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Spring Game defeats Spring Game, None-None

  • 1 p.m., April 28, 2012
  • Memorial Stadium, Lawrence, KS

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Dayne Crist crisp in 45-0 spring game debut

Kansas quarterback Dayne Crist gets set for a play during the first half of the Spring Game on Saturday, April 28, 2012 at Kivisto Field.

Kansas quarterback Dayne Crist gets set for a play during the first half of the Spring Game on Saturday, April 28, 2012 at Kivisto Field.

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Spring game highlights

Highlights from the Kansas football spring game on April 28, 2012.

With about a dozen friends and family members enjoying the weather and tossing the football around him, Kansas University quarterback Dayne Crist wolfed down a plate of tailgate food about an hour after Saturday’s spring game at Memorial Stadium.

He earned it.

Playing his first live performance as a Jayhawk, in front of a crowd of 15,000 enthused KU football fans, the Notre Dame transfer completed 11 of 19 passes for 156 yards and led the Blue team to a 45-0 victory over the White squad in the final event of KU coach Charlie Weis’ first spring in Lawrence.

More important than the final score or the statistics was the fact that Crist showed everyone in attendance that the Jayhawks were running a different, more efficient offense in 2012. No play better illustrated that than sophomore running back Tony Pierson’s 88-yard touchdown run late in the third quarter.

As Crist walked to the line of scrimmage, he surveyed the defense and identified the middle linebacker, a staple of Weis’ offense. Not seeing the set he wanted, Crist called an audible and Pierson did the rest.

“I told him, ‘When the hole’s that big, he better be able to score a touchdown,’” Weis said. “I also told him that there aren’t many guys who can run 88 yards. It’s pretty obvious, when he’s in space, it’s a problem.”

That’s where Crist’s understanding of the offense can benefit Kansas most. Had a less experienced quarterback been in there, Pierson’s big run might have been a three-yard gain. Instead, it was the top highlight from an afternoon full of them.

“If I’m not mistaken, it was supposed to go to the left side, and he changed it back to the right side,” said Pierson, the game’s offensive MVP, who finished with 141 yards on seven carries. “Dayne usually changes up the play two times out of five. He can read the defense and once he sees what the defense is in, he’ll change the play. He’s very good at that.”

He’s also very good at a lot of other things, and nearly all of them were on display Saturday. From making deep throws and flashing pinpoint accuracy, to subtle movements in the pocket and understanding how to use his running game, Crist’s command allowed KU’s blue squad — made up mostly of first-string players — to roll up 518 yards of offense, six touchdowns and one field goal in a game that was played with a running clock.

“Well, he could make every throw, and he didn’t look too rusty to me,” Weis said. “I thought he slung it around pretty good. I was pleased. He knows the offense, he knows how to run the operation, he can get us out of trouble in a bad call.”

Crist completed four straight passes for first downs to open the game, but a couple of drops caused the Blue team’s initial drive to stall. Ron Doherty, who also made all six extra points he attempted, knocked a 30-yard field goal through the uprights to get the scoring started. With the Blue defense forcing the White into three-and-outs for most of the afternoon, Crist and fellow former-five star QB, Jake Heaps, had plenty of opportunities to lead the Blue team. And Weis had plenty of chances to dial up crowd-pleasing plays.

“I could have created some situations to have the game closer,” Weis said. “I didn’t have to call reverses and I didn’t have to call flea-flickers, but the fans want to have some fun, too. Jake Heaps’ first throw here is a flea-flicker. I didn’t have to call those things, but part of the spring game is to have fun, too, and I think maybe the Blue team had a little bit more fun than the White team. A lot of guys had the opportunity to make plays that either did or didn’t, and it will show up very clearly when we watch the tape.”

