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Saturday, August 31, 2013

Veteran Matthews entrenched at WR for Jayhawks

Kansas receiver Christian Matthews breaks through the gauntlet during a spring practice on Tuesday, April 2, 2013, at Memorial Stadium.

Kansas receiver Christian Matthews breaks through the gauntlet during a spring practice on Tuesday, April 2, 2013, at Memorial Stadium.

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Kansas receiver Christian Matthews breaks through the gauntlet during a spring practice on Tuesday, April 2, 2013, at Memorial Stadium.

When converted Kansas University football receiver Tony Pierson was asked to run an in-cut during 7-on-7 drills a few weeks ago — a route he didn’t know how to run properly — he turned to teammate Christian Matthews.

Matthews, a senior wideout, walked Pierson through all the steps of the route before having him do it on his own.

Pierson caught the next pass that was thrown to him.

“He coached me up on it,” Pierson said, “and I ran it the right way.”

Pierson has gone to Matthews between five to 10 times in the summer when he has had questions, and he’s not the only one who is looking to the veteran for guidance.

Matthews, a 6-foot-1 receiver from Arlington, Texas, has drawn high praise from KU’s coaches in fall camp for his work to improve himself and also teammates.

In a mid-August news conference, KU coach Charlie Weis said Matthews was “by far the leader” at the receiver position and commented that he “won’t give the position away to anyone very easily, even though he hasn’t played a lot.”

On the first depth chart released this fall, Matthews was listed as No. 1 at the Z position, ahead of Tre’ Parmalee, Rodriguez Coleman and Andrew Turzilli.

“It’s been a long, long ride, but I haven’t given up,” Matthews said. “I just keep on moving forward. That’s all I can do.”

Most of the reason for Matthews’ optimism this year is better conditioning.

A year ago, when he was still playing quarterback in the Jayhawks’ Wildcat formation, Matthews said his body type was still that of a QB.

Because of that, the senior said he had no endurance. After two or three plays at receiver, he didn’t feel like he had the same energy and knew he needed to be subbed out of the game.

Now that he has been switched to full-time receiver, Matthews has had an offseason to change his physique.

“He’s leaned down. He’s gotten stronger. That’s very noticeable,” KU receivers coach Rob Ianello said. “It was noticeable in the spring, and it’s much more noticeable now. He’s really embraced the idea of being a receiver, and he’s worked at it.”

Teammates also have noticed Matthews’ commitment to improving himself.

“He’s been the guy that’s been (doing) extra in the weight room, done extra running out on the field,” KU center Pat Lewandowski said. “People see that — especially the young guys — and they realize that’s the work it takes to be out there on the field. He’s showing that by example.”

Because of his previous experience at quarterback and his knowledge of the offense, Matthews — one of only six scholarship players left from the recruiting class of 2009 — appears to be a bit ahead of some other receivers.

Ianello says it’s beneficial for a player when he can see the whole picture of what’s happening on the field, much like a point guard can in basketball.

“What you don’t want to do in our offense is just get tunnel vision on the one position you play, because the concepts of the offense can move different guys around to different spots,” Ianello said. “Say I only know this position up here, then what if we move you over here? Christian right now has as good of a grasp as anyone at the receiver position of all the positions.”

Matthews knows it’s all talk, of course, until he can produce on the field. Though he’s had impressive spring games in the past (he had a 37-yard touchdown reception in 2010 and a 53-yard TD catch in 2011), he has combined for just 12 catches and 141 yards receiving in his three seasons with the Jayhawks. He had no receptions a year ago.

“I think it’s time,” Matthews said. “I’ve only got one more year. All I’ve got is one time.”

Comments

Micky Baker 8 years, 1 month ago

Laughing Stock in Manhattan, North Dakota State beats the Kansas State Wildcats 24-21.

Brad Farha 8 years, 1 month ago

I take no joy in that loss. It's bad for the Big12, and it's bad for the state of Kansas. I know ND State is a very good team (4 year starting QB, 2 time FCS National Champ), but it doesn't change the fact that the reigning Big12 Champ just lost to a FCS team. I cheer for every Big12 team in non-conference play.

nuleafjhawk 8 years, 1 month ago

Great points.

I'm still glad they lost. Bwa-hahahahahahahaaaaaaa..................

Marc Frey 8 years, 1 month ago

I agree, but my one exception is kSUcks. Missery is now irrelevant.

