In addition to its sharp cover, fun facts about the players and coaches and historical information about the Kansas University football program, the annual media guide can provide subtle hints about the make-up of the team.
Although there has been no official announcement from the program, one such tidbit of information from this year’s guide comes in the form of an omission.
Chris Omigie, a senior-to-be wide receiver from Arlington, Texas, no longer is listed on the Jayhawks’ roster or pictured in the media guide.
If gone, Omigie’s departure hardly comes as a surprise. The 6-foot-4, 203-pounder had received limited playing time in recent seasons and earned his degree last school year.
KU coach Charlie Weis likely will address Omigie’s absence and any other roster changes or injury updates during his opening fall camp news conference Wednesday. That’s the day the 2013 Jayhawks report to campus and check in to Naismith Hall, where they’ll live for the duration of camp. The first practice of the season is scheduled for 2:50 p.m. on Thursday.
Belldozer Part II?
Like nearly every other team that faced him, KU had no answer in short yardage for Oklahoma quarterback Blake Bell during last year’s meeting with the Sooners.
That might not be the case this year, though, as the Jayhawks added a little insider advantage in the offseason. His name is Beau Bell, and he’s a 5-11, 215-pound walk-on linebacker from Wichita and first cousin of Blake.
Beau, who played with Blake at Bishop Carroll High, comes to KU after playing the 2011 season at Hutchinson Community College and could provide some insight into how to slow down the man who has earned the nickname “The Belldozer.”
The Jayhawks play host to Oklahoma on Oct. 19.
No crying in football
With the final wave of the 2013 recruiting class expected to report in time for camp, whatever movement has taken place on the depth chart during the past three months remains a mystery — at least for a few more days.
After adding more than 30 new players to the roster this offseason, Weis wasted no time plugging several of them into the depth chart. The move indicated that Weis believed he had found suitable upgrades at several positions and that the spring and summer months would bring some intense competitions. Beyond that, the second-year KU coach said he hoped the fluid depth chart would serve as motivation.
“I think it’s a positive for the new guys and a negative for the old guys,” Weis said. “I mean, if I were here and somebody was ahead of me that hadn’t been here before, it’s kind of sending a message to me like, ‘They haven’t even been here yet, and they’re already ahead of me.’”
Twenty of the 28 positions on KU’s pre-spring depth chart listed first-time starters, be it junior-college newcomers or returning players thrust into new roles. Asked during the offseason if such drastic turnover could be cause for concern, Weis didn’t flinch.
“I’ve watched some of our competitors do it effortlessly,” he said, perhaps hinting at the Kansas State model. “These are good players coming in. In addition to having speed, you are going to have some size.”
Weis has been open about his disdain for last year’s 1-11 season and has emphasized he’s willing to do whatever it takes to avoid a repeat in 2013. That starts with putting the best players on the field, regardless of whether they’re newcomers or have been in the program for years.
“I don’t care how they feel about being listed below other players; I care about how they respond,” said Weis when asked how the returning veterans reacted to seeing so many transfers listed with the first string. “I don’t care how they feel about it. If you’re a football coach and you’re worrying about people’s feelings, you’re not going to hang around in this business for very long.”
Newcomers who have yet to arrive in Lawrence include: wide receiver Rodriguez Coleman, wide receiver Nick Harwell, cornerback Brandon Hollomon, safety Isaiah Johnson, cornerback Kevin Short and offensive lineman Pearce Slater, who made a late visit to Oklahoma after committing to Kansas and won’t be able to be officially counted as a Jayhawk until he arrives on campus, which may not be until late next week since his final junior-college grades aren’t expected to be posted until Thursday.
One of the challenging parts about welcoming in a new crop of Jayhawks each year is figuring out which players are wearing which numbers. That’s particularly difficult when players change numbers in the offseason.
It does not appear that there have been any swaps this offseason, but there are a bunch of new faces wearing familiar numbers. Here are some of the highlights:
With junior tailback Tony Pierson wearing running back Darrian Miller’s old KU number (3), the Butler County transfer will wear No. 6 during his second stint with the Jayhawks.
Incoming wide receivers Rodriguez Coleman (1), Mark Thomas (7) and Ishmael Hyman (13) all have been assigned their college uniform numbers. New defensive backs Isaiah Johnson (5), Kevin Short (7) and Brandon Hollomon (26) also now appear on the roster.
Place-kicker Michael Mesh, a juco transfer from Hutchinson, will wear No. 15. Defensive tackle Marquel Combs will wear 92, defensive end Andrew Bolton will wear 95 and offensive lineman Zach Fondal will wear 72. Slater, who has not yet been added to the roster, is expected to wear No. 71, and linebacker Samson Faifili (51) rounds out the list of newcomers expected to appear on the depth chart.
Kansas City-area freshmen Montel Cozart (2), Jordan Darling (16) and Ben Johnson (84) also have their new numbers.