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Sunday, December 2, 2012

KU running back James Sims says NFL can wait

Kansas running back James Sims (29) celebrates a touchdown in KU's last football game Saturday against West Virginia University in Morgantown, W.Va.

Kansas running back James Sims (29) celebrates a touchdown in KU's last football game Saturday against West Virginia University in Morgantown, W.Va.

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Kansas University tailback James Sims enjoyed a breakthrough year in 2012, becoming the 11th Jayhawk to rush for 1,000 yards in a single season. But a professional career for the junior from Irving, Texas, is not calling just yet.

“I think about it from time to time,” said Sims during an interview prior to last Saturday’s 59-10 loss at West Virginia in the season finale. “But it’s not my main priority right now. I still feel I need to mature as a running back and work on things before I think about going to the next level.”

Heading into the season, Sims was perceived by many to be a solid but unspectacular runner on a bad football team. However, after rushing for 1,013 yards in just nine games, the perception changed and now many have begun to think about Sims’ professional football future.

KU coach Charlie Weis is one of those guys, and he said on multiple occasions throughout KU’s 1-11 season that Sims had what it took to play in the NFL. Weis would know. KU’s first-year coach worked as an NFL assistant for 16 seasons and, during that time, coached an impressive crop of running backs from Curtis Martin to Jamaal Charles and all kinds in between.

“He can run inside and he can run outside and he can pick up the blitz,” said Weis of Sims. “He can run and he can catch. I don’t know what he can’t do. Does he run sub-4.5 (second 40-yard dash time)? No. But he’s a really, really good player. And if you’re a really, really good player here, there’s a better than even chance that you’re going to have a chance to be a really good player (in the NFL). His football will not end next year when he finishes up his senior year. His football will continue.”

Sims, whom Weis compared recently to former Denver Broncos stud Terrell Davis, has led the Jayhawks in rushing in each of the past three seasons. He followed up a strong freshman season (742 yards on 168 carries) with a near repeat (727-182) during his sophomore season. But a better offseason conditioning program and the motivation to make up for the three-game suspension slapped on him to start the season after a DUI arrest last summer turned Sims into a faster, stronger, more dangerous back.

While breaking the 1,000-yard mark on 218 carries, Sims stacked up a school record streak of six straight 100-yard rushing games earlier this year and finished as the Big 12’s leading rusher at 112.6 yards per game, even with most of KU’s opponents focusing their defensive gameplans solely on stopping him. Even still, Sims has not been talked about much outside of the area. Asked if his occasional thoughts about the NFL had included any conversations serious talks, Sims emphasized his plan to return to Kansas for his senior season.

“No. Not right now,” he said. “I haven’t heard anything about it.”

That time will come, Weis said.

“I can’t see one reason why he wouldn’t play on Sunday,” Weis said earlier this season. “I think he’s a nice solid player. I’d want him on my team.”

With 2,482 career rushing yards, Sims currently sits in eighth place on KU’s all-time rushing list, 1,359 yards behind all-time leader June Henley. Sims’ 27 career touchdowns rank third all-time, one behind Tony Sands for second, and 14 behind Henley.

Hit the road, Jack

Last week, already armed with the knowledge that the Jayhawks’ season would be over, win or lose, after playing West Virginia in Morgantown, Weis explained that he would waste no time hitting the recruiting trail.

He reemphasized the point in his postgame comments following Saturday’s loss by saying he would shift his focus to recruiting “in about five seconds.”

Weis said he and several assistant coaches would be out recruiting immediately and could be traveling for a while.

“I’m not coming home after the game,” said offensive line coach Tim Grunhard. “I’m driving to Pittsburgh and then I’m flying to Louisville and then to San Francisco and then to Honolulu and then I’m back here on Thursday to recruit Kansas City. I’m really looking forward to getting out there on the road and selling the vision that we have for this team.”

Comments

Boouk 1 year, 9 months ago

Smart decision by Sims. Hopefully he stays healthy and boosts his stock.

