Thursday, August 15, 2013

Taylor Cox puts red-shirt on back burner

Kansas running back Taylor Cox practices receiving kickoffs prior to the start against Texas Tech on Saturday, Nov. 10, 2012 at Jones AT&T Stadium in Lubbock, Texas.

Kansas running back Taylor Cox practices receiving kickoffs prior to the start against Texas Tech on Saturday, Nov. 10, 2012 at Jones AT&T Stadium in Lubbock, Texas.


Running back Taylor Cox knows that getting carries in the crowded Kansas University backfield figures to be a difficult task this season.

But, at least for now, the senior from Mill Creek, Wash., would rather compete with all he’s got than give in to the idea of red-shirting the upcoming season.

Cox, who gained 464 yards and scored three touchdowns in 12 games last season, said he’s heard the chatter from KU fans clamoring for him to take the year off with James Sims and Tony Pierson entrenched as KU’s top two backs and Darrian Miller returning and Brandon Bourbon emerging.

“I definitely appreciate people wanting me back here,” Cox said. “That makes me feel good. But, at the same time, I also want to compete. So I feel like it’s positive in both ways.”

Cox said he talked with KU coach Charlie Weis and running backs coach Reggie Mitchell about the idea of red-shirting before fall camp began a couple of weeks ago.

“There wasn’t a big meeting deal,” he said. “They kind of just brought it up to me as something to think about. No one tries to hide anything over here. Everything’s out in the open. They just brought it up to me and asked me to think about it, and I just decided to come compete in camp and be with my teammates.”

Although Cox is more inclined to fight for carries and do whatever he can to help the 2013 Jayhawks turn things around, he said he was not opposed to the idea altogether.

“Further down the road, if the question is brought up again, we’ll meet again and go over details,” he said. “It’ll be a group decision again. But for now, I’m not red-shirting. I’m just looking forward to the season. ... I’m gonna be the same Taylor Cox, red-shirt or not. I’m gonna give 100 percent effort and practice like I’m the starter.”

Here, catch

While a lot has been made of KU’s depth in the backfield, running backs coach Reggie Mitchell said Thursday that KU’s top five ball carriers all possess some pretty solid receiving hands.

“It’s unusual to have all of those guys who can catch,” Mitchell said.

Asked to pinpoint the top pass catchers in the bunch, Mitchell said Pierson and Bourbon have separated themselves because catching the ball comes more naturally to both.

That makes perfect sense, considering Pierson is expected to be used more as a receiver in 2013 and Bourbon, a junior who has had trouble staying healthy and getting on the field, is listed as his immediate back-up at the F position.

“The main thing right now is I’m trying to get my body used to running all the different types of routes,” said Bourbon, who admitted that his favorite part about the position was that it gave him a chance to get on the field. “The way the offense works, I could line up anywhere. We should be a lot more explosive. We’re expecting (the passing game) to be pretty good.”

Camp Groundhog?

With Thursday’s practice marking the halfway point of fall camp, Bourbon was asked to share the pros and cons of this year’s camp.

“The best part is just the camaraderie of being around your guys and going out and going to battle against the defense every day,” he said. “It’s just so fun because they’re talking trash in the training room and we’re talking. The worst part is just the lack of sleep. You’re so busy, your body hurts, it’s sore. And by the time you get done you just don’t want to go to sleep because you know you gotta wake up and it’s the same old thing, it’s Groundhog Day.”

Short en route?

Cornerback Kevin Short, the final piece of KU’s offseason haul of junior-college talent who has yet to arrive in Lawrence, has been updating his progress on Twitter during the past few days. Among the highlights of Short’s updates were: news that he had received his grades and was just waiting on his transcripts and word that he had begun packing up his dorm room at Fort Scott Community College.

Short could arrive any day. He opened camp as a second-string cornerback behind Dexter McDonald.

Embree honored

KU junior Connor Embree, the son of former Colorado coach Jon Embree, who came to KU in 2011 as a walk-on, was officially placed on scholarship after Thursday’s practices. Embree announced the news on Twitter and said, “Want to thank my team for the support today! Got great news that the staff was putting me on scholarship. #rockchalk.” Embree opened fall camp competing with true freshman Colin Spencer for the third-string role behind Pierson and Bourbon.

Fan Appreciation Day

KU fans are welcomed to attend Saturday’s practice, which will run from 11:15 a.m. to 1:15 p.m. at Memorial Stadium. Gates open at 10:45 a.m., and the event also will feature the HyVee Hawk Zone from 9-11 a.m. at the practice fields southeast of the stadium. No cameras are allowed during practice, and at 1:30 fans can line up to get autographs from their favorite Jayhawk players and coaches. KU football posters, rosters and other promotional items will be available for the team to sign. Any other items brought for signing will have to be personalized by the coaching staff and the KU players.