Senior receiver D.J. Beshears (3 catches, 33 yards) scored two touchdowns, one of them on a 28-yard rumble on a reverse, sophomore running back Marquis Jackson (10 carries, 76 yards) scored three times on runs of seven, three and 15 yards, and seniors Daymond Patterson (5 catches for 64 yards) and Kale Pick (4-82) led the KU receivers. Pick was the recipient of the flea-flicker from Heaps, who finished 7-of-10 passing for 106 yards and one touchdown.

“The defense probably thought I was gonna run through the hole,” Pierson said of the flea-flicker. “But I gave it back to Jake and he threw the deep ball. He came back to the sideline talking noise. It was fun.”

Fun was the prevailing theme of the day, both for the fans who showed up early to tailgate and stayed late for autographs, and the Jayhawks themselves.

“The numbers weren’t as important as the engagement,” Weis said, tipping his cap to the largest spring game turnout in quite some time. “I thought the crowd was engaged. They weren’t just there for a sunny day. They were into the game. We will work on those bigger numbers as we get close to September, but they were engaged and I think that’s a good thing.”

Comments

Doug Cramer 5 years, 7 months ago

It'll be interesting to see how carries are distributed amongst runningbacks. Sounds like Marquis Jackson had a strong showing.

Does anyone know if Brandon Bourbon played...or was he held out of the game due to recovering from injury ?

Also - its EXTREMELY good to hear about Micheal Reynolds. Boy do we need some playmakers on that defensive line that will pressure opposing quarterbacks.

ironhead80 5 years, 7 months ago

Sounds like bourbon will not play even if he is healthy?

NebraskaJayhawk 5 years, 7 months ago

It's obviously hard to tell how good he was considering how bad our D has been recently, but he sure looked good "slinging it". So did Heaps and I thought Cummings threw the ball well, but was constantly under pressure.

Reynolds impressed. Hope he can do somethings to put pressure on the QB. He gave Cummings fits.

To answer your question Table_Rock, Bourbon was indeed out due to injury. Weis made a comment in an earlier article that he was nearing 100%, but he was not going to play him in the spring game.

Jackson looked pretty good. Will be interesting to see how much they use him at RB considering the depth we already have and also with Cox coming in.

First string OL looked dominant in a major way. There again, who knows how good they really are considering.

I do think we are going to put points on the board this year.

Jayhawker111 5 years, 7 months ago

How you can say that Cummings threw well???? (1 for 7 passing).

Cummings did nothing. He had only one pass completed for 14 yards and he played the whole game. The white team lead by Cummings was three and out - all day long. I think they only had three first downs the entire game.

If Cummings plays in the future, KU is in a world of hurt. Based on what Cummings did Saturday, he will never play in this league

The whole game was set up to make it look like Weis has a powerhouse offense.

The 2nd team defense was not allowed to blitz, there was no pass rush - NONE!.

Chris and Heeps did not have anyone within 5 years of them when they threw the ball.

Chris looked like a leader and played with confidence, but there were no pads popping on Saturday - lackluster performance.

kureader 5 years, 7 months ago

I see the glass as half full. We're much improved.

Ron Prichard 5 years, 7 months ago

Cummings was under pressure from the moment he took the snap. All things considered, he did pretty well.

As far as this being a lackluster performance, I couldn't disagree more. This is essentially a glorified practice. With that understanding, I thought it was VERY evident that the players were more organized, disciplined, crisp.

Chris...I mean Crist, and Heeps....or should I say Heaps, both showed they can make the throws a Big XII quarterback needs to be able to make. They made throws that Webb, as hard as he tried, simply couldn't make. In the third or fourth quarter, Crist threw about a 15 yard out to the far sideline. It was a perfect throw that went about 40 yards on the money. No way was that throw made last year.

All in all, I'm excited. I think we're going to be improved. I just hope it translates to more wins considering our schedule.

