Thursday, May 19, 2011


Top 10 KU football positives


DeAndre Daniels’ delay until today in making a decision on where he will play college basketball makes “incomplete” the only reasonable grade for this Kansas University recruiting class.

So while Daniels makes up his mind, it’s time to take a look at another aspect of producing a winner that too often is overlooked. In football, developing talent means every bit as much as recruiting it, and on that front, the outlook for Kansas football looks better than it did heading into last season.

A look at 10 factors that suggest Turner Gill will field a more competitive team in his second season than his first, even if the brutal schedule prevents his record from becoming any better than the 3-9 mark he posted in his first year at KU:

1. Team chemistry: It’s almost unavoidable this becomes an issue when a coaching change takes place. Seniors who have sweated their way through years of grueling workouts to earn starting jobs lose them overnight, which can create resentment. Now that Gill has established his way of doing things, everybody knows the rules, and nobody feels entitled to anything.

2. Jeremiah Hatch: The talented center took a step back last season when he played at such a high weight. His body looks completely different, a sign he has matured and is ready for the sort of senior season his early years portended.

3. Toben Opurum: Injured for much of spring a year ago, then changed to defense after leading the team in rushing as a true freshman, Opurum had to be wondering what he did to lose his spot. He’s coming off a dynamite spring at defensive end and graded out better than anybody on defense.

4. Greg Brown: When he showed he had made the transition from track sprinter to a cornerback who knows how to be quick and agile, not just fast running straight ahead, he earned a starting spot midway through last season. Once he masters the fundamentals, he has a chance to become a big-time playmaker.

5. Jeff Spikes: His blown-out Achilles left a huge hole in the offensive line last season and contributed to 37 quarterback sacks. He’s back at left tackle and will make a huge difference if his size, intelligence and quick feet blend to make him an efficient football player.

6. Kale Pick: It took him less than a full game to lose his spot as the starting quarterback and later was switched to receiver, but was he into it? He is now and showed a great aptitude and attitude at his new position during the spring.

7. Kevin Young: Sickness played a role in his never getting into shape as a redshirt freshman who was moved from defensive end to D-tackle. He’s healthy, talented and in far better condition already.

8. Brandon Bourbon: Playing in such a simple offense in high school left his head spinning during red-shirt season. It clicked for him in the spring, and he stood out until sidelined. He’s in the mix at running back. Still, it’s tough to look at him and not see a potential All-Big 12 linebacker.

9. Huldon Tharp: His speed would have helped at linebacker had he been healthy.

10. Christian Matthews: Such a graceful runner, he looks more natural at receiver now and has an excellent tutor in David Beaty.


Michael Leiker 2 years, 11 months ago

One year closer to the end of Turner Gill's contract.


yates33333 2 years, 11 months ago

Keegan wrote: "the outlook for Kansas football looks better than it did heading into last season" I guess he means instead of a train wreck it'll be a car wreck this year!! Reminds me of the rhetorical question of whether you would rather be shot or poisoned.

Is there anyone in the remaining 10 of 12 KU might beat?


hailtoku 2 years, 11 months ago

More competitive? Of course we are going to be more competitive.

We didn't just lose 9 games last year, we got demolished. And losing games the way we did is coaching.

Honestly, if Gill can't improve on 3-9 season, I want him out.


mustlehustle 2 years, 11 months ago

If KU was remotely serious about anything other than a break-even season, then the Jayhawk Nation would not tolerate such below average performance from their Athletic Department and Search Committee who manages to achieve mediocrity at every chance they're given. The UT fans wanted Mac Brown fired after a sub-par performance last year, and he's only won a national championship in the last 6 years, is nicknamed "Coach February" because he consistently is ranked in the Top 5 nationally in Recruiting, for 8 straight years he had seasons of 10 or more wins, etc. etc...The point being is when the fans demand a better result, a more quality performance, and hold their athletic departments and search committees to a higher standard, you tend to get expectations that far exceed "hoping" for a 5-5 season, or comments like "give the coach a chance" or "KU can't attract quality coaches or assistants to coach football, or recruiting is difficult, or the plethora of excuses that are spewed by the Jayhawk faithful. As long as you're content to make excuses for the historical embarassment that is Jayhawk Football and continue to be content with coaching hires from football powerhouses like the University of Buffalo....don't expect a different result.


jayhawkinnebr 2 years, 11 months ago

Do you think that the football team this year will be as disgushing as the basketball team was last year?


hawkmaster 2 years, 11 months ago

Hmmm, I don't see Pick or Bourbon making much impact this year, Keegan had to dig to find 10 football positives is my guess. Bourbon broke his lower leg the end of April and while he may be technically ready to play who knows the lingering impact of this. I know Bourbon would be more of a fullback position, but I will be very disappointed if I don't see the ball in the hands of 5-star super fast freshman Darrian Miller - - and why isn't KU's best recruit listed as a top 10 positive by Keegan! Pick will not be a Kerry Meier or a starter at wide receiver and I don't see much impact. Yes, it will be very exciting to see the J-Hawks run it on 1st and 2nd downs, and put the q-back in a predictable 3rd down throwing situation - - I only hope the results are better than last year in this predictable offense. Playing all of the other teams in the conference should not be an excuse for poor play, this team's record better be improved. Most football teams fire their previous coach to upgrade and get a better coach to improve the team record, so no one should be looking for excuses for TG. But then we've seen total anarchy in the KU athletic dept. in the past few years, so who knows what to expect.....


