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Sunday, November 4, 2012

KU wide receivers, quarterbacks equal culprits in passing game struggles

Kansas receiver Daymond Patterson loses hold of a catch before Kansas State defensive back Allen Chapman during the second quarter on Saturday, Oct. 6, 2012 at Bill Snyder Family Stadium in Manhattan.

Kansas receiver Daymond Patterson loses hold of a catch before Kansas State defensive back Allen Chapman during the second quarter on Saturday, Oct. 6, 2012 at Bill Snyder Family Stadium in Manhattan.

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By now, after two quarterbacks and eight losses, it has become obvious that the Kansas University football team is lacking in the quarterback department.

But with the promise and potential of BYU transfer Jake Heaps waiting to rescue the position, it seems fair to say that wide receiver is the position at which KU needs the most help.

Never was that more evident than during Saturday’s 41-14 loss at Baylor, when KU quarterbacks Michael Cummings and Dayne Crist completed just five passes to wide receivers and watched the best throw of the day from either guy bounce off the hands of KU junior Chris Omigie and into the arms of a Baylor defender.

The issue wasn’t so much that Omigie dropped the pass as it was that the fourth-year junior represents the lack of production and development that has plagued KU’s wide receivers in recent seasons.

“Am I surprised we haven’t gotten more production out of this position? Yes, I’m surprised,” KU coach Charlie Weis said Sunday night.

To be fair, KU’s most experienced wideouts — seniors Kale Pick, Daymond Patterson and D.J. Beshears — all have missed games because of injuries this season.

“The biggest negative for them is they all got banged up at different times of the year,” Weis said. “It kind of breaks a little bit of the normal flow.”

Indeed. After combining for 152 yards and 14 grabs in the season opener, that trio has struggled to match that production again, healthy or not. While all three have underachieved — Pick (22 receptions, 341 yards) has been the most reliable and effective of the entire bunch — their graduation after the season will leave a glaring hole.

Remember back in fall camp when Crist said he liked KU’s receivers and thought they were as good as any he played with at Notre Dame? Even if it is the old chicken-or-the-egg scenario, this year’s numbers don’t support that claim. Through nine games, KU’s receivers have totaled 920 yards on 75 receptions. And no touchdowns. What’s more, during most weeks this season, single receivers on other Big 12 teams have matched or outdone the yardage and reception totals put up by KU’s entire receiving corps. Heck, Baylor stud Terrance Williams, who lit up the Jayhawks for 137 yards and a touchdown on 11 receptions over the weekend, has outperformed KU’s receivers by himself, hauling in 987 yards and six touchdowns on 54 catches.

“There’s candidates,” said Weis, when asked if there was hope for the future of the position. “But no one’s kind of risen to the top. No one has really stepped up enough to jump over everyone else, saying ‘Hey, make me the guy.’”

The returning wideouts have potential. Andrew Turzilli is still just a sophomore and, although he has disappeared of late, this season has to be viewed as a step forward for him. Tre’ Parmalee has impressed enough to play as a true freshman. Juco transfer Josh Ford, though quiet all season, made his first start at Baylor. And Justin McCay, the transfer from Oklahoma who, like Heaps, was forced to sit out this season, responded to a bad spring with a better fall.

“It’s nice, (in practice) on Sundays, to see Justin out there because he’s not running show team, he’s running our stuff,” Weis said. “He has a chance of being a one or a two. He’s a guy who’s a legitimate contender as a front-line (receiver).”

Potential is nice. But production is better. And Weis knows, Heaps or no Heaps, this team needs to get better at wide receiver if it hopes to become competitive in the pass-happy Big 12 Conference sooner rather than later.

“In recruiting, I think we’re gonna have to handle it both with junior-college kids and high school kids,” he said. “Because I think that it’s gonna be important to make sure we have some guys that are ready to play right now.”