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irvan moore 1 year, 9 months ago

good kid, we are fortunate to have him here

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Ron Prichard 1 year, 9 months ago

Good decision. I'm glad he decided to come back. With a full season next year he could break the all-time KU career rushing record. I would love to see that.

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Jim Erickson 1 year, 9 months ago

This is huge... Sims is the best thing we have going. I have high hopes for Heaps and McCay, but neither is proven as a Jayhawk yet so Sims is our biggest piece coming back. There are running backs who can run behind a good line and running backs who can flat out run.. Sims is a stud.

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Micky Baker 1 year, 9 months ago

It's a long a shot, but the top QB in the class of 2013 decommitted after USF fired Skip Holtz. This would obviously be a good guy to talk to, because Heaps and Baty only have 2 years of eligibility.

A recruit like his could help attract some WR's also. If USF can get a guy like this, I don't see why KU couldn't.

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90sHawk 1 year, 9 months ago

Good point. As I was reading this I was wondering how USF initially landed the top QB in his class. What's his style though? Pro-style pocket passer, a runner, dual threat?

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Boouk 1 year, 9 months ago

With QB's Jordan Darling and Montell Cozart already committed, I think we should use the rest of our scholarships on CB's, S's, WR's, DE's, DT's, and LT's.

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Boouk 1 year, 9 months ago

Very true. One of our biggest needs, which says a lot.

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Pitthawk34 1 year, 9 months ago

I just spit out my coffee reading this post. Yes we should use scholarships on just about every position as we sure as hell need upgrades everywhere.

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Micky Baker 1 year, 9 months ago

Except, it would be another guy to learn the ropes, a talented guy to followup Baty or Heaps. He could even redshirt and then have 3 years of eligibility after the Baty/Heaps. We have 13 spots left. I don't think it would hurt to talk to this guy and offer him, and it would help get good WRs out of high school that will be here for awhile.

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jhox 1 year, 9 months ago

All the positions you mentioned are areas where we need immediate help, but when the number 1 QB in the class is up for grabs you take a shot at him. I doubt he'd have an interest though, with Heaps ready to start the next two years.

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bville_hawk 1 year, 9 months ago

Correction: I am fairly certain that Baty only played one year of juco, so he has 3 years of eligibility remaining.

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Micky Baker 1 year, 9 months ago

If Turner Baty had 3 years of eligibility, he probably would have started the second half of this season.

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Eric Dawson 1 year, 9 months ago

You are correct. Baty is a true sophomore. He played one year of JUCO ball in 2011.

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Robert Brock 1 year, 9 months ago

Next year we will be 7-5, gp to a bowl, and THEN Sims can head to the NFL.

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Boouk 1 year, 9 months ago

That could happen. We have TTU, Baylor, WVU (with no Geno Smith and Tavon Austin), and KSU (without Klein, several underrated O-linemen, both CB's, Aurthur Brown, and their best safety). 7-6 might be a reasonable expectation if we stay pretty healthy.

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danmoore 1 year, 9 months ago

Going from 1-11 to 7-6 is a quantum leap. I'll be happy with 4 wins.

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Ian Ballinger 1 year, 9 months ago

except a few of those other 11 games should have been wins. We should be a good team next year.

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Boouk 1 year, 9 months ago

When I was posting that, I looked at it this way: with no kicking game whatsoever (we should be much improved in that area next season because Weis said this class might even consist of two kickers) we probably would of beat Rice, NIU, OSU, Texas, and TTU if Heaps and McCay were eligible. Matt Tait has said Heaps has looked good in practice and has better throwing mechanics, accuracy, and quicker feet than all the QB's on KU's roster, so he'll provide a huge upgrade at QB.

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Boouk 1 year, 9 months ago

Sorry, I meant to reply to danmoore there.

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LAJayhawk 1 year, 9 months ago

We also could have beaten Rice just by having Sims available to play.

