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Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Teammates, coaches praise Pick as ‘natural’ wideout

Kansas wide receiver Kale Pick chats with fans during the autograph portion of Fan Appreciation Day on Saturday, Aug. 11, 2012, at Memorial Stadium.

Kansas wide receiver Kale Pick chats with fans during the autograph portion of Fan Appreciation Day on Saturday, Aug. 11, 2012, at Memorial Stadium.

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When talking about Kansas University wide receiver, Kale Pick, one word continues to come from the mouths of Pick’s teammates: “natural.”

Whether they’re using it to describe the way Pick runs routes or hauls in passes, or to convey the feel the Dodge City senior has for the game, teammates new and old have used the word over and over to describe him. That’s natural, as in, derived from nature, or not acquired but inherent. Kind of odd for a guy who spent most of his life playing a different position.

“Sometimes you forget that (he played quarterback),” said senior QB Dayne Crist. “Because he looks like a very natural receiver out there.”

That’s high praise from a guy who’s seen his share of stud receivers. But KU coach Charlie Weis took it a step further.

“If I had to rate the performances in camp, he would rate one,” Weis said of Pick. “I’m not saying he’s our best receiver, but if you had to rate performances in camp, he would rate one.”

The reasons are simple. So simple, in fact, that Weis seemed to feel as if they did not need to be listed. He did anyway.

“He’s just a guy you want on your team,” Weis said. “He does all the little things: takes notes, pays attention to everything you say. He’s doing the little extra things. You don’t have to worry about him.”

For Crist, that last part is huge. Whether it’s through unspoken communication or direct contact in the huddle, the Notre Dame transfer said he and Pick had developed quite a bond in the eight months they’ve known each other. That bond would not have come without hard work from both guys, Crist said, and now that it’s there, it seems to be set in stone.

“You can’t look out there after any given play or any given practice and say, ‘(Number) Seven didn’t have a very consistent period,’” Crist said. “He’s bringing it every day. I expect that from him now.”

Pick has expected that his entire life. From his days as a dual-threat quarterback in high school to his first few seasons as a QB at KU, Pick always has carried himself with great confidence and belief in his ability. That’s what helped him survive a Week-1 benching in 2010, a broken leg a few weeks later and a position change not long after that. And it’s those things that are driving him to have the best camp of his career.

“My goal for practice is to take advantage of every rep,” Pick said. “That’s what I really look forward to. I’ve been in a position where someone’s told me I can’t play, and I’ve been injured, too. It’s not fun. So I really try to play every play like it’s my last play.”

His teammates and coaches have noticed. Asked what makes Pick a good leader, sophomore tailback Tony Pierson needed just four words to answer.

“Kale backs it up,” Pierson said.

Asked what he thought of Weis labeling Pick as the top performer in camp so far, senior center Trevor Marrongelli whole-heartedly agreed.

“Lately, he’s been making some amazing plays,” Marrongelli said. “Some of the catches he makes, jumping over defenders, one handed catches, have been phenomenal. He’s practicing just like he’d play in a game.”

And he reminds Marrongelli of another former teammate — Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Kerry Meier.

When Pick first moved from QB to wide receiver, many made the comparison right away. It made sense. And Pick was flattered. But rather than being content with people calling him the next Kerry Meier, Pick has his sights set on playing like him.

“I’m not trying to be anybody,” he said. “I want to be my own person and go about things my own way. But one thing I really enjoyed about Kerry is how serious he took football. I just really enjoyed watching how much he cared about this game and this university and the team that he was affiliated with.”

Marrongelli liked that, too. And he’s enjoying it all over again with Pick.

“It feels like déjà vu, to tell you the truth,” Marrongelli said. “That’s exactly what it feels like.”

Comments

Randy Bombardier 1 year, 8 months ago

I would like to see Pick on some kick-off returns. He has good hands and wheels.

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machinegun 1 year, 8 months ago

OK-I'll say it. Kale Pick is our best receiver.

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Mr_C 1 year, 8 months ago

I'll be happy to see any Jayhawk with a dozen TDs. After last year's futility, there's nowhere to go but up... here's hoping we make monster strides this season! RCJH

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notjustbread 1 year, 8 months ago

Before we get carried away with the Kerry Meier comparisons, let's let Pick catch a dozen TD's.

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JacquesMerde 1 year, 8 months ago

Do we have another Kerry Meier? Let us Pray!!!! We need all we can get.

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bigtex 1 year, 8 months ago

Pick would of been a good QB in Mangino's system. No QB could be good under Gill or Long. With Weis's system prostyle QB is what we need. Glad to see Pick doing great things at WR. I here he is a class kid with alot of athletic talent .

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Travis Clementsmith 1 year, 8 months ago

Pick is such a better name for a WR than a QB, anyway!

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Tony Bandle 1 year, 8 months ago

Hey...is that meet a Filipino girl ad for real!!?? Or is that some little LJW joke!!??

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Tony Bandle 1 year, 8 months ago

I am calling it now, but some time this season we will see Kale on an end around, pass option for a deep TD bomb...count on it!!!

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Keith Hummel 1 year, 8 months ago

Pick is definitely one of my sentimental favorites among the receivers (DP is the other one). Both have had to deal with adversity, both have great attitudes, both have tremendous talent, both are class acts, and both are due. If I'm a running back or wide-out I want Pick blocking for me down-field, if I'm a QB I want Pick's sure hands and tenacity on the receiving end of my throws, and if I'm a coach I want Pick's work ethic and leadership setting an example for the entire team. My biggest concern about Kale is injuries. Guys like him, that go full-throttle all-out on every play, tend to get dinged up. But you can be sure (because we've seen it first-hand) that it will take a very bad injury to keep him off the field. I expect to see Pick become one of Dayne's go-to receivers on 3rd down this year, because he is so sure-handed and athletic, and because he will simply out-will anyone he goes up against.

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Bangkok_Jayhawk 1 year, 8 months ago

Kale Pick has Kerry Meier written all over him (not just because they are both white) and I am excited to see how his senior year goes. Both guys have the intelligence of a QB, sure hands, and seem to be good third down receivers. Both being Kansas boys is nice too!

If Cummings does not pan out at QB, would love to see him play WR if his legs are as good as they say. Anyone know if Baty can run?

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nuleafjhawk 1 year, 8 months ago

I like Kale Pick a lot.

He seems to have everything I want if I were picking a team.

Toughness. Attitude. Ability. Motivation.

He is a quality football player and a quality kid.

Also - Please tell me I'm not the only one who was just a teensy bit uncomfortable with a QB named " Pick ".

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