Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Jayhawks heap praise on QB for leadership

Kansas redshirt quarterback Jake Heaps looks to hand off to running back Tony Pierson during the first half of the Spring Game on Saturday, April 28, 2012 at Kivisto Field.

Kansas redshirt quarterback Jake Heaps looks to hand off to running back Tony Pierson during the first half of the Spring Game on Saturday, April 28, 2012 at Kivisto Field.


The more people within Kansas University’s football program talk, the more it becomes clear that junior quarterback Jake Heaps is taking his role as team leader very seriously.

It’s not that Heaps has been named team captain — yet — or even been asked to step up to fill the void left by the departure of several seniors from the 2012 team. It’s more that he has taken it upon himself to rally the troops and make sure everyone is on the same page this offseason.

“Jake’s been the biggest (leader), by far,” said defensive end Chris Martin, a junior-college transfer who spent the 2010 season at Florida and came to KU in January. “If anyone sticks out in that aspect, it’s Jake.”

As soon as the 2012 season ended, Heaps hopped into a leadership role and has not looked back. In addition to helping organize workouts and constantly motivating teammates to dig deeper and push harder, Heaps took on a heavy role in recruiting and did not stop once signing day arrived.

“Jake did a great job with all of us new guys,” said offensive lineman Mike Smithburg, who, like Martin, transferred to KU in January along with six others. “From the first day on, he introduced himself, and he’s always asking us what’s going on and how we’re doing.”

That kind of leadership — returning Jayhawks Keba Agostinho, Ben Heeney and Keon Stowers also have been praised by the newcomers — may not win games, but it can go a long way toward building the kind of chemistry it takes to win. Smithburg should know. He comes to KU fresh off of winning a juco national championship at Iowa Western.

“I’m starting to get some of the same vibe that I had with my old team,” Smithburg said. “I can definitely tell that this team is heading in the right direction, just the way we come together as a team. It’s definitely a good vibe.”

Rockhurst lineman walks on

KU recently landed another preferred walk-on when Joe Gibson, a 6-foot-3, 280-pound versatile lineman from Rockhurst High, announced he would join the Jayhawks in June.

Gibson had scholarship offers from Idaho, Penn and Western Michigan and was offered a walk-on spot by KU and K-State. Ultimately, he told Jon Kirby of, his love of KU and trust in KU offensive line coach Tim Grunhard led him to Lawrence.

“It was a tough decision to pass up on the schools that offered me,” Gibson told Kirby. “But after my visit to KU I kind of knew. I grew up a KU fan. So it wasn’t that hard. I think I can go in and earn a scholarship.”

Hawkinson does well

Former KU offensive lineman Tanner Hawkinson did himself a big favor by performing well in several of the agility drills at the NFL combine last weekend. Hawkinson’s 40-yard dash time of 5.07 seconds was the 10th fastest among all offensive linemen invited to the combine and his 7.52-second three-cone time (10th) and 4.51-second 20-yard shuffle time (4th) also landed him among the top performers.

The McPherson native who started all four seasons at KU has been labeled by many as a mid- to late-round draft pick in April’s draft, and his showing at the combine did nothing to change that.

Former KU safety Bradley McDougald will take his turn at the timing portion of the combine today with the defensive backs. His testing will be televised on NFL Network (Knology cable channel 154).


741hawk 6 years, 4 months ago

Remember: It was the Phat man that told Hawkinson he could play in the NFL if he switched from TE to Tackle.

W Keith Swinehart II 6 years, 4 months ago

Thanks for the updates. I've been curious about combine results; and, about early football progress. Please keep the football fire burning, even in the peak of BB season.

Matt Tait 6 years, 4 months ago

Not to worry. McDougald's testing at the Combine today, so I'll be tracking that, as well. Lots of football fun to come in the next several weeks!

canuckhawk 6 years, 4 months ago

Mmmmmmm...probably better to wait a few more months before taking this as anything more than team speak.

Ah hum:

Theonlythingthatexceedsyourbad 6 years, 4 months ago

Heaps is much more proven with his 2 years at BYU. It's widely thought that he would have played in front Crist last year.

kranny 6 years, 4 months ago

I hear ya. We've been down this road before.