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Boouk 1 year, 9 months ago

If we would of played Cummings at QB instead of Crist we would of won that game too, even without Sims.

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danmoore 1 year, 9 months ago

Given that we could have won 6 games this season, 7 games next year is not unreasonable. We should be better but I still think we're lagging behind the conference talent wise and that will take some time to overcome.

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Micky Baker 1 year, 9 months ago

We probably would have beat Rice and maybe even TCU if Sims was available the first 3 games. We were close to breaking some big plays against TCU, just got tripped up a few times.

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Micky Baker 1 year, 9 months ago

It's really not that big of a leap. I think it was 2007 that KU went from a 7-6 team to being a 12-1 team <<< Best record among BCS schools in 2007 as well.

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William James 1 year, 9 months ago

Sorry to bust your bubble, but I'm going to talk reality for a minute. If your saying next year KU has a shot at beating KSU, the reining Big 12 champs, they don't. Maybe if Weis lives up to his paycheck, he can close the gap on the field and keep the score within 3 touchdowns or so, but baring a really bizarre football game, KU has no shot next year against Kansas State.

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Micky Baker 1 year, 9 months ago

It was in Mangino's third year when he beat K-State, but if Heaps is all that hype, there is a real chance we can beat them next year.

Nobody gave us a shot against Texas, OSU, or even Texas Tech.

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Boouk 1 year, 9 months ago

Sorry pal, but they lose Klein, Aurthur Brown, Ty Zimmerman, both their CB's, and several underrated OLmen. Move to Colorado where you can smoke your pot legally.

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Jonathan Allison 1 year, 9 months ago

I like the optimism from Brock and BOOuk! And IF we get a bowl game and Sims plays all 13 games then he only has to average 105 yd/gm to break KU's all-time record.

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vd 1 year, 9 months ago

Optimism or crack smoking?

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Boouk 1 year, 9 months ago

Considering we almost beat Rice, NIU, OSU, Texas, and TTU with no passing game whatsoever and terrible kicking, it's obviously you who's smoking.

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jhox 1 year, 9 months ago

This isn't out of the realm of possibility. We have a lot of building to do, but if Heaps is as good as many of us think he can be, it could happen. Having a great QB can make all the difference. We had several close games against top 20 teams. With a QB we probably would have won 4or5 this past season.

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Sayers44 1 year, 9 months ago

You say 7 -5 ---you must be from MARS?

Here is the schedule --who is KU going to beat?

At best 2 wins.

South Dakota at Kansas Kansas at Rice La. Tech at Kansas TT at Kansas Kansas at TCU Oklahoma at Kansas Baylor at Kansas Kansas at Texas Kansas at Okla. St. West Virginia at Kansas Kansas at Iowa State Kansas State at Kansas

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Boouk 1 year, 9 months ago

Probably more like 6-6 and a bowl win.

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notjustbread 1 year, 9 months ago

two win season next year would be progress...and is my expectation. Do you watch the games? 7 wins? do you have some special brownies? are you sharing?

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Boouk 1 year, 9 months ago

Obviously you missed the Rice, NIU, OSU, Texas, and TTU games. What you would of seen in those games was a team with horrible QB and WR play and by far the worst kicking game in the Big 12 somehow nearly beat those teams. While Heaps and McCay probably won't be world-beaters, it's obvious we would of won all those games with them.

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Jason Keller 1 year, 9 months ago

A small running back who runs a 4.6.. yep welcome to the league kid.. Look he's ok and because of his vision, can compete on this level but he will NEVER carry a football in a regular season game in the NFL period. I can think of at least 15 running backs in the last 3 years who were much better than him coming out of college who were buried in a depth chart and then released. You need Darin Sproles like athleticism to even think about playing at that size. Next topic.

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Dale Kroening 1 year, 9 months ago

6'0 200 lbs isnt that small. Totally disagree. If he has a good season next year and stays healthy, he'll get his chance. Have you watched him this year when teams are keying on the run ? The kid moves piles and gets yards inside and out.

