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Spring Game defeats Spring Game, None-None

  • 1 p.m., April 13, 2013
  • Memorial Stadium, Lawrence, KS

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Dazzling debut: Jake Heaps shines in Blue’s spring game win

Kansas quarterback Jake Heaps gives KU running back/receiver Tony Pierson a pat on his helmet after Pierson scored the first touchdown on Saturday, April 13, 2013 during the KU football spring game. The Blue team defeated the White team, 34-7.

Kansas quarterback Jake Heaps gives KU running back/receiver Tony Pierson a pat on his helmet after Pierson scored the first touchdown on Saturday, April 13, 2013 during the KU football spring game. The Blue team defeated the White team, 34-7.

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Press Conferences & Post-Game Interviews

Charlie Weis talks after spring game

Kansas football coach Charlie Weis talks to reporters following the spring game on April 13, 2013.

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KU spring game highlights

Kansas University quarterback Jake Heaps, who led the Blue team to a 34-7 victory over the White during Saturday’s spring football game at Memorial Stadium, said his goal for his first showcase as KU’s starter was to be as efficient as possible.

So when junior tailback Tony Pierson, who enjoyed a breakthrough season as a runner in 2012 and is expected to contribute more in the passing game in 2013, bobbled a pass and watched it fall to the ground on the opening play from scrimmage, Heaps had just one thought.

“Well, there goes my perfect game,” Heaps joked with Pierson.

Perhaps, but from that point on Heaps and the KU offense were sensational, rolling up 352 yards and capping six drives with points during a scrimmage that featured a running clock. On the first drive alone, Heaps finished 6-of-7 for 55 yards with a 13-yard touchdown pass to Pierson. Three different players caught passes, including Pierson, who finished the drive with three catches for 39 yards and ended the day with five for 62.

“He’s really kind of impossible to scheme for,” Heaps said of Pierson. “When you have guys out there who can hurt you all over the football field and then you have to worry about Tony, it’s tough. As you saw today, we can put him anywhere we want.”

KU coach Charlie Weis, who did not lead either side but observed from the coaching box, said the game plan was to get KU’s playmakers involved early and often. To that end, junior wide receiver Justin McCay snagged eight receptions for 99 yards and a touchdown, junior tight end Jimmay Mundine scored touchdowns on both of his catches and senior tailback James Sims tallied 101 total yards, including 74 on the ground on 16 carries.

The key to it all, though, was Heaps, who finished 20-of-28 passing for 257 yards and four touchdowns.

Asked after the game if he can remember seeing Heaps look that good, McCay, who last year worked exclusively with Heaps on the scout team while both players sat out after transferring, thought for a few seconds before answering.

“Jake always amazes me every time we go out there,” McCay said. “He had a good day. He was MVP, so that was good.”

Sure, but had he ever seen him this good?

“No,” McCay added. “Not that good.”

For Heaps, the unquestioned team leader and admitted perfectionist, there were plenty of aspects of Saturday’s game that could have gone better, as he was sacked three times and missed a couple of throws.

“I wasn’t perfect out there and there’s always something to work on,” he said. “That’s what I’ll be critiquing. ... I focus more on the mistakes than the things I do well.”

But this was the spring game, after all, so Heaps allowed himself to let his guard down for a few minutes after the game when he was asked to identify his prettiest pass of the afternoon.

“I think my favorite play was when Justin made that one-handed catch,” Heaps said of McCay’s 47-yard grab on a deep ball late in the third quarter. “That was amazing. As a quarterback, when you have a guy who can make plays like that, it makes you have more confidence in him. We had to keep running plays, but when I got to the sideline, I said, ‘Hey, making plays like that, that’s gonna make me come your way even more.’”

Weis admitted the circus catch was his favorite moment of the day, too. But he was quick to point out that it wasn’t necessarily Heaps’ best throw Saturday.

“The touch pass to Jimmay in the red zone was the best pass,” Weis said of a five-yard TD to Mundine that put the Blue squad up 21-0. “But the one that excited me the most was (the deep ball to McCay).”

Not that Weis was surprised by any of it.

“You guys saw what we see,” he said of Heaps’ day. “Strong arm, accurate, knows how to read coverages. You oughta be encouraged when you’re watching him play because I certainly am every time he goes out.”

While Saturday’s game was the culmination of five weeks worth of hard work this spring, Heaps said it did not feel quite complete, even though it went very well for the Blue team.