John Randall 6 years, 4 months ago

The talk about football recruits sounds almost too good. They (last year's and this) seem almost like recent basketball recruits – great character traits with respectable talents. It will take a few seasons of increasing success to regain the footing we had before big Lew threw it into the hog trough, but I can see it coming. Our next bowl win isn't very far away.

Bob Bailey 6 years, 4 months ago

Unfortunate, but apparently even the coaches, not to mention fans, 'get it'. Without good tackling, NO Defense is of value. Been watching football since the early '30's. It hasn't changed much in 80 yrs. And somebody needs to speak up for Defense. There is No alternative to Elmer Schaake's Defense. (K State lost to OR the first play of the game. Inadequate Tackling. The only guy with a chance to nail the runner, back where he caught the ball, was 4 steps late in tracking the runner, and 2 steps late in making the tackle.)

"Leading" the target isn't new. World Wars 1 and II had 'Aces' in the AF. They were invariably farmer boys who learned how to "lead" a target in hunting when they were about 6-9 years old.. You have to shoot the 'target' where he WILL be when the shot gets there. It is not new to sports, either. A friend ice hockey in college, knew the Belt Buckle Rule. Offensve Lineman will be behind you in 1/120 of a second! There is really no alternative to Schaake's Rules.

  1. Belt Buckle Rule You have to track the runner by following his belt buckle. The arms, the legs, the head, will make you misjudge his intention and action. When you are 1 1/2 - 2 steps away, you MUST know where the runner will be in 2 more of his steps

  2. Hesitate, Adjust your Route. You can't run headlong toward the runner. (That's what was wrong with the GB defender in the SD exhibition.) You have to be in control of your speed and direction, or you will splatter yourself over the ground behind the runner, not even a good contact. You MUST be where the runner will be in 2 steps.

  3. Wrap Him Up You MUST grab the runner with both arms and lock your hands behind him. Know what a tourniquet is? Grab him and hold him, put him on the ground. If you are lucky and hold him long enough, he may limp a little from lack of circulation. Grab him where you can, but if it is between the knees and the hips, he sure won't drag you very far.

There is NO satisfactory alternative. Some so-called tacklers will try to throw their body at the , therunners legs, undercutting him. That will work about half the time. Get two or three guys, try to push him down - that's what happened to #24,23, and 55 in our KState game. The runner shook them offand made 10-12 more yards.

There is more to Defense, but without good tackling, it doesn't matter. The 1-11 season convinced some that no KU coach could teach tackling. Hopefully the Defense coach that Weis hired might do the job. Without it, maybe 1-11 again?

Theonlythingthatexceedsyourbad 6 years, 4 months ago

I'm sure the coaches don't teach tackling. . . we have the same "defense coach" as last year. The "defense coach" also has 2 Superbowl Rings, so I'm going to just go ahead and assume that he coaches tackling.

Micky Baker 6 years, 4 months ago

I agree. I think that the players were set far back when Gill was here. They showed no improvement at all, and it could be that they just weren't put in the right positions and treated as if they were just now learning the game in the 5th grade.

kellerman411 6 years, 4 months ago

Oh no you don't. I'm not falling for this again. I'll see you boys in August.

Jeff Coffman 6 years, 4 months ago

The great thing about college football, is every year I think we are going bowling. So what if I get disappointed, I love the hype going into every season.

KUFan90 6 years, 4 months ago

"Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me."

  • Mr. Scott, Star Ship Enterprise

Brad Watson 6 years, 4 months ago

I love this kid???Jake?...i know you read this stuff...Show me something....i might hire you one me!

Tony Bandle 6 years, 4 months ago

Please tell me the choice of the verb in the headline was NOT intentional!!

machinegun 6 years, 4 months ago

There are more questions than answers when it comes to Heaps. Remember some of the great Brigham Young QBs? Jim McMahon, Steve Young, Ty Detmer, and so on. Heaps did not measure up to their standards and was benched.

Why would a kid leave his religion's primary institution of higher learning, recognized across the nation as Quarterback U, rather than fighting to get his job back? At Kansas, he's basically a duck out of water. When it comes down to it, no amount of offseason hype will produce victories. Just look at Dayne Crist.

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