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Boouk 1 year, 9 months ago

If Weis says Sims can play in the NFL, Sims will play in the NFL.

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Sayers44 1 year, 9 months ago

Weis also said that Crist was good...

Weis cannot judge talent.

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VaJay 1 year, 9 months ago

I'm sure Sims will enjoy reading your post. It will be one of the smaller motivating factors that pushes him to be even better next season. If CW says he'll be playing on Sundays, I would tend to believe him - it's not like he's talking up everyone to that level.

Personally, I'm thankful he's coming back one more year - we will be SO lucky to have the top running back in the Big 12 to build our offense around.

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Sayers44 1 year, 9 months ago

I mean no disrespect to Sims --he is a great guy and a great player....

But I do not think Wies can judge a quarterback....

He kept thinking all year that Crist could play and starting Crist on Saturday was a complete trainwreck.

The way Wies ran the offense gives little hope for the future.

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Boouk 1 year, 9 months ago

Weis said Crist was a good player because he completed 11-12 passes in the spring game and threw the ball accurately in practice (Matt Tait and Tom Keegan also said he performed well in practice), but obviously that hasn't translated over to games.

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Micky Baker 1 year, 9 months ago

ehhh, really? Apply for the OC job if you think you're good enough dude.

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KGphoto 1 year, 9 months ago

Walter Payton was 5'10" 200 pounds. He had average speed, but amazing strength and heart. You're talking about the Big 12's leading rusher, per game. That doesn't happen by accident. Especially when the defense is keying on you. This kid has strength and heart. I will agree that he probably needs to get back to 205-210 and maintain his speed for the NFL, but he's got a year of Holsopple for that.

And you don't know what he runs now. Everybody agreed his speed was greatly upgraded this off-season. Several times this year I've seen him hit the hole or cut through a lane and thought it was Pierson. He's way quick now.

So, he has good vision, patience, improved speed/quickness and possibly more pound-for-pound power than anybody in the Big 12 (600 pound squat out of high school. That is INSANE for a 200 pound kid). The guy pushes a scrum like a 240 pound fullback. He catches the ball, picks up the blitz, rarely fumbles and he's incredibly durable.

The guys you are talking about don't have that kind of game. Speed maybe. Size maybe, but not the great combination of talents, and quite likely not the heart either. By the way it would be interesting to see your list of 15 running backs, better than Sims, who where chewed up and spit out by the NFL over the last 3 years. Lay it down and we can debate it.

I'm not saying he'll be an all-pro NFL back, but being a solid #2 guy is within reach. And remember, 40 times don't mean THAT much. We see it every year. It often distorts the effectiveness of the player positively or negatively. Dexter McCluster ran a 4.68 at the combine. Nobody could believe it. He plays so fast. But he's 170 pounds, running a 4.68 and contributing in the league.

If you want to compare him to other backs, I think Sproles is certainly a mistake. How about Joseph Randle. Same sized guys. Randle a little more elusive and speedier, Sims a little stronger and tougher. Both are sitting atop the Big 12 in rushing. What do you think their numbers would look like if they switched teams? You think Randle will get a shot? How about Shaun Draughn, of the Chiefs, but Sims is a little better in every category, including 40 time. I'm pretty sure Sims can be a serviceable NFL back if Shaun Draughn can.

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Ross Cargo 1 year, 9 months ago

If Knowshow Moreno can play then Sims can play.

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hawkfan13 1 year, 8 months ago

Rushing for over 100 ypg this year at close 5 yards per carry rate is impressive. Especially when defenses knew that we were going to run the ball almost exclusively. He has a nack. Don't rely on only size and speed. His vision is tremendous and he is an exceptional blocker, and not to mention good hands out of the backfield.

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LAJayhawk 1 year, 9 months ago

I made the point about our schedule difficulty on the other article, but it bears repeating, and actually goes along with this Sims piece.

