Friday, April 13, 2012

Bourbon healing, hoping for strong return


With Kansas University sophomore running back Brandon Bourbon staring at an uptick in carries while KU starter James Sims serves a three-game suspension, the biggest question surrounding Bourbon is whether or not he will be ready.

Earlier this week, KU coach Charlie Weis updated the status of Bourbon, who missed the final three games of the 2011 season because of a leg injury.

“(Bourbon) is as close to being at full-speed as you can be,” Weis said. “I am not going to let him go full-speed because he had an injury that takes six months to be fully healed. Although he is running around full-speed out there at practice, I am always going to error on the side of caution and make sure that I have him fully ready to go.”

Bourbon has donned the red jersey throughout spring ball and Weis said at the start of the session that the 6-foot-1, 220-pound sophomore from Potosi, Mo., would be held out of all contact drills. Best thing for him or not, Bourbon has not exactly loved the lack of contact.

“(He’s) chomping at the bit to get out of the red jersey,” Weis said.

McCay update

According to KU, Weis was informed by the NCAA following Thursday’s practice that the case for Oklahoma transfer Justin McCay would be reviewed next Wednesday and that a ruling could be expected Wednesday or Thursday. McCay, a 6-foot-2, 219-pound sophomore wide receiver from Bishop Miege High has requested a special waiver due to extenuating personal circumstances. If granted, he would be eligible to play during the 2012 season and would not have to sit out a year as is the case with most transfers.

Weis said Tuesday that he sensed the uncertainty was weighing on McCay, and his teammates said they were pulling for him.

“I’m hoping he gets to play,” said senior receiver Kale Pick. “That would be nice for him. I haven’t really asked him too much about it because I don’t know too much about it. But he’s a pretty talkative kid. He likes to joke around and have fun, and hopefully he gets the chance to compete this year.”

Movers and shakers?

Weis said recently that a number of players continued to move their way up and down the depth chart during spring drills.

In addition to general performance, one of the biggest reasons for player movement has been depth at any given position. Senior left tackle Tanner Hawkinson, for instance, has been a mainstay at his spot, largely because Weis and his coaching staff don’t see any other left tackles on Hawkinson’s level.

“He wouldn’t have lost the position anyway,” Weis said. “But he is not being threatened.”

At other positions, competition runs deep, with wide receiver, linebacker and tight end being three of the more competitive positions. That’s about as far as Weis would take it, though. Asked to name a few of the players who have stood out, KU’s first-year coach grinned and said, “I’d have to shoot ya.”

DP and D.J. staying put

While position switches remain possible on both sides of the ball, Weis spoke with clarity when asked if he had considered moving senior wide receivers Daymond Patterson and D.J. Beshears to cornerback to add depth to the Jayhawks’ secondary.

“Those guys are going to play receiver,” he said. “I’m not taking the first two or three receivers and (making) them backup corners.”

That’s not to say he wouldn’t consider it should the need pop up. Both Patterson and Beshears have experience at Kansas on defense.

“Now if you get depleted during the season, then I’m not opposed to taking a guy and playing him on offense and defense,” Weis continued. “I’m not opposed to that at all. But first things first, they have to settle into the position they play. If we get desperate and there’s a receiver that can help us as a nickel back then he’ll play nickel back; ask (former New England Patriot) Troy Brown. It’s just like goal line right now; when we put goal line in on offense, I guarantee there will be some guys playing defense that will be on goal line on offense, they’re just not there right now.”


Bville Hawk 6 years ago

Great stuff, thank you. Keep the football articles coming!

NebraskaJayhawk 6 years ago

The Sims deal should be good for Bourbon. I'd like to see this kid get 25-30 carries a game anyway. I know that probably won't happen with the slew of good backs that we have. The only thing I am going to miss about Gill is his commitment to run the football. I think any team worth their salt can run the ball and run it well. Weis's offenses typically run the ball very well, but I don't think we will see as many carries per game as the last two seasons. When people think of our Orange Bowl champions, they think of a pass-heavy offense because Reesing was behind center. Let me remind everyone that we had two 1000 yard rushers that season in McAnderson & Sharp if I am not mistaken. What a great combination those two were in the backfield. Anway, as excited as I am about Crist & Co., I hope we continue to pound the rock. Bourbon & Pierson should have great seasons if given the opportunity. Can't wait for the season to begin and it's only April.

Jeff Coffman 6 years ago

Run, Run, Pass, Punt, was truly committed to the run. I enjoy watching running plays, but not predictable running plays.

I believe that you will see some runs from Weis, but I think you will see a lot of Bubble screens as well. I'm not sure if Webb quite had the arm strength to get the ball out there effectively. From what I've heard it appears that Crist will have not difficulty with that.

I to enjoy a well balanced offense, but everyone knows that if they can force you into being a run or a pass teams they have got you where they want you.

As you mention the balanced teams are the ones that are successful.

Jim Jackson 6 years ago

Chuck Long said Webb had the strongest arm he had ever coached. Problem was Webb was lacking everything else; accuracy ,instincts, quck feet. Can't wait to see Crist take us to a bowl! Rock Chalk!

Al Martin 6 years ago

You are dead on about the 2007 team. One of my favorite aspects of that team was that when they hit 3rd and 1 or 3rd and 2, they would pound McAnderson up the middle and always get the yardage.

Jeff Smith 6 years ago

I remember when Opurum went up the gut and got the yardage everytime...but he is on defense now...smh

6 years ago

Let's hope Hawkinson stays healthy.

Alex Berger 6 years ago

Tait, I gotta say I love your articles. Keep 'em coming!

texashawk10 6 years ago

Bourbon definitely has the talent to be an all-Big 12 back, but he just can't stay on the field. I honestly don't think Bourbon is capable of making it through a season healthy at this point, but I hope he does because he has the best combination of speed and power among the running backs.

Terry N Tom Denner 6 years ago

I'd be using Taylor Cox 5" 11/ 206 lb RB as much as possible to help out running the ball.

Randy Bombardier 6 years ago

I remember a carry by Bourban last year where he made contact after five or six yards and the announcer said it was a nice little pickup as he thought he was in the process of being taken down yet he rumbled on for nearly another 15 yards. There were two or three guys trying to take him down. I would really like to see more of him. He's not only big and strong but has some decent wheels too.

I'm also hoping to see Pierson excel on special teams. Jacory Shepherd, Beshears and possibly McCay will give us some good elusive and speedy targets. I think we have some good weapons. If our D comes along it should be a satisfying year.

Randy Bombardier 6 years ago

Anybody see another Notre Dame player coming after graduation? Linebacker. Looks like a linebacker. Had a lot of playing time there. Great add. Getting a player for one year that has a lot of experience in a major program is a darn good idea.

KGphoto 6 years ago

Bourbon up to 220? That dude is gonna be dangerous if he stays healthy.

Commenting has been disabled for this item.