Comments

jayhawkintx1973 1 year, 5 months ago

There are a lot of other QBs that make the same throws that our QBs make, but to bigger targets. There were several passes that would have been completed to a guy with Briscoe's size but Patterson just missed them off his finger tips. That is no shot at Patterson either, he just isn't big enough. He doesn't have control over it. Mundine missed some passes that were right on the money too. Our running backs have also missed some passes that they should have caught, even if they weren't just exactly perfect. We see the opponents making catches on throws that some here call bad throws by our QBs, and our guys aren't making the same plays.

This group of seniors was served very badly by the hiring of Turner Gill. It wasn't known at the time, but Gill was not ready for this level. This current team has 2 top 35 recruiting classes on it. It's starting to show up on defense, even with the terrible second half against Baylor. They played really well in the first half in Waco. The team has to learn to finish games. They weren't even taught to start them under Gill.

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jhawk2003 1 year, 5 months ago

The passing game has been a joke. These things take time and a playmaker has to emerge. Remember that Mangino's offenses were a joke (Brian Luke, Jason Swanson, Adam Barman), it wasn't until Whittemore and Reesing combined with Bill Young's defense that things took off. Let's hope that Heaps and McCay prove to be a major upgrade.

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bigtex 1 year, 5 months ago

Quarterbacks have struggled all season. It's a bad deal to see players playing with injuries, but that's life in the football world. Usually people don't find out how bad the injuries are until the season is over. That's why programs and coaches like Bill Snyder keep it quit .

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troutsee 1 year, 5 months ago

Disppointments abound this year. Yes, this is a new coaching staff that took over a sorry-ass program. However, the Baylor game marked a new low for this year, and just when things seemed to be improving. KU amuni deserve better than what they are getting. It will not be difficult to get quality season tickets next year and Williams Fund donations will dwindle. Such is the frustration of the KU football fan.

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vd 1 year, 5 months ago

All of last year's dropped passes were blamed on Webb.

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VaJay 1 year, 5 months ago

Looking at the replay of the interception off the pass to Omigie, that would've been a really tough catch - he was at full speed, arms extended & just got his fingertips on it. Unfortunately, that took the wind out of our sails & I think the QB stats as a whole suffered after that, because the ball game was soon to be out of reach.

That being said, both the receiver position & QB do need an upgrade, & I would really like to see us experiment the last couple games at both positions. Give Jablonski a shot & put Patterson/Beshears/Turzilli in a spot where they can make a play.

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danno1313 1 year, 5 months ago

How can a university the size of KU not have a qb that can complete a forward pass????????? Have open try outs! There is someone on that campus that is BETTER THAN ANY QB on the roster. Ridiculous!

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wildjayhawk 1 year, 5 months ago

Mark Mangino didn't do it his first year but, there was a turn around the second, and then it was onward and upward from there. We will see a little better next year and there after.

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johnnyhrdwd 1 year, 5 months ago

We should recruit Billy Cosh from Butler co. at QB, invite his receivers to come with him.

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machinegun 1 year, 5 months ago

Coach Weis and his staff will develop a potent passing attack but accept the fact that our Hawks are in a rebuilding phase. Maybe next year.

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jsaz 1 year, 5 months ago

Heaps is not the answer. He was benched for poor performance at BYU and transfered, we are getting another Crist. But until we get some speed on defense we are going nowhere.

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Zstegs 1 year, 5 months ago

Just a wild thought. Imagine what this team could do with Reesing Meier and Briscoe. Just those 3 and the rest of this years team. The biggest knock on Reesing's teams were that there was no running game and no defense. This year there is running game and defense, but no passing. I think we could have combined the two we would be looking like national champs.

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Jim Jackson 1 year, 5 months ago

Tait, you think when Weis mentions McCay as 1 or 2, he is stating is a #1 or #2 receiver on our team?

I sure hope that's not the case. I would expect McCay to be a #1 with the kind talent we have.

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Jim Jackson 1 year, 5 months ago

I don't believe the above to be true at all.

Weis has 4 super bowl rings on his hand and Campo has 1. That will speak volumes on the recruiting trail.