Again, Sagarin ratings have us as having the hardest schedule in ALL of college football. But that just got emphasized even further today. EVERY FBS school we played this year... EVERYONE, from Rice to NIU and all 9 of the Big 12 teams are bowl teams. That's 11 bowl teams we played. Not only that, but TWO of those teams are BCS bowl teams, NIU and KSU. And a 3rd is in the Cotton Bowl (OU).

11 Bowl teams and two BCS teams.

Think about that brutal schedule, not only when you contemplate how we did, but also when you think about how amazing it is that James Sims rushed for over 1,000 yards in only 9 of those games.... when all of those defenses were keying on him.

Sorry, but that is freakin' impressive. James Sims is an absolute STUD.

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Brennan Keller 1 year, 9 months ago

Don't be surprised if Coach Weis fires wide receivers coach Rob Ianello after this season. The WR's greatly underachieved all season long. It is one thing to not have much of a passing game but it is another story when NO wide receivers have TD's and player development in that position was not seen all season long. What are your thoughts Jayhawks?

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Robert Brock 1 year, 9 months ago

I thought that Weis would come up with some wild trick-plays in order just to complete a pass to a WR. It became that desperate. Wait'l next year.

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Ross Cargo 1 year, 9 months ago

Ianello, Pawlus and Bowen should all be on the chopping block. Bowen just cannot seem to get it done (special teams and secondary). Great guy, Jayhawk through and through, but not a D1 coach.

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Micky Baker 1 year, 9 months ago

Bowen was here in 2002 through 2005 when we had really good defenses and was the assistant to the DC and Special Teams Coach. It was when Bowen became DC that we had some trouble. But Dave Campo is DC.

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ahpersecoachingexperience 1 year, 9 months ago

I hate to be "that guy" to correct Tait's errors but their are just too many in this article. The "N" in NFL should be a "A" for arena.

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Doug Cramer 1 year, 9 months ago

Agree with Ahperse.

Sims does not have the speed thats required to succeed in the NFL.

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Alex Berger 1 year, 9 months ago

Yes he does. It might be too optimistic to expect him to become a pro bowl player, but it doesn't take Jamaal Charles speed to be a decent NFL running back. The fact he got over 1,000 yards behind this offensive line should say something.

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John Randall 1 year, 9 months ago

Al, "this offensive line" doesn't need anyone making excuses for them. They held their own in most of those 11 games against bowl teams, and outplayed a few of them. Sims definitely made the most of the holes they created, but he didn't do it in spite of them, he did it with their considerable help.

0

texashawk10 1 year, 9 months ago

Sims us a good enough back to become a 3rdgood down back for someone on the NFL. He's above average in pass protection and can pick up dirst downs in short yardage situations as well. He likely never become a superstar in the NFL, but he will be playing on Sundays when his career at KU is over.

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Micky Baker 1 year, 9 months ago

I do believe there was a kicker on the team this year who wasn't eligible due to transfer rules. A backup would be nice though too, or someone who can't punt 50 plus yards while also giving our Special Teams time to get down to cover it.

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MN_Jayhawk39 1 year, 9 months ago

Anyone notice that Northern Illinois just made the Orange Bowl... and Rice also made a Bowl. That means that all 11 teams KU lost to made bowls.

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hawkdds 1 year, 9 months ago

I hope every Big 12 team in post-season wins by 20 points to show the SEC and talking head pundits the league is tough from top to bottom and the Irish stuff Alabama.RCJH

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JayHok 1 year, 9 months ago

Great article and this should certainly help with recruiting. Here's to James Sims and the 2013 Kansas football team!

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Micky Baker 1 year, 9 months ago

I said yesterday, NIU, in the Orange Bowl. NIU is playing Florida State in the Orange Bowl. KU's schedule may have been the toughest of any school the past couple of decades.

