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Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Keegan

Captains: O-line in good hands

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A big chair looked small when Tanner Hawkinson sat in it and talked about the honor of being selected as one of the Kansas University football team’s three captains.

Hawkinson finally looks like a left tackle. In years past, he looked like a good prospect with the sort of frame that could take on enough weight for him to hold off the best pass rushers in the Big 12. He always had the feet, now he has the thickness, and the weight he has put on looks like good weight — strong weight, not flab.

“Tanner’s gotten a lot better,” tri-captain Toben Opurum said from the same chair, moments after Hawkinson sat in it. “It’s helping him out, and it’s helping me out that we’re competing against each other every day. He’s definitely grown as a player.”

Charlie Weis’ first Kansas roster has more holes in it than a barrel of alcohol in a warehouse busted by the feds during prohibition.

But the unit that will be entrusted with protecting new quarterback Dayne Crist, the other tri-captain, does appear to be in solid shape. Hawkinson, left guard Duane Zlatnik and center Trevor Marrongelli, all returning starters, have been in the program for five years. Hawkinson’s in his fourth year as a starter, his third at left tackle.

Linemen and skill-position players don’t spend a great deal of time together during spring drills, so it was worth asking Crist if he has a feel for how much talent the guy protecting his blind side possesses.

“I think the best way you can measure out an offensive line is when you don’t hear their names called, and you’re not worrying about them,” Crist said. “You know they’re doing a good job. Really, Tanner’s been incredibly consistent, especially at that left-tackle spot, how critical that is, how important that is. He’s almost never getting yelled at.

“He’s a guy who’s assignment-sound, fundamentally doing things the right way, and it’s great having that security blanket at the left tackle.”

Crist explained how the voting took place.

“Players were handed a piece of paper,” he said. “Offensive guys were told to vote for an offensive guy, and defensive guys were told to vote for a defensive guy. We filled it out and handed it in.”

Did he vote for himself?

“No,” he said. “I voted for Tanner?”

Why?

“I was sitting right next to him, and I figured he would get mad at me if I didn’t vote for him,” Crist said. “No, I’m kidding. He deserved the vote, absolutely.”

Did Crist fold the ballot before handing it in?

“Yeah, I didn’t want Tanner to know I voted for him,” Crist said.

Nothing would make Crist happier than for Hawkinson, honored with his selection as a captain, to earn postseason honors.

Comments

april28 2 years, 4 months ago

A solid O-line, a solid qb, some good rb options and, hope upon hopes, a 5-star receiver. Suddenly, I fell all warm inside.

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Doug Cramer 2 years, 4 months ago

Think our future O-linemen look solid as well after these guys graduate. Hopefully McKay will be eligible...we could have a pretty good offense this season.

Now we need to fill the gaping holes on defense to compete in the big 12. Would be nice to hear about some four star D-linemen recruits commit to KU in the near future.

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Dirk Medema 2 years, 4 months ago

This will be a huge year for DL recruiting. There is a big group coming in this year, but most will be gone w/in 2. Need to get a crew like the OL and develop them for a couple years.

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riverdrifter 2 years, 4 months ago

Time will tell whether they're worth a hoot. All of them.

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eastcoasthawk 2 years, 4 months ago

“Tanner’s gotten a lot better,” tri-captain Toben Opurum said from the same chair, moments after Hawkinson sat in it. “It’s helping him out, and it’s helping me out that we’re competing against each other every day. He’s definitely grown as a player.”

Is good to see this coming from Toben because from the Oklahoma drill video it seemed that Toben was beating Tanner every time and getting to the ball carrier. Was highly concerned about our potential run game realizing our best up and coming lineman (since he got here) was getting beat. I was thinking either Toben is a stud or Tanner is not where we need him to be.

Hope they all provide the leadership this team needs at this time.

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Jim Jackson 2 years, 4 months ago

Toben is a flat out stud. Hoping the appeal goes Mckay's way. He appealed yesterday, right?

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KGphoto 2 years, 4 months ago

"If you look at this play, what we're trying to get is a seal here, and a seal here, and try to run this play... in... the... alley."

Left Power Sweep please.

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Randy Bombardier 2 years, 4 months ago

Yeah, I miss that play that Mason used to run all the time. June Henley really used his blocks well. I would like to see what our current backs could do in that situation. With Peirson's speed he would take a few to the house.

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texashawk10 2 years, 4 months ago

I have an idea to help the team even more. Let Hudy get her hands on the football team while basketball is in their down time. Can you imagine what some of these players could like if Hudy was helping Holsopple during the summer months.

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jhawk613 2 years, 4 months ago

i think she's earned herself a little vacation. let's let Holsopple have a complete year on his own before we let loose the cries for Hudy.

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Ron Prichard 2 years, 4 months ago

Did he vote for himself? “No,” he said. “I voted for Tanner?”

Ron Burgundy: You stay classy, San Diego. I'm Ron Burgundy? Ed Harken: Dammit. Who typed a question mark on the Teleprompter?

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NebraskaJayhawk 2 years, 4 months ago

You're so wise. You're like a miniature Buddha, covered in hair.

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