“If you look at the roster, talent-wise, there was a dominant team out there,” Heaps said. “But it was still a lot closer than what it was. The White team played us tough and they made plays out there, and I think that’s a big thing for our program, to have depth and talent on both sides.

“The cherry on top is once we’re all together and we’re competing as one team. We want to be able to celebrate all together. This was a great showcase for guys to show what they can do, and I think we figured out a lot from this game and it’s gonna be fun for our team this offseason.”

Comments

PSM 1 year, 8 months ago

So when new players arrive in the fall, which is when the actual season starts, how can they be incorporated into game play so soon?

Dirk Medema 1 year, 8 months ago

?

You mean will the JC players be ready to play after being on campus with the team for 3 months (June - August) including a month of 2 a days?

I think there are a few examples that would say yes..

PSM 1 year, 8 months ago

I was basically asking when they were eligible. Thanks for asking sarcastically, it was a lot of fun!

PSM 1 year, 8 months ago

Cummings had two really pretty deep throws. Seems like Heaps struggles with the deep ball, as he only had one deep completion thanks to a miraculous McCay catch. However, it looks like he's adept at moving the chains in 10-15 yard chunks, and Tony and James will definitely bail him out from time to time. This is a little nitpicky and perhaps inconsequential, but Jake struggled to throw a tight spiral throughout the game. His first TD pass to Mundine was a duck. It seems like that would be QB 101, but I'm not even sure it's significant. Cummings' ball was tight on his two great throws to Josh Ford. I'm excited for an offense that can put up points through the air this year as well as on the ground, and an upgraded, tenacious D. I predict a 5 win season.

Titus Canby 1 year, 8 months ago

I felt the same way about Heaps. He also seems a little slow at reading the coverages. But, he hit just about every short pass right on target. McCay looked awesome - caught everything thrown his way. Ford made two incredible catches too. Bourbon would be great if he could hang onto the ball. All in all, pretty encouraging.

April13 1 year, 8 months ago

It's "than". And I hope so too but since your only allowed one "post-season game" in football, it is an impossible task, as the men's basketball team won the conference tournament plus two NCAA tournament games.

However, since the basketball team was recently rated the best in the country, maybe our football team can become the best in the world!! Then they'll be better. So....there's a goal for them.

Ludwig Supraphonic 1 year, 8 months ago

Hello again Jayhawkinnebr, Sunbake, truthofthematter. You could have become a more effective troll by attending a major university.

texashawk10 1 year, 8 months ago

That's true with good trolls, but it's just too much fun with the really bad ones that keep coming back.

kay_you 1 year, 8 months ago

Better than the basketball team? You mean the same team that won 30 games and a conference title. That would be nice.

Micky Baker 1 year, 8 months ago

McKay looked impressive. I didn't really see that Heaps seemed slow in his decision making and he threw on the move a few times. Those were bullets that were right on target. Another guy that looked impressive is Ford. He made two really good plays. There are two more receivers I believe that will be here in June. One of them is the 4.4 speedster and having him on the field, if he can catch, along with Pierson and Sims in the backfield, it sets up an open field for three good targets.

Mundine also looked impressive. Overall the entire team looked to be in better condition and it appears that they know the offense a whole lot better. I also liked how the offensive lineman were hustling to get blocks when Sims went around the edge. Sims could go for between 1500 and 2000 yards this year which would easily be tops in the Big 12 and one of the best in the country.

Love and Heeney had big days, but Darius Willis also made an impression on the radio announcers. I hope Sendish is okay, but Weis said it was just precautionary. I think either tomorrow or on Monday all the players will see the team doctors so we'll know. Pardula, I think that is how it's spelled also had plenty of leg on a 50 yard fg attempt, although he missed it. We won't have to go on every fourth down inside what will be field goal position this year. Wymen also did a nice job nailing 2 of 2 and all of his extra points.

I can't wait to see Combs in the Fall. There is another DL coming besides him and that will make the competition at the positions even better.

From what I can see, 6 to 7 wins this year is not out of the question, and if the defense is just in the top 40 in the country, Kansas could get it's first win against Texas even though it's on the road. Kansas won't be a gimme game this season.

Randy Bombardier 1 year, 8 months ago

We can win at least 6 games. I sure hope we don't have the same bad tactical coaching as we had last year in critical situations. I was shocked to see that Weiss was rated by Athlon as the 106th best coach in D1. I think he can coach but sometimes I feel like we played not to lose in situations where we should have put on the gas. If we only win one conference game this year maybe Athlon is right. We have the weapons. We can win.