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Micky Baker 1 year, 9 months ago

Matt Tait probably has the toughest job at KUsports.com, and I also believe Matt Tait is the most valuable writer at KUsports.com by far.

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Phil Leister 1 year, 9 months ago

What are the chances Sims leaves KU as the all-time leading rusher? Give me 10-1 odds and I'll take the bet.

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Jonathan Allison 1 year, 9 months ago

I might take 5-1. He needs to average 113.25 yd/gm in 12 games or 104.6 yd/gm in 13 games. The highest risk is that he doesn't play every game due to injury, but he's proven very durable in 3 years for KU.

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jhox 1 year, 9 months ago

We should try to talk Cox into red shirting next year. He's very talented and it's not doing him any good wasting his last year watching Sims from the sideline.

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vd 1 year, 9 months ago

I hope not. They could use that schollie for a better RB.

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jhox 1 year, 9 months ago

Cox is very good. I don't know what you've been watching, but obviously it's not KU football. Most of the people in our section felt he had as much right to be getting the bulk of the carries as Sims.

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Jeff Suther 1 year, 9 months ago

Sims is a solid RB, the best one ku ha had since Cornish, but is not an NFL back. He lacks the speed. I could see Pierson in the league before him.

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flloyd 1 year, 9 months ago

Without Sims in the 2013 season, we'd be lucky to win a single game. We may not even win one game with him with the schedule we have next year.

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JayhawkinNE 1 year, 9 months ago

I would like to see an article on the incoming recruits and how they fared during their high school/jr college season. Please share if anyone has this information.

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wildjayhawk 1 year, 9 months ago

Looks like KU has another Turner Gill at the helm.

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Jim Jackson 1 year, 9 months ago

We need better talent and it will get here. Weis knows what he's doing.

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Reuben_J_Cogburn 1 year, 9 months ago

James Sims and Tony Pierson are the only reasonably good players on the roster.

The rest of the team shouldn't be in a BCS conference.

Face facts, boys.

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John Randall 1 year, 9 months ago

Hey, Rube, your opinion won't be buttressed by the coaches' all conference selections. There will be a smattering of OL, LB recognized.

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Emery 1 year, 9 months ago

Although James Sims is a very good college player, I think the title of the article should read, "The NFL can wait on James Sims".

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90sHawk 1 year, 9 months ago

Interesting, a lot of NFL talent scouts post right here on the KU message boards. Who'd have guessed it .... It's fine to have an opinion, but those of you who diss Sims' ability to play in the NFL don't know squat. I'm not an NFL scout, so I'll defer to Weis' knowledge of the NFL game since he spent many years there, including as a running backs coach.

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Kirk 1 year, 9 months ago

Yeah. And Weis has no skin in the game, right?

He's saying what I would say, supporting his guy. But Sims is good because he's a tough SOB. Period.

Great college football players do not always translate to good NFL players.

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90sHawk 1 year, 9 months ago

Well, I don't hear him saying McDougald will be in the NFL, or Opurum and Patterson for that matter. And you don't go around "supporting your guy" as you say, by stating he will be playing on Sunday's after his KU career is over. Doing that over and over chips away hard at someones credibility when it continually doesnt turn out that way, so you're wrong my friend. I will completely agree with your last sentence though

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texashawk10 1 year, 9 months ago

Weis called Sims a nice solid back. Combine that with the skills he emphasized and Weis is basically saying Sims will likely be a reliable 3rd down back in the NFL.

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carolinahawk 1 year, 9 months ago

Tough crowd. I'd say losing to six bowl teams by a TD or less isn't too bad in the first year of a program. I'd seek four wins next year, but everyone will be looking for Sims. We better be able to play-pass, or, better still, pass enough to force defenses to play us with some respect deep. And, If we don't get some defensive speed, it's going to be another long year.

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Micky Baker 1 year, 9 months ago

This WR, Thomas, with 4.4 speed could help open that up, but I think there might be a couple of other WRs commit that will have similar speed and will allow this offense to open up the play book.

