Advertisement

Advertisement

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.

Advertisement

Box score

KU-OSU

Box score

Podcast episode

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

Download podcast

— 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

Brett McCabe 1 year 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.

Aaron Paisley 1 year ago

So let's say that Charlie Weis does get fired after 2 years. That would mean that the past two coaches will have been fired after only 2 seasons. What coach with any credibility would come to a bottom feeder program like KU knowing in advance that he has 2 years to right the ship? There isn't a coach in the nation with the pedigree to be successful at a place like KU that would come here. Everybody said that this was a MINIMUM 3 year project just to get KU competitive enough to get to a bowl game, and now those same people are ready to throw in the towel after not even 2 years and say start over with a new staff? Charlie Weis may not be the long term solution, but I can also tell you with 100% certainty that changing coaches every 2-3 years the the surest way to guarantee having a program that will NEVER be competitive in their league and will always be a bottom feeder.

The reason Turner Gill was fired after 2 years was because he lost the team and they were no longer giving maximum effort. That is not the case under Charlie Weis as the players are still out there giving maximum effort every single game. As long as that is the case, Weis needs his 4-5 years to see where he can get this program and if it's not on an upward trend at that point, then move on. Until that time, as long as the players are giving max effort and Charlie doesn't do anything off the field to jeopardize his job, he needs his time to see what he can do.

Steve Corder 1 year ago

Frustrating as it is, Aaron is right.

Brett McCabe 1 year ago

Aaron, my issue is this....in the second year of a new program, there should be measurable improvement. It's getting harder and harder to document that improvement. We have an All-American level punter, an improved defense, a still inconsistent kicking game and one of the worst offenses in the country.

Our first win was unimpressive, and against an FCS school. Our second win was against a really, really bad team and required the equivalent of a last-second Hail Mary to win.

We have two remaining games in which we have a shot at being competitive. Get blown out at home against WVU and I'm afraid that this season is lost.

Chandler Accipiter 1 year ago

Most coaches have a large enough ego to think things will be different for them. Getting a new coach is not a problem. Neither is paying for one or paying one to leave. Those are just the ecomomics of being in a BCS conference.

Doug Cramer 1 year ago

I agree with Brett.

The program gets set back even longer...the more Weis gets to stick around.

Somebody somewhere would love the opportunity to coach at KU. Wouldn't worry about the perception that KU fires coaches after two years.

This team is so undisciplined...even more so than Gills teams...in certain aspects.

Andy Tweedy 1 year ago

So you're suggesting 3 multi-million dollar buyouts in three years? Not going to happen. We all better hope CW can get this turned around, at least a little bit, because he's not going anywhere this off-season.

Michael Leiker 1 year 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

Jordan Gumm 1 year ago

Bad decision after bad decision? Most of his incompletions were desperate bombs, which seemed to just be part of the game plan (Heaps chucked several down the field in vain). Also, his running out of bounds is what any mobile QB should do and does do when facing oncoming defenders at the sideline (otherwise they slide). The point is that most QB's aren't built to take a beating (Tebow is a rare exception).

Anyway, at least the defense was kept off the field for most of the game. KU dominated the time of possession. It was also nice to see some consistent first downs against a first-string defense. The majority of KU's offensive production has routinely just come in the 3rd and 4th quarters (in Big 12 play) when the opposing team's scrubs are on the field. The Oklahoma game is the only exception, but remember that this was the game where we threw for 16 yards. The way I see it, Cozart is KU's best chance at success. The o-line will break down, and at least Cozart can gain positive yards during those situations as opposed to losing 5-10 yards. It's also not like he's going to be passing for far less yards than Heaps ever does (it would be really hard to).

Danny Hernandez 1 year 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

Lynn Stuart 1 year 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.

Chandler Accipiter 1 year 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.

Commenting has been disabled for this item.