again. As you'll see, the coaches, though impressed by his performance, are not considering Blake to be in the running just yet.

“It was very, very impressive what he did today,” Gill said of Jablonski. “That’s a good sign. I don’t think he’s really at the point (where) he’s competing with Webb and (Quinn) 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.”

Also, just a reminder on the spelling: It's Jablonski.

Have a great day!!!

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ahpersecoachingexperience 3 years, 4 months ago

Now picture tait making 3 snaps in a z shape and wobbling his head during this reply.

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ahpersecoachingexperience 3 years, 4 months ago

Now picture tait saying bee-@+c# like snoop dogg at the end of the reply.

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jhawk613 3 years, 4 months ago

And while we're correcting spelling, I'll help you out Matt, since I'm sure you didn't want to sound like you were attacking a commenter.

@jayhawker111 the reporter's name is Tait, not Tate, it even says so on the byline, which in case you didn't know is where the author's name goes.

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treyvanahill 3 years, 4 months ago

Jablonski looked the best of the three in the spring game!

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kujayhox 3 years, 4 months ago

yeah but one spring game versus what he had the chance to do all spring is saying that he has not been consistent. the coaches have been out there everyday and we haven't, so if he is not in the mix to start, there most likely is a reason why.

and this dept chart is still super early. who knows what could happen before the first game?

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ahpersecoachingexperience 3 years, 4 months ago

We are going to win 1 OR 2 games this year!

Is this guy freaking kidding! A fb! In today's college football a fb is like shooting free throws underhand.

And for the love of gawd pick a qb so the boys can work together in the off season. With two heisman level qb's as coaches they sure are having a hard time developing one to lead the team. And don't give me the incoming freshman crap! One is coming of an injury, the other is having a hard time being out if the womb, so neither will be ready for next year!

Tait! Love ya man.

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KUfbfan4 3 years, 4 months ago

Yeah, playing with a FB at the highest level never works out... Yeah right. The Packers kept 3 on their way to the Superbowl.

Having backs that can catch passes out of the backfield AND block creates a ton of flexibility for a coach, not to mention the use of FBs in special teams. Nobody said they were going to make Sizemore a feature back. I think if they can use him like Harbaugh used Marecik at Stanford on offense last year, he'll be very effective.

Lastly, what's the easiest way to improve struggling QB play. Protect Him! I don't know about you but I'll take 6' 2" 245 lbs protecting me vs. a tailback all day.

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Matt Tait 3 years, 4 months ago

I've talked to more than a few football coaches who have been able to observe practice this year, and a couple of them have said that Sizemore has NFL potential... I think fans will be pleasantly surprised with what he brings to the offense.

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Dirk Medema 3 years, 4 months ago

Good, very encouraging, knowledge.

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Ben Kliewer 3 years, 4 months ago

+1 to the comment that we need some more protection for the QB. The pendulum of football swings back and forth. In the late 90s, it started swinging toward the spread, and now it's swinging back, apparently, for KU to the pro. Maybe it'll work, maybe it won't, but the bottom line is, the more time we can give the QB, the better the chances are of the QB making a decent decision as opposed to getting his face plunged into the turf or throwing an INT.

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Funhawk 3 years, 4 months ago

Everybody needs a Matt Tait in their lives. Hope lives eternal. May a Turner Gill believe in you today. KU football is fun!

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NebraskaJayhawk 3 years, 4 months ago

You have a short memory. Our best offensive sets in '07 were with our stud fullback McAnderson in the backfield with Sharp. He lead the way for Sharp's 1000 yard season that year in my opinion.

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KUfbfan4 3 years, 4 months ago

Didn't McAnderson get picked up by someone in the NFL too?

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texashawk10 3 years, 4 months ago

B-Mac was actually the leading rusher in 2007 with 1146 yards and 17 TD's to Jake Sharp's 821 yards and 7 TD's. B-Mac also had a higher YPC than Sharp that season.

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Andy Hess 3 years, 4 months ago

where's the hybrid TE/z-back position for Jimmay Mundine?