You can go a bit further here as well, 7 bowl teams we lost to by 14 or less.

We were just a couple of plays from scoring two TDs in that game against TCU.

McKay, Ford (a guy kind like Briscoe, not as big, but about the same kind of speed), and Thomas. Turzilli will probably also have better chances if we use some 4 WR sets and force some defenses to play zone where we can run 3 routes to a part of the field where they only have 3 defenders. It is the longer pass plays that we be possible with another burner on the outside, or even out of the slot. I almost forgot Parmalee and I think with a year under this strength and conditioning he could improve by a tenth or maybe 2 tenths of a second in the 40.

The WRs are also going to have to work on selling fakes, and that will depend on the O-Line, but I think we're going to be better than most people think.

Then have the Sims/Pierson combo in the backfield or line Pierson in the flanker position on some of these plays to spread out their defenses and force them to use Nickel packages and give Sims more room up the middle.

On defense, the Linebackers will be the strongest, and depending on what happens with this kid from Butler CCC, he has the size to become a big hitter in the secondary, but I'm concerned about Greg Allen and these others. Jacorey Sheperd has the speed and will probably be in the one spot on one side, his speed will help him recover and allow him to watch the receivers or even the QB's eyes. That will depend on how well he develops the proper techniques, but I think his heart is into it. There will be upgrades in the secondary in speed at least and size in at least one position.

There will also be upgrades at WR and QB. I also like this OL from CSF. CSF has a dominant program at the Juco Level. It's the same college Baty played at and Aaron Horne at Iowa State and Steel Jantz at Iowa State.

I still want KU to at least talk to this kid that decommitted from USF though. He may not be the only one after they canned Skip Holtz. There is also this stud over at Olathe South that is being overlooked at LB.

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Ross Cargo 1 year, 9 months ago

I have to believe KUs grade F crappy passing game this fall will stick in Weiss' craw all winter. KU will run and throw the ball better next year. It should translate to a few wins.

A better pass rush to go with maturing linebackers should give us a better defense. Secondary guys still on the roster will have to step it up. 3-5 wins is probably realistic. 6 maybe 7 is not out of the question. For the latter, Heaps and the OU kid will have to be a dynamic tandem. The rest of our receivers apparently suck. The TEs are fine.

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texashawk10 1 year, 9 months ago

A bowl game next year is the best case scenario for this team. It was also the best case this past year and had things worked out against Rice, NIU, OSU, Texas, and Texas Tech, would've happened. The biggest issue with this team, even more than a lack of talent, is that this team just doesn't know how to win. I think a reasonable expectation next year would 3-4 wins, but with all the question marks on this team, who knows what could happen. RB and LB are really the only two positions where KU doesn't have any questions next year. Everywhere else are huge question marks. Will Jake Heaps be competent enough so that KU at least has a threat of throwing the football. Turzilli and Parmalee showed improvement throughout the season, not leaps and bounds, but enough to where an offseason of getting their route running crisper could make them viable options for Heaps. Mundine is a good receiver, but his route running needs major improvements and he is less than useless as a blocker. Can one of the other TE's fill that role that Ragone did so well this season. Can the OLine replace the departing players well enough to keep give Sims a chance at KU's all time rushing record and give Heaps enough time find receivers. Can one of the DE's step up and become a consistent pass rusher. Can the DT's stop the run and collapse the pocket to force sacks and INT's. Can the 3 new starters in the secondary grab some INT's because a couple of games could've been won had the DB's made INT's instead of dropping them. I know most people expect KU to have a kicker that is automatic from inside 50 and a punter who can kick 50 yards because that's not reality. A kicker reliable inside of 40 and a punter who can average 42-45 yards are more realistic for the college game.

If KU can get improved play from multiple position groups over last year, then KU should continue to build on the improvement of this year, and if not, next year will be even more frustrating than this year was.

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