JayHawkFanToo 1 year, 8 months ago

Because of a prior commitment I did not get to see the game. The entire recap is focused on the offense and next to nothing about the defense.
Although it sound like the offense is much improved; I am curious on how the defense played. Any team can look good against a poor defense (ask all other team in the conference last year), and I would like to know if the good showing by the offense was due to a real improvement or lack of improvements by the defense. As I understand, the bulk of Junior College players will bolster the defense, so I expect to see much improvement after they and the other recruits show up for the summer program.
Sound like next season will be exiting.

JayHawkFanToo 1 year, 8 months ago

Here is an assessment of all the HC on Division 1; Coach Weis is ranked 106 out of 125.,
http://network.yardbarker.com/author/article_external/13362676?widget=true

Here is the list for the Big 12; he is ranked last.
http://www.athlonsports.com/college-football/ranking-big-12s-college-football-coaches-2013

I believe the evaluation of Coach Weiss is extremely harsh and sound like it was written by someone just looking at numbers and not necessarily familiar with his capabilities.

Micky Baker 1 year, 8 months ago

Sounds like the so-called experts just don't like him.

machinegun 1 year, 8 months ago

If you did not watch the KC Metro Sports coverage, Baldy kept repeating that Heaps was throwing behind our receivers and that he was vertically challenged. Heaps needs to hit our receivers in stride. Big 12 defenses are not going to follow the Charlie Weis script.

Sayers44 1 year, 8 months ago

The game was a set-up just like last year to make the #1 QB look good. There was no pass rush on Heaps. It is easy to sit in the pocket and check out all the receiver options when there is no pressure. Reminded me of Crist in last years game.

There was a pass rush constantly against Cummings, but Heaps was hands off - not a guy within 3 yards on every play.

Still with no pass rush I thought Heaps looked very ordinary.

The game was a very boring and Wies did nothing special to entertain the fans.

At the Nebraska Spring game. they did drills like having the linemen trying to catch punts. The fans loved it. The KU spring game was very vanilla and was just a typical practice scrimmage.

Also I was wondering if Wies is hard of hearing. The PA system was cranked up so loud before the game it was ear piercing. The guys next to me said, "Springsteen would not even want it turned up that loud"!

The KU band was great though!

Jeremy Hays 1 year, 8 months ago

Sayers (this is not all to you so I'm sorry that you happened to be the one I reply to), 1st Of course you want to make your #1QB look good as it is the first time seeing him as "the Starter" 2nd he was sacked I think 3 times 3rd Yes the backfield was stacked for the blue but I think Cox and Bourbon ran and caught the ball well. Hell if Damon Martin makes 3 blocks on the outside, the White team has 3 highly successful screens (they were blown up by Heeny on 2 and I think Love on the last one) Lastly someone earlier said that they thought Heaps has trouble with the deep ball. I don't think that is the case. Especially if you are small the easiest ball to get out is the Fade (now I said get out not complete because there is no window that you have to look to fit into on the deep fly). I didn't see him miss really poorly on many routes but I watched the line more than anything. Again, I believe it is more of an indictment of not knowing what you have in WRs if you don't throw the vertical route (Kale Pick, god love him, wasn't outrunning many CBs vertical and if you can't out run them you have to hit short and intermediate routes... Which I think will be KU's bread and butter plays)

Paul Wilson 1 year, 8 months ago

Very funny Sayers. You are exactly right. Every QB looks good in these games. Definitely no indication on the season. http://www2.ljworld.com/news/2012/apr...

April13 1 year, 8 months ago

That's fair. I attended both games and was not overly impressed by Crist at last year's game but was encouraged by Heaps performance yesterday.

With Heaps, we have a chance to have a solid quarterback - which would have won us 3 more games last year. Also, Cummings looked pretty solid - the guy has a very strong arm and will make strides this year.

Chris Bailey 1 year, 8 months ago

WOW! I had forgotten about that article. Geez! He was nothing like that performance again. Sure hope Heaps is better than this!

