Charlie Weis today gives his last news conference until game week, and if I don’t write down all the questions I have about his Kansas University football team, I might forget a few when it’s time to ask them. So here goes:
1 It often has been said that if a football team has more than one quarterback considered a starter, it has none. Does the same apply with field-goal kickers?
Trevor Pardula has established himself as the strong-footed punter and kickoff man, but as far as anybody on the outside knows, nobody has won the field-goal/extra-point job outright. Weis has talked about using one kicker for short field goals (Matthew Wyman or Michael Mesh?) and another (Pardula) for long ones.
Field goals weren’t an option last season. Basically, it was touchdown or bust, mostly bust.
The best news would be for Weis to tell the world today that one man has blown away the competition and will kick all the field goals. But that’s not what he’s going to say unless it’s the truth.
Six kickers are on the roster, including Austin Barone, Ron Doherty and Eric Kahn.
2 Centers generally are shorter than offensive tackles. It’s easier for a shorter athlete to snap the ball and gain leverage on the tackle he’s blocking.
As of Monday, 44 centers were listed on AFC rosters, 41 of them shorter than KU’s 6-foot-51⁄2 center Pat Lewandowski.
Might Lewandowski be better suited for tackle than center, and could he battle Aslam Sterling for the starting left-tackle job?
Mike Smithburg had trouble snapping the ball in the spring game and was moved to guard.
If not Lewandowski at center, would Dylan Admire be the most logical replacement?
3 With five versatile running backs offering different styles and the coach’s passion for devising original ways to deploy his most explosive talents, do you ever worry that giving college players too many different plays to work on might translate to not being well drilled enough on any one play because they rep so many different ones?
Some players are used only in specific packages, but for the linemen and the quarterback, it must present a mental challenge. Too much thinking can cause just enough hesitation to throw off the timing of a play.
4 If the season were to start today, would Marquel Combs, who had the disadvantage of missing spring football, be ready to be the best candidate to join Keon Stowers as a starting force on the interior line, or would someone else get the nod?
Combs is in the early stages of making the difficult transition from junior-college ball to the Big 12. If he’s not ready for the prime time at the beginning of the season, that doesn’t mean he won’t make great strides throughout the year.
5 Kansas ranked tied for 121st out of 124 teams in sacks last season with 11, less than one per game. What are your expectations for the number of sacks this season?
The national average is about two per game, so 24 would be a nice target because twice as many sacks generally means twice as many hurries, which lead to turnovers on the way to victories.
Reaching the number will require Ben Goodman to continue progressing as he has at the Buck position, Michael Reynolds consistently pushing him and Andrew Bolton making the adjustment from juco football quicker than most players do.
I just realized I answered some of the questions. Stay tuned for Charlie’s answers, which carry more weight since he makes the decisions.