jhwkfan162515 2 years, 11 months ago

Here's another positive: KU won't be wearing all-white uniforms in any of their games (though I love the white helmets they wore against Mizzoodle).


rob4lb 2 years, 11 months ago

Bowl formula for the near future:

  1. Schedule 3 non conference cupcakes and hopefully win all of them. This year- KU travels to Georgia Tech and Northern Illinois is no pushover.
  2. Beat K-State and Iowa State. I can't imagine a scenario in the future where KU goes to a bowl and doesn't beat both.
  3. Win one more game against the old Big 12 South and Missouri. Against OU, OSU, TT, A&M, and UT, KU has won 2, 1, 1, 1, and 0 games respectively in Big 12 play. The 2 OU wins were before Bob Stoops took over. Against Baylor and Missouri, KU has come close to break even, so the odds are that if KU is to make a bowl game, they will beat one of those two teams, both of which have upgraded their programs over the last 5-10 years.

shelleysue 2 years, 11 months ago

Wish the season tickets prices were more in line. Our tickets are almost as much Texas.


JJHawq 2 years, 11 months ago

great thread! you've emulated the football and basketball TEAMS that you root for... Ironical.


Wickedson 2 years, 11 months ago

KUBBall may be blue blood but it's not nearly on the level of UNC, UCLA, Kentucky...even Duke at this point.

That's just fact unfortunately.

UNC, DUKE, and UK have played infinitely better competition over the last 100 years. The proof is Kansas' performance in the tourney year in and year out.

I'm KU through and through for all sports but thank god Derrick Rose couldn't make one free throw in 2008. Thank-freaking-god


drewdun 2 years, 11 months ago

I agree with Maxhawk and Wickedson. The basketball only fans that show up on these threads to take giant craps on KUFB really should just take a step back and re-evaluate their standing to criticize - last time I checked, the FB team represented the same university as the BB team. I will never understand the mindset of a KU "fan" that just loves the BB team but just isn't that into the FB team...oh wait, I completely understand - they are fairweather frontrunners, losers in my book.

And to add to the...unfortunate stats thrown out by Maxhawk and Wickedson - KUBB's best-program-all-time-blueblood-to-the-point-its-fans-can-look-down-their-noses-at-li'l-old-KUFB = 3 (three) NCAA titles, all-time. UConn (freaking University of Connecticut!) = 3 NCAA titles, last fifteen years. Duke = 4 NCAA titles in the last two decades. UNC = 2/3 of the number of titles KU has won all-time in the last six years. In short, KUBB fans, get over yourselves.


Wickedson 2 years, 11 months ago

I love how KU basketball fans get on the football talk and act like they're so great.

VCU you dumb sh#ts. and Northern Iowa, and Bucknell, and Bradley....give me a break.

It's completely fine with me that we wait months and months before watching another basketball disaster. please


Randy Maxwell 2 years, 11 months ago

Bill Self still has still has one final 4 in 9 season wow we sure have that to look forward to. I can't wait to get to Lawrence for a beautiful fall afternoon. It's the best. Now drudging. through the snow and sub zero temps to go to AFH, think i'll watch it on tv


hayjawk 2 years, 11 months ago

Well said! The naysayers can sure get tedious.


Steve Gantz 2 years, 11 months ago

11. Haven't lost since November.

12 Haven't fought with the BBall team.

13 Other teams feel very positive about seeing us on their schedule next year.

I could go on, sorry for the negativity :)


Ludwig Supraphonic 2 years, 11 months ago

Thanks for the set-up Tom. You posted an article noting positives about KU sports and distracted folks from bear-baiting and baby seal beating. Everyone knows the best way to upgrade a program is to be the first on the website to post snide remarks about student athletes and college coaching.


ISellDrugs 2 years, 11 months ago

Kevin Young was not a true freshman last year.


Funhawk 2 years, 11 months ago

“For myself I am an optimist - it does not seem to be much use being anything else” - Winston Churchill

KU football and Tom Keegan are fun.


Jim Stauffer 2 years, 11 months ago

Our success will depend, as others have said, primarily on improvement at the QB position. No matter how good the RB's, O-Line, LB's, etc are, you cannot win if the QB cannot run the offense efficiently.

He doesn't need to be a star, but he has to be in charge and efficient.


Dickless Head 2 years, 11 months ago

The only positive I can think of is there are now only 4 years until I can get excited about KU football again instead of 5.


ahpersecoachingexperience 2 years, 11 months ago

Did you use ku football and positive in the same sentence?!?


drewsmith84 2 years, 11 months ago

I think we'll be much more competitive this season, but until our Quarterback is at least on the top 10 positives, we're not going bowling.


fu7il3 2 years, 11 months ago

  1. By the time the season starts getting really ugly, it will almost be basketball season.

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