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Sunday, May 6, 2012

Well received: Competition fierce at wideout

Kansas University seems to have plenty of candidates at wide receiver. Veterans Kale Pick (7), Daymond Patterson (15) and D.J. Beshears (20) seem to have emerged as front-runners from a pack that includes JaCorey Shepherd (89), Chris Omigie (83) and Christian Matthews (12), among others.

Kansas University seems to have plenty of candidates at wide receiver. Veterans Kale Pick (7), Daymond Patterson (15) and D.J. Beshears (20) seem to have emerged as front-runners from a pack that includes JaCorey Shepherd (89), Chris Omigie (83) and Christian Matthews (12), among others.

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By his own admission, Kansas University football coach Charlie Weis understands he has a long way to go before reaching the point of complete comfort with his new team.

Still, in just a few months and 15 spring practices, Weis was able to make plenty of headway and arrive at a couple of concrete conclusions.

“I’d say of all the positions on the team, the position that there’s been the most competition has been wide receiver,” Weis said.

That should come as little surprise, for a couple of reasons. First, it’s tied with the offensive line for the team’s largest position. As of Wednesday, KU’s official roster showed 11 players at both positions. Beyond that, because KU’s offense struggled last season, no receiver was able to establish himself as the go-to guy, and there are plenty of wideouts with good measureables who could break out under new leadership.

“There’s a whole bunch of players,” Weis said of his receiving corps. “A whole bunch of guys who have ability, too.”

Weis is not the only member of the KU football team excited about the prospects for KU’s receivers. Quarterback Dayne Crist, who saw plenty of talent come through Notre Dame during his four seasons in South Bend, Ind., said this spring that the guys he throws to at Kansas were on par with his former Fighting Irish teammates.

“Absolutely,” Crist said. “I’ve been very happy with the progress that the receivers have made, and I think there’s great depth at the position.”

That depth, though packed with unproven players, is front-loaded with experience. Seniors D.J. Beshears, Daymond Patterson and Kale Pick all have plenty of playing time on their resumes, and those three seemed to separate themselves from the rest of the pack just a little this spring.

“There are several guys out there with a lot more experience playing, and that shows up on the practice field,” receivers coach Rob Ianello said. “But they’re all freshmen in our offense. And I’m coaching them all as freshmen.”

Asked what it takes to stand out in Weis’ offense, Ianello rattled off a laundry list of factors.

“There’s a lot of variables,” Ianello said. “Knowing what to do is obviously very important. We’re just looking for guys to develop into complete players. Complete players know what to do, complete players play physical, they block, they make hard catches, they are really committed to being good technicians and running routes.”

Added Crist: “Tons of guys have been making plays out there. Every day we’re looking at a receiver and saying, ‘Hey, his stock’s rising.’”

One guy whose stock fell this week is sophomore Justin McCay, a transfer from Oklahoma who on Wednesday learned that his request for a hardship waiver had been denied by the NCAA for a second time. Had the NCAA granted the waiver, McCay would have been able to play immediately instead of sitting out a year. Instead, McCay will join BYU transfer and potential KU quarterback of the future Jake Heaps in sitting out the 2012 season. Though disappointing, that should give Heaps and McCay a chance to develop great chemistry.

McCay’s absence from this year’s lineup also gives several other KU receivers an easier chance to break into the top tier. Guys like Christian Matthews, JaCorey Shepherd and Chris Omigie each has logged meaningful playing time in the past. One wildcard in the bunch figures to be incoming junior-college transfer Josh Ford. Ford, 6-foot-4, 195 pounds, comes to KU from Arizona Western CC, and he comes with high praise from his future head coach.

“Another guy that excited me a lot was Josh Ford,” Weis said on signing day in February. “A tall guy that runs fast and makes a ton of catches and has a lot of production. He is a big target. The quarterbacks were really excited when they saw him on his visit, and they weren’t alone.”

With all of those options and playing time limited, one might think KU’s receivers are a cut-throat group of me-first players. Not true.

“Right when I transitioned to wide receiver, I realized how talented our group is,” Pick said. “We have guys that can run, we have guys that are strong. We have a combination of skills that makes our group really special. We have a lot of kids who can play, and I think we’ll be able to show that in the fall.”

Comments

JhawkalumJB 2 years, 2 months ago

I'm looking forward to seeing Patterson for sure. He's a playmaker. I look for him, Beshears and Pick to tear it up this year.

I'm curious to see who steps up at TE....

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bigtex 2 years, 2 months ago

When looking for a complete receiver( a every down player) I have to go with Pick. His size 6' 11/2" 208 lbs., great hands, good speed ,physical blocker, and sounds like he has a great work ethic and charactor. With Weis running the offense, KU has a great shot at putting up nice numbers on offensive. Go Hawks !!!!

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Todd Simpson 2 years, 2 months ago

just curious didn't Patterson get a med redshirt?

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kusayzone 2 years, 2 months ago

Holy crap Batman! I have always only had a mild interest in KU football, but HCCW and his team has really sparked my interest! Reading football stories in May??? Don't tell my friends! or my momma!

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nuleafjhawk 2 years, 2 months ago

I could channel ahperse..... and say that you'll be over it by Sept. 1 - BUT I WON'T ( last 3 words are capitalized if the caps lock nazis are on patrol)

And I don't really believe that anyway - I'm just soooooooo bored and need to lip off about something. I actually think we're going to surprise some people, in a good way.

