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Sunday, November 10, 2013

QB Cozart gives Kansas ‘extra element’

Kansas quarterbacks Montell Cozart, left, and Jake Heaps warm up prior to kickoff against Oklahoma State on Saturday, Nov. 9, 2013 at Boone Pickens Stadium in Stillwater, Oklahoma.

Kansas quarterbacks Montell Cozart, left, and Jake Heaps warm up prior to kickoff against Oklahoma State on Saturday, Nov. 9, 2013 at Boone Pickens Stadium in Stillwater, Oklahoma.

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For the past four weeks, Kansas University football coach Charlie Weis has tinkered with playing two quarterbacks on Saturdays, both as a way to ease true freshman Montell Cozart into the fold and in hopes of finding a spark for KU’s underperforming offense.

Saturday night, following KU’s 42-6 loss at Oklahoma State — the Jayhawks’ sixth straight setback this season and 27th consecutive Big 12 defeat — Weis indicated it might be time to lean one way or the other the rest of the way.

In one corner sits Cozart, the raw and unproven but potentially electric 6-foot-2, 189-pound rookie. In the other is starter Jake Heaps, the junior transfer who has a live arm and more experience but trouble playing behind KU’s inconsistent offensive line.

If gifted with a line that could give his quarterback time and receivers with hands of Velcro, Weis no doubt would go with Heaps. But KU lacks both, which means Cozart might be the better option, not only for the remainder of this season but for the future.

“I think we know where we’d like to go,” said Weis when asked if his rough start at Kansas has forced him to rethink the way he runs an offense. “But you gotta wait till you’re in position to do that.”

KU’s second-year coach then went on to explain how he views college football’s offensive landscape.

“There’s really two mentalities right now,” he began. “You have the run-and-gun, spread-em-out, throw-it-all-over-the-yard (offenses), and then you’ve got the Stanford mentality, where you just try to pound ’em with formations and personnel groupings.

“If you ask me to pick one, I’m picking the Stanford mentality. But the point is, can you surround yourself with the type of players (you need) to be able to run that mentality? And the answer might be no. So if the answer’s no, then you gotta go in the other direction to try to give yourself a better chance to hit more home runs and score more points.”

The fact that Weis is willing to talk this way could represent hope for KU’s future.

Remember, this is the same guy who, a few weeks ago, gave up play-calling responsibilities to young assistants Ron Powlus and Jeff Blasko. This also is the same guy who prefers quarterbacks like Dayne Crist and Tom Brady to run his offenses, which makes his willingness to look long and hard at Cozart a step in the right direction. Handing the young and mobile freshman QB the keys altogether would represent Weis sprinting, because Cozart more closely resembles the quarterbacks who have dominated the Big 12 during recent years and continue to put up points and yardage totals at eye-popping rates.

“For closing in on two years now, we haven’t had that extra element,” said Weis, alluding to Cozart’s natural ability to extend plays and do damage with his mobility.

Has Weis ever had it?

“No,” he said. “Because I’ve never played that style of quarterback.”

With the Jayhawks mired in a stretch of eight straight games of scoring 19 points or less and averaging just 15.9 points per game this season, that soon might change.

If it does, the outlook for the immediate future of KU football might change with it.

Comments

Randy Bombardier 5 months, 1 week ago

Standord? I guess that sounds better tha n we're going to copy k-state. Hey, no shame in that. The dual threat Qb is the way to go. Williams was key on '95 team. Now just get us a line.

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Jack Joiner 5 months, 1 week ago

I was the only Jayhawk fan sitting around hundreds of Cowboy fans and with an OSU friend. When HCCW brought Heaps back in, the Cowboy fans could not believe it. It is real simple at this point, if Heaps is going to be your guy next year, you stay with him. If not, Cozart finishes the season under center,

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Lance Cheney 5 months, 1 week ago

I think Cozart is the choice going forward, hands down. He does need to learn when to lower his head and go straight ahead for a few more yards, rather than bending the run towards the sideline. I saw that a few times on Saturday. But that will come with some experience and film-watching, and also once he puts on some more poundage. He overthrew a lot of guys as well, but that will come with repetition and developing chemistry with his receivers.

I feel bad for Heaps too, but the reality is he just isn't getting the job done. Yes, if he had a better O-line and receivers, then the story might be different, but it is what it is, and we gotta do what's best for the team.

And we also need to get a FG kicker.

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Erich Hartmann 5 months, 1 week ago

I would expect fans to grumble even louder if we cannot get a win against WVa or IowaSt...as those teams records (dismal) point to system- or talent-problems that arent easy or 'same-year' fixes (just like KU's problems). So those are our best chances for winning a game or two this season. They would also give momentum to next season, as we have a chance to show we are coming together and the boys are figuring things out.

