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Tuesday, July 30, 2013

KU’s Miller hopes to make most of second chance

Kansas running back Darrian Miller races up the field for a first down against Baylor during the first quarter on Saturday, Nov. 12, 2011 at Kivisto Field. The run helped put the Jayhawks in field goal range.

Kansas running back Darrian Miller races up the field for a first down against Baylor during the first quarter on Saturday, Nov. 12, 2011 at Kivisto Field. The run helped put the Jayhawks in field goal range.

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When news broke in late May that former Kansas University running back Darrian Miller was coming back to Lawrence to rejoin Charlie Weis’ program, the only official reaction from KU came through a press release that included comments from Miller about being thankful for the second chance.

Last week at Big 12 media days in Dallas, Weis spoke about the running back’s return for the first time and the second-year KU coach offered his thoughts on what Miller’s mindset should be entering fall camp, which gets going next Wednesday.

“First of all, I think what Darrian should be (trying to do) is beat everybody out,” Weis said. “He’s been there before, right? So if I were him, I wouldn’t be content coming in being anyone’s back-up, I’d be trying to beat them out.”

With senior tailback James Sims continuing to improve and coming off of three straight seasons as the Jayhawks’ leading rusher, such a goal sounds like a bit of a reach. But there are plenty of people who believe that Miller has what it takes to become a big-time player in the Big 12 and many of them are basing that belief off of his stellar freshman season in which he finished with 559 yards and four TDs on 136 carries, just 168 yards and 46 carries behind Sims’ team highs.

“I’m playing the best guy,” Weis said. “And, right now, James Sims is the best guy. But James Sims knows that the competition, which was already tough enough with Tony (Pierson) and Taylor (Cox) and Brandon Bourbon, just got tougher.”

Miller is the second player who left the program after Weis was hired to return this offseason. Cornerback Dexter McDonald was dismissed following the 2011 season because of academic issues, but after a year at Butler Community College — the same school Miller spent the spring — McDonald was welcomed back to Kansas, and the early reports on his comeback have been good. McDonald spent the spring as one of KU’s first-string cornerbacks, and all indications suggest that’s how he will begin fall camp next week.

Miller did not arrive in Lawrence until June, so it’s hard to know where he’ll land on the depth chart when Weis releases an updated version during camp. But there are plenty of signs, both inside and outside of the football complex, that suggest Miller has matured and is not taking his second crack at Division I football lightly.

“At the end of the day, that kid took a little bit of time to figure it out and then when he got to Butler he figured it out,” Weis said of Miller. “It might not have been until he got to Butler that he figured it out, so give kudos to their staff. But he figured it out. And once he figured it out, he was gonna go somewhere, and why not us? If he’s figured it out and his life’s turned in the right direction, now you want a kid like that on your team. My job isn’t to get rid of players. My job is, here’s the way we’re gonna do it, are you with us or without us? And I feel very confident that he’s with us.”

Harwell update

A recent check with Don Jackson, the lawyer for former Miami (Ohio) University wide receiver Nick Harwell, revealed that there was “no news as of yet” regarding Harwell’s bid to finish the classes he needs to graduate from Miami and become eligible to play for KU as a graduate senior this fall.

Eligible or not, Harwell is expected to arrive in Lawrence when camp opens next week, and it’s possible that his status could remain uncertain even after he’s on campus.

“Do I hope he’s a go for this year?” Weis asked at Big 12 media days. “You betcha. If he’s not, we’ve already got a plan in place and let’s go.”

Pep rally date set

For the eighth year in a row, notable figures from KU’s athletic department and Jayhawk fans will join together at Corinth Square, 83rd and Mission Road in Prairie Village, to kick off the 2013-14 sports season with a pep rally that is scheduled to begin at 6 p.m. on Aug. 16.

KU football head coach Charlie Weis, men’s basketball coach Bill Self and women’s basketball coach Bonnie Henrickson will each address the crowd during the rally. The event also will include food, drinks and KU giveaways as well as inflatable games for kids. In addition, the popular cover band SELLOUT! is scheduled to perform from 8-10 p.m.

KU-UT television

As announced earlier this summer by the University of Texas, KU’s Nov. 2 game at UT will be televised by both the Jayhawk TV Network and the Longhorn Network, with the kickoff slated for 2:30 p.m.

The broadcast will be handled by Metro Sports for Time Warner Cable and Comcast subscribers in the Kansas City area and WOW subscribers in Lawrence. A recent KU press release regarding the game said distribution plans for the rest of the state would be announced at a later date.