Mangino and Snyder in particular, made a living out of recruiting JUCOs and scheduling cup cakes (I'm hoping we sprinkle in a couple of 5 year transfers from top schools like Florida, USC).

It won't be easy, but I expect a much better record next year with Heaps and McCay in there and some solid recruting.

If Snyder can do it in Manhattan, we can do it.

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741hawk 1 year, 5 months ago

Four more years. It's our best opportunity. Weis and Campo have excellent resumes. I'm sure they have a plan. They have a supportive AD. We need to see if they can recruit.

PS. People always put it on the QB, but watch our receivers. They are seldom able to get open, let alone get separation from their defender.

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Reuben_J_Cogburn 1 year, 5 months ago

I've tried to remain postive throughout this whole thing. I saw a lot be hopeful for. But I'm sorry, my friends. I've got nothing left

I've never been one to stay true to the Mark Mangino idolization argument. What's done is done. But that man was our last shot for years to come to build a respectable program. And our adminstration absolutely obliterated that. Whether it involved personal feelings, or an attempt to divert attention from their own shady operations.

It doesn't matter the reason. And in all fairness, it doesn't matter. Yesterday is the past; tomorrow is the future. And the future looks bleak.

I apologize, fellow Jayhawks, but I'm afraid my optimism has run dry. The only thing I can do now is fulfill my role as the "wait till basketball" fan that many of our enemies have labelled us with. Because, when you look at it objectively, they may be correct.

Football will never come to the University of Kansas.

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Savion Havon 1 year, 5 months ago

I was at the game in Waco stayed thru the rain delay going into the half the offense was in a rhythm. I was glad to see HCCW get Cummings on the move. That being said if you have a mobile qb that can throw on the move let him. This is the big 12 d ends can run dts can run. If you call sprint outs corner rolls with wr and he comes back to qb dunk it over his head. If he goes with wr you read and run right behind them. It's called a positive play. Every school we have played with a qb that can move gives them the freedom to do so. I say open it up lets play 11 on 11 and compete.

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Robert Brock 1 year, 5 months ago

It is incredible that, this late in the season, the KU receivers cannot find a way to get open either in the creases or separation downfield. Opponents are loading the box and we still can't pass!

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Jonathan Allison 1 year, 5 months ago

I thought Dayne looked good in the 4th quarter. The best I'd seen from him all year. That said, it does us no good to play him with 3 games left and with the receivers that we have out there. We just need to ride it out with Cummings and play junk offenses the rest of the year.

It'd be nice to see Matthews and Pick throwing the ball out of the Jayhawk formation, except that if they're throwing it then who's gonna catch it?

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Jayhawker111 1 year, 5 months ago

Crist has been a bust and should never see the field again.

Cummings does not have it.

Time to try the walk - on QB -- he can do no worse than what we saw on Saturday.

If KU fans have to watch Cummings or Crist the last three games --I think of torture!

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Mark Lindrud 1 year, 5 months ago

I really hope we find some WR's in this class because you can never have enough, especially if we want our passing game to improve dramatically.

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pbouldenv 1 year, 5 months ago

What's the deal with Ricki Herod? I thought he was supposed to be pretty good.

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Raydude 1 year, 5 months ago

I thought that Dayne Crist looked more relaxed and more accurate at the end of the Baylor Game. He threw a beauty to Kale Pick...deep to the left flat....but Kale slowed and turned at about 7 out and couldn't catch up quite to the ball off his fingers. It is coming. We have had some good throwing QB's...Mark Williams, Bill Wittemore, Reesing, etc. I love the line play this year compared to past years. When the qb/receivers mesh.....we should see a jump in productivity.

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Boouk 1 year, 5 months ago

What's concerning is we don't have any WR's committed yet. I look for us to add two or more WR's who can play right away next year and Turzilli, Ford, and Parmalee to improve significantly this offseason. McCay should be good, but Tony Pierson can't be our second best receiver next year for us to win a Big 12 game.

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