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Thursday, August 22, 2013

Keegan

Opinion: Some of the top questions surrounding Kansas football

Kansas head football coach Charlie Weis goes over his depth chart and other changes to his team with an audience of media members on Wednesday, Aug. 7, 2013.

Kansas head football coach Charlie Weis goes over his depth chart and other changes to his team with an audience of media members on Wednesday, Aug. 7, 2013.

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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.

Comments

Doug Cramer 1 year, 3 months ago

Only 11 sacks last year and our D-line ranked 121 out of 124 ? What was all that hype last season about our D-line being fixed because we brought in Tavia and McKinney ? LOL

In all seriousness...the D-line has been KILLING this program since losing McClinton in 2008. Awful awful luck losing Martin. Hopefully Quel and Bolton are the real deals...because without a D-line...we probably don't win a Big 12 game this season...and will also struggle against Rice.

I'm sticking with a realistic 3-9 season for a prediction. Hope I'm wrong...and I hope we're able to bring in some stud freshman D-linemen in our next recruiting class.

Brett McCabe 1 year, 3 months ago

As opposed to the national average, I'd like to see the conference average for sacks. This is the number to shoot for.

Keegan got it right with with these questions and your 3-9 prediction is logical. I think that 5 wins is the absolute most we can shoot for, so I'll split the difference and go with 4-8.

Brett McCabe 1 year, 3 months ago

Thank you. I thought that the conference number would be lower.

So Keeg's is dead on. Double the number and we'll be in the thick of things.

Brad Farha 1 year, 3 months ago

I may be in the minority, but I think losing McClinton was an even bigger deal than losing Talib. Yes Talib was a stud, and he did a great job in his part of the field, but having one disruptive force on the D Line makes all the DBs better.

optimist 1 year, 3 months ago

Given how close the team played at home against some good teams I don't think their winning most of their home games is out of reach. The possibility of winning their one non-conference away game gives way to a possibility of a 5 win season. If this team is noticeably better than last years I think this is a very realistic outcome for the season.

Chris Bailey 1 year, 3 months ago

Mckinney didn't play last year. Recall the drama with them holding up his grades. He came in January.

actorman 1 year, 3 months ago

Good article, with a lot of interesting questions. The one thing that I thought was silly was the first question: it's pretty ridiculous to compare a situation with more than one quarterback to a situation with more than one field goal kicker. The problem with multiple quarterbacks is that there can be huge differences for players to have to adjust to; somehow I can't imagine that it makes much difference to the other players who is kicking the field goals. The only thing that could possibly be an issue is getting comfortable with the holder, but I imagine enough reps can take care of that.

Randy Bombardier 1 year, 3 months ago

I think the analogy was only "if you have two, you really don't have a good one do you? In other words 1 + 1 = 0.

KirkwoodHawk 1 year, 3 months ago

McKinney didn't arrive until the season was over last year.

vd 1 year, 3 months ago

Size of the center was a concern for me. When I brought this up after Lewandowski was put at No. 1. Of course, one of the brilliant posters onm this board said it didn't matter because Grunhard is a pro bowl center.

Jonathan Allison 1 year, 3 months ago

which would be great, except that Grunhard doesn't have any eligibility remaining, right?

Dirk Medema 1 year, 3 months ago

So who are the tall NFL centers? Is it possible to be tall & successful at OC?

Dirk Medema 1 year, 3 months ago

Are OC's & OG's shorter because they need to be, or are tall offensive lineman OT's because they need to be, but you still need someplace to play the shorter OL?

Interestingly, 6-5 is referred to as the ideal size for an OG (http://bleacherreport.com/articles/1075548-br-nfl-1000-top-32-left-guards). There obviously are plenty of differences in the mental side of the positions in particular, but how different are the physical requirements of the position?

Dirk Medema 1 year, 3 months ago

Did you read the evil-E article about OU's prep for their bowl last year, and the foreshadowing of Knight's move to the 1st team? I wonder how Blake is feeling about being the perpetual Sooner back-up these days, and his chances of developing enough to play in the NFL? Does Stoops have the connections? Tat will be interesting to see compared to what CW was able to do for Dayne even after last year.

Dirk Medema 1 year, 3 months ago

Did you read the article in the evil-E site about OU's prep for their bowl game last year, and the foreshadowing of Knight's move to 1st team?

I wonder how Blake feels about being the perpetual Sooner backup? Will he have enough exposure to get a shot at the NFL? Does Bob have the connections? Really makes me wonder after watching Dayne for the last year.

Reuben_J_Cogburn 1 year, 3 months ago

Bell is a novelty player. Nothing more.

It's not the least bit surprising to me that he's not the starting QB.

Reuben_J_Cogburn 1 year, 3 months ago

My top question about KU football is..."Are there really only 5 top questions about KU football?"

Not keeping track, but here are a few that spring to mind:

pass blocking, run blocking, throwing, CATCHING, third and longs, third and shorts, kickoff, kick return, field goals, PATs, punting, pass rush, rush defense, pass defense, coverage, NOT GIVING 10 YARD FREAKING CUSHIONS TO EVERY RECEIVER ON THE LINE OF SCRIMMAGE, sacks, interceptions, will linebacker, sam linebacker, middle linebacker, buck position, nickel package, quarterback poise, quarterback accuracy, quarterback leadership abilities, quarterback's ability to move, quarterback's ability to not throw costly interceptions AGAINST RICE, quarterback's former 5-star status, the Jayhawk (wildcat) formation and why we should ever see it again, 4th quarter stamina, penalties, choking, getting blown out every other game by 40-50 based on how good our opponent feels, suspect offensive play calling, no WR touchdowns........and waterboy.

That leaves running back as the only question that has been answered......and the answer is "solid."

A lot of questions.....but who's counting?

machinegun 1 year, 3 months ago

Keegan is a real softy. Charlie Weis is making millions of dollars. He can take it. Here are a few more pointed questions.

(1) Are we going to pass the ball? 18 points won't cut it. We have to double our point production just to be in the top 7 in the Big 12 and there are only 9 other teams.

(2) Is the offensive line going to hold up past halftime? No time to pass...we lose. Even our second team defense makes our O-Line look weak. Our defense is improving. However, we gave up 40+ in 6 of 9 Big 12 games last year and 50+ points in 4 of those.

(3) How long does it take to call a play? The defense has time to make substitutions, get refreshments, take bathroom breaks, read the sports page, etc. This isn't the NFL Charlie.

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