Savion Havon 5 years, 7 months ago

Cummings had 4 dropped passes where he hit the wr in the hands when Im looking at a qb im looking at how the ball comes out of his hands his foot work is he reading the play. To say he will never play in this league is crazy. If he had a decent line maybe the game wouldve been competitive. I noticed as soon as he broke contain the whistle was blown where as the first teams qbs were allowed a little movement. Lets be honest the white team was set up to make the other look good. The 3 and outs you speak of consisted of 2 runs and a pass to omigie and he couldnt catch a cold in a snow storm with swim trunks on and a wet cap I think we will compete pretty well this year

Dirk Medema 5 years, 7 months ago

"who knows how good they really are considering."

Charlie thinks they are pretty good, and I for one am taking some solice from his honest eval. This is one of the groups that he mentioned being better than he had initially anticipated.

It was also interesting to learn that Jackson had played RB until his jr yr in HS. Sounds like he is making a very natural switch, and should create some real nice 3rd down options in particular with him being a big back and more practiced at running routes and catching the ball. If he can pickup Big12 blocking, I'd also look for him and Pierson in some 2-back sets with one or both of them flexing out to create mismatches.

The game was also set up to be entertaining for the fans, and CW said so in the post game. He wanted to give a reason for students and the band to stay around and practice the alma mater. He has a plan, which is comprehensive, and is going to execute it.

The game plan was also similar to his comments about post-game interviews throughout the year. He told the reporters that he would be taking bullets for the players, because that is what coaches are supposed to do in public, but that there would be a more honest evaluation with the players in practice and meetings. There is more to the team than what is seen by the fans (public) even if the world does revolve around us.

I also thought CW said in the post-game that Cummings played well. He was playing with the 2nd string O against the 1st string D, so it wouldn't be particularly reasonable to expect much in the way of results (simple armchair eval), but fortunately a quality coach can evaluate based on more than stats. It's along the same lines as Coach Self not being particularly enamored with shooting % (good or bad) as much as whether a player was taking good shot w/in the flow of the O.

NebraskaJayhawk 5 years, 7 months ago

I was going to respond to Jayhawker, but now I don't have to. Your last paragraph is exactly what I meant by playing well. Stats do not always tell the story. And in this case you can't compare apples to apples because I garauntee if you switch the quarterbacks Cummings stats improve greatly. I don't think he's Crist or Heaps by any means, but I thought he moved well and had some zip on the ball when he threw it. Unfortunately, he didn't have anybody to throw to all afternoon or was under pressure by Reynolds. Hoping Reynolds can be consistant during the season and add some outside pressure like he did yesterday.

ironhead80 5 years, 7 months ago

Bourbon is done, he is one of those guys who can't get on the field because he is always nicked up.

KU79 5 years, 7 months ago

Well, Charlie, this Jayhawk fan had fun...thanks! I actually saw some football yesterday, something I've missed the last couple of years. Oh, I was here and watched the last 2 seasons, just not sure what it was. KU football has a long road back to success, but the long, painful nightmare is over!

1timbob 5 years, 7 months ago

Now that's football! The names on the jerseys, KU singing the alma mater song after the game with the fans, KU in a huddle, under center and Christ doing a Manning like audible for a 88 yard touchdown run. I'm so excited for the upcoming season I've already got my season tickets. Thank you Charlie!!

Dirk Medema 5 years, 7 months ago

Some my see him as our savior, but Dayne's last name has no "h".

At first, I also thought you were referring to Danny, then realized you probably meant Peyton. Darn BB school mentality.

hewn 5 years, 7 months ago

Yeah, never mind the Manning that just won the Superbowl.

jhox 5 years, 7 months ago

I thought Crist looked good and Heaps threw the ball even better. Our QB situation looks really good for the next 3 years. Heaps has a rocket arm. His 20 and 30 yard passes had the height of most guys 10 yard passes. Crist threw a ball about 60 yards while sprinting to his right. It's a whole new ball game in Lawrence, no doubt about it. I just hope we can put together a defense because the offense looks Big 12 worthy.