KU and UT worked together on a similar shared-broadcast deal in 2011, the last time the KU football team traveled to Austin.

Comments

d_bradley27 8 months, 3 weeks ago

Great to have Miller back but not expecting him to burn it up right away. He sat out all of last year and Sims is significantly better than when Miller was here last. I think he sees the field but would be surprised to see him as first string at season end. Sims is that good in my opinion. And that's saying something b/c Miller is a stud. Can't wait to get this season started!!

Rock Chalk

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Charles Logan 8 months, 3 weeks ago

Sorry. The only sport you will have PROBLEMS watching is baseball.

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Charles Logan 8 months, 3 weeks ago

Thanks to the posts on here during game days, I found "The first row .eu" thefirstrow.eu I watched every game on there last year. EVERY GAME! Even the non conference games that were on the "Jayhawk Network." Anyone that can't get the games on T.V. try this. You can watch ANY team!

AND IT'S FREE. There is no sign up. You can watch any sport live. I watch KU basketball on there too when its not on T.V. The only sport you will have watching is baseball. MLB blocks everything.

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texashawk10 8 months, 3 weeks ago

I thought Miller was KU's best back in 2011 and if he returns to that form this year, the he and Sims will be the best 1-2 punch in the league since Pierson will mostly be lined up outside. Bourbon is a good player when healthy, but the problem is that he can't stay healthy and I really wouldn't be shocked to see Cox redshirt this year.

Here's a little secret about KU's running game, all of those backs except for Cox were 4 star players coming out of high school. Recruiting rankings matter, there's a reason why the teams that are consistently in the top 10 of recruiting every year are also the same teams that are consistently in the hunt for a national championship. The rankings are not perfect and never will be, but they are the best indicator of future success for a program.

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Pbbut 8 months, 3 weeks ago

I'm a big Miller fan, this guy has great potential.

As for the access issues, I know it's 2013. I know the technology has changed. I know you want to see all the games live. But it's like you believe the athletic department has taken this route just to get you POed. The department is not always right, we have the bodies laying by the side of the road to prove it, but I believe they are operating in the best interest of the overall program.

Does anyone remember trying to pick up Tom Hedrick on AM radio from Des Moines on a Saturday afternoon? You might not find out what the score was until Sunday.

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Randy Bombardier 8 months, 3 weeks ago

Really looking forward to Miller's return. Like to see him, too, catch a few balls in open space. See ya.

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KGphoto 8 months, 3 weeks ago

Any chance Pierson changes his number again? He basically changed positions into the new hybrid Slot/RB role that’s trending in the NFL with guys like Percy Harvin and Randall Cobb.

I can’t wait for that, by the way. He reminds me most of Randall Cobb who wears #18. Tony could take place kicker Eric Kahn’s #18. Kahn could take Miller’s #6. Miller gets his old #3 back. And just like that...

The return of Run DM3!!

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vd 8 months, 3 weeks ago

“I’m playing the best guy,” Weis said. WOW. Does mean the coach is changing his ways? I hope so.

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Jim Jackson 8 months, 3 weeks ago

What do we think the chances are that Harwell plays?

Tait, still 50/50? I know we thought that the longer he was not on campus the better his chances...

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akgjenkintown 8 months, 3 weeks ago

I can't remember a KU football team this loaded at one position. This group has to be near the top, if not the top group of running backs in the Big XII. I just hope the offensive line is as good or better than last year and can protect the QB and open holes for the backs; otherwise KU's offense will look mediocre.

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Reuben_J_Cogburn 8 months, 3 weeks ago

Really? Football? On July 31st?

I was really hoping for the "Top 10 Best KU Basketball Walk-On Players Who Maintained a 3.0 GPA, Did Not Major in Communications, Enjoyed Moutain Biking, and Supported the Designated Hitter Rule in Baseball" article.

...but I guess I'll make due.

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Brett McCabe 8 months, 3 weeks ago

Darrian was an absolute pleasure to watch. He gives us another viable long-gain threat. I can't remember too much about his versatility but I think that he'll work his way onto the field, which means the team will be better.

Between Sims, Miller, Pierson and Cox, KU has a true stable of running backs. The wishbone uses three backs, does anyone know of one that can put four on the field at the same time?

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Jason Keller 8 months, 3 weeks ago

You can forget about Harwell playing this season. I still think our receivers have improved even without him. Especially if Pierson is moved to receiver.

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ahpersecoachingexperience 8 months, 3 weeks ago

SheahoRn bends over backwards for Bevo AGAIN!

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