Chris Bailey 8 years, 1 month ago

I agree. I too cheer for the Big12 now that Misery is gone. It makes us look bad but like someone told me this isn't the first time the Cats have looked bad to start. I think it was two seasons ago they had to rally to win in their first game against an inferior opponent. It makes our loss to them 3 years ago look less embarrassing.

Bryce Landon 8 years, 1 month ago

I remember how Hammertoe and all the KSU trolls popped up here after Turner Gill's Jayhawks crapped their pants against these guys. Now that KSU has dirtied their diapers, it's gonna feel so good to rub it in their ugly faces. Looking forward to punking these wannabes at the season's end when they come to Memorial Stadium!

Brad Farha 8 years, 1 month ago

Let's not mention it to them. Take the high road, and work hard towards beating them at the end of the year.

mikehawk 8 years, 1 month ago

Those folks who live in glass houses should refrain from throwing too many stones. I really don't think we are in much of a position to say much, unless of course, we don't mind getting our nose rubbed in it sooner than later.

texashawk10 8 years, 1 month ago

Time to go break KSU's glass houses then. Any KU football fan knows KU has struggled for the last 4 years and KSU fans don't like to let us forget that. Now that KSU has pulled a pretty epic choke job of their own, karma is going to be a "B" for those fans that give KU so much crap about football.

actorman 8 years, 1 month ago

What makes it even sweeter is that it happened on their statue day. That's something they're going to be stuck with forever ...

Micky Baker 8 years, 1 month ago

SD is no NDSU and our guys aren't going to take them lightly. I don't think K-State took them lightly either. I watched the game and the K-State defenders were tired. The offensive line didn't get the edge sealed off. K-State showed a little explosiveness, but NDSU was just tougher than they were physically and mentally.

Brad Avery 8 years, 1 month ago

Note to Sheahon Zenger, Craig Bohl, the guy at NDSU, can really coach and build a team the right way despite his less than gracious comments about your football team the last time he visited Lawrence.

texashawk10 8 years, 1 month ago

North Dakota St. is the two time defending FCS champs and South Dakota won 1 game last year. Huge difference between those two teams. Kinda like difference in talent level between Alabama and Kansas.

nuleafjhawk 8 years, 1 month ago

With all due respect, we're Kansas. We'd better not take ANYBODY lightly in football.

Micky Baker 8 years, 1 month ago

Matt might want to move K-State up to at least a "could beat" after this. Hey, I know, we haven't played yet but I think it's a certainty that we have made progress towards closing the gap. Remember 2004...

Micky Baker 8 years, 1 month ago

Read the transcript of the question and answer session from Wednesday.

David Leathers 8 years, 1 month ago

Don't get too far ahead of yourself. You never know what is going to happen 14 weeks from now. Remember right after we lost 6 to 3 vs NDSU we came out and played arguably our best game in the past 3 seasons. We beat a ranked Georgia Tech team! KSU will still be a tough win by the end of season.

nuleafjhawk 8 years, 1 month ago

Congratulations to Christian Matthews. It's good to see that his hard working is starting to pay off.

There - I just wanted to make sure there was at least one comment ABOUT him in this article dedicated TO him.

mikehawk 8 years, 1 month ago

Nice story about a kid who has adapted and persevered. We need leaders like this to build a program off of in the future. Setting the tone and the level of commitment required to play D-1 football.

Robert Brock 8 years, 1 month ago

I hope that he catches something this year.

741hawk 8 years, 1 month ago

That's true of MANY hs qbs. They move to other positions in college because they are usually the best "athletes" coming out of high school. Most colleges recruit alot of qbs for that reason -- They can move them to TE, LB, CB, S, or RB.

Dirk Medema 8 years, 1 month ago

6 from the class of 2009.

That's why CW recruited JUCOs.

Hopefully, others will get the dedication as freshmen. That's what happens at the elite programs. Remember the stink at MU over RichRodz practice times? Turned out that none of the extra was mandatory, just peer pressure expectation all the way down the roster. If you're getting out worked in the off season. You'll get out played on the field.

texashawk10 8 years, 1 month ago

Everybody just sit back and follow rule number 32 this weekend, enjoy the little things, especially since KU isn't playing this weekend. KSU completely crapping their britches against an FCS team (albeit a very good one) is something that will put the KSU trolls in their place and take away their ammo for the rest of the year. These are the kinds of losses that programs have a very hard time recovering from, Va Tech hasn't been the same since James Madison upset them a few years ago, KU still hasn't recovered from their loss to NDSU, and I have a feeling it's going to be a long year at Silo Tech this season after last night. I'm also not going to apologize for how much enjoyment KSU embarrassing themselves by blowing a 14 point second half lead brought me because my family has no problem giving me crap about KU losing a game they're supposed to lose and now I get to hold this loss over their heads all year long and I'm going to thoroughly enjoy doing so.