One other thing I took away from the game is how organized we looked. After a short spring practice we looked in better form running in plays than we did in any game under Gill.

Clearly we have an elite group of coaches. I suspect gone are the days when we will be out schemed and out adjusted every game.

kureader 5 years, 7 months ago

You're right all around. And, good point regarding organization. These guys had only 15 practices. There were only a couple penalties ... a couple dropped passes, but lots of completions ... very few glaring mistakes.

Crist is the real deal. He has an arm. He's smart, poised and incredibly accurate. (Heaps has a gun).

VaJay 5 years, 7 months ago

jhox - you hit the nail on the head with the "out adjusted" remark! In the few games where we were in it for a half, our 3rd qtr's were ultimately terrible last two seasons and that should change big time!

On a less important improvement note - I like listening to Weis talk. NO more "coachspeak" BS that Gill was so famous for. I couldn't even listen to him. Weis is blunt & entertaining at the same time.

rockchalk_dpu 5 years, 7 months ago

Weis reminds me of Self in that if we played a horrible stretch of game, he tells the reporter we played horrible. Everyone is accountable and everyone needs to do their part which is what the program has lacked. The team looks good, though I would have liked to see our 1's compete against each other on offense and defense to get a better measure of where they are. And of course I'd like to echo what other fans have said about how crisp the offense looked and the organization the team had running plays. I thought it would be a low scoring game with a running clock, but they got after it and were up to the line right after a dead ball. Bodes well for conditioning during the season if we can keep that up. Can't wait for the fall, should be an exciting season.

RCJGKU

Dirk Medema 5 years, 7 months ago

"I suspect gone are the days when we will be out schemed and out adjusted every game."

and out of timeouts before the 2nd quarter?

1timbob 5 years, 7 months ago

Think of 50,000 fans singing that Alma mater song after the game with the rock chalk chant. Charlie started a new KU football tradition

april28 5 years, 7 months ago

Agreed. I was a doubter earlier in the week. But it worked really well.

Lance Cheney 5 years, 7 months ago

I assume timbob was talking about 50,000 people being at a regular season game, creating a weekly tradition of doing this stuff after the games.

machinegun 5 years, 7 months ago

Crist is huge and a solid QB. He must be the biggest KU QB we have ever seen. Crist is a prototypical NFL QB (6-4, 230). He was very impressive out there on a really nice day for all of us. Where was everyone else?

I was expecting to see more passing but maybe that was because of the disappointing drops. College receivers who do not keep their eyes on the ball all the way into their hands obviously need more coaching. Kale Pick was outstanding! We will need other guys to step up.

I must have misunderstood the game plan because I thought Heaps was supposed to be on the White team. Heaps is too small to throw short passes directly over the D-Line so he is going to have a tendency to scramble or throw to the outside. That said, Heaps made a nice pass down the middle on the flea flicker although the wind held it up. That one was a really nice catch!

We have no depth at a number of positions. There is going to be a big drop off when injuries sideline the starters. We need to keep up the pace on recruiting.

Chris Bailey 5 years, 7 months ago

I had to work or I would have been there! If not for my parents 40th anniversary I wouldn't have had to work yesterday. Trust me I will be there for the first game in September! I can't do season tickets this season because of work but next year I will be there for every game!

april28 5 years, 7 months ago

I like the way Jackson runs the ball. He slips tackles and changes directions very smoothly. He's going to be an impact player.

I agree that there wasn't a lot of pop on the field but, as thin as we are, I don't think anyone wanted to really lay it on too heavy. The heavy hitting will start in August.

Jayhawker111 5 years, 7 months ago

If I am a player and I am trying to win a position to get me on the field, then I am playing every down like it is my last.

Saturday was a game and there should have been heavy hitting by everyone.

The game was staged to make the 1st team offense look good.

Any quarterback is going to look good when there is no pass rush and they have all day to set their feet and throw 30 outs.

april28 5 years, 7 months ago

Did you see the score of the purple and white game? C'mon and get real.