Steve Brown 8 months, 1 week ago

Question to redshirt. If present trends continue how much time to I get to play this year and given we don't sign Gayle Sayers how much % time do you expect I'll get next year?


Jason Bailey 8 months, 1 week ago

Noticed the KU Fan Day point: No cameras during practice. Not sure if the football management knows this but EVERY person in the stands will have a camera in the form of a seriously deluded to think you can enforce this rule?

Why even state that...don't want the scouts to get video of practice? Run a vanilla workout...this draconian, "You will NOT use your cameras" is akin to pretending we don't live in a different era from 1975.


Andy Tweedy 8 months, 1 week ago

Don't know much about Connor Embree, but I like him! Paying his own way, not seeing the field, but still putting in the work to be recognized by his coaches and teammates and put on scholy at a Big XII football program...pretty sweet! Keep up the hard work...


vd 8 months, 1 week ago

Wow, Cox is an NFL talent. Considering Sims, Miller, Bourbon, Pierson are all better then him, wow, will we put 5 RBs in the NFL in the next few years? Is Opurum better then Cox?


akgjenkintown 8 months, 1 week ago

The depth at running back is unheard at KU. Injuries unfortunately happen, so the production will not likely suffer if players get nicked up. However, getting everyone on the field will be a challenge for the coaching staff. Many of these players will clearly get a look at the next level.


Randy Bombardier 8 months, 1 week ago

Yeah, Cox is the man. He will redshirt in the end and he and Miller will share duties next year. I bet Cox is also a great backfield blocker. I have not really watched for that. I am really looking forward to see the new passing game.

I guess this is a good time to admit how wrong I was immediately after the Weiss hire. I was one of those who really dogged it. But, despite the record last year, and some awful play calling, the ground game was very innovative and carried the team through the season. That showed me a lot right there. Then, Coach Weiss goes on to do some solid recruiting and quick fixing. Even though I have yet to see the results on the field, I believe. No nonsense on team discipline, requires players to keep the grades up, not abrasive to the media. (The one weak spot of Bill Snyder has been that of sometimes being a real ass to the media. It has undoubtedly hurt K-state in the polls and behind the scenes.) Weiss is doing all the right things.

I did the same thing with Gill. Dogged the hire, then got behind him (cause he was our guy and that is what you do) but this time its different. This time I really believe that Weiss is doing the right things. With Gill the sideline and the team looked bewildered and disorganized. I don't see that happening here. We are also not giving up record yards like we did. That game at Ga Tech was awful. Very painful to watch. We had two games where we got blown out last year. Weiss has too much pride for that to continue. I think our players are in the process of getting that kind of pride as though they CAN do something about the outcome.

Thank you, Coach Weiss. Thank you coaches. Thank you players for the upcoming season. I believe you are going to shock some people.


Jim Erickson 8 months, 1 week ago

In my humble (nearly genius) opinion, unless a guy is going to be a starter or make a "starters equivalent" impact, they should redshirt. This program would have looked a whole lot different had Reesing redshirted and not played a few minutes in useless games.


iamakufan 8 months, 1 week ago

I really appreciate the attitude and work ethic of Taylor Cox but I think he'd be even more value to the team next year if he red-shirted this season. It is his call, however, so he should do what he really feels is best for himself overall.


Jim Jackson 8 months, 1 week ago

When I talked with Reggie Mitchell at the KU Alumni gathering here in Chicago, he was very exbuerant in stating that he thought Cox was a for sure NFL talent.

Glad he is open to the red-shirt.


jhox 8 months, 1 week ago

Cox is great. I really believe he can play on Sundays if he can only get enough carries to be seen. I like the idea of red shirting him. He could battle Miller for the starting spot next season.


Keith Hummel 8 months, 1 week ago

What a tremendous find this kid was! Taylor Cox epitomizes everything you want from an student-athlete and team-mate. I've been impressed with him from the very start. It would be something if he actually beat Sims out for that starting position. If he doesn't, however, I would love to see him stay another year. He is simply too good to be sitting on the bench (although he's too much of a team player to ever actually sit down). When and if the red-shirt is offered to him again I really hope he takes it.


KJD 8 months, 1 week ago

I really appreciate the entire perspective that Cox offered on Red-Shirting. Great attitude, sophisticated. Hearing "everything’s out in the open" is not surprising in learning more about the culture Charlie Weis is creating.

I know that I've been hoping to see this in games: "We should be a lot more explosive. We’re expecting (the passing game) to be pretty good.” – Brandon Bourbon. I'm hearing lot's of talk about still being good running the ball though it seems like the passing game talk is reserved in superlatives. Interesting to hear it come from the recently converted H Back.


Jason Keller 8 months, 1 week ago

Great news on Kevin Short. If he has worked hard this summer and he is in shape, he'll start. Trust me, there are some players on this team who wouldn't mind if he didn't show up.


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