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Saturday, November 9, 2013

Keegan

Opinion: KU needs Cozart’s mobility at QB

Kansas quarterback Montell Cozart is tackled by Oklahoma State linebacker Caleb Lavey during the third quarter on Saturday, Nov. 9, 2013 at Boone Pickens Stadium in Stillwater, Oklahoma.

Kansas quarterback Montell Cozart is tackled by Oklahoma State linebacker Caleb Lavey during the third quarter on Saturday, Nov. 9, 2013 at Boone Pickens Stadium in Stillwater, Oklahoma.

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Press Conferences & Post-Game Interviews

Charlie Weis post-game press conference after 42-6 loss at Oklahoma State

Charlie Weis post-game press conference after 42-6 loss at Oklahoma State

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— The scoreboard didn’t reflect it, but for the first time since Todd Reesing, the little gunslinger from Austin, Texas, set the Kansas University football team on fire, the Jayhawks had a trigger man Saturday who was able to turn a broken play into an exciting one that made a defense that did everything right end up on the wrong end of a big play.

Montell Cozart, the true freshman quarterback from Bishop Miege High, couldn’t make Kansas competitive in a 42-6 loss Saturday to Oklahoma State in Boone Pickens Stadium. Unlike with Dayne Crist a year ago and Jake Heaps this season, when the blitzers teed off suspense entered the equation. With Crist and Heaps, there was no mystery as to where they were going when the heat arrived. They were going down. With Cozart, the defense couldn’t tell whether he was going right, left, backward, forward or all of the above on the same play.

Heaps started the game, but Cozart was in for the majority of the snaps on a day KU couldn’t turn 202 yards rushing into a touchdown. That the revival of the running game would come on the same day Cozart played the majority of the time was no coincidence.

“He kind of bailed us out a number of times in the run game where there were plays designed to go to the right that he ended up going to the left just because that’s Montell being Montell,” second-year KU coach Charlie Weis said. “When the coaches want to yell at somebody for going the wrong way, sometimes I have to tell them to be quiet to not inhibit them because more often than not they’ll make a play for you when they start one way and see nothing there and they know because of their feet they can bail themselves out of the problems.”

Weis stopped short of saying he has found a new starting quarterback, but hinted that Cozart had helped himself more than he hurt himself on a day he completed 6 of 17 passes for 58 yards and ran for 55 yards (67 in gains, 12 in losses) on 18 carries.

Cozart’s mobility comes in particularly handy for a team that has an offensive line that has trouble competing with defensive players blessed with superior speed up front. He gives defenses more about which to think.

“You could see the kid’s got rare athleticism and he has a chance to cover a lot of sins,” Weis said. “That’s what we haven’t been able to do since I’ve been here. He has a chance of helping us do that.”

Cozart’s scrambling ability gives receivers more time to get open and makes the defense pay even more attention to the run.

“You’ll notice that the mentality of the defense changed when Montell came in because all those DB’s that play deeper aren’t playing deeper anymore,” Weis said. “That’s why we were throwing the ball over the top and letting him throw the ball. Most of his throws were deeper throws. I know his completion percentage wasn’t good, but that’s one of the things we have to be able to do if they want to bring nine up. There were a lot of players where it wasn’t just a front seven. Those two safeties were seven yards from the line of scrimmage.”

What we’ll find out is whether Cozart, with more experience making him more comfortable looking for receivers, can spot which target is open and throw an accurate enough ball to hit him. He’s KU’s best option at this point.

“I think we’re going to have to lean more to one over the other,” Weis said. “Based off of this game, we obviously played Montell a lot more than Jake so that’s a possibility. We’ll wait and see what we’ve got and wait and see what we’ve got and see what West Virginia is too before we make that decision.”

Faced with a decision to play Crist the passing quarterback or Michael Cummings the runner in the season finale against West Virginia, Weis went with the runner and the Jayhawks got blown out.

It’s not exactly the same decision this year. Cozart’s both a runner and a passer and it’s time to see what he can do when given his first collegiate start.

Comments

Chandler Accipiter 5 months, 2 weeks ago

If the offense is going to run the "scramble and chuck it" (Charlie pun intended), then Heaps should drop to third string and put Cummings back into the mix. After all this is what they ran last season just as "effectively" with him.

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Lynn Stuart 5 months, 2 weeks ago

well the game I watched, cozart played a good game considering just when he started getting into the game heaps replaced him, then even with heaps where are the slants to stop the rush to help the pathetic oline ? if the recievers cant read a blitz that's on the recievers couch, if all you want to do is run with 8,9 people in the box that's the couches up in the press box, if you want cozart to get better let him throw the ball..... no one will get into a rythume if you only throw once or twice a drive.

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Danny Hernandez 5 months, 2 weeks ago

I too agree with Aaron. Heck, Saban couldn't win with our offensive line. and don't act like he could too. You need players and they don't all of a sudden show up because of a new coach. We need veterans, very good veterans and last I looked, our players are good but they're not great. Our O line is not that good and doesn't give the qb time. That's no secret

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Michael Leiker 5 months, 2 weeks ago

This Cozart makes bad decision after bad decision, coupled with an consistent unwillingness to turn it up field and gain yards going forward when needed. Anybody who thinks this kid is an answer to anything is nuts. How many times did he run it out of bounce when he could have got a few more. No way any KU fan should get behind this guy until he puts it on the line. I can hear HCMM yelling at Whittemore "I don't need a BLANK for a QB." Cozart would have earned that for his play today. Absolutely horrible performance. Total lack of guts

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Janet Scott 5 months, 2 weeks ago

Tomorrow afternoon, Zenger meeting with Charlie, "Charlie, here's your termination papers, buy-out documents, and a buy-out check for $7.5 million. Sign."

The next day, Chancellor Gray-Little meeting with Zenger, "Z, here's your resignation papers. Sign!"

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Brett McCabe 5 months, 2 weeks ago

So now CW is throwing his own coaches under the bus, too?

Here's what I noticed while watching the game......we got destroyed.

I know that 42-6, by KU's current standards, doesn't seem bad...especially after holding Baylor to 750+ yards, but when the opponent scores the game winning points on the first play plus point-after-touchdown, then I know that we have many, many, many problems. And throwing over the top of the two safeties isn't the biggest one.

And one thing that I know for sure is this...the entire season comes down to this Saturday's game against WVU. Get blown out again and it's over. There will be more purple pussycats in the stands for the home finale than there will be mighty Jayhawks. And we better be looking for a new head coach.

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