Chris Bailey 1 year, 8 months ago

Can we stop predicting wins??????????? We've won what like 6 games in the last 3 seasons combined??? Let's allow the games to be played. I'm not trying to damper the enthusiasim just trying to be realistic. Let's win game one first. Let's see what the team does in a real game where the QB doesn't wear a red jersey. Let's see how our defense stands up to test from a tested Big12 offense. Pretty much what I'm saying is we've had these predictions the last 3 seasons and I've heard people bellow 7 wins or 5 wins and we've won 6 total! I'm encouraged but I'm not getting the cart ahead of the horse here. I can't wait for the season so we can see what this team can actually do on the field. Here's hoping some of your predictions are right but I'm holding back until I see a real game. Remember the last 2 spring games we looked good.

Chris Bailey 1 year, 8 months ago

Ok I just watched the highlights and watching cummings throw on the run was impressive in the highlights. Looks like he has some zip on the ball. He looks much better than last year. I hope that is a good sign.

Psycho 1 year, 8 months ago

Well, I'm going out on a limb and predicting we win eight.

Sayers44 1 year, 8 months ago

8 wins --well you lived up to your name = PSYCHO!

akgjenkintown 1 year, 8 months ago

Not a chance, but like the optimism. The defense will ultimately dictate how well KU does during the upcoming season. The white team's defense looked poor in the first half but came out and played better overall in the second half. I like the BUCK position and KU seems to have some athletes who can potentially rush the passer from that position. If the front line can't get pressure on the QB rotuinely, then the DB's will get burnt throughout the Big XII conference.

Micky Baker 1 year, 8 months ago

They didn't get burnt yesterday. They had good coverage on McKay a lot of the time. McKay just caught the ball.

Jason Keller 1 year, 8 months ago

Look, it's possible. We would need to beat at least 2 teams that are flat out better than us. I believe we'll play 4 teams who we're better than, 2 teams that we have a good shot at and the rest look ugly. We'll need 2 of the ugly ones...

April13 1 year, 8 months ago

I'm trying to imagine what could have happened yesterday that would have made many of you happy.
-Heaps goes 30 for 30 and throws 8 touchdowns while the defense also throws a shutout? -James Sims runs for 200 while the defense allows no net rushing yards?
-The defense sacks the starting quarterback 8 times but he never gets hurt? -Weis brings in Bon Jovi and Cirque de Soleil, plus Bruce Springsteen returns punts to entertain the crowd? -Or how about Weis plays 1st team D against first team O and three guys go out with injury?

While KU may have had the worst team in D-1 last year, I'm convinced we have the dumbest football fan base in America.

Shawn Otrimble 1 year, 8 months ago

April, you my friend have never met a Missouri fan than have you?

Casey Gee 1 year, 8 months ago

I'm just realizing that Schyler Miles was not listed on either team's roster. Anybody know the story there? I was thinking he would be a contributor this year.

kufanman88 1 year, 8 months ago

Our defense has not improved enough to make me believe that the first string guys could have kept the score at 34-7. This tells me that our offense is still struggling, and that our chances of winning more than five games next year is in jeopardy. This is especially troubling since many of the other Big12 teams (Texas for one) are moving to a more high powered offense next year.

Andy Tweedy 1 year, 8 months ago

What exactly do you mean by "Big 12 teams are moving to a more high powered offense next year?" I'm not aware of any whole scale change of schemes at most Big XII schools, and the conference just lost Gino Smith, Colin Klein, Landry Jones, etc. I agree with your initial assessment, but how on earth is the Big XII going to be any better offensively?

texashawk10 1 year, 8 months ago

That's not the trend I've noticed with Big 12 teams. The trend I've been seeing is towards a balance, up tempo offense. You still got OSU, WVU, and Tech that will throw the ball a lot, but the other 7 teams are much more balanced and Tech is headed that way as well with Tuberville's recruiting.

Jackster 1 year, 8 months ago

Maybe I am missing something, but this was KU Off vs KU Def. and it was only a scrimmage. How do we determine potential Big 12 success from an internal scrimmage? If our offense wins...great, but that means we have a poor D and vice versa. Anyone who says that we will win 6, 7, 8 , etc....games based on an internal scrimmage is dillusional.

dumbarton 1 year, 8 months ago

I like Heaps wearing #9....Nolan Cromwell's old number. Wear it proud Jake!

Keith Gellar 1 year, 8 months ago

idk..i recall reading similar headlines on this site about Dayne Crist and we all know how that turned out. We'll wait to see once the season begins how he really is. no arguing he's an upgrade when compared to crist, but even my uncle jimmy who's paralyzed from the waist down would be an upgrade.

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