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Charles Logan 5 months, 1 week ago

I think my posts get deleted from here because I speak too much truth. This may be deleted too, but here goes..... Savion is 100% correct. KU has a proven QB with Cummings. Cummings totally got the shaft from Weis. Cummings should have been our starting QB from the beginning of the season. Heaps was handed the job. (We all know that) Cummings didn't get to play against South Dakota, Rice, or Louisiana Tech.... Why???? Because Weis didn't want him to outshine Heaps. If Cummings played well against those teams, Weis would be pressured to play him more, and he doesn't want to....... Same with Cozart. Weis really doesn't want to run Cozart either, but everyone can see that he is better than Heaps. Cummings too is better than Heaps, but Weis just passed over Cummings without batting an eye. I know Weis wanted Heaps to be the starter, and I wouldn't have had a problem with that if Cummings had a fair chance coming off the bench. Cummings has had no such thing..... I (from the start) wanted Cozart as the starter, Cummings then Heaps. If Cozart wasn't ready at the beginning of the season, I wanted to see Cummings as the starter, Cozart then Heaps. I have watched this season waiting for Weis to prove me wrong by sticking with Heaps.................. I'm still waiting..............All this season has showed me is that I was right. Kansas "can" put a scoring team on the field. Darrian Miller hasn't gotten a fair shake either. I picked KU to easily win 8 or 9 games this year, but that was before we lost Jenkins-More, Pearce Slater, Justin McCay, Chris martin, Kevin Short, Taylor Cox......etc. With those guys on the team, and Cozart in the backfield with Sims, Miller, and Cox (Pierson & Bourbon on the wings) KU would have a potent (Option) offense. That lineup would score more than Weis' (Heaps Pro style) lineup. More than 17pts a game. I almost guarantee it! The title of this article is "QB Cozart gives Kansas extra element".............................................................. Shaking my head. Haven't I been saying that since July?!!!!

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Tony Bandle 5 months, 1 week ago

At the current rate of improvement, KU Football will be bowl eligible in 2017.

All kidding aside, if the program took three seasons to collapse, shouldn't Charlie be given at least the same time frame to show improvement??

If, at this time next year, KU has still not won a Big 12 Conference game then, yes, Houston, we have a problem and Charlie W. is most likely not the answer.

Thank God, I wasn't on the phone to my stock broker or playing high stakes poker in Vegas when I posted that I thought Kansas could go 6 - 6 this season!!

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Chandler Accipiter 5 months, 1 week ago

Good points by Savion. What happened to Cummings? Shouldn't he be in the mix as well, if not starting. After all he ran the run and chuck it offense last year after Charlie's golden boy experiment failed.

And I agree somewhat with Doug, but if the O-line needs work (to say the least) and the receivers need coached/to improve/more talent(?) then the passing game is not being put in a position to succeed. If that is case, then Heaps isn't the QB to run the offense.

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Gary Amble 5 months, 1 week ago

I want to believe, I really do. I just have trouble seeing how we've improved over the past two seasons. I can't see anything that makes me believe we'll win a conference game, not just this season but for the forseeable future. It appears right now that the Charlie Weis hire was terrible. Please prove me wrong and win a game!

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Doug Cramer 5 months, 1 week ago

Still not convinced Jake is a bad QB either. He didn't succeed for three reasons:

  1. Had no protection from the O-line
  2. Receivers have a difficult time getting separation
  3. When receivers did get open, they dropped WAY too many passes this year
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Savion Havon 5 months, 1 week ago

The team had a dual threat qb with Cummings difference is he's got a proven arm and we know he's a gamer. Cozart is still very timid out there. Jake was handed the keys to the car in the same fashion Crist got them last year. The changes to the depth chart should have taken place earlier this season. HCCW's loyalty to his guy doesn't allow competition to grow. It in all actuality allows questions go fester within the fans staff as well as the team. If playing time is given by performance on a level playing field the last time Cummings touched the field he engineered a drive that ended with a 28 yd td strike to Turzilli. Turzilli went on to gain the number one spot while Cummings in essence was demoted. If going off performance only I ask are we fielding the best possible team? The team deserves to play with whoever is best it shouldn't be determined by who sat in your living room or sent you text messages. Last year it was reported Cummings was a pocket passer with a cannon this year he's a option qb why not say legit dual threat qb and call it a day. Words are being used to pigeon hole a player. I have said since the spring game I thought his throws were better as a matter of fact Josh Ford got looks because of the plays they made. Same game where we were force fed how great heaps and McCays chemistry was it must be a very long formula because I gave yet to see it on game day. There are practice players and there are game players. When things are scripted Jake is great in real life situations not so great

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Robert Brock 5 months, 1 week ago

Cozart helped us score how many touchdowns against Oklahoma State?

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Keith Hummel 5 months, 1 week ago

It seems clear Weis is going to go primarily with Cozart from here on out. I think that's the right call but I feel badly for Jake Heaps. Jake is a class act, so he will say and do all the right things. But I don't care how much of a team player you are, going from top QB prospect to getting benched at BYU, then benched at Kansas, is a real punch to the gut. Hopefully we can solve our OL and receiver problems in the off-season and he can show what he's got next year, but I wouldn't bet on it. I give Weis credit for abandoning his offense and admitting it isn't going to work at KU (at least not anytime soon). I'm certain that's not an easy pill for him to swallow, but it shows he is more concerned with the program than his own ego. Hopefully this will mark a turning point. There is still some time to salvage this season.

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