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Tony Bandle 2 years, 2 months ago

This year: Patience and renewed support.

Next Year: Heap to McCay

The big question yet to be answered: They can run...they can pass....they can catch...but can they block? We shall see....but it should be fun!!!

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Dirk Medema 2 years, 2 months ago

As much as it is disappointing to not have McCay able to play this year, it is exciting to think of them as the scout team, and then reload the team with an experienced pair.

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nuleafjhawk 2 years, 2 months ago

Since it's been a slow week on here -

Why don't we have collegiate women's football ? I'd pay to see that......

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Dan Pawlowski 2 years, 2 months ago

Yea I think the Lingerie League could use a developmental system.

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gardenjay 2 years, 2 months ago

This seems like a good idea from the equality standpoint.

Correct me if I'm wrong, but right now male=football gets used to make female=crew, female=swimming, female=tennis....NOT a good system.

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baldwinjhawk 2 years, 2 months ago

I know people think I'm crazy.. but I think Kale pick will have an all conference season. I watched him run his routes during games last year..(boredom breaker) and he was wide open all of the time. The dude is fast, he's got great hands and he was a quarterback so he understands the game so well. Also he and Dayne are tight friends now. Remember how Reesing always looked to Meier first before he checked off the other recievers? I think that will play out this year. And yes he can block.

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Dirk Medema 2 years, 2 months ago

I seem to recall a Gridiron glimpse into last year where Pick was mentioned as leading the team in pancakes. I think the team is a sleeping giant on O, and ready for a big jump on D if we can get some healthy production from DT's.

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Ron Prichard 2 years, 2 months ago

Sleeping giant. I love it!! I can't wait until football season.

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jhawkrulz 2 years, 2 months ago

Ford 6'4" - Tall Receivers are great.

I know that all of our transfers won't be key players; however, I would put order of importance as #1 QB, #2 Defensive Line and #3 Receivers.

Clearly our QB needed an upgrade last year, but especially with the type of offense we will be running.

Our defensive line was placed in an impossible spot, with not having a lot of depth and then playing a lot of the game, it was difficult to sustain for a full game even if they started out good (e.g. Baylor and TT).

However, the receivers, I look back and hoped for a key player to step up and yes I realize that the offense wasn't centered on the receiving corps, but lets be honest it wasn't great.

I'm really excited for the season to start.

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Pitthawk34 2 years, 2 months ago

Defensive line and Defensive Backs tied for #2. Yards of receiving where backs were no where to be found had better improve 100% in this league.

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VaJay 2 years, 2 months ago

On a side note, does anyone know why we didn't pick up the top Kansas OL recruit Clay Rhodes? MU was apparently the first to offer him, we were only the 4th or 5th to do so (and the kid grew up a KU fan!). Was that lapse due to the transition between coaching regimes?

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Yosemite 2 years, 2 months ago

He said Mizzou's recruitment blew KU's out of the water.

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Dan Pawlowski 2 years, 2 months ago

Were we recruiting him before Weiss came? If not perhaps we were late to the game.

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Kman_blue 2 years, 2 months ago

KU fans don't go to mizzery. Nuff said.

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danno1313 2 years, 2 months ago

Maybe they actually CATCH a few this year. That would be a nice change.

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Ben Kane 2 years, 2 months ago

having a great year would really help ku's fate in conf realignment. i don't think we'll be favored a lot but i don't think we're going to be the pushover we've been in the past. all i ask is to be in the game in the 4th qtr. the chance to win is enough for me at this stage.

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Dirk Medema 2 years, 2 months ago

The whiners are gone. The FB prima donnas have been humbled into team players. TV contracts are better than ever. The commissioner position went through a 2-step upgrade. Realignment with the Big12/KU a victim is dead.

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Ben Kane 2 years, 2 months ago

be great if that last part was true. winning on the field can't hurt either. i'm anxious to get to the finish line of realignment but it's a long road ahead i fear.

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Kman_blue 2 years, 2 months ago

True, but I believe dagger108 has it right. The Big 12 now is in a great position to be the pursuer of other conference's teams and not the pursued. This is the strongest the Big 12 has been since its formation along with a big boost in $$.

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Dirk Medema 2 years, 2 months ago

Kman - I would propose that KU & the Big 12 are in an even stronger position today that we were in when the league rescued Texas. The primas have come to learn that we all are part of what makes them profitable, so there is a cohesion that wasn't there in the past. What really changes thngs though is WVU. We are no longer the dust bowl conference. Moving east turns us into a national conference, and there is plenty of low hanging fruit to be picked - as the article listed by Hawkman points out.

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danmoore 2 years, 2 months ago

I think before anymore teams jump ship conference commissioners want to see how the most recent changes work out and see if the benefits outweigh the additional travel costs.

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bville_hawk 2 years, 2 months ago

Where's our Monday football article???

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Jim Jackson 2 years, 2 months ago

Wonder if Neal Barlow will move back to WR now that McCay is out for the year?

Tait, any thoughts?

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tical523 2 years, 2 months ago

I would not mind that, however he can get on the field. Hopefully he is earning some respect in practice because I was excited when he came here from AR. We are still deep without McCay but if Barlow is as good as I had hoped he was I think CW will give him a shot.

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bville_hawk 2 years, 2 months ago

Where's our Tuesday football article???

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