Randy Bombardier 8 years, 1 month ago

I am looking for great things from Mathews and the receiving corps this year. Keep it up, man. Run those wind sprints. And when you are tired, do it again. When you think you need to rest, do it again. Next thing you know you will be blowing by your defender.

I think K-State was totally outclassed yesterday. It was almost amusing how naive they played. They (Snyder and Dumbel) really thought they would have a running game? That is too rich. They simply do not understand that one of the reasons Hubert was so successful was because Klein was successful. Hubert, in his infantile reasoning no doubt thought that if he had had the carries he had plus what Klein had he would have had 2,000 yards. Truth is he will be lucky to get 500 yards this year. Secondly, the oline sucked, just sucked. So much for their strength this year. I could go on but I wont bore you all.

Instead I will say right now that Weis will have us coached up for this game and it will boil down to a battle between the jakes. I think we really have a shot at winning the game this year. I didnt before but i see a major chink in Snyder's armour and you can bet so does HCCW. It won't take long and Snyder will be forced to retire. He is a program builder but again sucks as a tactical strategist. He has lost in the cotton bowl to BYU and Arkansas, lost in the Fiesta Bowl to Oregon and Ohio State. The only, only BCS bowl win he had was against a 7-4 Syracuse team in the Fiesta Bowl. That, my friends, is really starting to piss a lot of people off in Manhattan, Kansas. Mark my words, Snyder will soon retire only to try to get his son in the position which of course will fail and K-State will open it up but will not get the guy unless Gary Patterson is insane and I don't think he is.

In other words KU fans, the days of Snyderball with its anal fascination of trying to embarrass KU is nearly over. Some people say he has class. God only knows but I am perceptive enough to allege that behind that mask is one arrogant SOB. If I were him there is no way I would let the U put up a statue of me while I am still living no less. Does that get an Amen?

Randy Bombardier 8 years, 1 month ago

Thanks, Ralster. I don't ordinarily spend a lot of energy on "hate." I make the exception this time because of what I see in that arrogant SOB. Our weak and humble Turner Gill put together a better game plan against the same team. I guess the deal with me is that I have a hard time with people that are full of themselves and this guy surely is. I see it with how he treats the media, I see it with how he game plans and what really pisses me off is that he is so adulated when I see than he is a has-been. Truth is we are all has-beens and the new strategem becomes dominant; thesis, anti-thesis, etc.

Micky Baker 8 years, 1 month ago

I think you're right. I think Snyder was pushed aside because of some issues similar to that of three other coaches that came from his system were fired, Mangino, the guy at South Florida, and Texas Tech. Then, as soon as all of his anger management issues that rooted from his arrogance could be scapegoated, he was allowed to return.

Micky Baker 8 years, 1 month ago

Also, Northern Iowa beat Iowa State in Ames tonight.

The toughest game we'll play this year on the road will be in Fort Worth. Austin will be tough, but no like it will be at TCU. I think we'll be in that game in Austin until late.

Oklahoma State didn't look particularly saucy today either.

According to ESPN, the game against South Dakota will be streamed on ESPN3 outside of Kansas but will be blacked out in Kansas unless the game is sold out. (Attention students, FILL THE STADIUM).

Steve Brown 8 years, 1 month ago

Set the digital TV recording for the 2nd half of Cats v. ND the other day and the wife, "what are you doing? you don't watch KSU football."

I said I know but in the 1 in 20 chance we get the upset I may want to watch the last few plays of this game. Got home late that night with no idea of the result, almost erased it, then decided to take a peak and speed view the last half. I have seen the last 8 minutes about 3-4 times, she walks by and says "it still brings a smile to you doesn't it?"

Yep.

Lots of power cat flags in my neighborhood they say RGIII took their national championship away, they will get it this year, these same tools, have Bucknell, Bradley and Northern Iowa caps. They can have my garage beer fridge key, nut not my crimson and blue flag, Sure I'll root for B12 and all Kansas schools, yet this one just warms my heart. I think I'll grille and take my neighbors a beer.

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