Brian Skelly 5 years, 7 months ago

I just know its April and we're talking about KU football. Thats progress.

Tony Bandle 5 years, 7 months ago

45-0!!

Does that mean we are really, really good or does that mean we have zero depth???

My take away just reading the comments is that it sounds like everybody had a good time...and for Kansas football, that's a huge step in the right direction!!!

Please, everyone, be patient.....a 4-8 season with more competitive play WILL be a sign of progress.

kureader 5 years, 7 months ago

Oakville, the K-State spring game ended with a score of 77-7. The coaches don't care that much about whether the squads are evenly matched.

Considering they had only 15 practices, new coaches, many new players, and a new offense ... the spring game was impressive. 4-8 is obtainable. After watching Crist, it's possible we could win more. But, we still have too many holes to fill, especially on defense. Regardless, it's the direction that counts ... and Weis has us moving in the right direction. They'll be fun to watch next year. The spring game was fun ... free food and beer, the band, cheerleaders, 15,000 people ... hopefully, the spring game will be a bigger deal from now on.

Dirk Medema 5 years, 7 months ago

6 wins prior to the Pinstripe Bowl.

:-)

Jeff Coffman 5 years, 7 months ago

I am a huge HCCW fan, and I think our team will do really well. I'm a realist knowing that a 6-6 team this year would be outstanding.

I'm also happy that there will be some offense generated this year.

I think we have always been nervous about the defense. The fact that we had to have defense play for both teams is a sign of how short of depth we are at that position. I love that we have depth and maybe a starter or so coming in especially in the defensive area.

All in all the game was exactly as expected. Our first string offense is solid, but doesn't have depth. Our defense doesn't have depth (hopefully yet).

I love how HCCW is really feeding to the fans, the excitement of the buzz going around.

We are going to score. Hopefully we can stop some of the scoring from the "Big XII offenses".

Either way I am excited.

Jim Jackson 5 years, 7 months ago

Did Mckay Justin Mckay get in the action at all?

Linejudgemick 5 years, 7 months ago

I understand McKay got in to the game, but did not make a catch...

I know the defense has a long way to go, but if some of the incomming D-linemen play as well as some of the "already here transfers" are playing - I think we'll have a chance to be WAY more competitive than we've been in some time. I couldn't go, but all the comments from those that could about how organized the team is really gives me hope. All of the best coaches I've ever known, or knew about were really organized. I saw NO organization the past 2 years, and players that truly looked confused! Another thing someone else mentioned is the lack of "coach speak" now. Wow this is refreshing. My son is playing NAIA college football, so I won't be able to come to the games in person, but I wish I could - I didn't last year.

rob4lb 5 years, 7 months ago

Anything is better than the two year nightmare that was Turner Gill (and Lew Perkins). I was lukewarm about hiring Weis, but I have to say that I like what he is doing. 4-5 wins including 1-2 conference wins, along with the team being competitive in other conference games, would be considered a successful season.

Unfortunately, we play in the Big 12 and nearly every school has a high power offense, Perhaps we can win a shoot out or two in conference.

Steve Brown 5 years, 7 months ago

I was wrong, proposed 2 years wasn't enough time to build a program thought TG deserved more time. We know now 2 years isn't the right amount of time, 4-6 months is just perfect.

Martin Shupert 5 years, 7 months ago

I really hope I'm wrong about Weis. I want to see KU field a competitive football team as much as anyone else. There may not be enough talent on the defensive side to pull that off this year, however. The best description for Weis at Notre Dame was smoke and mirrors. I really hope he learned from the experience and has begun to put the program together. I would say we have to give him at least 4 or 5 years before we could expect even a good coach to build something here. It was so bad I convinced a K-State fan in a chat room that KU did not give out scholarships, that football was a club sport at KU. So, aren't we expecting just a little too much in his first year?

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