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ajs10 3 years, 4 months ago

If you have to ask you can't afford it.

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shawk13 3 years, 4 months ago

You win the internet. Thank you.

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Dirk Medema 3 years, 4 months ago

How does NE pop compare with KS?

Obviously, NU is farther down the program development road, but there is a blueprint that works, and I've heard we've gained inside knowledge of the plan recently.

The excitement is relative to development. Besides, we know we rep a great school, so it is easy to feel excited about KU. Rock Chalk.

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Ben Kliewer 3 years, 4 months ago

The Nebraska state university system is all under one jurisdiction, as opposed to Kansas where it's split between KU, KSU and WSU for the NCAA schools. This means that all the schools get less funding because it's being split up instead of drawn from one pool... Now, that has nothing to do with football, however, a parallel point is...sure, you have UNK and UNO, but UNL is literally the only FBS school in the state, therefore, it's not splitting talent like Kansas and KSU for football... That is to explain pigballin's point...I follow the idea, but disagree respectfully. Regardless of whether pigballin is correct or incorrect in his/her analysis, it's pretty clear that s/he is a hater and a troll, one of many who come to post on KU message boards to tell us how much we should not be a fan of the team we're a fan of and how stupid we are for liking the things that we do, and generally poopooing us all for things that they know they can't change about us, but try to anyway because it gives them a thrill...

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Ashtin Meerpohl 3 years, 4 months ago

I figured Jimmay Mundine would be in the mix at TE. There's been a lot of talk about him. Am i the only one surprised by this?

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vd 3 years, 4 months ago

Right. He was hyped last year. I didn't think he looked all that impressive in the SFBG.

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rolo2383 3 years, 4 months ago

I thought he looked great in the spring game. He made some really good catches in traffic. McGriff also made some tough catches.

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treyvanahill 3 years, 4 months ago

I thought he looked pretty good too. I think the only pass he didn't catch is the one where Johnson rocked him

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rolo2383 3 years, 4 months ago

I bet Mundine gets a lot of PT. He'll probably play the Z position when they use it but they aren't showing it on the depth chart. They only showed 2 WR positions but I'd but we'll be in 3 or 4 WR sets a lot.

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KGphoto 3 years, 4 months ago

Whoever plays the most snaps at tight end is going to be the best blocker.

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Ethan Berger 3 years, 4 months ago

I was looking at the depth chart and on QB, I didn't see the "OR" word. Does this mean Webb is officially the starter?

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hailtoku 3 years, 4 months ago

QB is not a position where the word "or" should be used. We need to name a starter and get him as many reps with the starting offense as possible. It's called chemistry, and it's impossible to achieve when no one knows who the offensive leader is.

Gill needs to man up, name a starter and tell the back up to work harder to get that spot.

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hailtoku 3 years, 4 months ago

Name a top team that uses two quarterbacks.

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Ethan Berger 3 years, 4 months ago

is it that easy? Those top teams have one thing we don't. Usually the best qbs. Those top teams have their qbs go in the first round. While I agree that I would love to have a qb named and it maybe could help out our offense, I also don't believe it's as simple as that. Many teams go through qb battles. What makes those top teams battles a little bit easier, is when they are a back up, they play lights out. (Landry from OU). While we have to qbs who struggled.

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KGphoto 3 years, 4 months ago

How ya gonna name a QB when your first big QB recruit isn't even in camp yet? And who knows what Michael Cummins could do when he gets here. As long as a potential starter isn't on campus, the position has to remain at least somewhat open for competition.

Why commit until you are sure? It's only spring. Besides, like it or not, we will be a running team, and our offensive leader might not be the QB this year. It might just be the center Hatch. Or Spikes, or Sims. Those guys don't have "or" next to their name.

The QB on a running team needs to be accurate on the deep ball to keep teams honest for the running game. He has to have a go-to 3rd down guy, (or be able to run for the 1st, which both QBs that aren't here yet can do) and he needs to be smart to avoid turnovers. Chemistry on this team is going to come mostly from the OL and our RBs, all of which are practicing right now.

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